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  1. It's time for the racists, xenophobes, homophobes, and bigots of all kinds to go back to the holes you crawled out of. Uh Buh bye MAGATs!
  2. I used to love listening to Paul Harvey on my lunch breaks. He had a way of getting a point across. I stumbled across this and thought it was worth sharing. Do with it what you want.
  3. https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/stephen-colbert-the-late-show-melania-trump Colbert needs to get that fucked up ear of his fixed. Not a funny guy. What a douchebag. Thoughts?
  4. Has there been a more corrupt evil racist incompetent person at the helm than the POS. So much for clearing out the swamp. President Trump rescinded an executive order early Wednesday morning that had limited federal administration officials from lobbying the government or working for foreign countries after they leave their posts, undoing one of the few measures he had instituted to fulfill his 2016 campaign promise to “drain the swamp.” Trump had signed the now-reversed executive order with much fanfare in an Oval Office ceremony in January 2017. “Most of the people standing behind me will not be able to go to work” after they leave government, Trump said at the time, flanked by senior aides. The order required executive branch appointees to sign a pledge that they would never work as registered foreign lobbyists, and it banned them from lobbying the federal agencies where they worked for five years after leaving the government. Ethics experts at the time noted the order had loopholes — but still offered cautious praise for Trump’s attempt at halting the revolving door that allows government employees to use their positions to land lucrative jobs in the private sector. No explanation was given for why Trump chose to rescind the order. The White House released the directive at 1:08 a.m. on the day he will leave office. It had been signed Tuesday. Government watchdog groups expressed disgust with Trump’s decision to reverse the policy in his final hours as president. “The revocation of the 5-year lobbying ban for presidential appointees is the perfect coda for the most corrupt administration in American history,” Robert Weissman, president of the group Public Citizen, said in a statement. Weissman said Trump cited the ban “to buttress his preposterous claim that he actually cared about corruption and cronyism. Now, as he exits the White House, Trump is revealing that even that signature policy was nothing more than a prop in his demagogic play-acting before the American people.” Trump largely failed to fulfill the pledges he made to change Washington’s culture, including the specific promises he made to curtail moneyed interests in a 2016 campaign speech in Green Bay, Wis. He promised he would push Congress to pass a five-year lobbying ban into law so it could not be lifted by a future president. But he never proposed such legislation. Nor did he ask Congress to impose a similar five-year lobbying ban on its members, as he had promised he would do in the speech. He also never tried to seek to “close all the loopholes” used by former government officials who get around registering as lobbyists by calling themselves “consultants” and “advisers.” And he never acted on his pledge to stop foreign lobbyists from campaign fundraising — and in fact, benefited from their financial support. Among the five pledges Trump made to “drain the swamp” and curtail the influence of lobbyists, a Washington Post review last year found that he sought to address only two — through the executive order in January 2017 that he has now reversed. Meanwhile, Trump gave wealthy donors ample access to him and his top aides, holding pricey fundraisers where supporters personally pitched him on their ideas. He also forced the government to spend money at his private hotels as he and his family traveled around the globe. And he sidestepped rules that had been designed to prevent nepotism, allowing his son-in-law to serve in a top government role.
  5. A flurry of orders and actions coming in first 11 days Joe Biden has given himself an imposing to-do list for his earliest days as president and many promises to keep over the longer haul. Overshadowing everything at the very start is Biden's effort to win congressional approval of a $1.9 trillion plan to combat the coronavirus and the economic misery it has caused. But climate change, immigration, health care and more will be competing for attention — and dollars. Altogether Biden has laid out an ambitious if not always detailed set of plans and promises across the range of public policy. Drawn from a review of his campaign statements and a recent memo from Ron Klain, who'll be his chief of staff, here's a sampling of measures to expect right away, around the corner and beyond: ON WEDNESDAY After the inauguration, mostly by executive action: Rejoin Paris climate accord Declaration that the U.S. is rejoining Paris climate accord. Rejoin WHO Declaration that the U.S. is rejoining World Health Organization. New ethical standards Ethical standards for his administration and an order prohibiting interference in the operations of the Justice Department from other parts of government. Restore 100 public health, environmental rules Start of a process to restore 100 public health and environmental rules that the Obama administration created and President Donald Trump eliminated or weakened. Start process of rejoining Iran nuclear deal Start of a process to rejoin the deal restraining Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. End Muslim travel ban Executive action to end travel restrictions on people from a variety of Muslim-majority countries. Protect DACA children Executive action to protect from deportation people who came to the country illegally as children. Mask mandate on federal property Executive action to make masks mandatory on federal property and when travelling out of state. Others will be asked to wear masks for 100 days. Extend eviction/foreclosure restrictions Steps to extend pandemic-era restrictions on evictions and foreclosures. Propose gun liability legislation Legislation to go to Congress proposing to repeal liability protections for gun manufacturers and tightening some other aspects of gun control. Propose immigration legislation with pathway to citizenship Immigration legislation to go to Congress as part of an effort to offer a path to citizenship for 11 million people in the U.S. illegally and to codify protections for people who came illegally as children. Extend pause on student loan payments, interest Education Department to be asked to extend the existing pause on student loan payments and interest for millions with student debt. ON THURSDAY On Biden's first full day in office: New steps to expand virus testing Executive action laying out new steps to expand virus testing, protect workers and set new public health standards. ON FRIDAY On Biden's second full day: Economic relief directive to agencies Directive to agencies to take unspecified immediate action to deliver economic relief from the pandemic. BY FEB. 1 "Buy American" executive actions Executive actions to strengthen "buy American" provisions. Climate change executive actions Executive actions to address climate change. Expand access to health care for segments of population First steps to expand access to health care, for low-income women, women of color and other segments of the population. Steps to reunite families separated at border First steps to reunite families still separated at the Mexican border. AND BEYOND ... Some may be tried sooner: — Ensure 100 million vaccines have been given before the end of his first 100 days. — Ensure 100 federally supported vaccination centers are up and running in his first month. — Expand use of the Defense Production Act to direct the manufacture of critical pandemic supplies. — Win passage of a $2 trillion climate package to get the U.S. to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. — Seek passage of a "Medicare-like public option" to compete alongside private insurance markets for working-age Americans; increase existing premium subsidies. — Eliminate certain corporate tax cuts where possible, by executive action, while doubling the levies U.S. firms pay on foreign profits. — Make a plan within 100 days to end homelessness. — Expand legal immigration slots. — Freeze deportations for 100 days, then restore the Obama-era principle of deporting foreigners who are seen as posing a national security threat or who have committed crimes in addition to the crime of illegal entry, thereby pulling back the broad deportation policy of the Trump years. — Halt financing of further construction of the wall along the Mexican border. — Within 100 days, establish a police oversight commission to combat institutional racism by then. — Reinstate federal guidance, issued by Obama and revoked by Trump, to protect transgender students' access to sports, bathrooms and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity. — Ensure taxes are not raised on anyone making under $400,000. — Restore Obama-era rules on campus sexual misconduct and a policy that aimed to cut federal money to for-profit colleges that left students with heavy debt they can't pay back. — Support legislation to make two years of community college free and to make public colleges free for families with incomes below $125,000, with no repayment of student loans required for people who make less than $25,000 a year and, for others, no repayment rate above 5% of discretionary income. — Support increasing the national minimum wage to $15. — Try to win passage of a plan to spend $700 billion boosting manufacturing and research and development. — Establish a commission to study expanding the Supreme Court.
