John Dean: Trump has set quite the trap for himself with lawsuit against Facebook and Twitter

US President Donald Trump visits the American Cemetery of Suresnes, outside Paris, on November 11, 2018 as part of Veterans Day and the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I. (Photo by CHRISTIAN HARTMANN / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

Why are we not surprised by this?. The theater continues but the stakes are actually high for the country.~ fls, editor

Donald Trump is a different kind of beast. It’s been clear for some time that he’s completely untethered from the truth, and that his army of sycophants is dutifully orbiting Planet Bullshit right along with him. Trump tends to engage with the truth the same way he addressed COVID-19: just ignore it, the thinking goes, and it will disappear on its own. Or, like mixed vegetables, you can hide it in your hulking mound of mashed potato lies so your gape-mouthed troglodyte horde will never even know it’s there.

I sometimes wonder what it feels like to have no shame and absolutely no fealty to the truth. I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like to bask in Walter Mitty-like fantasies about myself—like how I’ve won prestigious-sounding, decidedly nonexistent awards and how Madonna was begging to date me at the height of her fame—but I’m constrained by consensus reality and the fact that I didn’t inherit $413 million from my dad.

Well, as COVID-19 proved to Trump that there’s also a limit to his lies, his latest cranial methane blast may end up being a comeuppance as well.

You probably saw that Donald Trump has decided to sue Facebook, Twitter, and Google for supposedly violating his First Amendment rights … by enforcing their own terms of service. As lawsuits go, this one is pretty embarrassing. If lawsuits could walk up stairs with toilet paper stuck to the bottom of their shoes while their flaccid, flaxen shocks of corn husk hair decamped from their helmetless Darth Vader heads, that’s what this cosmic yak shart of a lawsuit would be doing right now. 

Unfortunately for Trump, lawsuits trigger depositions, and it’s very unlikely that he’ll want to sit for another one of these—especially since his Twitter and Facebook bans were directly tied to his actions on Jan. 6.

For the nontweeters:

This is the dumbest thing Trump has ever done. It’s wonderful. I remind you from personal experience that when you sue somebody you have to give a multi-day deposition on anything relevant to the topic … in this case, like your role inspiring the 1/6 Coup

Not to be outdone, John Dean, the former White House counsel who famously flipped on Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, quoted Olbermann’s tweet, making it clear that he’s very much looking forward to Trump’s deposition

TRUMP, BIDEN AND The Bible

What we have gotten rid of. This was posted in Facebook 3 years ago. Now look at how far we’ve come!

Children in cages. 2018. BORDER WITH MEXICO.

WHAT WOULD THE MAN BELOW SAY?

[2018] JUST FINISHED LISTENING to a CD read- through of the New Testament for the 3rd time in 15 years. Wanted to be sure to have it straight. SO, DEEP SOUTH FRIENDS (many, not all), especially those who sing in church: Please explain to me how you support an administration that Does, much less allows to be done, what is happening to Children all along the border if you support your President? (he’s not Mine). What kind of country has this become? and, you knew this was coming, What would JESUS say? You KNOW the answer.

NOTE AGAIN THAT THIS WAS POSTED IN FACEBOOK 3 YEARS AGO, 2018, YR. 2 OF ‘THE DARK AGE’. SO IT’S A PERIOD PIECE. A FEW READERS WERE RIGHTLY CONFUSED. MY FAULT. BUT NOW, 2021, I NEED TO LISTEN TO THE BIBLE — OR PARTS OF IT–(THE WHOLE AUDIO IS IN MY CELLPHONE) AGAIN.

UNCLE JOE/ PREZ B. WOULD WANT IT THAT WAY. BTW: HE ATTENDS THE CHURCH WHERE MY GRANDFATHER, GRANDMOTHER AND FATHER ARE BURIED. ST. JOSEPH’S ON THE BRANDYWINE, WILMINGTON, DELAWARE. BIDEN’S FATHER AND SON ARE BURIED THERE, TOO (MAYBE I’LL END UP THERE ONE DAY IN THE NOT-TOO-SOON FUTURE MYSELF  🙂  

Democrats seek new ways to expand Medicaid in holdout states

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TheHill.com

Good luck with this. Try to wrap your head around states that do not want deadbeat citizens to get the advantages of Medicaid. We’ll have to research more about what seems insanity may have some kind of logic.

Democrats seek new ways to expand Medicaid in holdout states

BY PETER SULLIVAN – 06/20/21 01:00 PM EDT 51Share to Facebook Share to Twitter  

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Democrats seek new ways to expand Medicaid in holdout states

© Greg Nash

Congressional Democrats are pushing legislation that would expand Medicaid in states that have so far refused to do so, seeking to fill one of the major remaining holes in the Affordable Care Act.

