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Dear Dr. Richardson,

You said you would write LFAA through Biden's first 100 days, and here we are.

As I read your Letter about Biden's address to Congress, my eyes welled up with tears--relief for Biden's humanistic, rational governance, along with a mix of pride for how you have inspired our civic engagement and sadness that it might end. Sadness not just about losing this nearly nightly connection with you and your wisdom, but also sadness for the possibility of diminishing that ongoing spark of civic engagement of about 1.5 MILLION readers between Facebook and Substack.

We readers clearly support your self-care, taking breaks, living your life, having a day job. I hope you find a way to continue LFAA in some sustainable fashion. Cut back on frequency, invite guest Letter writers, post your seed questions and watch 1,000 comments quickly sprout...

Maybe with the Republican Party in the midst of an epic phase of its history, the intrigue will have you holding on a little longer.

This past year with you has had a significant impact on my life with having raised my political awareness, understanding, and activism by quantum leaps and bounds. Whatever direction you take, I'm certain that I am not alone in expressing my deep gratitude for your time, dedication, perspective, and courage for writing these Letters.

Do keep dynamic balance in your life, stay well, and thank you!

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Dear, Heather, Ellie and subscriber friends,

Reading Heather's Letter from an American first thing these morning and then Ellie's was to reabsorb the themes clanging in my mind for a long time. You both have expressed what subscribers know and needed to read. Thank you Heather and Ellie.

In recent days, I have been thinking about the subscribers here. In this time in America, we know that the floor beneath our feet is not solid. After months with you, I finally, for a couple of days, joined the early morning crew, which seemed to be a small circle, familiar with one another. You moved between serious issues and personal ones, present, past, future. Sometimes there was also joking around and light banter as in a coffee klatch of like -minded friends. Once in a while, a disturber crashed the circle and, unfortunately, could be too much of a distraction.

I have become one of you and realize how necessary subscribers are to Heather's Letter. Together with Heather, we are a floor to our questions about the country and our fellow citizens, swallowed by The Lie, anger, hatred, acting out, and unreality. We have created a good place to be; a peaceable assembly of thinkers, learners, questioners, teachers, worriers, comedians, writers and characters from all around America. This is a forum of exchange, respect and support. Thank you subscribers.

Heather has put it squarely this morning as Biden did last night. We have needed it to be said. No reason to waffle round with anxiety and fear. I second Ellie plea that you find a way Heather to stay with us. Finally, Heather's last words from Biden:

“Our Constitution opens with the words, ‘We the People,’” Biden reminded his listeners tonight. And “it’s time we remembered that We the People are the government. You and I. Not some force in a distant capital. Not some powerful force we have no control over. It’s us. It’s ‘We the people.’”

And if we remember that and come together, he said, “then we will meet the central challenge of the age by proving that democracy is durable and strong.” “The autocrats will not win the future….'

It has been my good fortune subscribers to be among you,

Fern

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10,000%, Fern! Below, Linda has commented that "HCR is a national treasure." Indeed, that is true. For me, also true is folks like you, Fern, and the many subscribers whose salient comments I have read, gained knowledge from, and responded to, meet my definition of a national treasure.

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I love you Lynell. You are an engaged citizen and strong partner. Thank you.

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Re Lynell, moi aussi!

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Aww shucks, TPJ...ti voglio bene anch'io!

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I don't know Italian but I like it anyway!

Kwa heri ya kuonana (kiSwahili for "goodbye til we see each other again")

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Re Lynell, moi aussi aussi!

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Back at you, Roland!!

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International treasure

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Yes, she has subscribers in Moscow

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Uh, Canada.

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Funny 😄 Roland!

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Touche!

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WOW!

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Dear Barbara, that’s a joke. I am making reference to our resident troll, a Russian or Russians who work for the FSB and who say they are living in Toronto. 😉

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Thanks, Fern. You are so right about this community and I am glad to be a part of it.

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Annette, BIG HEART and SMART MIND, thank you. Peace.

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And I love this from you too Fern!

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Thank you, Richard. Peace.

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Thank you Fern for your wonderful words about our community.

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Dearest Fern,

This is a very sweet and beautiful missive. Thank you. Sending you big hugs and love.

I love your choice of what to reference out of Heather’s piece. We are the government. The government is us, it is our representative in the world and in the nation, our forum for public policy. I love that Heather chose that material from Biden’s speech.

Laying low after the 2nd vaccine, but feeling really good after reading your post, dear friend.

Roland

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Roland, Your kind and deeply expressed message added tenderness to this early morning. You always look after us as we strive to be better informed and engaged citizens. We look out for you, too.

Rest well and please do not forget to drink your water. 'See' you soon.

Fern

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Dear Fern,

In your letter, you mention a circle of commenters who are close and familiar. And this is how it happens. You drop a lovely lovely message of gratitude, I send you love in return, and now I will never forget you and you will never forget me. That’s how bonds form. That’s why people send love to each other on this forum, in the course of sweet exchanges.

Love,

Roland

P.S. yes my wife has me on a hydration and electrolytes program, it’s really working well.