  6. Get Out Of Our Way' For months, President Donald Trump’s message to his supporters was clear: The election was being stolen from him, and they needed to fight to take it back. So on Jan. 6, during a Trump-promoted rally to “Stop the Steal,” thousands laid siege to the U.S. Capitol in a stunning attempt to do just that. The fallout of their failed insurrection, which resulted in five deaths, was swift: Trump was deplatformed from nearly every major social network and, on Wednesday, impeached for a historic second time. When he emerged on camera a short while later, tail tucked between his legs, to condemn the rioters whom he himself had incited, and to call for a peaceful transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden, his base felt betrayed. “So he basically just sold out the patriots who got rounded up for him,” one person wrote in a 15,000-member pro-Trump Telegram group. “Just wow.” In online havens for MAGA extremists, including Gab, CloutHub, MeWe, Telegram and far-right message boards such as 8kun, the tone toward Trump is shifting. HuffPost reviewed thousands of messages across these platforms and found that a growing minority of the president’s once-devout backers are now denouncing him and rejecting his recent pleas for peace. Some have called for his arrest or execution, labeling him a “traitor” and a “coward.” Alarmingly, many of those who are irate about Biden’s supposed electoral theft are still plotting to forcibly prevent him from taking office — with or without Trump’s help. “We don’t follow you,” another Telegram user wrote, addressing Trump, after the president put out his video urging calm and order. “Be quiet and get out of our way.” It has become apparent that now — after his mass radicalization campaign of voter-fraud disinformation and conspiracy-mongering — even Trump can’t stop the dangerous delusion he’s instilled across the country, or the next wave of violence it may soon bring. Federal authorities are urgently warning of armed protests being planned in all 50 state capitals in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration. Politically motivated extremists “will very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats in 2021,” according to a new joint intelligence bulletin from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center. The document, first obtained by Yahoo News, attributes this threat to “false narratives” that Biden’s victory “was illegitimate, or fraudulent,” and the subsequent belief that the election results “should be contested or unrecognized.” Ahead of last week’s riots, Trump supporters openly planned their attack on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other mainstream platforms, where they shared materials including flyers titled “Operation Occupy the Capitol.” These sites have since cracked down aggressively on such behavior, causing extremists to migrate to lesser-known corners of the internet to plan their next move. While this has hindered their ability to spread propaganda and enlist new recruits, their new social channels are subject to less scrutiny and have already exploded in reach. CloutHub, MeWe and Telegram shot to the top of the charts of popular free apps on the App Store and Google Play Store in the wake of the siege. Gab has also reported a massive surge in new users, with about 10,000 people signing up every hour. In these spaces, HuffPost has observed calls to “burn down” the Capitol, launch “an armed revolt,” “pop some libtards” and “TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK WHATEVER IT TAKES!!” Some posts are more specific: “Civil War is here. Group up locally. Take out the News stations,” one person declared. “LET’S HANG THEM ALL,” another implored. “LET’S FINISH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.” The Boogaloo Bois, a far-right militia organizing to foment civil war, is capitalizing on the unrest to issue online a renewed call to arms. The FBI has warned specifically of potential Boogaloo violence during planned rallies at state Capitol buildings in Michigan and Minnesota on Sunday. “Theres a war coming, and cowering in your home [while] real patriots march with rifles ... will make you a traitor,” commented a member of an encrypted Boogaloo chat. Some extremists, however, are urging each other not to attend any of the upcoming armed protests. The Proud Boys, a rabidly pro-Trump neo-fascist group that helped storm the Capitol, is cautioning its followers that such demonstrations could be “fed honeypot” events set up by authorities in order to seize attendees’ guns. It seems that even the Proud Boys are losing faith in Trump: A Telegram channel run by the group reposted a message with Trump’s video along with the text “The Betrayal of Trumpist base by Trump himself continues.” For four years, the president’s supporters have worshipped him like a god. His rallies have been likened to cult gatherings. Nearly half of his campaign donations came from small donors, trouncing Biden’s 39%. For most of his presidency, Trump enjoyed strong support from the Republican base, polling well above 90% with that group. But after the Jan. 6 riots, his support is plummeting at record rates. MAGA world has stood unwaveringly by Trump’s side through multiple allegations of sexual assault (including rape), an impeachment for abuse of power, revelations that his administration literally caged children, a historic rise in national debt, countless lies, blatant self-enrichment by him and his family members, a pandemic that has claimed close to 400,000 American lives under his leadership — nearly a fifth of all deaths worldwide — and more. So to see his “America First” army suddenly begin to turn on him is truly remarkable. It’s happening broadly among his supporters, and even among the far-right extremist communities that have flourished online during Trump’s presidency. Among the recent messages excoriating Trump in dedicated pro-Trump networks: “tbh I hope they hang Trump at this point”; “He deserves what’s coming to him”; “he is literally done he will die in jail”; “Seriously hoping they’ll lock him up or lynch [him]”; “Guy is the biggest cuck ever at this point”; “Can’t wait til the left locks up his bitch ass. Rot in prison.” Several people have proclaimed that at this point, Trump can only redeem himself by declaring martial law to maintain power by force. After losing to Biden, Trump systematically attacked the allies that propped up his presidency in a desperate effort to keep his re-election fantasy alive. He first turned his adherents against Fox News, which stoked his ire by accurately projecting Biden’s electoral victory in Arizona before a few other networks did so. Then, when some Republicans ― including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ― declined to play along with his unsupported claims of mass voter fraud, Trump sicced his base on them. After that came Trump’s own vice president, Mike Pence, who refused Trump’s unconstitutional demand to reject votes in favor of Biden. (“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” Trump tweeted on the afternoon of Jan. 6, provoking chants of “Hang Pence” during the riots.) Now that Trump himself appears to finally be backing away from his “Stop the Steal” hoax, a growing faction of his supporters is through with him, too. But after the dramatic failure of his slow-motion coup, as he counts down the days until his return to life as a private citizen, Trump presumably has more pressing concerns than maintaining his followers’ devotion. Aside from the hundreds of millions of dollars in personal debt hanging over his head, it seems increasingly likely that he could face criminal prosecution, from which he will no longer be immune. And following his latest impeachment, if the Senate convicts him, it can also vote to disqualify him from ever running for office again. With so much at stake and no sane hope of clinging to power, it’s now in the president’s best interest for his base to avoid further violence, which could increase his chances of conviction. But the reality is that the monster Trump created doesn’t need him anymore. “He can promise and call for peace all he likes,” one Gab user wrote. “Won’t make a blind bit of difference.”
  7. https://www.newsmax.com/us/michelle-obama-trump-socialmedia/2021/01/07/id/1004694/ The horse/woman needs to keep her cake hole shut. Guess she's not a believer in the Senile Joe Biden unity push.
  8. It is 5:30 pm, EST. 1/18/21 42.5 hours until pres. crime spree is EX-pres. crime spree.
  9. Navaro's latest installment is available for your reading pleasures. https://navarroreport.com/
  10. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/01/19/rachel-levine-transgender-biden-hhs-pick/ Really? Really? SMH.