There are currently 12 states where Republicans have refused to accept the expansion of Medicaid eligibility provided under ObamaCare, meaning 2.2 million low-income people are left without coverage they otherwise would have, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Efforts to entice the holdout states to expand the program with financial incentives have run into a wall, so Democrats are now turning to the idea of having the federal government step in and provide coverage.

The details of how to do that, however, are still up for debate, and pose thorny questions of cost and potential health care industry opposition.

Still, there is momentum for including a measure of some sort to expand Medicaid coverage in an upcoming legislative package consisting of President Biden’s priorities in the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan and $1.8 trillion American Families Plan.

“We’re unwilling to walk away without a solution and leave the disadvantaged empty-handed once again,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), while introducing a measure to allow Medicaid expansion in holdout states on Thursday. “They’ve been waiting for a decade; it’s time to cover them now.”

The idea has influential Democratic backers. The leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus wrote to Biden on Wednesday urging him to include a Medicaid expansion measure in the American Families Plan, a package of bills on topics like paid leave and child care. The original version did not include the Medicaid proposal.

“We must take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring affordable health care to all Americans,” the lawmakers wrote.

Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), whose victories in January allowed Democrats to take back the Senate, also voiced support last month for the Medicaid expansion idea.

“We cannot continue to allow Americans with low incomes to suffer any longer just because they live in a state that has been overcome by political obstruction,” Warnock and Ossoff wrote to Senate leaders.

There are competing proposals for how to go about extending Medicaid in the 12 holdout states.

Doggett’s bill would allow counties or other localities to go around their state government to work directly with the federal government to expand Medicaid in that jurisdiction.

But Democratic committee staff and leadership have raised concerns that the legislation would only cover people in some parts of a state.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicaid, is working on a different approach.

“The committee is continuing to work on a comprehensive solution to provide coverage to Americans who are trapped in the Medicaid coverage gap through no fault of their own,” a spokesperson for committee Democrats said. “Our priority is crafting a policy fix that provides coverage and access to care to everyone in the states that have not expanded and not limited to certain counties.”

Among the options Democrats are discussing is simply creating an entirely federally run Medicaid program in the holdout states, or expanding the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces to give heavily subsidized private coverage to people falling through the cracks.

Any new government-run option risks triggering opposition from health care industry groups, who worry that the payment rates from a government plan are lower than rates from private insurers, and that the plan could be a step toward a public option becoming more widely available.

Doggett said his proposal could be a “backup” if the other options do not work out, and that he had discussed it with White House officials.

“We just don’t want to walk away empty-handed again,” he said. 

The Energy and Commerce Committee said it had also asked the Congressional Budget Office to conduct a cost estimate of Doggett’s proposal at his request.

“There are different ways of doing it, we have to decide, we have to come up with a consensus,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said in a brief interview.

The Medicaid push is part of a larger negotiation over which health care measures will make it into the package Democrats are crafting to bypass a Senate GOP filibuster using the fast-track reconciliation process.

The amount of savings from another health care priority, lowering prescription drug prices, will in part determine how much money is available to spend on health care measures. The options in the mix include extending enhanced financial assistance to reduce premium costs under the Affordable Care Act, the Medicaid expansion measure, as well as adding dental, hearing, and vision benefits to Medicare and lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60.

Opinion: Trump killed the old GOP — and he’s getting away with the murder

Opinion: Trump killed the old GOP — and he’s getting away with the murder

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks to reporters after her removal as chair of the House Republican Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Image without a caption

Opinion by Colbert I. KingColumnistMay 14, 2021 at 3:57 p.m. EDT

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney’s ouster from her high-ranking House Republican leadership post was foreshadowed by Donald Trump’s getting away with what his onetime pen pal, former president Richard M. Nixon, could not. During his ill-fated presidency, Trump learned that he could cross lines, abuse power, punish enemies, lie his head off and still stick around to brag about it.

Nixon lived in a different time and was part of a Republican Party not of his own making, as I observed in an earlier column.

Finding his back pressed against the wall by special prosecutor Archibald Cox’s pursuit of the White House Watergate tapes, Nixon accepted the resignation of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus when each refused to discharge Cox. Frustrated by this principled stance, Nixon directed Solicitor General Robert Bork, newly installed as acting attorney general, to carry out the order to obstruct the Cox probe, which Bork did. Nixon went on to abolish the special prosecutor’s office and instructed the FBI to seal the Justice Department offices of Richardson and Ruckelshaus, as well as Cox’s.

That political nightmare, which unfolded on Oct. 20, 1973, is recorded in U.S. history as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” Nixon was oblivious to the firestorm he had ignited. But the American electorate didn’t miss a thing.