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I found your letters last summer and have been an active participant since then. I eagerly await for your letter or photo each night. Your letters and this group has helped me survive through these tumultuous times. I have appreciated your ability to put events in context for me. I am in denial this is going to end. It has been a great forum to be in discussion with others to fill out the picture. I am hoping this will continue in some form. Heather your perspective has been so helpful. You are masterful in relating current events to our history. Thank you.

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Thank you Ellie. In a world exploding with bombast, disinformation and hatred, we have Heather. Reasoned, educated, insightful and compassionate, she is the quintessential voice of American Democracy. I would posit that she reaches far more than 1.5 million of us. Each morning on my walk my friend begins with: "What did Heather say today?" She reframes the chaos of contemporary life and gives us clarity, hope, and a path forward.

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In our house she's known (respectfully, lovingly) as Hebbie. As in, "Can I read Hebbie to you?" or "Don't forget Hebbie's talk today!"

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Love that!❤️

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Ellie, so true. HCR is a national treasure. And we are all willing to accommodate whatever you need to do, HCR, to keep this community going. It has been that sane center of my world for the last year, as I am sure it has been for so many of us. In addition, it has introduced me to people I would never have met, whose lives, concerns, and opinions I now cherish and value.

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So much of this! My mornings have become a wonderful intellectual exercise in thinking, reading, and writing on this LFAA.

I have to say that I love when certain names pop into my email commenting on things I have written. You've all made me think more critically about a lot of topics, and reminded me that I do have an area of expertise that isn't real common (especially among more liberal venues.)

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Your insights have been invaluable, Ally!

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Priceless insights you bring us Ally!!

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Yay for enlightened law enforcement !!!!!!!!

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Ally I actually have some Geary eyes over this. Thank you so much for your presence here!!!

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I second these messages. Your newsletters have been incredibly valuable for the clarity of which you see both US and international issues. If you wrote them just twice weekly, or weekly, that would still be the case. But please don't stop!

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Ditto, a million times over and more!

Without you, dear Dr. HCR, I would have spent the last 20 months (has it been that long or less?) in dazed silence, but your LFAA brought on debate, conversations, new friends and acquaintances, and novel, no!, vital, forms of interaction that kept me sane, ready to discuss, to converse, to get up and face the world with new vim and vigor, because, I was no longer alone with my cat, no longer simply teaching online in a humdrum fashion, but I had become a part of a vibrant community of empathic, like-minded, thinkers with a leader and moderator whose guidance filled us with knowledge and whose brilliance conducted us out of stupefied shock over, firstly, a quasi-fascist governmental takeover, and later, a pandemic lockdown!

Without you, Heather, I would not have survived in tact! And without you, my LFAA Substack Friends, my companions on this journey, this adventure would never have been as animated, nor as life-changing, nor as hopeful.

My deepest thanks to you, Heather, for guiding us through! You're my hero❣️❣️❣️

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What you say, Rowshan...

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Thanks so much, Lynell!

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Rowshan I am so glad to have met you here, thank you for expressing so ni,cell how I an probably many of us feel. 💕

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That's so kind! Thank you, David! Glad to have met you too!

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Oh! I hadn’t realized that we are at the point of a possible God Be With You. If we are, it has been a privilege to share some time with all of you. My heartfelt thanks to Dr Richardson. My best wishes to those of you with whom I have interacted and I thank all of you who have written on this fabulous forum.

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Here, Here, Ellie! As we collectively clink our coffee cups (or OJ glasses) may we all send the best & biggest virtual hug to a queen of clarity, beacon of hope, and historian par excellence. I do hope that there will be some form of continuation because my life is so much clearer and well educated that it ever was before Heather. I've brought several people into this fold and they too appreciate your insights. I'm confident we'll find a way into the future together.

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I'll add my mug of miso soup. Call me Colonel Clink!

(There's some of that "light banter.")

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Love your banter TPJ.

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Y'all are the inspiration. (How's that for Southronspeak?)

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Beautifully said, Ellie, and my thoughts exactly. Dr R reawakened my civic conscience, and for that I thank her. This community has given me further hope, insight, and food for thought, and for that I thank you all!

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Thank you Ellie for expressing so well our collective gratitude to Dr Richardson.

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Ditto! What Ellie Kona and others said. These daily letters keep me sane for the past year. Gave me talking points to counter nonsense spouted by my Trumpster friends. When HCR did the video chat on January 6th after the insurrection, it gave me a sense of calm. I also hope the letters and chats continue in some form. The weekly Facebook chats and these letters have caused my love of history to reemerge. That said I thought President Biden's speech was great. Here's hoping at least half of what he proposes especially for childred happens.

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My thoughts exactly! Thanks, Ellie! And my utmost appreciation and good thoughts to you, dear Heather!

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Thank you for sharing your impassioned letter. During these 100 days, we have all learned that the danger to our democracy is more frightening and perilous than I could have imagined. I am hoping Dr. Richardson is feeling the same way and will continue on with her letters, understanding how vital it is for us to stay enlightened, educated and informed. Yet if she’s unable to, if it’s taking too much to continue on, I will understand and be grateful for the time with her and the rest of this community.

