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letters from an American

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    Here's a few highlights from last night's letter:

    Tonight, the major networks called Arizona for Joe Biden. This means Arizona has voted for a Democrat for president for the first time since 1996, when Ross Perot’s bid for the presidency siphoned off votes from Republican candidate Bob Dole and let Democratic candidate Bill Clinton clinch the state. Before that, the last time Arizona backed a Democrat was in 1948, when it went for Harry Truman.

    Trump has been telling people that he will announce a run for the 2024 presidency as soon as the vote is certified for Biden. This would keep money flowing into his pockets, as well as keeping him in the news. Sources have told Maggie Haberman at the New York Times that the president has no grand strategy other than to keep his supporters energized to follow him into whatever he does next, including, perhaps, launching a competitor to the Fox News Channel.

    Meanwhile, the president is holed up in the White House, his public schedule empty, tweeting about how he has won an election that everyone knows he lost.

    ( While he ponders his options, his involvement in the day-to-day governing of the nation has nearly stopped: According to his schedule, he has not attended an intelligence briefing in weeks, and the White House has done little of late to manage the pandemic that has surged to record highs in many states.)

    While Republicans appear to want to keep up the public narrative that the results of the election are unclear, they are beginning to demand that Biden get access to the intelligence reports Trump is keeping from him.

    Among the phone calls Biden has had with world leaders was one today with Pope Francis.

    Lara Seligman at Politico reported today that Biden has been reaching out to former Pentagon officials who retired or were fired in the past four years to talk about the transition and whether or not they might want to go back into the Defense Department. The Biden team is talking to former officials because the current ones are Trump loyalists and team members don’t think they will be particularly cooperative or, for that matter, very knowledgeable.

    In a notable change from the past four years, Biden’s agency review team for the Pentagon is led by female defense policy experts.

    Biden tweeted just once today, after six American National Guardsmen, along with a Czech and a French team member, died in a helicopter crash in Egypt during a peacekeeping mission. One American was wounded. While the current president apparently ignored the loss, using Twitter to spread false rumors about the election and to attack the Fox News Channel, Biden tweeted: “I extend my deep condolences to the loved ones of the peacekeepers, including 6 American service members, who died on Tiran Island, and wish a speedy recovery to the surviving American. I join all Americans in honoring their sacrifice, as I keep their loved ones in my prayers.”

    I'm nearly finished reading Biden's book, "Promise Me, Dad". Although it does cover a few diplomatic stories, there is very little discussion of politics. However, two things are very clear:

    1) Biden is a devout Catholic. He attends mass almost on a weekly basis, and he wear's Beau's rosary on his wrist.

    2) He has more empathy in is little finger than Trump has in his entire body, since Trump has absolutely NO EMPATHY at all. I still don't understand why 72 million people are stupid enough to vote for him.

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    It's the 72 million Americans who voted for him that give me worry about our democracy. We made excuses for the 63 million that voted for Trump in 2016, but that number increased to 72 million in 2020 despite everything we now know about him. And for many of them they are telling Trump to "not give up the fight...never concede, Biden stole the election". They really believe that as did the good German people believed in Hitler before the onslaught of World War II.

    It will be a tumultuous four years of the Biden presidency if Trump is allowed to work as a "shadow presidency" to reclaim the God given right of their Führer. Perhaps I exaggerate, but the sooner we put Trump in an orange jump suit and lock him away the better. Treason is a crime.

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    Schmidt Wrote:

    It's the 72 million Americans who voted for him that give me worry about our democracy. We made excuses for the 63 million that voted for Trump in 2016, but that number increased to 72 million in 2020 despite everything we now know about him. And for many of them they are telling Trump to "not give up the fight...never concede, Biden stole the election". They really believe that as did the good German people believed in Hitler before the onslaught of World War II.

    It will be a tumultuous four years of the Biden presidency if Trump is allowed to work as a "shadow presidency" to reclaim the God given right of their Führer. Perhaps I exaggerate, but the sooner we put Trump in an orange jump suit and lock him away the better. Treason is a crime.