People might not have been able to cite laws that Nixon might have violated. But they knew by the offensive odor coming out of Washington that Nixon had gone too far. Congress got an earful from voters, and the press corps went into overdrive.

Nixon’s resignation was just over the horizon.

Trump said a year ago in a phone call to “Fox & Friends” that one of the things he supposedly learned from Nixon was “don’t fire people,” suggesting that Nixon made a mistake in firing aides who wound up providing evidence against him.

But Trump, in fact, followed suit. He, too, ousted people, and with fanfare. Exhibit one: His loud-mouthed firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who managed to come across as both venal and hapless during his Justice Department tenure.

Trump’s motive for firing James B. Comey as FBI director was also a Nixon copycat. Both embattled GOP presidents sought to quash federal investigations into activities associated with their presidential campaigns.

So how was it Nixon had to skip town, while Trump was allowed to stick around and gleefully watch the Jan. 6 bloody function at the junction of the U.S. Capitol?

Trump was on hand for the great insurrection because he had — still has — what Nixon lacked: the backing of a Republican Party controlled by weak-kneed leaders whose notion of duty is limited to what they perceive Trump expects of them.

Thus enter Cheney, who believed that the truth about Trump’s presidential defeat should trump his lies, and that integrity deserves a place in her party. Proving her wrong on both counts, the Republican Party showed her the door this week.

Again, Nixon couldn’t have gotten away with something like that. The U.S. senator for whom I worked for four years, Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.), was about as popular with Nixon as Cheney is with Trump. Mathias, a vocal opponent of two of Nixon’s Supreme Court nominees — G. Harrold Carswell and Clement F. Haynsworth Jr. — was also a Vietnam War opponent, a key sponsor of civil rights and campaign finance laws, an early and outspoken critic of Watergate, and an earner of a place on Nixon’s ”enemies list.”

But unlike Cheney, Mathias could not be taken down from within his party.

A number of Senate and House Republicans in the 1970s, while generally more conservative than many Democrats on fiscal issues, were united among themselves and more closely aligned with non-Southern Democrats on civil and voting rights and domestic social policies.

Mathias remained popular in his state, and his outreach and partnership with Democrats at home and in Congress were bulwarks against the Nixon terrors.

That is not Cheney’s world. She holds membership in a party that has devolved into a self-segregating, ideologically rigid cult that views outsiders as a threat to Trump and, by extension, themselves.

Trump is — in their hearts — owed the Republican Party’s devotion.

The only room for a Liz Cheney is in the house out back. A small but plucky bunch of GOP outsiders — whose leaders include former congressman Charlie Dent, former party chairman Michael Steele and former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman (names from a long-gone era) — are weeping and wailing over Cheney’s ouster and huffing and puffing about blowing down the House that Trump built. Every good wish.

Today’s Republican Party is to Donald Trump what the Workers’ Party of Korea is to Kim Jong Un, the Chinese Communist Party is to Xi Jinping and the United Russia Party is to Vladimir Putin.

The party of Mathias, Cheney, Dent, Steele and Whitman is dead. The death blow was landed by Trump. And he’s getting away with the murder.

Read more:

Jennifer Rubin: The stampede away from the GOP begins

Charlie Dent, Mary Peters, Denver Riggleman, Michael Steele and Christine Todd Whitman: The GOP has lost its way. Fellow Americans, join our new alliance.

Leana S. Wen: The CDC shouldn’t have removed restrictions without requiring proof of vaccination

Gershom Gorenberg: Israelis and Palestinians can’t go on like this. Weep for us.

Liz Cheney: The GOP is at a turning point. History is watching us.

My Student Norman Simon on the Idea of being a World Citizen

AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE IS PICTURED AT THE END

This essay as taken from my course in International Relations and a talented student writer:

Norman Simon

Professor Frederick Shiels

POLS 370-DLA

28 February 2021

Prior to taking this class, I was not all that familiar with International Relations. I had: visited the United Nations three times, taken European and Global History in high school and regularly watched CNN, however, my primary interest and focus has always been American History, particularly the American Presidents and elections. While I knew that as a super power, America was a major actor on the world stage, I concentrated on its domestic, rather than foreign policy legislation, hence, much of the material and terms that we are covering in this course are entirely new to me.

