792 Comments

Slava Ukraini! The home of my ancestors, my father. How I wish that an invisible force could reach inside the evil minds of the Russian operatives in Congress and have them make an “about face” by passing a bipartisan budget and admitting that Trump is Putin’s plaything.

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It is so bizarre. 20 years before I was born, McCarthy was persecuting liberals for being "communists". And he was finally shut down. Now Republicans have reversed course and are supporting Russia reforming a fascist version of the Soviet Union.

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Yes, McCarthy was shut down and disgraced, but Republicans picked up his playbook after Ike, and now they way out-McCarthy McCarthy.

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"communism" fear-mongering. Its history reaches back farther than McCarthy, in the 20s at which time, and for some time, the Soviet Union's propaganda was, a blend of international overthrow and aggressive internal socialism and the dictatorship "of the proletariat"... now it's just Republican sticker-paint.

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In Russia it was just trading one tyranny for another. Some here and elsewhere found communism as Marx wrote it, not how it was practiced in Russia and then China, to be attractive because of the failure of unfettered capitalism which resulted in the Depression. Now the Rs like authoritarian oligarchy as the Putin practices and admire people like Orban as well. The lead story on NBC was the IVF problem. The Alabama attorney general said he wouldn't prosecute, but the doctor and the couples interviewed did not seem to be consoled. I also saw the interview by the Qanon type of the chief justice of the Alabama court, an old theocrat claiming the God created government.

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Sadly, the Russian situation lands right in the lap of G.W. Bush and his sending Milton Friedman over to help with the "free" market establishment. They took all the public works and sold them to rich Russians (soviets) at pennies on the dollar that created the Russian Mafia Oligarchs. When Puting came to power he wooed those men, took control of the government, then used his security state training to force them to comply with him or face jail time, lose their money, and other assets. He made a few examples and the rest fell right in line. Red Notice by Bill Browder gave me a good education on that.

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I remember W sayin that he looked in Putin's eyes and saw something good! W said he could work with Putin. 45 may be the absolute worst president ever. But W isn't far behind.

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I think, in your first sentence, you meant George H.W. Bush, father of Dubya, who was president when the Soviet Union collapsed.

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I believe it is much harder than people realize for whole societies to outgrow their historic institutions, esp with an embedded tradition of "laying down the law" or "our way or the highway". It didn't take long for a large majority of Russians to come around to supporting the war against Ukraine. I'm afraid we fool ourselves a little when we simply claim that this is an example of a bully trying to take over an independent country. Ukraine was about the biggest piece of a Russian empire that cobbled itself together over the past 3-4 centuries.

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I would agree as neither in Russia nor China did they achieve an actual revolution. The history of Ukraine is long and sad. I like Timothy Snyder on Ukraine.

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Red Famine - Anne Applebaum. Good historical piece.

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Yeah.. Frank, your first sentence was the proverbial "mouthful" ...whewww! In the earlier years of our great nation our public schools were challenged and did one hell-of-a-job teaching us (a whole lot of us) here, readin/writin/an rithmetic. And, for "C" level me.., typing!! trouble is, thru my eyes, over the past 50 years the (intentional) warping of public school silli-busses to reflect certain religio/politico/racialo angles has fukked things up.., "bigly".. Add onto that 'charter schools, home-schooling, LGBTQ-ad infinitum, etc., and your first sentence becomes even more correct. Then, of course, along comes #45, a walking talking dose of meth for our southern 'revivalists' and we're almost back to square one. Oh shit... I almost neglected to include help from "Russian INTELLIGENCE" agency'ahhs. Excuse me.. I have to puke.

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Do you 'mean' "outgrow our cultural narratives" or historic institutions Frank ? *edit: Also, what sources convince you that 'a large majority of Russians' support the war v Ukraine ? I'm honestly curious / not playing. Thanks

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They do t know Christianity. If they did they would know that Jesus (Son of God) spoke out against the Powers of government. He spoke out against the power over people. It is about power with the people. Give to Caesar …

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Funnier thing to me is that "OiD"s handlers are conniving enough to realize they 'dipped too often in the well' of stigmatizing, villifying the greaters of humankind - women, and abruptly *yanked back on the reins of the horse's azz - immediately, the same day, lest he blow wind in that direction. He (it_) near immediately 'said' he disagrees with the court on IVF - . I don't buy it, it's not saleable to me.

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R’s gotta keep that donor $ coming in. That will be the next shoe to drop. Russian Oligarchs donating to R PACs. How else can we explain it?

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Money is democracy my friend.

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The equality of the dollar, ruble, or whatever. Votes are bought, sold, traded, and finagled. If that doesn’t work, just deny, cheat, declare democracy dead.