    Yes you are absolutely correct; 72 million people need their "heads" checked. Looking at our "system" which allowed to "vote" this criminal into the W.H., then I fear that this country will continue to have difficult times, because no one does something to make "elections" honest and without hoards of money, but no "brains" are required. Indeed those people, except Mary Trump, have no idea how dangerous the "baby" is. It is time to improve the "general" education and the "government system" here.
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    Heather published a lot of good thoughts last night. Here are some of the highlights:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had announced the day before that the House would take up a resolution, advanced by Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD), that called on Vice President Mike Pence “to convene and mobilize the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment to declare the President incapable of executing the duties of his office, after which the Vice President would immediately exercise powers as acting President.” The resolution did not speak to the physical or mental health of the president, but focused on his inability to fulfill his duty to respect the legitimate results of the Presidential election, accept the peaceful transfer of power, protect the people of the United States, and see that the laws be faithfully executed.

    This resolution was a generous offer to Republicans. It limited its condemnation of Trump to his quite obvious refusal to accept the election results, rather than digging deeper into his behavior. Pelosi also called for Unanimous Consent to bring up the Raskin resolution. This was a way to give cover to Republicans who didn’t want to go on the record against Trump, but who want him out of power in favor of Pence.

    Although extremist Republicans are trying to argue that removing Trump shows Democratic partisanship, in fact, Pelosi was trying to give Republicans as much cover as possible.

    It was a Trump Republican who shot that down. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) objected to Unanimous Consent, which means that when the measure comes up again tomorrow, each Republican will have to vote either for it or against it. Mooney has condemned his fellow Republicans who would not go along with Trump’s election claims, and now he is forcing them to go on record. In other words, he is making a play to force Republicans behind Trump.

    As of tonight, the government remains MIA. We have had no briefings from the White House, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, or the Justice Department about what happened on January 6, or what has happened since. And now acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf has resigned, effective at midnight tonight. He will be replaced by FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor.

    McCarthy is facing the same problem Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), the new chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is: they are supposed to bring in campaign cash, but suddenly corporations are announcing they will no longer make political donations… at least to Republicans. Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria at Popular Information yesterday broke the story that Marriott, BlueCross BlueShield, and Commerce Bank would not contribute to the 147 Republicans who objected to the counting of the electoral votes in Congress. That’s more than half the Republicans in Congress. Verizon, AT&T, and Amazon have now joined that boycott. Citigroup, 3M, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and JPMorgan Chase have all halted political giving for several months, and a number of other companies say they are reevaluating their giving. T-Mobile told Popular Information: “The assault on the U.S. Capitol and on democracy was unacceptable.”

    The FBI warned today that online activists are planning armed protests in Washington, D.C., and at all fifty state capitols between January 16 and 20, although it is not clear that their plans will translate into mass protests. In the wake of the attack, Trump supporters are harassing lawmakers, making them fear for the safety of themselves and their families.

    Insurgents now face institutional pressure, as well. The Department of Justice and the FBI are tracking down more than 150 suspects for prosecution—so far—and hackers today claimed to have captured the personal data of Parler users from Parler servers, including material that users believed they had deleted after the January 6 Capitol riot. Since rioters stole laptops and documents that included items relating to national security, they are not going to be able to drop off the radar screen.

    Trump is also under pressure, the pressure of impeachment, of course, and the loss of his social media platforms. He is also under financial pressure, as Deutsche Bank, the only bank that would still lend to him, has announced it will no longer do business with him. But, according to Maggie Haberman at the New York Times, what is upsetting him most is that the PGA has pulled its 2022 golf championship from Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club.

    That, not the riots, not the deaths, not impeachment, and certainly not the coronavirus--which has now killed more than 375,000 of us—has “gutted” him.