Of all of the topics and concepts that we have covered so far, the one that has most fascinated me the most is that of ‘world citizen.’ Most of us tend to consider ourselves citizens of the nation in which we have either been born or have chosen, through immigration. We may feel a sense of connection to the countries that our ancestors descended from, however, for most of us, considering ourselves world citizens, rather than as: Americans, Italians, Albanians, Japanese, Brazilians, etc. is a foreign concept. When one simply views themselves as a member of the society in which they live, they tend to view the world and the interactions between nations in both a nationalistic and realistic manner, whereby power is used to advance a state’s interests. Each treaty, trade deal and piece of legislation is viewed in the context of ‘is it good for America’ (or whatever country the individual is from) or ‘how does it benefit us,’ (self-interest), rather than what is its impact on the world and its people, (all of them), both in the short and long terms. 

As I continue to think more and more about what being a world citizen truly means, I have come to the realization that if we truly saw ourselves as citizens of the world, rather than simply defining ourselves by what is stamped on our passports, we would begin to desire for all people, what we presently desire for: ourselves, families and nation. We would begin to see issues such as: poverty, disease, healthcare, hunger, terrorism gender and racial equality and environmental concerns, just to name a few, not simply in the context of how they affect us (personally), but rather how they affect the entire global family. We would begin to view actions that we presently take for granted such as buying or selling products that are made through the exploitation of women and children, (Apple’s Manufacturing in China: Key Issues), treating the planet as our personal dumping ground, or supporting legislation and policies that benefit us, at the expense of others as unconscionable. We would stop seeing the world in terms of us and them, but rather, we would all become uses. If each of us began to see ourselves as global citizens, we would become more willing to create alliances with other nations and to explore solutions that transcend national borders. As our economy becomes increasingly more global with every passing year and information gets disseminated faster and faster across the globe via the internet, the logical next step would be the strengthening of international agencies to help cope with the myriad of problems, (mentioned above), that no single nation can eradicate on their own.

Through our discussions on nationalism, I have come to realize that while it can give a nation’s people a sense of pride in their country or unite them together in a common cause, it can also divide them (both domestically and in their relationships with other states). Many of the most heinous crimes against humanity, have happened in the name of nationalism (ie. Nazi Germany or America’s treatment of the Vietnamese people as was depicted in Hearts and Minds). While nationalism is meant to bring people together, by its very nature, it unites one group together (us) against another group (them) which is what is presently happening in India against Muslims. 

Through our class discussions, I have begun to wonder, if each state is considered sovereign, in that it can theoretically do whatever it wants within its own borders, what is the role of the international community when states choose to commit acts that violate human rights or are unable for whatever reason to meet the needs of all of their citizens? Do other states step in or is this the role of the United Nations? 

Heather Cox Richardson~JAN 22, 2021 on Biden Covid 500K

Heather Cox RicharHeather Cox RichardsonsonFeb 23
THE BOSTON UNIVERSITY HISTORIAN ON A MEMORABLE DAY IN WASHINGTON; TRAGEDY FOLLOWED BY CAUTIOUS HOPE

Today the United States passed the heartbreaking marker of 500,000 official deaths from COVID-19. President Biden held a ceremony tonight to remember those lost, saying “On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a Nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one Nation to defeat this pandemic.” The South Portico of the White House was illuminated with 500 candles—one for every thousand lives lost—and the president will order flags on federal property lowered to half staff for five days in their memory.

And yet, there is good news on the horizon: By the end of March, Pfizer plans to ship more than 13 million vaccine doses per week to the United States; Moderna plans to deliver 100 million doses; and Johnson & Johnson expects to ship at least 20 million doses. This means that by the end of March, the United States is on track to receive 240 million doses. By mid-year, we should receive about 700 million doses, which is enough to vaccinate our entire population. By the end of the year there should be 2 billion doses for the whole world.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans, including 34% of Republicans, approve of Biden’s response to the coronavirus.

Aside from the pandemic news, there were two important developments today on the national level: a series of Supreme Court decisions and Merrick Garland’s confirmation hearings for the position of attorney general. Together, these showed quite strikingly that Trump supporters are retreating into a politics of grievance while Democrats are embracing policy and governance.

The Supreme Court (often abbreviated SCOTUS, for Supreme Court of the United States), today denied former president Trump’s request to block a grand jury subpoena for his financial records. In its investigation into hush money allegedly paid by the Trump Organization to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential race, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office subpoenaed eight years of financial information from Trump’s accountant, Mazars USA. Trump has fought the subpoena all the way to SCOTUS, but today the court upheld the decision of the lower court that his accountant must produce the information. Mazars USA should turn over the documents, which run to millions of pages, this week.

The former president issued a statement rehashing his usual litany of complaints about how he is treated, saying this was “a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country.” He said the decision, made by a court on which three of his own appointees sit, was “all Democrat-inspired.” It is, he said, “political persecution.”

SCOTUS also refused to hear eight cases Trump or his allies had brought over the 2020 presidential election. It appears SCOTUS is done with the former president.