  11. Love this. The POS is going to be blackballed like no other in the history of our civilization. Ain't it sweet? He will be consigned to the trash can of history along with his disgusting supporters who supported the corruption, the dysfunction, the incompetence and racism. It is a new day with PRESIDENT BIDEN. The sun is finally shining after 4 excruciating years. Things are finally looking up. Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios. https://www.yahoo.com/news/gop-leaders-skip-trump-sendoff-170306573.html
  12. The Buffalo Bills have always had Wolf Blitzer's support, but now they've got Dan Rather's attention, too. Blitzer, the CNN anchor, is a lifelong Bills fan who sprinkles references to the team into broadcasts and social media posts. He's one of a number of well-known figures with Buffalo ties who wear their love of the team on their sleeves. Think actor William Fichtner, a Cheektowaga native, or Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders, who married a Hamburg guy. But the Bills' unimaginably successful blitz through the 2020 NFL regular season and playoffs has other celebrities paying attention. Rather, the retired anchor of "CBS Evening News," noted the improbability of the Bills' surge after the team beat the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night to clinch an appearance in Sunday's AFC championship game. "If you want an omen for 2021 that this year may be a wee bit different, I suggest Exhibit 1a: The #Bills," Rather tweeted Saturday night. Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who is now running for New York City mayor, also is taking notice. "It sure feels like the Bills are going to the Super Bowl," Yang tweeted. And the Iron Sheik, the famed '80s professional wrestler, had a profanely enthusiastic, all-caps tweet for Bills fans late Saturday. It read, in part: "BUFFALO BILLS YOU PLAY WITH IRON SHEIK CLASS. TONIGHT YOU ARE NUMBER 1 BABYFACE OF THE EARTH." (A "babyface" is the hero or good-guy wrestler matched up against a "heel," or bad-guy wrestler.) This comes after Hollywood star John Cusack, replying to a fan who asked if he was a Bills fan, wrote to the delight of Buffalonians, "I love all underdogs - so yeah always liked bills." The Bills even had God on their side, for once – at least, the popular Twitter account @TheTweetOfGod, which sent out a note of support on Saturday for the Bills only to delete it later. Hopefully this isn't an ominous sign. He did, one week earlier, send this promising note to his 6.2 million followers: "I am not breaking My vow of strict noninterference with the outcome of sporting events. However, #BillsMafia."
  13. ‘Trump said to do so’: Accounts of rioters who say the president spurred them to rush the Capitol could be pivotal testimony A man from Kentucky told the FBI that he and his cousin began marching toward the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 because “President Trump said to do so.” Chanting “Stop the steal,” the two men tramped through the building and snapped a photo of themselves with their middle fingers raised, according to court documents. A video clip of another group of rioters mobbing the steps of the Capitol caught one man screaming at a police officer: “We were invited here! We were invited by the president of the United States!” A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania who has been charged with throwing a fire extinguisher at police officers felt he was “instructed” to go to the Capitol by the president, a tipster told the FBI, according to court documents. The accounts of people who said they were inspired by the president to take part in the melee inside the Capitol vividly show the impact of Trump’s months-long attack on the integrity of the 2020 election and his exhortations to supporters to “fight” the results. Some have said they felt called to Washington by Trump and his false message that the election had been stolen, as well as by his efforts to pressure Congress and Vice President Pence to overturn the result. But others drew an even more direct link — telling the FBI or news organizations that they headed to the Capitol on what they believed were direct orders from the president issued at a rally that day. While legal experts are split on whether Trump could face criminal liability for his role in the events of Jan. 6, testimony from rioters who felt directed to take part in illegal acts by his speech could inform a decision by prosecutors about whether to attempt to build a case. Short of that, the testimony from rioters is likely to be cited in Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate and could become evidence should people injured in the Capitol attack seek to file lawsuits against Trump. Disturbing details of what happened inside the building have already emerged in court documents — including one witness who told the FBI that the rioters intended to kill any member of Congress they encountered. Officials have said they are still investigating whether the siege was planned and whether those involved intended to take hostages or otherwise harm elected leaders. Some accused of taking part in the mayhem may be invoking the president as a way to duck blame for their own actions. Already, several rioters charged with crimes have said they hope Trump will pardon them before he leaves office since they believed they were following his instructions. Jenna Ryan, a real estate agent from Dallas who has been charged with illegally entering the building, appeared on local television Friday to beg Trump for clemency. “I thought I was following my president,” she said. “I thought I was following what we were called to do. . . . He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there. So I was doing what he asked us to do.” Trump’s call to action to his supporters came after he had already tried and failed to overturn the election results in the courts and by pressuring Republican state legislators and GOP election officials in swing states that backed President-elect Joe Biden. By December, Trump had turned his focus to the upcoming joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, when lawmakers were set to count the electoral college votes and formalize Biden’s win. On multiple occasions, he urged his supporters to come to Washington and to apply public pressure on Congress to change the election results. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” he tweeted on Dec. 19. “The BIG Protest Rally in Washington, D.C., will take place at 11.00 A.M. on January 6th. Locational details to follow. StopTheSteal!” he wrote on New Year’s Day. On the morning of Jan. 6, as Congress prepared to convene in the Capitol, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. delivered a fiery speech to the thousands of Trump supporters assembled on the Ellipse. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, called for “trial by combat.” In his address to the crowd, Trump did not overtly call for them to try to enter the building or commit violence. But he emphasized the need for strength and repeatedly called for the crowd to fight on his behalf. “Our country has had enough,” he said. “We will not take it anymore, and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.” He falsely claimed that “all Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people.” And he said that if Pence allowed the vote to move forward, Biden would become president. “We’re just not going to let that happen,” he said. As the crowd periodically chanted, “Fight for Trump,” he continued, “So we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue — I love Pennsylvania Avenue — and we are going to the Capitol.” Trump, in fact, returned to the White House. But thousands of his supporters turned and began marching toward the Capitol, where lawmakers were just starting to meet in joint session. In the crowd was Trump fan Robert L. Bauer, who later told an FBI agent that he had driven from Kentucky with his wife to join his cousin Edward Hemenway for the rally. According to court documents, Bauer said the three started moving with a crowd toward the building after hearing Trump tell rally participants to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. Bauer’s wife peeled off, but he and Hemenway both told the FBI they entered the building, where they encountered a police officer, who grabbed Bauer’s hand and told him: “It’s your house now.” Bauer told the FBI that he believed the police officer was acting out of fear. Both men have been charged with crimes related to the riot. Also in the mob was Robert Lee Sanford Jr., 55, a recently retired firefighter from Chester, Pa. A tipster told the FBI that Sanford said he traveled on a bus with a group to Washington, according to court documents. “The group had gone to the White House and listened to President Donald J. Trump’s speech and then had followed the President’s instructions and gone to the Capitol,” an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. Investigators allege Sanford can be seen in video footage hurling a fire extinguisher at a group of police officers on the West Terrace of the Capitol. The extinguisher struck one officer in the head, then ricocheted and hit two other officers — one of whom was not wearing a helmet. Sanford has been charged with knowingly entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds and assaulting an officer. In an interview, Sanford’s attorney, Enrique A. Latoison, said Sanford is not part of any extremist group but was caught up in the moment — and that