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You have captured so eloquently what many of us feel....the re-awakening of political activism, sadness and worry about what comes next and the thought of losing this great community. Heather may not realize what she's created here. We turn to each other for support, insights, resources, and so much more. As the threat to democracy and upcoming elections pose more dangers, I do hope that this community can continue in some form. We need each other to uncover opportunities to work together as well as provide new resources for us to follow. Here's hoping......

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My thoughts exactly. I am beyond grateful for HCR’s letters, her weekly talks and this community. This has been my lifeline to reality. Like many others, my civic conscience was reawakened. Complacency is no longer an option. Facts matter. Truth matters.

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Have you, Ellie, or anyone heard what Dr. R's intentions are going forward?

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No?!

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Morning, Cynthia!! She may say something about her plans on FB this afternoon?

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I was thinking the same thing!

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I’m sticking my head in the sand and hoping, hoping, hoping she will continue these letters in some form.

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I did not expect Biden to be a transformational president. After watching him always in the background for the better part of my adult life, it is quite honestly breathtaking to see the strength and vision of his leadership and its focus on all Americans, but especially the most vulnerable ones.

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President Biden actually seems to be acting on a principle of justice: the first to receive relief are the least among us; the first to bear necessary burden are the most well off. Finally, a real person who has his moral head screwed on right.

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From each according to their ability; to each according to their need.

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From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" (German: Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen) is a slogan popularised by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program.[1][2] The principle refers to free access to and distribution of goods, capital and services.[3] In the Marxist view, such an arrangement will be made possible by the abundance of goods and services that a developed communist system will be capable to produce; the idea is that, with the full development of socialism and unfettered productive forces, there will be enough to satisfy everyone's needs.[4][5]

Source: Wikipedia.

Careful we don't give substance to the trumpite's desperate cries of "socialism" often heard before their final "death rattle" .

Little phrases that sound good but have historical "coattails" .

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Indeed. We should just have a basic security net for folks (Universal Basic Income; education/training; healthcare) and let folks do the best they can with the tools provided.

Karl was never as good as Groucho.

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Haha!

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I'm a Groucho Marxist.

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A lot funnier and with less lethal consequences too.

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That's an important point, Stuart. Keep Harpo-ing on it.

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The principle of socialism I beautiful but we’re scrambling primates and doing anything we can to get ahead for our families and for whatever really matters. Sad but true. I embraced socialism in my twenties but...didn’t many of us. And this is why democracy is so important to protect.

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I think the problem is totalitarianism, not socialism. See comment above.

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One interesting thing about "socialism" up to this point is that there have been two very different forms of it. The kind adopted in Russia in the early 1900's was a "totalitarian" socialism, and I read once that the Russians adopted this (under Lenin) under the justification (or rationalization) that 19th century capitalism was so deeply entrenched in the power structures of Russia that there was really no alternative to cutting its throat, which required totalitarian control. Similarly, the Chinese communism, and most of the "revolutionary" socialisms in the governments of South American countries that are so perpetually vilified by the right, were/are also totalitarian in nature. These all became nightmarish systems that collapsed -- but so did pretty much all of the capitalist totalitarian systems over that same time-span.

By contrast, the "democratic socialism" of FDR in the US, as well as the modern EU states, has proved to be very beneficial to freedom, prosperity, and economic growth, and the actors who want to tear this down are not socialists, but autocrats.

It strongly suggests that the problem is autocracy, not socialism.

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In Europe, what you are referring to is usually called "Social Democracy" as it is more "Capitalism with a Human face" than Socialism, Democratic or not. Most experiments in ownership of productive assets by the people has in fact meant the creation of public monopolies owned and managed by the often bloated and Kafkaesque state....which are generally run to generate tax revenue as opposed to service to the people and other sectors of the economy. A good example is the electricity monopoly in France where, on my monthly bill, my actual electricity consumed only represents about a third of the total. I will let you guess how they dress up the other two thirds....very imaginative! There are however some very good examples of localized, consumer/resident owned electrical and transportation monopolies, with local government non-controlling involvement, in different districts of Germany where the "experiment" is proving its worth; being highly effective, cost conscious servants of the people they are supplying.

In a larger sense, most European governments have accepted this compromise.....a "regulated" capitalism with some state monopolies in "essential" services. The results have been somewhat varied however. Firstly, you look at the size of the government itself in relation to the wealth generated. France is the champion, 57% of the Economy actually passes through the governments hands in terms of its % of GNP. The European average is in the low 40s. In the 20thC the french managed to hide the deleterious effects of such high taxation and omni-present regulation stiffling the economy by devaluing the currency. Since the arrival of the Euro they can't do it any more. The result of both periods has been approximated 500,000 new, long term unemployed every decade since about 1975. The average wage has hardly advance in the last 20 years.

Throughout Europe in the 21st C, two tendencies have been working. Governments have been reducing controls of business, opening up the economies, increasing their efficiency and lowering the part they take out of the wealth produced. The EU has freed up capital movements and trade flows and thus accelerated the transposition of productive, well paid jobs either East to low wage European countries or further to developing economies elsewhere in the world. The "social" has been slipping from the system and when the people complain, so is the "democratic".