But Trump is not done with politics. He will be speaking this Sunday at the annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), which has turned into a pro-Trump gathering. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are all scheduled to speak at the convention, on topics like “Why the Left Hate the Bill of Rights… and We Love It,” and “Fighting for Freedom of Speech at Home and Across the World.”

Mike Allen of Axios heard from a longtime Trump advisor that, in his speech on Sunday, Trump will indicate that he is the Republicans’ “presumptive 2024 nominee” and is in control of the party. He is eager to take revenge on those who have not supported him, and plans to encourage primary challengers to them in 2022. He is expected to lay into President Biden as a failure of the Washington, D.C., swamp, and to promise to take on that swamp again from the outside.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported today that Trump reported his earnings from his businesses during his four years as president at $1.6 billion.

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings for the confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general. Garland is famously a moderate, and his confirmation is expected to sail through. The senators questioning him could use their time as they wished, and the results were revealing.

Pro-Trump Republican Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) seemed to be creating sound bites for right-wing media. They complained that the Democrats under the “Obama-Biden” administration had politicized the Department of Justice, including the Russia investigation, and demanded that the abuses they alleged had occurred under Obama be addressed. They made no mention of Attorney General William Barr and his use of the office as an arm of Trump’s White House.

It was striking to hear long-debunked complaints about 2016 reappear in 2021. Honestly, it felt like they were just rehashing an old script. They are clearly pitching for 2024 voters, but will their politics of grievance resonate in three more years?

Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) tried to carve out their own space in the presidential pack, as well. Cotton tried to get Garland to admit that Biden’s call for racial equity, rather than racial equality—by which Biden means that some historically marginalized groups may need more than equal treatment—was itself racist. It was an obscure point that didn’t land. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial, pressed Garland somewhat interestingly on the president’s power, then nodded to QAnon with a statement against the notorious sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

In contrast to them was the performance of the new Democratic senator from Georgia, Jon Ossoff, who asked Garland first about protecting voting rights, then about funding public defenders, then about civil rights investigations, using the specific example of Ahmaud Arbery, murdered in 2020 in Georgia while jogging. Ossoff’s focus on policy and governance illustrated the difference between Senate Republicans and Democrats.

For his part, Garland hammered home his conviction that the Department of Justice should represent the people of the United States and should enforce the rule of law for all. When Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked him to explain why he wanted to give up a lifetime appointment as a judge to take the job of attorney general to fight “hate and discrimination in American history,” Garland answered:

“I come from a family where my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution. The country took us in and protected us. And I feel an obligation to the country to pay back. And this is the highest, best use of my own set of skills to pay back. And so, I want very much to be the kind of attorney general that you’re saying I could become. I’ll do my best to try to be that kind of attorney general.”

—-

Notes:

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/02/22/970233291/as-u-s-death-toll-nears-half-a-million-biden-plans-to-order-flags-to-half-staff

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/22/trump-taxes-supreme-court-refuses-step-halt-turnover/3685217001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/22/trump-taxes-supreme-court-refuses-step-halt-turnover/3685217001/

Republicans condemned Trump. Now they’re seeking his help.

By JILL COLVINJanuary 29, 2021

Sad and dangerous, They just can’t pull the trigger.

In this Jan. 21, 2021, photo, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Just two weeks ago, McCarthy declared then-President Donald Trump culpable in the attack on the nation’s Capitol as Washington leaders recoiled from the violence. But on Jan. 28, McCarthy was meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring of a man who remains the undisputed leader of the Republican Party. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Just two weeks ago, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy declared Donald Trump culpable in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. By Thursday, he was seeking his political support.

A private meeting between the two men at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort signaled a remarkable turnaround in the former president’s stature among elected Republicans. In the immediate aftermath of the insurrection Trump inspired, the idea that he would enjoy any sort of kingmaker role in his post-presidency seemed highly unlikely.ADVERTISEMENT

But following an initial wave of condemnation, Republicans appear to be warming toward Trump, fully aware that his supporters are poised to punish anyone who displays disloyalty. With that in mind, party leaders are working to keep Trump in the fold as they focus on retaking the House and Senate in 2022.MORE STORIES:

“United and ready to win in ’22,” McCarthy tweeted after their meeting. Both he and Trump issued statements outlining their pledge to work together to help Republicans win back control of the House and Senate in 2022.

The realignment with Trump comes as those who have crossed him continue to feel the burn. Trump ally Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, spent the day in Wyoming trying to take down Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, who voted for Trump’s impeachment. Amid the backlash, Senate Republicans largely made clear this week that they have no intention of convicting Trump.

While Trump tries to exert influence, he’s undeniably diminished.