Trump bore responsibility. “You have a 55-year-old man, retired from firefighting for 26 years. He’s never been arrested. A family man with three kids, law-abiding guy who barbecues and has a nice smoker. He doesn’t just get up and say, ‘I am going to go and get arrested, I’m going to go to the Capitol,’ ” Latoison said, adding that Sanford is remorseful for his actions. “Trump and his allies encouraged people to run down to the Capitol building — none of them were out front, leading anybody,” he said. “They told everyone else to go there, and then went home.” The day after the riot, the brother-in-law of Roseanne Boyland, 34, one of four rioters who died that day, told reporters he also blamed Trump for the events. “I’ve never tried to be a political person, but it’s my own personal belief that the president’s words incited a riot that killed four of his biggest fans last night,” Justin Cave said. Across the Capitol complex, thousands of people wearing Trump gear, carrying banners bearing his name and wearing hats with his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” clashed with police, broke windows and rampaged through congressional offices. Some in the crowd chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.” Larry Rendell Brock, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from Dallas who was photographed holding zip-tie handcuffs and wearing a helmet in the well of the Senate, cited the president’s rhetoric in a series of Facebook posts that have been excerpted in court documents related to his charges. “This is not a President that sounds like he is giving up on the White House,” he wrote on Jan. 5, the day before the riot. “I truly believe that if we let them complete the steal we will never have a free election again. I really believe we are going to take back what they did on November 3.” Brock’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. In court filings charging Nicholas Ochs, the founder of the Hawaii chapter of the extremist group the Proud Boys, with unlawful entry into a restricted building, an FBI agent wrote that the group “has been vocal in calling for action over the false claims that President Trump lost the election due to widespread voter fraud. Some members have advocated for violent action to achieve these end.” Ochs’s attorney, Myles Briener, said Ochs had no criminal record and was holding journalist credentials on Jan. 6. He said Ochs looks forward to his day in court. Court documents for another alleged member of the Proud Boys charged with storming the Capitol, Daniel Goodwyn, included a tweet Goodwyn posted on Nov. 7, days after Biden’s victory. “Stand back and stand by!” Goodwyn wrote, quoting Trump’s controversial response to a question during a presidential debate with Biden about whether he would condemn the extremist group. Goodwyn added: “Await orders from our Commander in Chief. #StopTheSteal!” While the president’s claims have been cited various times in court documents, legal experts said prosecutors may be wary of attempting to charge Trump with criminal incitement. Such a crime can be difficult to prove because it requires showing that speech that would normally be protected under the Constitution has crossed a line into criminal activity. The day after the riot, acting U.S. attorney Michael Sherwin of Washington told reporters that investigators might examine incendiary statements by the president and other speakers at his rally. “Yes, we are looking at all actors here, not only the people that went into the building, but . . . were there others that maybe assisted or facilitated or played some ancillary role in this,” Sherwin said. The next day, his deputy, Kenneth C. Kohl, appeared to back away from those comments, telling reporters: “We don’t expect any charges of that nature.” But Justice Department officials have said the case is complex and the investigation ongoing. In a landmark 1969 case, the Supreme Court held that speech could only be criminal if it could be proved to be “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action.” In that case, the court overturned the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan member who delivered a racist and anti-Semitic speech to Klan members gathered in a field in Ohio, finding that the speech’s vague call for “revengeance” and an announcement of a future march on Washington were not calls for immediate criminal behavior. Eugene Volokh, a constitutional law professor at UCLA School of Law, said the precedent has generally protected rousing or fiery political speech that does not specifically call for violence — even if some people who hear it might be inspired to break the law. In the case of Trump’s speech, Volokh said he did not believe it would be possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump intended to direct the crowd to commit illegal acts. He noted that Trump did not ask people to break into the Capitol or to assault police officers but instead called for them to “march” to the Capitol — an act of protest protected in the Constitution. At one point, Trump specifically said the people should march “peacefully.” “One reason why we have a high bar for incitement is because it applies to everyone. It doesn’t just apply to the president. It applies to organizers, labor activists, private citizens. It’s important to keep that bar high,” he said. But Leonard M. Niehoff, a First Amendment expert at the University of Michigan Law School, said the courts have held that potentially inciting speech must be examined in context. In this case, Trump called for his supporters not just to march to the Capitol but to “stop the steal,” to act with strength and to “fight like hell.” He said the only way protesters would have been able to stop the electoral college process was through violence. “The clear instruction was you are going to the Capitol to stop the steal. You are going there to show strength. You are going there to take the country back and not to let this happen,” Niehoff said. “Is it conceivable that you would listen to that speech and say to yourself, ‘All the president wants us to do is go to the Capitol and then go home?’ I just don’t think so.” The two scholars agreed, however, the public should examine whether the president’s words and actions were immoral, not just whether they broke the law. Volokh said Trump’s actions may amount more to a “dereliction of duty” than a crime — a failure to protect the public that might be better addressed through the impeachment process underway in Congress. Niehoff added, “Whether he behaved properly, as an ethical matter, that’s not something the law will answer.”
  14. Twelve years after Joe Biden was sworn in as the vice president of hope and change, hope is in short supply and the need for change is even more acute. Progressives have a rare opportunity to enact their agenda—but they will need to play the kind of hardball they have backed away from in the past, because Biden continues to send conflicting messages. For every promise of transformational change, he signals a desire to appease a Republican Party intent on destroying his presidency. The stakes could hardly be higher: One out of every thousand Americans has died from a lethal pandemic, with no end yet in sight. The economy is officially still humming along, but millions face eviction, bankruptcy and hunger. Even U.S. democracy is under unprecedented siege by an insurrectionist movement encouraged by the outgoing president and his loyalists in Congress. The path forward is difficult to envision amid the fog of culture war, political war and the threat of actual, real-life civil war. But it is clear that Biden is at a crossroad and still unsure which way to go. He can follow his boss, Barack Obama, who pursued bipartisanship, comity and compromise—accommodating corporate power. Or he can break toward the path of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who did battle with oligarchy, stood down fascism and welcomed the hatred of the rich. One thing he cannot do is try to go in both directions. The lesson of the Obama administration is that you can have appeasement or transformative progress, but you almost certainly cannot have both. Obama won the 2008 campaign despite being falsely branded a foreign-born socialist bent on radical redistribution, and he assumed office in a similar cauldron of division and destitution. America's psyche was battered by the Iraq War, and our economy was shredded by a financial crisis that ruined millions of lives. It was his FDR moment—which he used not to forge a new deal that rebalanced the relationship between capital and labor, but to prop up the status quo instead. He backed his predecessor's bank bailout program, but then terminated it in the name of deficit reduction rather than redirect it to aid struggling homeowners. He pushed a stimulus bill, but one that was far too small, which ended up delivering one of American history's slowest economic recoveries. He promised a change from a Bush administration that had tried to privatize Social Security, but then formed his own commission to try to slash the program. He championed a slightly more liberal version of Republican health care reform, but steered clear of a more contentious fight for a public health insurance option or Medicare for All. He touted getting tough on Wall Street, but his administration refused to prosecute bank executives, refused to force financial institutions to accept mortgage losses and refused to break up the biggest banks. And he effectively shielded the George