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    that guy in AZ Wrote:

    Heather published a lot of good thoughts last night. Here are some of the highlights:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had announced the day before that the House would take up a resolution, advanced by Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD), that called on Vice President Mike Pence “to convene and mobilize the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment to declare the President incapable of executing the duties of his office, after which the Vice President would immediately exercise powers as acting President.” The resolution did not speak to the physical or mental health of the president, but focused on his inability to fulfill his duty to respect the legitimate results of the Presidential election, accept the peaceful transfer of power, protect the people of the United States, and see that the laws be faithfully executed.

    This resolution was a generous offer to Republicans. It limited its condemnation of Trump to his quite obvious refusal to accept the election results, rather than digging deeper into his behavior. Pelosi also called for Unanimous Consent to bring up the Raskin resolution. This was a way to give cover to Republicans who didn’t want to go on the record against Trump, but who want him out of power in favor of Pence.

    Although extremist Republicans are trying to argue that removing Trump shows Democratic partisanship, in fact, Pelosi was trying to give Republicans as much cover as possible.

    It was a Trump Republican who shot that down. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) objected to Unanimous Consent, which means that when the measure comes up again tomorrow, each Republican will have to vote either for it or against it. Mooney has condemned his fellow Republicans who would not go along with Trump’s election claims, and now he is forcing them to go on record. In other words, he is making a play to force Republicans behind Trump.

    As of tonight, the government remains MIA. We have had no briefings from the White House, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, or the Justice Department about what happened on January 6, or what has happened since. And now acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf has resigned, effective at midnight tonight. He will be replaced by FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor.

    McCarthy is facing the same problem Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), the new chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is: they are supposed to bring in campaign cash, but suddenly corporations are announcing they will no longer make political donations… at least to Republicans. Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria at Popular Information yesterday broke the story that Marriott, BlueCross BlueShield, and Commerce Bank would not contribute to the 147 Republicans who objected to the counting of the electoral votes in Congress. That’s more than half the Republicans in Congress. Verizon, AT&T, and Amazon have now joined that boycott. Citigroup, 3M, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and JPMorgan Chase have all halted political giving for several months, and a number of other companies say they are reevaluating their giving. T-Mobile told Popular Information: “The assault on the U.S. Capitol and on democracy was unacceptable.”

    The FBI warned today that online activists are planning armed protests in Washington, D.C., and at all fifty state capitols between January 16 and 20, although it is not clear that their plans will translate into mass protests. In the wake of the attack, Trump supporters are harassing lawmakers, making them fear for the safety of themselves and their families.

    Insurgents now face institutional pressure, as well. The Department of Justice and the FBI are tracking down more than 150 suspects for prosecution—so far—and hackers today claimed to have captured the personal data of Parler users from Parler servers, including material that users believed they had deleted after the January 6 Capitol riot. Since rioters stole laptops and documents that included items relating to national security, they are not going to be able to drop off the radar screen.

    Trump is also under pressure, the pressure of impeachment, of course, and the loss of his social media platforms. He is also under financial pressure, as Deutsche Bank, the only bank that would still lend to him, has announced it will no longer do business with him. But, according to Maggie Haberman at the New York Times, what is upsetting him most is that the PGA has pulled its 2022 golf championship from Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club.

    That, not the riots, not the deaths, not impeachment, and certainly not the coronavirus--which has now killed more than 375,000 of us—has “gutted” him.

    I feel that if his tower down in Chicago were on fire, I could, but probably would not, go to speedway, obtain 5 gallons of gas, drive to Chicago, and throw it on the fire, that's just how much disdain I have for him. And, I have never hated anyone in my life, more than I hate him for what he has done to our country. He should be tarred and feathered, now I'm talking like a hateful republican....
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    As usual the whole thing is an convoluted disaster. You can't go on forever with a bunch of "clowns" in the government. As long as an Jordan, Gaetz, Both Collins nutheads, Graham, Nunus, Rick Scott (criminal from FL) as well other WV and Alabama idiots are running around, what do you expect? Is n't time to demand better "vetting" for whoever gets an job like that in the government? You may as well again elect the "whole" Trump family and all the uneducated asses out of N.Dakota or other backwards States.

    So if nothing is done about electing only "qualified" members into the government with proper background checks, then all what is happening now will repeat itself until the bottom falls out.