Before he incited his supporters to storm the Capitol, Trump was expected to spend his post-presidency gleefully settling scores with Republicans rivals, launching a Twitter-fueled takedown of his successor and mulling over running again for a second term. Now, he is largely isolated and silenced by social media platforms as President Joe Biden attempts to dismantle his agenda executive order by executive order.

He has not been seen in public since he disappeared behind the well-manicured hedges at Mar-a-Lago last Wednesday, a half-hour before his presidency ended. He has spent his days consulting with aides and defense lawyers as he prepares for his historic second impeachment trial.

Things are very different now. Last time, Trump had an army of defenders that included a team of Washington lawyers, a presidential communications shop, a taxpayer-funded White House counsel’s office and the steadfast backing of top Republicans, including the Republican National Committee.Full Coverage: Politics

This time, Trump is still scrambling to pull together a legal team, with the trial less than two weeks out.

“I think he’s at a significant disadvantage,” said criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, who was part of Trump’s legal team in 2020 but is among the long list of lawyers sitting this one out.

Yet even the impeachment trial, once seen as an opportunity for Senate Republicans to purge Trump from the party by barring him from ever running for office again, is now being used as a rallying cry to reunite the party against Democrats. Instead of debating whether he is guilty of “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States,” Republicans have instead attacked the process, arguing that it is unconstitutional to try a president who has already left the White House.

“At a time when our country needs to come together, Democrats in Congress are rehashing the same strategy that they employed for the last four years: politically motivated overreach that will only divide us further,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement that came after heated internal divisions over whether the group should publicly criticize Trump for inciting the riot.

In an interview, McDaniel declined to criticize the five Republicans senators who voted this week to move forward with the trial. But she said “it’s more important to look at the 45 that said this is ridiculous.”

Aside from the trial, Trump has gradually begun to return to the public conversation, firing off press releases from the political committee he created before leaving the White House.

“He’s decompressing. He’s got a legal team he’s trying to organize, and he just needs to keep doing what he’s doing,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close congressional ally who has been helping Trump stand up a legal team after numerous firms punted.

“I think there’s an adjustment,” said Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union and another Trump ally.

Jason Miller, an adviser to Trump, insisted that it was “too early” to discuss the president’s impeachment strategy and the post-presidential political operation that is expected to include former White House political director Brian Jack and Trump’s former campaign manager Bill Stepien.

“We’ve had discussions about where we want to get active with regard to the 2022 midterms and how we help Republicans win back the Senate and the House,” Miller said, but Trump has yet to decide whether he will get involved in primary races to challenge Republicans who voted to impeach him.

After those members faced intense backlash from Trump supporters, Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial.

“I think that’s pretty clear that Republican voters are adamantly opposed to impeachment and Republicans who vote for impeachment do so at their own peril,” Miller said.

Despite the Capitol riot, polls show Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters — many of whom now consider themselves more closely aligned with him than the party.

“It’s not Trump so much they’re trying to hug. It’s Trump’s base they’re trying to hug,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist. “I think Trump’s departure left a huge vacuum. He was the one thing that united Republicans more than anything. I mean, the Republican Party became the Trump Party for four years. And without him leading it, there’s an obvious power vacuum, and I think you’re seeing that play out now in Congress.”

The question is whether Trump’s influence will endure. The internal divisions his team is fomenting could ultimately undermine the party’s quest to retake Congress. And it’s unclear whether he can transfer his personal popularity to other candidates when he’s not on the ballot. Republicans lost control of the House in 2018 and gave up the Senate this month despite a last-minute appeal from Trump.

Graham, who declared just this month that he’s done with Trump — “All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough.” — has since stressed the importance of keeping the party together.

“I want to make sure that the Republican Party can grow and come back, and we’re going to need Trump and Trump needs us,” he told reporters.

As for Republicans who vote to convict Trump, “I guess it depends on what state you’re in and what phase in your career you are,” he quipped.

___

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker in Washington and Steve Peoples in New York contributed to this report.ADVERTISEMENTTrending on AP NewsArkansas state senator says he’s leaving Republican PartyGOP’s Thune says Trump allies engaging in ‘cancel culture’The lighter days of CNN’s Cuomo Brothers show are long goneby TaboolaADVERTISEMENTTop Articlesby The Associated PressBiden to visit Mich. vaccine plant aswinter throws a curvejavascript:false00:14/01:00SKIP ADPAID FOR BY COMPARISONS.ORGGoldens Bridge,New York Launches New Policy For Cars Used Less Than 49 Miles/DayDrivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Should Do This On February

Goldens Bridge,New York Launches New Policy For Cars Used Less Than 49 Miles/Day

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Nikki Haley breaks with Trump: ‘We shouldn’t have followed him’

Blogger note: Back and forth she goes but this time the severing of ties seems–serious?