W. Bush administration from any systematic investigation into its Iraq War lies and its lawless torture regime, out of "a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards." Through it all, Obama enjoyed the adoration of liberal voters and the acquiescence of congressional progressives, who often refrained from a confrontation with the Democratic White House even when Obama's administration was steamrolling their agenda. In constantly seeking common ground with the GOP, Obama may have expected some friendship in return. Instead, they gave him few congressional votes and offered even fewer words of praise. Then they delivered a midterm shellacking that effectively ended the possibility of transformational change. Obama would later write that he avoided a crackdown on Wall Street because that might have "required a violence to the social order." That reverence for the status quo—and deference to Wall Street after the financial crisis and housing meltdown—ultimately helped create the backlash conditions for the rise of Trump. One data point suggested a direct linkage: In one-third of the counties that flipped from Obama to Donald Trump, there had been an increase in the number of residents whose home mortgages were underwater in 2016, according to a study by the Center for American Progress. "We would not have Trump as president if the Democrats had remained the party of the working class," University of California-Irvine professor Bernard Grofman recently told the New York Times. "[Obama] responded to the housing crisis with bailouts of the lenders and interlinked financial institutions, not of the folks losing their homes. And the stagnation of wages and income for the middle and bottom of the income distribution continued under Obama." "We should be investing in deficit spending" A decade later, it's unclear what Biden gleaned from his experience with Obama. At some moments, he appears to finally be leaning away from his decades-long record as a budget-cutting fiscal hawk, instead campaigning to expand Social Security, then embracing the idea of $2,000 stimulus checks and most recently declaring that "we should be investing in deficit spending in order to generate economic growth." And yet at other moments he has done the opposite. He initially urged Democratic lawmakers to accept a stimulus plan with no stimulus checks. And tellingly, eight days after a violent right-wing uprising at the U.S. Capitol had eviscerated the GOP, he resuscitated and rewarded the party by signaling that—even though he needs no Republican votes—he would rather cut a deal with them on his first stimulus legislation than use ruthless legislative tactics to pass a more robust bill with only Democratic support. This version of Biden mutes the calls for bold action and reflexively praises the GOP. He has asserted that once Trump is gone Republican leaders would have an "epiphany" and suddenly learn to work together with Democrats. He has also reportedly suggested he is not interested in investigating the outrages of the Trump administration; he has continued to say "we need a Republican Party" and he recently promised that "I'll never publicly embarrass" GOP lawmakers. But that is the paradox: In a narrowly divided Congress, Biden almost certainly will not be able to make major public investments if he is conflict averse. Passing a bold agenda will likely require an epic confrontation with the Republicans, who are already girding for obstruction. After years of profligate tax cuts and spending, GOP leaders are suddenly pretending to care about the deficit, and if history is any guide, they will renew their efforts to block the changes to environmental and labor laws that Biden has promised are forthcoming. The left is correct to fear Biden getting too cozy with Republicans: His record working with the GOP was marked by collaborating with segregationists against school busing, supporting the Iraq War and pushing to cut Social Security—and it is not hard to imagine Biden now finding common ground with Mitch McConnell on the latter. But this is where progressives must learn their own lesson from the Obama years: rather than once again offering deference to a first-term Democratic president, they must press Biden to reject an attitude of appeasement, move him into a more confrontational posture and urge him to see the first few months of the Obama era as a cautionary tale rather than a guidebook. And they have already had some initial success doing that: they successfully pressured him to start supporting the $2,000 survival checks. "We've got to pass the infrastructure package, we've got do the $2,000 checks, we've got to do a whole bunch of things with a 50-50 Senate and a pretty slight margin in the House," said Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan, a former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "I hope we don't do what we did when Barack Obama first got elected [and] try to have kumbaya a little too much with everybody and not get things done in that little period of time we had. We really have to act and use the very tight margins we have very swiftly in order to get these things done." This will require the kind of shrewdness, discipline and intestinal fortitude not typically seen from the left in decades. Grassroots groups will have to get comfortable pressuring the new administration, even if the White House doesn't like it. Democratic lawmakers will have to be prepared to clash with Biden, even when he is trying to talk them down with "come on, man," "here's the deal" and other sweet nothings. "Boldness not seen in this country since FDR" The good news is that progressives are better positioned for this fight than they have been in years. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party remains powerful by virtue of its ties to big money, but polls show it has lost the argument in the contest of ideas. Many Americans want big change, and want it now—and progressive Democratic lawmakers are fortified by a grassroots fundraising base, better political infrastructure and name-brand leaders. In the House, the Progressive Caucus has dozens of members, and it is revamping its rules to be a more cohesive voting bloc so that it can leverage power in the narrowly divided chamber. Already, the group—led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the Squad—persuaded Democratic leaders to reform budget rules to make it easier to pass landmark initiatives like a Green New Deal and Medicare for All. They can also reject the "look forward, not backward" attitude and instead press to invoke the Congressional Review Act to rescind a slew of last-minute Trump regulations designed to weaken protections for the environment and workers while undermining the fight against climate change. In the Senate, progressive Sen. Sherrod Brown will lead the Banking Committee. In the aftermath of the financial crisis a dozen years ago, he championed an initiative to break up the largest banks; it was stymied by the panel's then-chairman Chris Dodd, with an assist by the Obama administration. Now Brown is in a position to resurrect the idea, knowing it could generate bipartisan support—and in recent days he signaled an eagerness for aggressive action when he said, "Wall Street doesn't get to run this entire economy" and reiterated his call for "breaking up the big banks." Meanwhile, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will chair the powerful Senate Budget Committee. He will be able to set federal spending priorities and also be in a position to use the arcane process known as reconciliation to try to circumvent the Senate filibuster for big-ticket items such as the one he recently floated: an emergency program to extend medical coverage to anyone during the pandemic, whether or not they have existing insurance coverage. During the Obama era, Democrats often declined to wield their power—they did not use budget reconciliation to try to enact a public health insurance option, for example, and they did not employ the CRA to repeal Bush-era regulations. By contrast, Republicans during the Trump presidency used reconciliation to pass his giant tax cut for the wealthy, and weaponized the CRA to scrap 14 Obama regulations. Sanders understands the imperative of using every tool possible to make change. "We have to act with a boldness that we have not seen in this country since FDR," he told NBC News. "If we do not, I suspect that in two years we will not be in the majority." Biden campaigned for the presidency promising to restore a pre-crisis normal. But that is not enough to pull America back from the abyss and stave off the surge of authoritarianism today—just as it was not enough during the Great Depression. Back then, Roosevelt seemed to appreciate that business as usual would not stave off fascism and rescue the country—much, much more was required. "There must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing," he said in his first inaugural address. "Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This nation asks for action, and action now." Those words ring true in this moment of peril—the best hope for America is not a vapid Biden paean to the "soul of this nation," but a Biden administration that is pressed by progressives to take action and deliver real material gains to the working class. If that does not happen, then a new right-wing authoritarian will likely ride another wave of anger at the continued inequality, destitution and dysfunction—and that next menace is likely to be even more dangerous than Trump.