There is obvious room for improvement in the European position and the relative stagnation that it has experience for much of this century is not inevitable. One thing is certain with covid etc, Europe will start to rein in its reliance on Chinese supply lines, make imports from countries paying lower wages contribute to the EU's local social security system and penalize purchases from countries not dealing with climate issues. This will lower the tax take on the people and bring them back a little control over their lives. That said, the real battle will be rolling back the policies that have been highly beneficial to those owning capital and massively increasing inequality. This will not happen very easily nor, possibly, peacefully. This will be be conjugated with dealing with the question of immigration and resurgent national identities. Does this ring a bell? Europe will have its Jan 6th too....and a lot more.

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Very astute, thank you Joseph.

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Stuart earns his research grant today. I offered the phrase without IDing it as "socialism." Et voila, people embrace it on its own terms.

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Honestly there is so much to like about socialism and how it works in Scandinavia— I think there is a creative design that is a hybrid and I’d vote for health care as a priority. But special ingests then get their knives out. Why aren’t we a grown up enough country to insure decent medical care for all?

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I know, right? Biden has so much on his plate right now, but I agree that fixing access to medical care is imperative.

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And TPJ isn’t what we’re all in search of —wisdom and Biden is the wisest person at the moment and frankly my hero.

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And he clearly has surrounded himself with wise and capable people to advise him. He is performing so far above my best expectations that I am astonished daily.

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Totally. He’ll be one of the greats and to think when he got elected all I thought we’d get was a sigh of relief. Haha

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Because we are in the middle of it, I think it's hard to recognize what a consequential time we are living through. Biden may turn out to be one of the truly transformative presidents, right up there with Lincoln and FDR. Frankly, this has less to do with him and more to do with the times, but he is stepping up to the challenge in a way I never thought possible.

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Yes!

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My long ago high school classmate, Robert Friesen, reports on facebook about reactions to Biden's speech: "Snap polls were overwhelming: A CBS News/YouGov poll found 89% of speech-watchers thought Biden was presidential, 85% approved and 78% said the speech made them feel optimistic about America.

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I watched it on Fox to catch the after-speech commentary (keep your friends close...). Two commentators' focus on the fact that people were wearing masks, making the speech "theatrical", was pathetic. In the Republican response, Tim Scott (SC) fired BB's around the battleship but didn't make one solid direct hit. Mitch...well, he's Mitch. It was interesting that Fox showed the Republican side of the chamber from above and behind and several Republicans were applauding Biden's points. Fox also seems to delight in showing Congress members who are falling asleep including Ted Cruz.""

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To whom much is given, much is required.

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Amen

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Say "Amen," somebody!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umpENymzq-U

(Best feel-good movie EVER)

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Oh, Lord, I want to be in that number!!!

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Amen indeed!

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"From those to whom much is given, much is required." You need to quote the whole thing or it doesn't make sense.

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That sounds like I'm condemning you but I'm not. You and I are thinking in the same vein!

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Good use of "their" in place of "his," TPJ!!

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Quakers finally revised our core principle "There is that of God in all men" to "in everyone." It took only three centuries!

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Almost.

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It's tragically ironic that a president who is actually applying the highest principles of the Bible ("justice, justice, you shall pursue"; "love the stranger"; ensure everyone has food, shelter, and dignity) continues to be opposed by many people who claim religion based on that very text as their guide in life.

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Here's the deal: Joe Biden is the most genuinely religious president of my lifetime, and that goes back to Eisenhower.

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You're correct I think. After age 6, most everything in this life has an ironic edge to it. I grew up around folks who had a number of sayings that seemed to have an ironic twist to them: e.g., It's the cobbler's children who have no shoes. It's a great life if you don't weaken.

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There’s one.

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As I said earlier to a friend, "I'm perfectly happy to have President Biden prove me wrong about him every day."

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I love this insight.

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I imagine Joe Biden never thought he would be this transformative, but he does realize he must meet the moment or else sacrifice American democracy in mediocrity. He has always been a strong communicator and a lifelong politician - the kind of “deep-state” player the radical right hates.

But America must see the best of the “deep state” and what it can accomplish. So this is Biden’s elevator pitch - that government isn’t something to fear; that all Americans win when all Americans invest in America; and that the BIG CHANGES we all face as a society can be met with bold ideas, not shunned with fear and static.

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Biden knows pain. He feels what others feel. Empathy matters. It may be all we have.

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No, it may be that we have more ... as the ideas the President laid out and HCR repeated today (last night) move toward fruition, and the newly inspired DOJ goes to work for the people and not the former president's cabal.

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The human assets that are most important are few… two are 1) the degree to which we understand ourselves and what we do about it… and 2) empathy… In each we see what’s needed in Joe Biden… it took him a while, and lots of pain, but he has at 78 reached the age where last night was possible. We are blessed with Biden… and Harris… and we must do what we can, each of us, to speak truth to power, foster tolerance among the intolerant, and express empathy… We must also ace in accord with out principles… and Heather Cox Richardson finally seized the moment above… in her references to Lincoln, TR, FDR, and GOP stuff… it was brilliantly drafted…

As for HCR’s wish to retire now that we have Biden and Trump is sidelined… the battle is only engaged now… and Trump reigns where The Book of Job would place him… we humans must decide… it is binary.