Much more

Nikki Haley breaks with Trump: ‘We shouldn’t have followed him’

BY CELINE CASTRONUOVO – 02/12/21 07:22 AM EST 5,455218,149

Just In…

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued stunning remarks breaking with former President Trump, telling Politico in an interview published Friday that she believes he “let us down.” 

“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” Haley, who served in her ambassador role under Trump, said. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

Haley’s remarks are her strongest yet against the former president in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and come as Trump’s legal team is set to present its defense of Trump on Friday in his second Senate impeachment trial.

The House impeached the former president for a second time shortly after the insurrection, saying his unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud following his election loss to President Biden and his comments earlier that day incited the mob that stormed the Capitol.

The former South Carolina governor told Politico that she has not spoken with Trump since the mob attack, further expressing her disappointment with remarks he gave at a rally ahead of the assault condemning his own vice president, Mike Pence.

“When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement,” Haley said. “I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.”

Haley said that the president “believes he is following” his oath of office by challenging the election results, adding, “There’s nothing that you’re ever going to do that’s going to make him feel like he legitimately lost the election.” 

“He’s got a big bully pulpit. He should be responsible with it,” she said. 

Haley in the days immediately following the attack said in a speech to Republican National Committee (RNC) members that Trump was “badly wrong with his words” at his Jan. 6 rally. 

“And it wasn’t just his words,” she added at the time. “His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history.”

Haley said in Friday’s Politico interview that when she gave the RNC address, she “was not expecting a whole bunch of love from that speech.”

“I know how much people love Donald Trump. I know it. I feel it,” she continued. “Whether it’s an RNC room or social media or talking to donors, I can tell you that the love they have for him is still very strong. That’s not going to just fall to the wayside.”

She went on to say, “Nor do I think the Republican Party is going to go back to the way it was before Donald Trump. I don’t think it should.”

Instead, Haley argues, “what we need to do is take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party. But at the same time, it’s bigger than the party.”

“I hope our country can come together and figure out how we pull this back,” she added. 

Haley, who many speculate is a possible 2024 presidential contender, announced a new political action committee last month named after her Stand for America advocacy group. Her spokeswoman Chaney Denton said at the time that the PAC would be focused on helping get conservatives back in control in the House and Senate in 2022.

Bradley Crate, the treasurer for Haley’s PAC, was the treasurer for Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) top financial adviser for both his presidential runs.

GIANELLA BRIGNONI on women as world leaders: STUDENT RESEARCH:

My student in INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS/ Poltical Science 370, February, 2021….GENDER IN WORLD POLITICAL LEADERSHIP

While there are many differences between difference feminism and liberal feminism, they share one thing in common: Having more women in leadership positions is beneficial. With difference feminism, according to Pevehouse and Goldstein, they state “A strand of feminism that believes gender differences are not just socially constructed and that views women as inherently less warlike than men (on average)” (99).

Essentially, difference feminism focuses on the belief that women and men do have major differences while liberal feminism, as stated by our authors, emphasizes “Gender equality and views the ‘essential’ differences in men’s and women’s abilities or perspectives as trivial or nonexistent” (99). Again, while both strands of feminism do have their differences, the similar foundational belief that having more female leaders is beneficial overall. 

Under difference feminism, the concept of women collaborating to promote peace and social reform is emphasized. In essence, according to difference feminism, having more women leaders would lead to more peaceful solutions and total social reform.

Similarly, according to Joseph Nye’s “Yes, the World Would Be More Peaceful with Women in Charge,” he famously references Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” by explaining “Pinker presents data showing that human violence, while still very much with us today, has been gradually declining. Moreover, he says, ‘over the long sweep of history, women have been and will be a pacifying force. Traditional war is a man’s game: Tribal women never band together to raid neighboring villages.’

As mothers, women have evolutionary incentives to maintain peaceful conditions in which to nurture their offspring and ensure that their genes survive into the next generation” (para 2). Overall, from the difference feminist’s perspective, having more female leaders would lead us to mediation, social reform, and more peaceful resolutions. 

Unlike difference feminism, our authors discuss “Liberal feminists think that women have the same capabilities as men, so the inclusion of women in traditionally male occupations (from state leader to foot soldier) would bring additional capable individuals into those areas. Gender equality would thus increase national capabilities by giving the state a better overall pool of diplomats, generals, soldiers, and politicians” (103).

Through this statement, it is emphasized how having more women in leadership positions would add further value in different perspectives and general capabilities. By having fewer women in these positions, many organizations miss out on the opportunity to have more diverse perspectives and capabilities. 