  15. The effects of his reign will linger. But democracy survived To assess the legacy of Donald Trump’s presidency, start by quantifying it. Since last February, more than a quarter of a million Americans have died from COVID-19—a fifth of the world’s deaths from the disease, the highest number of any country. In the three years before the pandemic, 2.3 million Americans lost their health insurance, accounting for up to 10,000 “excess deaths”; millions more lost coverage during the pandemic. The United States’ score on the human-rights organization Freedom House’s annual index dropped from 90 out of 100 under President Barack Obama to 86 under Trump, below that of Greece and Mauritius. Trump withdrew the U.S. from 13 international organizations, agreements, and treaties. The number of refugees admitted into the country annually fell from 85,000 to 12,000. About 400 miles of barrier were built along the southern border. The whereabouts of the parents of 666 children seized at the border by U.S. officials remain unknown. Trump reversed 80 environmental rules and regulations. He appointed more than 220 judges to the federal bench, including three to the Supreme Court—24 percent female, 4 percent Black, and 100 percent conservative, with more rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association than under any other president in the past half century. The national debt increased by $7 trillion, or 37 percent. In Trump’s last year, the trade deficit was on track to exceed $600 billion, the largest gap since 2008. Trump signed just one major piece of legislation, the 2017 tax law, which, according to one study, for the first time brought the total tax rate of the wealthiest 400 Americans below that of every other income group. In Trump’s first year as president, he paid $750 in taxes. While he was in office, taxpayers and campaign donors handed over at least $8 million to his family business. America under Trump became less free, less equal, more divided, more alone, deeper in debt, swampier, dirtier, meaner, sicker, and deader. It also became more delusional. No number from Trump’s years in power will be more lastingly destructive than his 25,000 false or misleading statements. Super-spread by social media and cable news, they contaminated the minds of tens of millions of people. Trump’s lies will linger for years, poisoning the atmosphere like radioactive dust. Presidents lie routinely, about everything from war to sex to their health. When the lies are consequential enough, they have a corrosive effect on democracy. Lyndon B. Johnson deceived Americans about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and everything else concerning the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon’s lifelong habit of prevaricating gave him the nickname “Tricky Dick.” After Vietnam and Watergate, Americans never fully recovered their trust in government. But these cases of presidential lying came from a time when the purpose was limited and rational: to cover up a scandal, make a disaster disappear, mislead the public in service of a particular goal. In a sense, Americans expected a degree of fabrication from their leaders. After Jimmy Carter, in his 1976 campaign, promised, “I’ll never lie to you,” and then pretty much kept his word, voters sent him back to Georgia. Ronald Reagan’s gauzy fictions were far more popular. Trump’s lies were different. They belonged to the postmodern era. They were assaults against not this or that fact, but reality itself. They spread beyond public policy to invade private life, clouding the mental faculties of everyone who had to breathe his air, dissolving the very distinction between truth and falsehood. Their purpose was never the conventional desire to conceal something shameful from the public. He was stunningly forthright about things that other presidents would have gone to great lengths to keep secret: his true feelings about Senator John McCain and other war heroes; his eagerness to get rid of disloyal underlings; his desire for law enforcement to protect his friends and hurt his enemies; his effort to extort a foreign leader for dirt on a political adversary; his affection for Kim Jong Un and admiration for Vladimir Putin; his positive view of white nationalists; his hostility toward racial and religious minorities; and his contempt for women. The most mendacious of Trump’s predecessors would have been careful to limit these thoughts to private recording systems. Trump spoke them openly, not because he couldn’t control his impulses, but intentionally, even systematically, in order to demolish the norms that would otherwise have constrained his power. To his supporters, his shamelessness became a badge of honesty and strength. They grasped the message that they, too, could say whatever they wanted without apology. To his opponents, fighting by the rules—even in as small a way as calling him “President Trump”—seemed like a sucker’s game. So the level of American political language was everywhere dragged down, leaving a gaping shame deficit. Trump’s barrage of falsehoods—as many as 50 daily in the last fevered months of the 2020 campaign—complemented his unconcealed brutality. Lying was another variety of shamelessness. Just as he said aloud what he was supposed to keep to himself, he lied again and again about matters of settled fact—the more brazen and frequent the lie, the better. Two days after the polls closed, with the returns showing him almost certain to lose, Trump stood at the White House podium and declared himself the winner of an election that his opponent was trying to steal. This crowning conspiracy theory of Trump’s presidency activated his entitled children, compliant staff, and sycophants in Congress and the media to issue dozens of statements declaring that the election was fraudulent. Following the mechanism of every big lie of the Trump years, the Republican Party establishment fell in line. Within a week of Election Day, false claims of voter fraud in swing states had received almost 5 million mentions in the press and on social media. In one poll, 70 percent of Republican voters concluded that the election hadn’t been free or fair. So a stab-in-the-back narrative was buried in the minds of millions of Americans, where it burns away, as imperishable as a carbon isotope, consuming whatever is left of their trust in democratic institutions and values. This narrative will widen the gap between Trump believers and their compatriots who might live in the same town, but a different universe. And that was Trump’s purpose—to keep us locked in a mental prison where reality was unknowable so that he could go on wielding power, whether in or out of office, including the power to destroy. For his opponents, the lies were intended to be profoundly demoralizing. Neither counting them nor checking facts nor debunking conspiracies made any difference. Trump demonstrated again and again that the truth doesn’t matter. In rational people this provoked incredulity, outrage, exhaustion, and finally an impulse to crawl away and abandon the field of politics to the fantasists. For believers, the consequences were worse. They surrendered the ability to make basic judgments about facts, exiling themselves from the common framework of self-government. They became litter swirling in the wind of any preposterous claim that blew from @realDonaldTrump. Truth was whatever made the world whole again by hurting their enemies—the more far-fetched, the more potent and thrilling. After the election, as charges of voter fraud began to pile up, Matthew Sheffield, a reformed right-wing media activist, tweeted: “Truth for conservative journalists is anything that harms ‘the left.’ It doesn’t even have to be a fact. Trump’s numerous lies about any subject under the sun are thus justified because his deceptions point to a larger truth: that liberals are evil.” How did half the country—practical, hands-on, self-reliant Americans, still balancing family budgets and following complex repair manuals—slip into such cognitive decline when it came to politics? Blaming ignorance or stupidity would be a mistake. You have to summon an act of will, a certain energy and imagination, to replace truth with the authority of a con man like Trump. Hannah Arendt, in The Origins of Totalitarianism, describes the susceptibility to propaganda of the atomized modern masses, “obsessed by a desire to escape from reality because in their essential homelessness they can no longer bear its accidental, incomprehensible aspects.” They seek refuge in “a man-made pattern of relative consistency” that bears little relation to reality. Though the U.S. is still a democratic republic, not a totalitarian regime, and Trump was an all-American demagogue, not a fascist dictator, his followers abandoned common sense and found their guide to the world in him. Defeat won’t change that. Trump damaged the rest of us, too. He got as far as he did by appealing to the perennial hostility of popular masses toward elites. In a democracy, who gets to say what is true—the experts or the people? The historian Sophia Rosenfeld, author of Democracy and Truth, traces this conflict back to the Enlightenment, when modern democracy overthrew the authority of kings and priests: “The ideal of the democratic truth process has been threatened repeatedly ever since the late eighteenth century by the efforts of one or the other of these epistemic cohorts, expert or popular, to monopolize it.” Monopoly of public policy by experts—trade negotiators, government bureaucrats, think tankers, professors, journalists—helped create the populist backlash that empowered Trump. His reign of lies drove educated Americans to place their faith, and even their identity, all the more certainly in experts, who didn’t always deserve it (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, election pollsters). The war between populists and experts relieved both sides of the democratic imperative to persuade. The standoff turned them into caricatures. Trump’s legacy includes an extremist Republican Party that tries to hold on to power by flagrantly undemocratic means, and an opposition pushed toward its own version of extremism. He leaves behind a society in which the bonds of trust are degraded, in which his example licenses everyone to cheat on taxes and mock affliction. Many of his policies can be reversed or mitigated. It will be much harder to clear our minds of his lies and restore the shared understanding of reality—the agreement, however inconvenient, that A is A and not B—on which a democracy depends. But we now have the chance, because two events in Trump’s last year in office broke the spell of his sinister perversion of the truth. The first was the coronavirus. The beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency arrived on March 11, 2020, when he addressed the nation for the first time on the subject of the pandemic and showed himself to be completely out of his depth. The virus was a fact that Trump couldn’t lie into oblivion or forge into a political weapon—it was too personal and frightening, too real. As hundreds of thousands of Americans died, many of them needlessly, and the administration flailed between fantasy, partisan incitement, and criminal negligence, a crucial number of Americans realized that Trump’s lies could get someone they love killed. The second event came on November 3. For months Trump had tried frantically to destroy Americans’ trust in the election—the essence of the democratic system, the one lever of power that belongs undeniably to the people. His effort consisted of nonstop lies about the fraudulence of mail-in ballots. But the ballots flooded into election offices, and people lined up before dawn on the first day of early voting, and some of them waited 10 hours to vote, and by the end of Election Day, despite the soaring threat of the virus, more than 150 million Americans had cast ballots—the highest turnout rate since at least 1900. The defeated president tried again to soil our faith, by taking away our votes. The election didn’t end his lies—nothing will—or the deeper conflicts that the lies revealed. But we learned that we still want democracy. This, too, is the legacy of Donald Trump.