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I agree that with Biden, we have more. We have a pres who has gained wisdom in his nearly 50 years in politics--something no recent president has had. But I do agree very strongly that empathy also matters.

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I guess he has nothing to lose so he’s going for it with all his experience and courage. Thank god because we might of gotten bowled over by all this nonsense false drama from the republicans if we had a moderate in there right now. It takes real balls to ignore them and move steadily forward.

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Karell, Linda, as I have said many times on this forum after January20th, he has exceeded my expectations. As I have admitted, my expectations were "tragically low". Trump getting out of office was enough for me. Anything else would be gravy. Well, we got a lot of gravy.

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President Biden completely demonstrated my position taken here on several occasions, that he is "the man for this moment." He wasn't that guy the first two times he ran for president, but when the moment arrived, all the reasons why he "wasn't the guy" before are why he "is the guy" now.

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Couldn’t agree more.

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Agreed. He was the choice to save the country because he could bring in the far left with the center left, without terrifying the independents. The GOP folks complain that he is hard to demonize. That's where they are at.

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I like what TC has been saying all along. Biden continues to outperform. Or perhaps, in our ignorance, we have just been underestimating him badly.

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I think TC is correctly saying this is Biden’s moment. He wasn’t underestimated previously, it just wasn’t his time.

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As one of us stated previously in this forum, “We the People...all of us this time”.

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We The People, All Of Us This Time, Every Time, For All Time!

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Totally agree. Yet did you see the stone faces of the Republicans in attendance? And Ted Cruz falling asleep? And the ridiculous "rebuttal" from Tim Scott? All of that tell me that Biden has a very touch challenge getting anything through. The Dems must start a public service announce campaign to remind people how the Republicans blocked every damn thing that Obama tried to do and will continue to do so again.

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Yes, Heather, President Biden nailed it. Joe Biden nailed all of it. And he departed from his text often giving the feeling he’d memorized all of it. Tonight was a masterpiece. Sheer political genius. He credited many others again and again and had Republicans standing once or twice. He sold his unique tax policy, linked that to history and FDR, IKE and our founders, and he was calm and firm. Trump was forgotten. There’s a new man in town, and he’s open palm with a fist in his pocket. He had Sen. Manchin nodding yes.

Joe pushed all the buttons and offended no one.

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"Trump was forgotten." An unexpected and welcomed form of poetic justice!

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I Agree Sandy!! Brilliant!! Masterpiece!! And yet Joe Biden spoke to the common man and woman and child, , all of us this time, in common language, eloquently clarifying and emphasizing his critical points to save our democracy. I agreed with every single word. How refreshing and hopeful that is!

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Same to you this morning, Sandy. Salud!

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As Professor Richardson alluded to in today’s Letter, and President Biden described in his comments to news anchors last night, the battle between the forces of autocracy and democracy is well underway in the world.

Just this week, Hungary took another step toward cementing control of the country in the hands of Viktor Orban. The NYT’s reports, “Hungary’s Parliament voted on Tuesday to transfer control of 11 state universities, along with billions of euros in related state assets, to quasi-public foundations led by close allies of the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.” This is just Orban’s latest move to undermine democracy in Hungary – he has been at it for quite some time.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/27/world/europe/hungary-universities-orban.html?searchResultPosition=1

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/20/viktor-orban-democracy-hungary-eu-funding

Closer to home, I have begun the slow process of unpacking Florida’s latest foray into democracy smashing. It is heavy reading, not just because of the language, but because it approaches, if not crosses, the line of criminalizing public protest. I have written to the Brennan Center and asked if they would consider reviewing the law to see if it passes Constitutional scrutiny.

What follows is from the Florida Senate’s website for the new Combating Public Disorder bill, signed into law by Governor DeSantis on April 20th.

Curiously, this bill was introduced on January 6, 2021. A link to the bill is provided below.

CS/HB 1: Combating Public Disorder

Combating Public Disorder; Authorizing specified elected officials to file an appeal to the Administration Commission if the governing body of a municipality makes a specified reduction to the operating budget of the municipal law enforcement agency; providing that a municipality has a duty to allow the municipal law enforcement agency to respond to a riot or unlawful assembly in a specified manner based on specified circumstances; reclassifying the penalty for an assault committed in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot; prohibiting cyber intimidation by publication; prohibiting a person from willfully participating in a specified violent public disturbance resulting in specified damage or injury; creating an affirmative defense to a civil action where the plaintiff participated in a riot, etc.

https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/1

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I believe this law would criminalize witnesses, such as those who watched and recorded George Floyd’s death. More than 3 people is deemed a mob. If they yell at a police officer, or he “feels threatened”, even If they’re trying to stop an injustice, they can be arrested. Once arrested, they must be held until a hearing before a judge can be scheduled.

This law seeks to stop descent, period.

This law is so broad and punitive that it’s a threat to civil liberty and basic human rights.

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Please don't forget that having the police make the determination about whether this is a "riot" is ludicrous. Remember the initial version of the police report from George Floyd's death? "Medical incident....died at the hospital", my a$$.

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Yes Annette and Diane... I feel this cold chill sweeping through Florida. I never thought I’d see anything like what is going on in these days.

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I guess I’m gonna have to be very circumspect when giving out water to voters in GA.