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SCOTUS declared that money is speech. It’s right in line with the idea that corporations are persons. The corollary to money being speech is that lack of money is silence. More money in politics drowns out the voices of those with less of it. So the rationale that to prohibit money in politics is to curb free speech is oxymoronic. And in a society like ours, where money gravitates and accrues around a minority, that minority is able to silence the majority. That, friends and neighbors, is why we need to either expand and pack the court or control both houses of congress to override this pernicious fallacy.

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Money = FREE speech, which sounds like Orwell. Seems to be that one of the principle duties of a "consent of the governed" government is to prevent monopolies of power, the power of money, the power of position, the power of violence, which unbridled. are the tools of tyrants. What the SCOTUS did was to legalize de facto bribery, one of two "high crimes" (along with treason) named in the Constitution. And day after day the headlines show that it is NOT a victimless crime.

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Money is speech leads to the correlary that speech is fungible. Replace 'support and defend the Constitution' with 'I'll be a dictator'. What's the difference?

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I guess it's spelled corollary.

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Inequality. A few have a tremendous amount of more free speech than the most, so much could concentrated free speech that the majority does seem completely silent. That is oligarchy. That is oppression. These are tenants of fascism.

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Democracy is not money though.

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Let freedom ring, cha Ching

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That has now just been shortened in the gop to “Let Freedom ChaChing”

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We've reached the point where we could just count dollars raised rather than votes. The R's have already trashed dollar ID laws.

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Ur right. All studies demonstrate that since 1980, who outspends wins the race 9 out of ten times. This is irrefutable fact of every race from city, county, state, and federal level. It is all about campaign finance.

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I recall a front page chart of which how much a lineup of candidates had raised, implying a measure of electability. We now take it for granted that money is part of what shapes our electoral and legislative outcomes; no biggie. The news regularly reports that popular legislation is enduringly blocked by a "powerful" well-heeled lobby. How is that not corruption? But no matter; since we don't seem to have enough time to worry about it.

Meanwhile our society feels more and more like we're losing control.

Bummer.

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Is that a typo, or is dollar id something I haven't heard of?

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My smartassery didn't hit. I was trying refer to allowing for unlimited dark money but making actual voters have strict ID rules.

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What are you saying specifically please?

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The myth. The myth that we are taught to believe our democracy is perfect. Money buys power. Power is addictive. Power costs. Change the laws for unlimited money on our politics and we get unlimited donations, unlimited terms from addicted power hungry addicts.

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We have kept the post WW2 Peace because of unlimited military spending. Democracy was a sideshow. I say that because we have now all been schooled by donald to have to acknowledge that the “Rule of Law” bends its knee to money/power, as long as men and women are made up of flesh and desire. We as “The Will of the People” are desperately trying to prove that false, but are being halted by gerrymandering, packed courts, voter suppression, captured media, weaponized christianity, unlimited dark money flowing in to lift all these boats from every sewer in the underworld. I accept this is the Fight we are in. And we really, really do need to form a “More Perfect Union” along the way.

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Our Democracy is not perfect and I doubt you would find any sensible person anywhere who would claim that it is so. It is a work in progress--with the progress on temporary hold, thanks to the MAGApublicans in Congress.

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I was never taught that our democracy was "perfect" but seeking to be a "more perfect union". Which means participation. An educated populous about how our government works, how an economy works.

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Money makes the world go around

The world go around

The world go around

Money makes the world go around

It makes the world go 'round.

A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound

A buck or a yen

A buck or a pound.

Is all that makes the world go around

That clinking, clanking sound

Can make the world go 'round

Money money money money

Money money money money

Money money money

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Thank you Hoyt Bang. Perhaps we should watch Cabaret again to see the rise of fascism. Same playbook today.

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And those donors are the root of the problem. Without that flow of money, the “Republican” party would wither away. WHO ARE THEY? WHY ARE THEY SUPPORTING THIS? WHY? WHY? WHY?

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Tax cuts and preserving minority rule. They do not care about anything else (abortion, guns, voting rights, etc, etc. ) their wealth can handled any other eventuality that may befall them. Make no mistake few of the very wealthy believe in the constitution of Justice for all. Their goal is to control government. The Trump Tax cut furthered their hold on the rest of us because if they only donated a 1/3 of their tax savings it would exceed by two fold oral prior election spending. They consider it a good investment. Research will prove this to you.. Start by reading Dark Money

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commitment to traditional values and ideas with opposition to change or innovation.

"proponents of theological conservatism"

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Doesn’t it boil down to stockholders in the biggest corporations, when you think about it Harry?