    Right now it shows exactly the " culture" of this country as shown in who we elect. Sorry there is no "culture" here, only an big "circus tent" which needs drastic repairs.

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    Dutch -- You make a good point, but remember that these clowns are not representative of the whole country. They are a very vocal minority that has more clout because of gerrymandering and the electoral college system. People vote their emotions and many really don't care about qualifications. It's more about identity...who they identify with.

    So background checks that reveal crime makes little difference to the anarchists on the far right. Those white supremacist Trump supporters view cheating the IRS as a badge of honor. One women seen in a Trump rally crowd had a T-shirt that said, "He can grab my..." with an arrow pointing down to her crotch. These Qanon conspiracy theorist, anarchists populate our landscape everywhere...even in Europe. They are a big worry for the Biden administration. I don't expect them to go away with the fall of their leader...it might only embolden them further.

    However, it will be interesting to watch what happens to them if they start getting fined and jailed in big numbers and Trump has not pardoned any of them before leaving office. Many expect pardons...difficult decision for Trump. Throw them under the bus, or pardon them and keep them in his fold for more fund raising for a second term. That's why Pelosi and Schumer have to get Congress to invoke the 14th Amendment, Section 3 to bar him from holding office ever again...and hence cut his fund raising. That action only requires a simple majority, and McConnell for one will be happy to go along and purge him out of the Republican Party.

    Heather Cox Richardson has discussed these possibilities in her FB posts shared by Arizona.

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    Getting back on topic, this NYT article is about Heather.

    Heather Cox Richardson Offers a Break From the Media Maelstrom. It’s Working.

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    Here's a few highlights from Heather's post from last nigh:

    Today’s big news was not entirely unexpected: There was never any plan for a federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. "What we're inheriting is so much worse than we could have imagined," said President Biden's coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients in a call with reporters. Another official said: “There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch."

    The new president is also facing bad economic news as almost a million more people filed for unemployment benefits this week. This is the worst jobs market any modern president has ever inherited.

    This morning, Avril Haines, former Deputy National Security Adviser and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Obama administration, became the Director of National Intelligence, overseeing the nation’s intelligence community. The Senate confirmed her appointment yesterday evening by a vote of 84 to 10.

    (Trump had 5 different people in that position).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Director_of_National_Intelligence

    Today, Biden asked the U.S. intelligence community to assess the recent hack of United States businesses and government agencies, the poisoning of Putin opponent Alexei Navalny in August, and the story that Russia offered to Taliban-linked militias bounties on U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan. These events are all linked to Russia and Vladimir Putin, whom the former president refused to criticize or investigate.

    Evidence indicates that the people who stormed the Capitol were radicalized by online QAnon conspiracy theories and by Republicans who pushed the lie that the 2020 election had been stolen. In the face of this disinformation, many different voices are now talking about the 1987 lapse of the Fairness Doctrine, which required companies that held broadcast licenses to present issues honestly, giving equal time to opposing opinions. People are talking about how its principles might be restored even in an era when modern technology means that we no longer need broadcast licenses to share news.

    (The repeal of the act gave rise to Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Mark Levin, and a number of FOX commentators).

    Over the years, people fed up with the Fox News Channel have organized boycotts of businesses advertising on one show or another, but a big source of FNC’s income is not advertising, but rather cable fees.

    The other story from today with a long history behind it is that the Senate is currently unable to organize itself because Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is insisting that the Democrats commit to leaving the filibuster intact.

    The Senate also declared some measures, such as budget resolutions, immune to filibusters. Effectively, this means that it takes 60 votes, rather than a simple majority, to get anything--other than absolutely imperative financial measures-- done.

    In 2017, when Democrats tried to filibuster the nomination of Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch, then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell killed the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, as well.

    The filibuster remains in place for legislation.

    Essentially, then, the fight over the filibuster is a fight not just about the ability of the Democrats to get laws passed, but about whether McConnell and the Republicans, who represent a minority of the American people, can kill legislation endorsed by lawmakers who represent quite a large majority.