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Do it as an act of civil disobedience to create a test case.

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Yes, my concern exactly Annette. The police can declare any gathering a mob if it suits them.

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To the police, two or more people they don't like is a mob, and any action from them is a riot.

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To the police, Ally House notwithstanding, any group of POC is a threat and any group of white supremacists or white conservatives or white Trumpsters is no threat at all. BLM is a threat because they're not white. Antifa is a threat because they're against white supremacy.

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We just have to look at the January 6 insurrection to confirm this. When thousands of extremely violent, extremist white people gathered outside the Capitol, the assumption was that they were no threat and police and troops were deployed accordingly. Shameless.

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As I wrote yesterday, I think SCOTUS may well strike down some of these provisions, but I also think that's precisely what these legislators are seeking--to find out what the boundaries are, what will be allowed by SCOTUS. Same with the recent flood of abortion legislation. And with this SCOTUS it's a scary set of questions.

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Indeed, and the one you mentioned - although it doesn't speak directly to witnesses, any three people who pose a perceived threat will suffice- is a particularly unsavory item.

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I can’t “like” this so I will thank you for your research. 😢

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What I would really like to do is uncover the source documents, to better understand from which soured spring these bills rise.

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That would be very interesting.. any idea on how to do that?

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Hello again, Diane:

I believe these are the two provisions in question. If I find another, I'll let you know - I'm not done with it.

Also, penalties for many offenses are raised to a higher category if the act in question falls within the definitions in the bill. I haven't begun to sort that yet.

784.0495 Mob intimidation.—(1) It is unlawful for a person, assembled with two or more other persons and acting with a common intent, to use force or threaten to use imminent force, to compel or induce, or attempt to compel or induce, another person to do or refrain from doing any act or to assume, abandon, or maintain a particular viewpoint against his or her will. (2) A person who violates subsection (1) commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082or s. 775.083.(3) A person arrested for a violation of this section shall be held in custody until brought before the court for admittance to bail in accordance with chapter 903.

870.02 Unlawful assemblies.—(1) If three or more persons meet together to commit a breach of the peace, or to do any other unlawful act, each of them commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082ors. 775.083.

(2) A person arrested for a violation of this section shall be held in custody until brought before the court for admittance to bail in accordance with chapter 903.

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Thank you for the deep dive R Dooley.

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Chilling

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Yes… and Arizona is worse… have a look at abortion out there.

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Apparently Florida police are now expected to be fragile snowflakes who so 'feel threatened' at the least opportunity that their only available response is arrests with dominating force. Whatever happened to the notion of police as level-headed, strong persons who "protect and serve"?

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"fragile snowflakes" responding with "dominating force"? Not a good look. Also, would Tucker Carlson's call to dismantle mask-wearing fall under any of these new laws?

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And how would that fly in the “Stand your ground” state?

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Stand your ground is pretty much a white male privilege. I’d be amazed if a POC gets to abuse that particularly disturbing law.

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The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

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And Diane, I will recheck the bill when I can regarding the "witness" aspect. I might have missed it during my first reading.

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My point is not that they specifically mentioned witnesses, but, that the law is so broad it could be used to disburse witnesses. Perhaps I’m being overly pessimistic?

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Pessimism is probably a healthy response in this climate.

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"Public order" is a smokescreen and a lie. The real purpose is indeed to suppress dissent.

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Agreed. "Public order" is also like "law and order," a racist problem with non-white peaceful protest.

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Agreed.

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How fortunate for the Republicans that they have stuffed the courts with originalists.

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They have my extremely grudging admiration for having played the long con so well. I don't want to live in their world, but they have played their hand masterfully.

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and Republicans' hand is not yet fully tipped--as in change the Constitution.

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You mean via SCTOUS decisions, or actual amendments? Not that I would put anything past these weasels, but what changes do you suspect they would make if they could?

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Thank you, R. Dooley, for calling this to our attention:

“Hungary’s Parliament voted on Tuesday to transfer control of 11 state universities, along with billions of euros in related state assets, to quasi-public foundations led by close allies of the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orban.” This stuck in my craw and I wondered how could that happen. Of course the clue is that it's about the money--and power to grow wealth and power.

The Guardian article about Hungary is from one year ago and lays out the context with scary echoes for us to heed, as if we haven't already had enough:

"Fidesz [Prime Minister Orban's ruling party] has effectively demolished the independence of the judiciary, as documented in an extensive report by Judith Sargentini for the European Parliament. It has also changed the electoral law so that in 2014, Fidesz got 66% of the seats in parliament on 44% of the vote (whereas in 2010 it needed 53% of the vote to get the parliamentary supermajority that enabled it to change the constitution).

When HCR asked last weekend about the Republican agenda for state elections, the answer that jumped out was to change the Constitution.

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Here but for the grace of God goes the US under any future Republican regime.

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Indeed… and France condones the worst of it… and its Muslims are autonomous.

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I don't think anybody who knows France would ever mistake it for a democracy; an elected President with 5 years to do much as he pleases, without a great deal of reference to a neutered parliament, without judicial interference and no recall possibility for the voters. To cap it all the press are highly subsidized and don't usually bite the hand that feeds it.