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Money buys propaganda. Our democracy is in danger because a few rich guys persuaded a third or so of the US citizenry that TFG won, that government has a place in personal decisions, that we're being invaded by immigrants, that everyone has a right to own an assault weapon, that education is indoctrination.

They did all that by pouring a shower of gold over marketing pros like Frank Luntz, who in turn created a Newspeak in which all dissenters are godless America haters.

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You suggest that they're not already donating or just that it hasn't become part of the public record yet?

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Not public yet. Just hints in the news over the last decade or so. Example, why was former state banker Alexander Torshin at all those NRA meetings and conferences? In 2016, the NRA increased donations to R campaigns by over 30 million. That couldn’t have come from increased memberships. Thats just one PAC. There is real Corruption in America, Citizens United allows for unlimited donations from anywhere into our politics. Without any transparency, Dark Money has Democracy in Chains, and is taking us down The Road to Unfreedom.

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I'm sure Putin's orange apprentice has that credit line open.

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They already do.

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Of course Russia is no longer a communist country, although Trump still calls it that. That is an interesting observation however!

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Russia never has been a communist country no matter what they called themselves. From the revolution on they have been authoritarian. Lenin and Trotsky may have wanted a communistic socialism, but they never achieved it.

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Russia is now a kleptocracy, with a small group of people (men) literally stealing the country's resources, with Putin being the principal thief and probably now the richest man in the world. But, what can the Russian people do? They live in a police state. Not to be melodramatic, but we need to stop the march to kleptocracy here in this country now. The line in the sand has been drawn.

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Who has drawn the line in the sand about kleptocracy in the US as you stated Richard? What do the American people know of it? Journalists such as Jane Mayer have written about kleptocracy in her book 'Dark Mail' and in articles printed in the New Yorker. President Biden and members of the Democratic Party have referred to it (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders et al.) but how clearly has the transfer of wealth in this country, beginning most recently during former President Reagan's administrations, been addressed and explained?

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My interpretation of Richard's words was that the kleptocrats drew a line in the sand. I guess the intended implication might have been that the SC equating money with speech, for example, is plain to be seen, and can fairly be called a kleptocratic line in the sand.

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"The line in the sand" is principally the fact that the majority of Republicans favor a would-be dictator, a man who would ensure that the wealthy get wealthier and that the democratic process would be terminated. No more "one person, one vote, majority rule." If Trump is successful in taking back the presidency, there will be a mass exodus of people and capital from this country. No one and nothing of any value will be safe. Given the military power possessed by the U.S. and our wealth, Trump would make Putin look like a pauper. What could the two of them do if they join forces? Shudder to think about it.

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Absolutely correct, and another elephant in the dark room. But that's one photo never well developed.

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They also realized the only way to achieve their idyllic society was through force and tyranny.

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Yes, but they never did achieve that idyllic society no matter how much they insisted the people "loved" it.

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so very true. In Dr. Hotez's book about Anti-Science he documents how the scientists were treated in the USSR. Their treatment was why the Soviets had to steal the American technology all the time. Similar to what China and North Korea do today. Kind of hard to innovate when your failure could mean your execution.

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Agreed. Never in its full meaning.

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It is not communism or fascism that are the enemy (yes both are). Rather it is a regime oppressing its people and the people of its neighbors. Russia under Putin has this in spades.

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Authoritarianism is the enemy of unalienable rights irrespective of the trimmings.

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We Must Put a Stop to this madness. These evil so called leaders are destroying our country. While we wait to vote Donald Damn Trump is the leader of this Putinite party

No stopping him with law suits or trials. He just keeps on and on. When will this madness end???🥴

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It’s true if it were anyone else they’d in in prison by now. WTF???

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Although sometimes I wonder if the word enemy isn't less appropriate than the word adversary.

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No longer communist, an idea built to fail. But,a country that employs fear to keep people..it's population, in align. Morphed from the KGB is the Federal Security Service, or as we refer to it, "Russian intelligence"agency. Intelligence being the big misnomer. And, it's agents constitute the fungus among us, Mr Smirnov for example, whose job is to do what he just did. Thus we clearly have a (R)ePutlicking party to deal with. Certainly creates a bad taste in my mouth for a similar sounding brand of vodka.

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The FSB is smart enough to play Trump like a football. They even kicked him over the goalpost in 2016. They are pulling GOP strings in Congress as well. It not rocket science, but they've been getting away with it.

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Sure would like to see the NRA’s books.