  16. https://www.nationalreview.com/ Feel free to use Senile Joe or Dementia-Joe instead if you prefer. Looks like we're going to be off to a rocky start. Be careful what you wish for!!! LOL
  17. The prosecutors’ assessment comes as prosecutors and federal agents have begun bringing more serious charges tied to violence at the Capitol. Federal prosecutors offered an ominous new assessment of last week’s siege of the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters on Thursday, saying in a court filing that rioters intended “to capture and assassinate elected officials.” Prosecutors offered that view in a filing asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man and QAnon conspiracy theorist who was famously photographed wearing horns as he stood at the desk of Vice President Mike Pence in the chamber of the U.S. Senate. The detention memo, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona, goes into greater detail about the FBI’s investigation into Chansley, revealing that he left a note for Pence warning that “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” “Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,” prosecutors wrote. A public defender representing Chansley could not be immediately reached for comment. Chansley is due to appear in federal court on Friday. The prosecutors’ assessment comes as prosecutors and federal agents have begun bringing more serious charges tied to violence at the Capitol, including revealing cases Thursday against one man, retired firefighter Robert Sanford, on charges that he hurled a fire extinguisher at the head of one police officer and another, Peter Stager, of beating a different officer with a pole bearing an American flag. In Chansley’s case, prosecutors said the charges “involve active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government,” and warned that “the insurrection is still in progress” as law enforcement prepares for more demonstrations in Washington and state capitals. They also suggested he suffers from drug abuse and mental illness, and told the judge he poses a serious flight risk. “Chansley has spoken openly about his belief that he is an alien, a higher being, and he is here on Earth to ascend to another reality,” they wrote. The Justice Department has brought more than 80 criminal cases in connection with the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol last week, in which Trump’s supporters stormed the building, ransacked offices and in some cases, attacked police. Many of the people charged so far were easily tracked down by the FBI, which has more than 200 suspects, thanks in large part to videos and photos posted on social media. Michael Sherwin, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, has said that while many of the initial charges may seem minor, he expects much more serious charges to be filed as the Justice Department continues its investigation.
  18. The president’s allies have collected tens of thousands of dollars — and potentially much more — from people seeking pardons. As President Trump prepares to leave office in days, a lucrative market for pardons is coming to a head, with some of his allies collecting fees from wealthy felons or their associates to push the White House for clemency, according to documents and interviews with more than three dozen lobbyists and lawyers. The brisk market for pardons reflects the access peddling that has defined Mr. Trump’s presidency as well as his unorthodox approach to exercising unchecked presidential clemency powers. Pardons and commutations are intended to show mercy to deserving recipients, but Mr. Trump has used many of them to reward personal or political allies. The pardon lobbying heated up as it became clear that Mr. Trump had no recourse for challenging his election defeat, lobbyists and lawyers say. One lobbyist, Brett Tolman, a former federal prosecutor who has been advising the White House on pardons and commutations, has monetized his clemency work, collecting tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly more, in recent weeks to lobby the White House for clemency for the son of a former Arkansas senator; the founder of the notorious online drug marketplace Silk Road; and a Manhattan socialite who pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme. Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer John M. Dowd has marketed himself to convicted felons as someone who could secure pardons because of his close relationship with the president, accepting tens of thousands of dollars from a wealthy felon and advising him and other potential clients to leverage Mr. Trump’s grievances about the justice system. A onetime top adviser to the Trump campaign was paid $50,000 to help seek a pardon for John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer convicted of illegally disclosing classified information, and agreed to a $50,000 bonus if the president granted it, according to a copy of an agreement. And Mr. Kiriakou was separately told that Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani could help him secure a pardon for $2 million. Mr. Kiriakou rejected the offer, but an associate, fearing that Mr. Giuliani was illegally selling pardons, alerted the F.B.I. Mr. Giuliani challenged this characterization. After Mr. Trump’s impeachment for inciting his supporters before the deadly riot at the Capitol, and with Republican leaders turning on him, the pardon power remains one of the last and most likely outlets for quick unilateral action by an increasingly isolated, erratic president. He has suggested to aides he wants to take the extraordinary and unprecedented step of pardoning himself, though it was not clear whether he had broached the topic since the rampage. He has also discussed issuing pre-emptive pardons to his children, his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and Mr. Giuliani. A White House spokesman declined to comment. Legal scholars and some pardon lawyers shudder at the prospect of such moves, as well as the specter of Mr. Trump’s friends and allies offering to pursue pardons for others in exchange for cash. “This kind of off-books influence peddling, special-privilege system denies consideration to the hundreds of ordinary people who have obediently lined up as required by Justice Department rules, and is a basic violation of the longstanding effort to make this process at least look fair,” said Margaret Love, who ran the Justice Department’s clemency process from 1990 until 1997 as the United States pardon attorney. There are few historical parallels. Perhaps the closest occurred in the final hours of Bill Clinton’s administration when he issued 170 pardons and commutations, some of which went to people who paid six-figure sums to his family and associates. But even Mr. Clinton, who was seen as flouting protocols, mostly rewarded people who had gone through an intensive Justice Department review process intended to identify and vet the most deserving recipients from among thousands of clemency applications. Mr. Trump has shunned that process more than any recent president, creating an ad hoc system in the White House that Mr. Kushner has had significant influence over and has relied on input from an informal network of outside advisers, including Mr. Tolman. That system favors pardon seekers who have connections to Mr. Trump or his team, or who pay someone who does, said pardon lawyers who have worked for years through the Justice Department system. Few regulations or disclosure requirements govern presidential clemency grants or lobbying for them, particularly by lawyers, and there is nothing illegal about Trump associates being paid to lobby for clemency. Any explicit offers of payment to the president in return could be investigated as possible violations of bribery laws; no evidence has emerged that Mr. Trump was offered money in exchange for a pardon. Some who used resources or connections to try to get to Mr. Trump say clemency should be granted to more people, independent of their clout. “The criminal justice system is badly broken, badly flawed,” said the former senator, Tim Hutchinson, a Republican who served in Congress from 1993 to 2003. He has paid