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I sense fascism growing all over Europe. It pairs with hatred of US Black and brown, women, Asian, the non white pops… ignorance and fear underly this, but the gut issue mix is color and hair. Both generate mixed or ambivalent feeling. These feelings are generic to humans. We cannot defend nor can we explain. We must struggle for understanding. And tolerance. French press is not free. French people are eternally opinionated. C’est la vie.

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True, but Europe hasn't been a "terre d'immigration" for nearly 2000 years and population movements since have been mainly intra-european and have tended to reinforce Europe's "Christian" culture. Colour was not a question as everyone was effectively much the same and great differences... other than the cultural and linguistic... only occurred when visting other continents.

The current influx of different colours and cultures from many non-European parts of the world has been going on in a fluctuating fashion since the end of the last war and is increasing happening at a time when the people feel that the governments are not listening to them and are not addressing their priorities. Shere numbers are creating greater resistance to immigration and "diversity" as is the growing clamour of individual minority groups that the "white population "respect and adapt to their incoming culture". The idea that imigrants come to France to "become French" and benefit from the life in this country has been lost and assimilation is nolonger happening. As usual appeasement by the government has just fanned the flames and annoyed the French....confirming their idea that the government is not listening. The subject has become a metaphore for the battle between the globalists and those who know and like their roots and many longterm citizens with recent immigrant origins are paying the price.

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Who and where is the Money coming from? Let's go journalism's masters, expose these DEVILS!

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I've been following these developments for some time and they are serious. A good source for information dealing with Constitutional matters in Europe and elsewhere is Verfassungsblog. https://verfassungsblog.de/

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Europe is totally "fudging" their response to these blatant breaches of the founding treaties which are based on an independant judiciary and the rule of law. Poland has gone the same way and both will nonetheless continue to get EU money!

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Yes - knarls the stomach, that.

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Teach the course… spot on.

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I used to teach it in Montreal Universities and would be delighted to do so again...but France imposes a mandatory retirement age of 65 in all institutions of "higher learning" .

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So teach online Stuart. Many here, myself included, would subscribe. Knowledge should be shared, we can’t take it with us. ❤️

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Ellie, the more reason to keep the R’s at bay before they turn our country upside down. They’ve already tried it with the insurrection. Biden put the right person in the job at the DOJ and he may prove to be our saving grace.

I agree with you on making changes to the Constitution that embraces the current time period. It’s exactly why amendments were created, thank goodness!

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Our Republican/Trumpist party has already gamed the system to give themselves substantial control of the government without having popular voting majorities.

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You’re my hero, R Dooley

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Aim higher, brother. But thanks.

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Full time job. Family duties, my dad. Priorities. Right now I have a full plate. Today I am playing hookey here because I got a few unexpected days off, new work schedule starts Sunday.

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Life's priorities as recognized by a good man. Thanks for spending some of your hookey with us.

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Love you right back Ally.

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Enjoy your break!

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We're all heroes of our own lives.

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It’s all good. Being goaded to do better makes me respect the gentleman even more.

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Yes we are.

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Ha ha, since aiming higher comes from one’s own perspective, then you are both my heroes.

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"We're all in the gutter, but some of us look up at the stars."

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Thank you R. Dooley, for bringing these issues to light and for reproducing the abominable new FL law (one of many) and for contacting the Brennan Center. I don’t know how this can be legal and I hope there will be lawsuit(s) that reverse it. At the very least, I hope it wakes enough people up to take notice and get involved. I hope there are enough people in this state who care about our rapidly eroding rights and the rise of authoritarianism.

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I share your hopes.

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While I applaud your hope, Pamsy, I can not share it. There are not enough open minded people here in Florida to pressure any of the elected Republicans. Look at what has happened with the voting suppression bill which has now passed in the House and the Senate, I believe. After all the calls, letters, etc. none of it made a difference. We need to work with groups that are registering new voters, moving the independents to the "D" column and working to get Val Demings elected, no matter what office she eventually runs for. I have just joined my local Democratic club, so hopefully I will have some ideas to share.

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Thanks Annette, for doing what you are doing and for sharing what you learn. I know of a few new Florida residents who care about democracy and vote that way.. I send them info now and then but I can’t seem to get them engaged. It’s often the case that until your own personal rights are truly affected, it’s somebody else’s problem. They are very wealthy people and that can lend a sense of protection and inurement.

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R Dooley may not live in Hungary, but he gets it. Fascism is alive and well… and too many places… they have been spitting on Jews in France for a while… European leaders are afraid to confront all this… BIDEN’s leadership with Harris will be needed… we will get none from today’s GOP…

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Good morning (afternoon!) RD. Yes: he had already forced out the English-language Central European University (which had been founded by George Soros), which is now limited to their campus in Vienna. This was an enormous success story in developing open-society intellectual discourse. I have friends who taught there and students who originally wanted to attend, but it was one of the first organizations Orban shut down.

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That is truly a pity. Shows that Biden knew whereof he spoke when conversing with the journalists last night.

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This is indeed a concern. The SCOTUS under Roberts has stood firm for First Amendment rights of all citizens. These Draconian laws will almost inevitably wind up there and will be a serious test as Roberts can now be outvoted by his own "caucus."