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You would probably see things in their books that concerned you but make no mistakes. The problem is with our oligarchs: Koch, Crow, Mellon, Adelson, Ricketts, McMahon, Singer, Ryan, DeVos, Schwab, Stevens and many more. You can bet your last dollar that none of these people really care about anything except tax cuts and maintaining minority rule. Anonymous, unlimited political contributions are an abomination and should be stopped.

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Did I hear yesterday LaPiere stole 5 mil from NRA?

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Russian history is replete with authoritarian rule, but i suspect you'll find there was something of a social revolution at the bequest of the proletariat dictatorship, and not just malevalent.

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I appreciate your post was abbreviated, still I can't be sure I understand what you meant.

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state sponsored economic and financial operations supporting eg medical, housing, food, energy, social assistance, pensions and i can't say what else without a bit of homework. The idea is that the government exists to support its population. Even if elites cream off something for themselves. palaces, dachau and other perks.

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Smirnoff, Smirnoff, fungus, are they fungible? As Lev Parnas is wont to say, it's a joke.

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When did Trump ever say anything true? Maybe by mistake sometimes. Modern Republicans call anything they disfavor "communist".

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Funny you should mention that J L. I watched a clip yesterday from the 1980's and Trump was talking about building on the granite in Manhattan. It's only about 30 seconds long and he still talks in his stutter-step moronic style. BUT he didn't tell a single lie in the 30 second clip.

So sometime since 1990 Trump was abducted by aliens and they altered his brain so that he can never tell the truth. Either that or one of his rape victims was a witch and cast a spell on him. /S

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Manhattan bedrock is schist, not granite. Schist is metamorphic, granite is igneous.

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Correct, Pam. (We should never take anything Donald says for granite.)

https://www.newyorknature.us/new-york-geology/

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I hope Lawrence O’Donnell is reading this. He made the point that in that video tfg was thinking clearly, not saying that he was speaking truthfully. I’m convinced that the only truthful thing manbaby45 ever said was YOU KNEW I WAS A SNAKE. 🤡🎃💩

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Look at the film clip of Trump in Moscow with his first wife (?) in the Square, towers behind him. He probably associates them with Putin instead of the czars. Gold!!!

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The aliens who abducted his brain were Russians.

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And Marty Feldman accidentally chose the Abbey Normal brain he's misusing today.

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Can we say “Stalinism”?

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about it!

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Exactly

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Bullseye! Ditto for Vlad. If Vald claims he was hoping for something out of his recent Tuckerview other than what he got, what on earth could persuade anyone to believe he was suddenly not lying?

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Does anyone know whether Russian citizens are allowed to own guns and whether they are allowed to carry them around openly? That question popped into my head in the middle of the night. I suspect Putin would never allow this but I could be wrong.

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Sorry Trump’s deflection and distortion is no longer interesting. They are propaganda.

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It’s all completely crazy childish lying. How can folks believe it? The media should spend a lot more time calling these statements out. I was surprised to see that Fox News had done some live fact checking over a Trump speech yesterday.

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Yeah, I wonder what George Carlin might make of it. Remove all the inaccuracies, meaninglessness and lies and all that would be left is orange-guy's lips moving like a silent movie.

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I'm pretty sure he would use all seven words you can't say on television in his remark. I could be wrong because he would likely use duplicates.

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Attorney: Tell us, Mr. Carlin, in your own words, what you saw.

Carlin: I don't have my own words, I'm using the same words everybody else is using.

Duplicates

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Putin is a Soviet Communist. The only difference is now he has a lot of Western money in his pocket that he uses to stay in power.

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It’s not really a fascist version of the USSR. Putin wants to revive the Tsarist empire.

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Matt, to be clear, McCarthy was a fascist. Plain and simple.

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That's a great point! And makes parsing what is happening make a lot more sense.

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gotta shake your head, not just once...

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It makes absolutely no sense.

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I believe they will end up supporting reform to a fascist version in the US…

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My great-grandparents came from Latvia and Lithuania (one each). Seeing those two peaceful countries looking so tiny on the globe, and so close to a certain aggressive behemoth...

NATO is essential. Full stop.

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As a great-grandchild of Lithuanian immigrants to the US, I celebrated when the country declared its sovereignty from the Soviet Union. The US must maintain its support of Ukraine and all of NATO. To change course now would be to irreparably destroy the gains that democracy has made over the past three decades and might as well wash the world wars from history.

Slava Ukraine. 🇺🇦🌻

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Feb 24·edited Feb 24

My grandparents escaped from Lithuania as teens when their farmer parents scraped up enough money to place their children on a ship to America to save them. Will America step up now to help Ukraine survive? With the MAGA Trumpist Republicans bent on openly destroying our democracy?

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I agree with you 100 percent!