Again, with all things considered, both strands of feminism differ in many ways, however, they ultimately agree on one thing: Having a handful of female leaders can enhance all worldly operations. 

Works Cited 

Goldstein, Jon C. Pevehouse; Joshua S. International Relations (Subscription). Pearson Education (US), 2019. [VitalSource Bookshelf].

Nye, Joseph S. Yes, the World Would Be More Peaceful with Women in Charge. Daily Star, 18 Feb. 2012, www.belfercenter.org/publication/yes-world-would-be-more-peacefulwomen-charge.

ARTHUR LERMAN: THOUGHTS ON JANUARY 6TH

Professor Arthur Lerman, a contributor to this blog, offers some thoughts written to colleague and associates, shortly after the ominous events of January 6, 2021 in Washington DC.

It’s hard to know where to begin, but I thought I’d share some things I already sent to some of you on my email list. 

Shaking from yesterday’s (January 6th) events. Yes.  

One headline I saw was “America’s Darkest Day.” 

a.      This will go down as one of the worst days in American democratic history–in world democratic history. Or maybe a close “save.”   

Anti-democrats could be proud that they brought the U.S. so close to their goal. And they’ll keep using Trump’s playbook to continue undermining democracy–in the U.S. and in other countries.  (See below podcast on “strongmen” and article on white supremacists.) 

b.      But maybe it’ll be a wake-up call to those who value democracy—to work to make sure conditions that created this crisis are remedied.  

Some, on NPR, speculated that House and Senate Republicans, objecting to the certification of the electoral votes as the Trump protesters broke into their chamber, will now realize how vulnerable they are to being burned by playing so cavalierly with the Trump fire. (Late comment: only some did.) 

Thing is that they may have been risking it because they fear their Trump voters–if they don’t keep stoking the Trump fire.  

As leaders with Trump followers, they should be aware that a real leader does not simply follow the prejudices of their followers. A real leader will tell followers when they are wrong—that they must reverse course.  

c.       For those of us who were anti-Trump all along, we have to figure out how to reach out to the Trumpers—somehow get a dialogue going on how to ameliorate that which has turned them so anti-democracy.  

There have been dialogue groups–bringing together individuals on the two sides of the divide. Hope these continue and grow. (Mercy College was thinking about such a program.) 

It is argued that Biden’s (and Hillary’s) policies better spoke to their needs than Republican policies, but that they were convinced by clever propaganda that this was not so, or simply to not listen. (I recognize the criticism that Biden and Hillary are too close to Wall Street, but even so, their policies are much better than Republican ones.) 

(Poly Sci textbooks state that most people pay little attention to politics. And those who pay more attention are the ones who already have strong opinions—not open to persuasion.)  

Also, if the issue is more about psychological identity (I’m part of a great white America) but Democrats are saying that America is now multicolored, how can I feel proud to be part of an America of “those people”?  

d.      An important part of this is to bring everyone to a common understanding of reality—in the immediate case, the integrity of the fall elections.  

The media talk about tribal groups, each in its own information silo. If we can’t agree on what is happening/already happened in the world, how can we move forward. But how can such agreement be attained? 

Hmm. I just wrote a lot. Probably nothing new to you.  

Here are some links for back-up ideas. (Again, you probably know it all anyway.)  

The first is my own rough essay on the danger of leaving any group behind. Most others are recent podcasts from WBUR that impressed me. 

Thoughts?  

https://progressivefutureusa.com/2016/11/15/2016-presidential-campaign-lessons-neglect-even-benign-no-longer-an-option-a-lerman-a-now-relevant-re-blog/

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/11/12/what-the-strongmen-of-history-reveal-about-modern-politics

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/12/18/president-elect-biden-says-america-first-is-history-is-that-true

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/12/04/what-we-know-about-bidens-economic-team

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/11/23/matthew-sheffield-built-a-career-in-conservative-media-now-he-wants-to-free-people-from-it

Some ideas about Congress and campaign finance: 

I begin by recommending the above listed WBUR podcast on Biden’s economic team–especially its analysis of the members of Congress–so wealthy and untouched by economic hardship. 

Congresspersons’ main concern is for those that give them their campaign contributions

It’s really hard to control political money. Even when Congress tried, the Supreme Court has backed up the monied interests. 

(Most congresspersons wish they didn’t have to spend hours every day soliciting funds for the next election.) 

Political money is like spilled oil. No matter how many cracks and crevices you seal, it’ll find others to seep into. 

Maybe the only way is the Bernie Sanders strategy–lots of small contributions to match the big ones. 

Hopeful Note: The “Biden’s economic team” podcast does say, approvingly, that Janet Yellen is “the real deal.”