Mr. Tolman at least $10,000 since late last year to lobby the White House and Congress for a pardon for his son Jeremy Hutchinson, a former Arkansas state lawmaker who pleaded guilty in 2019 to accepting bribes and tax fraud, according to a lobbying disclosure filed this month. Mr. Hutchinson said the $10,000 was only for lobbying and acknowledged Mr. Tolman may have performed legal services not reflected in the disclosure. While Mr. Hutchinson said he was happy with Mr. Tolman, he added, “There is a lot of people deserving of mercy, and I hope the president has a wide net in his approach to pardons and clemency.” Mr. Tolman, who did not respond to requests for comment, is a former United States attorney in Utah appointed by President George W. Bush. He was a leading supporter of legislation overhauling sentencing laws championed by Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner and was invited to the White House signing ceremony in December 2018. Since then, Mr. Tolman has emerged as a prominent advocate for clemency requests, with his firm’s website highlighting a White House statement crediting him with helping secure pardons or commutations for three people, including Mr. Kushner’s father, a wealthy real estate developer who was convicted of tax evasion, witness tampering and campaign finance violations. The White House has also credited Mr. Tolman with helping less well-connected offenders win clemency. There are no public records indicating Mr. Tolman was paid for those efforts, and Mr. Tolman wrote on Twitter on Friday that he has “represented many to get clemency. Some have been paying clients, many have been pro bono. I’m proud of my team’s clemency work.” He filed paperwork this month indicating he was paid $20,000 in the last three months of last year to seek a commutation for Dina Wein Reis, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Ms. Reis, who was released from prison in 2014, did not respond to requests for comment. A filing this month revealed that Mr. Tolman was paid $22,500 by an Arizona man named Brian Anderson who had retained him in September to seek clemency for Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road founder. Mr. Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise and distributing narcotics on the internet. One of the lobbyists closest to Mr. Trump and his administration, Matt Schlapp, who was tapped by Mr. Trump last month to sit on the trust fund board for the Library of Congress, has been lobbying for weeks for a pardon for Parker Petit, a major Republican donor known as Pete who was the Georgia finance chairman of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and was convicted of securities fraud in November. Another lobbyist who has advertised his connections to Mr. Trump, Mark D. Cowan, was part of a team hired after the election to seek clemency for Nickie Lum Davis, who pleaded guilty in August for her role in a covert campaign to influence the Trump administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests. Weeks after stepping down as the president’s lawyer in 2018, Mr. Dowd began marketing himself as a potential conduit for pardons. Mr. Dowd told prospective clients he could help them receive pardons because of his access to Mr. Trump and top aides like Mr. Kushner. Mr. Dowd, who as the president’s lawyer had dangled a pardon to stop Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser from cooperating with investigators, had continued to informally advise Mr. Trump. He told would-be clients and their representatives that the president was likely to look favorably on petitioners who were investigated by federal prosecutors in Manhattan or tarnished by perceived leaks from the F.B.I. At the time, Mr. Trump was seeking to undermine those groups because they were investigating his conduct. After leaving the Trump legal team, Mr. Dowd began representing William T. Walters, a wealthy sports gambler in Las Vegas convicted of insider trading. Around that time, Mr. Dowd told Mr. Walters and others that he would soon obtain a pardon for his client using his access to the White House and because Mr. Walters had been investigated by prosecutors in Manhattan and the F.B.I.. Mr. Walters paid Mr. Dowd tens of thousands of dollars, but a pardon has yet to materialize. Mr. Dowd denied that he had boasted to anyone about his ability to obtain pardons and declined to answer questions. The former Trump campaign adviser, Karen Giorno, also had access to people around the president, having run Mr. Trump’s campaign in Florida during the 2016 primary and remaining on board during the general election.. She met in 2018 with Mr. Kiriakou, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to illegally disclosing the name of a C.I.A. officer involved in the waterboarding of an American detainee. Though the name was never publicly disclosed, Mr. Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison. In the meeting, at the Washington office of his lawyer, Mr. Kiriakou said he had been wronged by the government and was seeking a pardon so he could carry a handgun and receive his pension. Ms. Giorno was accompanied by Mr. Trump’s former director of advance, George Gigicos. Both said they had direct lines to the president, Mr. Kiriakou said. “I wanted to believe them,” he said. Ms. Giorno disputed this account, saying neither she nor Mr. Gigicos bragged about their presidential access. She said Mr. Gigicos was not involved in her effort, which she said was motivated by a feeling that “it was unfair what happened” to Mr. Kiriakou. In July 2018, Ms. Giorno signed an agreement with Mr. Kiriakou, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, “to seek a full pardon from President Donald Trump of his conviction” for $50,000 and promised another $50,000 as a bonus if she secured a pardon. Ms. Giorno said she never spoke to Mr. Trump directly about Mr. Kiriakou, and did not lobby anyone in his administration for a pardon. Rather, she said that in meetings with senior administration officials, she tried “to connect the dots” between the people and techniques involved in Mr. Kiriakou’s prosecution and those involved in the special counsel investigation then dogging Mr. Trump’s presidency. Mr. Kiriakou said he also broached his quest for a pardon during a meeting last year with Mr. Giuliani and his associates on another subject at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which involved substantial alcohol. When Mr. Giuliani went to the bathroom at one point, one of his confidants turned to Mr. Kiriakou and suggested Mr. Giuliani could help. But “it’s going to cost $2 million — he’s going to want two million bucks,” Mr. Kiriakou recalled the associate saying. “I laughed. Two million bucks — are you out of your mind?” Mr. Kiriakou said. “Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn’t spend it to recover a $700,000 pension.” Mr. Kiriakou said he did not pursue the arrangement, but he shared the anecdote at a party last fall. A friend, a Transportation Security Administration whistle-blower and former air marshal named Robert J. MacLean, became alarmed and feared Mr. Giuliani might be selling pardons. Without telling Mr. Kiriakou, Mr. MacLean filed a report with the F.B.I. “I felt duty-bound to report it,” Mr. MacLean said. Neither he nor Mr. Kiriakou heard from the authorities. Mr. Giuliani rejected the portrayal of events, saying that he did not remember meeting with Mr. Kiriakou and that none of his associates would offer his services as a pardon broker because he had made clear that he did not work on clemency cases as a result of his representation of Mr. Trump. “It’s like a conflict of interest,” Mr. Giuliani said. He said he had heard that large fees were being offered, “but I have enough money. I’m not starving.”
  19. Think about it. I believe they are. All Trump voters. The left is out for "revenge" and complete control. Beware. These are bad people pointing us in a bad direction.
  20. In the AFC, 4 of the youngest quarterbacks are left. 3 from 2018 In the NFC, the 3 oldest QB's, all going to the HOF, all MVP caliber, all been to the Superbowl and were Superbowl MVP's
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