When I heard about this package in Florida, my first thought was to wonder how "Ve vill haff ORDER!" would sound in a Southern accent.

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SCOTUS is already rewriting the First Amendment to privilege religion over public health. Their behavior this year does not encourage optimism.

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Please let us know if you get a response from the Brennan Center. I’ve written to some other organizations but never seem to get any responses back.

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I will.

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In my opinion, the most powerful part of tonight's speech was Biden's reminder of who we are:

‘We the People"... "it’s time we remembered that We the People are the government. You and I.

Not some force in a distant capital. Not some powerful force we have no control over. It’s us."

That's revolutionary talk.

If the oligarchs and authoritarians get us to forget that part, they will have won.

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It was my fourth grade teacher, Mr Welch, who taught his charges the magical words “we the people” … and the sacred words of the Declaration that we are all created equal … so we might secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. I feel for the first time since the 1960s we are returning to these core foundational principles of liberal Democracy.

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From the perspective of oligarchs and authoritarians, "We, the People" only includes them!

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Yes. Yes. Yes.

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Talk about someone rising to the moment, that is President Joe Biden. Here’s someone who has finally reached the pinnacle he has sought most of his life and is making the most of it. Joe has had a lot of time to consider what is good and what needs to be improved in our Democracy. He sets out his vision in such a deliberate, measured and compassionate way that it really gave me pause to think:

Damn, maybe we can really fix what’s needed fixing for so long. Wouldn’t that be a legacy.

After the last 4+ years all I can say is thank God Joe Biden was here when we needed him.

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Yes totally and thank God for Jill right by his side.

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Contrasting both of them, as well as the VP and Second Gentleman, with the previous administration is so deeply edifying and makes me almost hopeful for this country (which is a substantial upgrade for me!)

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I hear you on the upgrade of feelings about the future of the country!

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Not to be all Eeyore about it, but I hope we're not being naive in believing that.

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She is a diamond! Dr. Jill will be a guiding light for those going to junior colleges...for free!!

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We need First Ladies and Gents (first and second) in the style of Eleanor Roosevelt, Lady Bird Johnson, Rosalynn Carter and Hillary Clinton. The Reagan/Bush/45 spouse model is unsuited to the 21C.

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I wonder if President Biden feels a sense of destiny and whether he feels his entire life has been preparation for this moment in history. Even that his focus is on children is deeply embedded in his personal history. Churchill had a sense of destiny. Here are two quotes on destiny from him:

"The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we’re spirits—not animals…. There’s something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."

"I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial... I thought I knew a good deal about it all, I was sure I should not fail."

---Winston Churchill

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Thank you for this, Cathy, and yes, I am sure Joe Biden has felt a sense of destiny, with a moment's reluctance, since he realized 2 or 3 years ago that he had to embark on this journey to save America and democracy. I think he (or Jill Biden) even said as much when announcing his candidacy: There was no one else who could beat trump. There was and is no one else with the skill set, the experience, the connections, the across the aisle expertise, and the depth of compassion (born of terrible loss) to bring our nation back to "We, The People", All of Us This Time. His son, Beau, in 2015 when Beau was dying, made Joe promise that he would run for president. At the time, that bothered me. And, see, he lost. Now I see it as most prescient. I it is exactly as you quote Churchill: "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty." And we are all so fortunate that Joe Biden's whole life has prepared him for this trial, and he had the courage, strength, support, vitality and faith to do it.

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That’s wonderful, Cathy! The Churchill quote gives me goosebumps. I have wondered the same thing. I think about his long years as a senator and the tumultuous and tragic events of his life. And then I think about him at the memorial paying tribute to the 500,000 Americans who had died of Covid and the moving picture of him at Arlington Cemetery, at the time of his decision to bring troops back from Afghanistan. He has been part and privy to decades of American politics, and has learned some good lessons. I have to wonder if he does indeed feel the draft, and the weight, of Destiny.

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I look to his presence at the casket of Officer Sicknick at the Capitol Rotunda, and saw the essence of who Joe Biden is. I suspect he has been forged for this moment in our nation's history.

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The forging of Joe Biden took decades. We will see in the following decades his true temper.

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I think you are correct. As he keeps his focus on the work ahead and his responsibilities as our leader, Biden is demonstrating by example that the distractions of fake stories and false accusations have no relevance to the real business of governing. Faux noise and the like are merely misguided industries of "entertainment." I believe Biden is fully aware that the executive branch is NOT a "reality show" nor a platform for a cult leader. He knows that an aging and badly cast performer who has never had a success in his entire life...the former guy...was a conman and does not deserve any oxygen in this time of "crisis and opportunity." That overgrown adolescent has yet to meet his own "destiny" and I believe it will be a doozy - certainly not of his choosing. Instead, Biden's own destiny will be remembered and surely celebrated for years to come.

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Yes th e celebration was palpable from the moment Biden and Harris proclaimed victory. The fascist guy is now twisting and turning to avoid his fate.

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My heart is so fearful and my head is overtired. I will continue my prayers for all people of good will and stronger even prayers for Joe Biden and all of the brilliant, focused helpers who surround him. And for all of us holding the light through so many dark nights.

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