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I have great great grandparents that came from Slovakia and the Czech Republic-before the country broke up and was the Austrian Empire.My aunt went out that way awhile ago.Still distant relatives there.They are close to the fighting.We need more than ever to help the Ukraine 🇺🇦 so this war doesn’t spread to other countries!!!

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Slava Ukraini! The home of our cousin's wife and her family, who are now living in the USA and Germany. I am furious that the bill is not being passed and after reading Alexander Vindman's substack this morning, https://alexandervindman.substack.com/ I wrote to my Representative in the House again, and asked him to do whatever it takes to get funding for Ukraine. I am also furious that we are paying taxes to fund Republican members of Congress who are working for the FSB and Putin's agenda. They are our enemies, and are making war on our friends. Try these treacherous treasonous traitors!

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I agree. I have also been writing letters and emails to our representatives. There are so many of us who want our government to support Ukraine against the murderous, cowardly Putin.

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Thanks for the link. I’m going to email my representatives yet again. It’s something but it doesn’t seem like enough.

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It’s the best thing to do!I’ve been doing the same thing!

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It is extraordinary to see members of the GOP actively courting the good wishes of the Kremlin. Prior generations of GOP leaders would not recognize the current car-wreck of their party.

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Not so sure. Have you read Le Monde’s history of the Bush family? Oil is just another form of gold.

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There were good repubs who gave Nixon the boot.

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Exactly. No one now stands tall in their shoes

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I like the phrase “Russian operatives” to describe certain Republican members of Congress. It should be applied to the sociopathic degenerate liar as well. We need to get back to a civilized political conversation but the broken system makes that impossible if not dangerous at this critical time of elections. I hope that Democrats use this type of short but emotional phrase in their campaign because it works with an electorate that is ill informed and reluctant to think through difficult foreign policy nuances. The only way to salvage democracy and world order and make a meaningful difference is to re-elect President BIDEN AND GET A COMFORTABLE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY. No political party is perfect and no candidate is perfect but given the current situation it is clear that Trump presidency with or without a GOP majority in both houses would be catastrophic

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Huge,overwhelming,slam dunk,undeniable win, not just comfortable! Please.🙏🏼💪🏻💙🧢

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Your voice in God’s Ear, dear Marlene. Indeed. Ukraine is where it’s most clear.

How I wish. Spreading prejudice, Evil Fascism and the curse of mankind’s Big Lies spreading again - world wide.

Add climate driving millions in migration and warming, a Covid-19 pandemic, Gaza, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran…

And Israeli response and the hostages, a congress crippled by racism and enfeebled by corruption,

the MAGA GOP fed by Putin laundering billions in real estate impoverishing his people,

With our Blacks exhibiting character, our whites repeating, we’re experiencing The Book of Job

and mankind seems trapped in a world gone mad.

Who will lead us in Ukraine? President Biden makes the case. The Speaker, a pathetic Russian Republican apparatchik, dancing for Trump MAGA, assuming deadly border chaos… pleasing the Russian Bear… the poor bastard cannot count.

They use abortion and IVF to divide us, women dying and angered, man stalled watching.

Marlene Lerner-Bigley… keep your eye on brave Ukraine... may the cowards in the GOP House find their conscience. Trump is slowly collapsing.

Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill said it well. American’s get it right. When all else fails us.

Perhaps Ivy League students will come around. Antisemitism on campus among confused Jews? What are they learning there? Self loathing?

Your voice in God’s Ear. Surely, He’s listening.

Let Us Pray. 🙏

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Thank you, Sandy. If God was of the feminine form, she would not dally in sending plagues to the homes of the inept and corrupt R Congress members. She must be listeniing, right? Let us pray. 🙏

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God, poor God, is not of the feminine form. Clearly. Nor are our leaders, anywhere. The truly good Golda from MIlwaukee, the magnificent Maggie that rose from the bench, and dear Indira assassinated, as is the custom over there, in recent times these three exhibited much of what we need… Catherine the Great seems to be lurking in Putin’s memory on his hard drive, driving his insecurities… It will never be Putin the Great, that man cannot touch Catherine. Is She listening? Guessing, Yes. She’s waiting patiently in line… while the Macho Men flex… and we duck. Sadly, our macho men do not measure up to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Monroe or Abraham Lincoln….or TR or FDR or HST or Ike… Joe Biden has performed well with NATO.. no doubt, but his voice seems ignored - and that may drive us backward to DJT of the Hidden Transcripts and Heel Spurs, our Liar in Chief…

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Feb 24·edited Feb 24

Ha! Mine too, fled 1923. "Donylsk" today (then, Chortitza near Zaporizhzhia). and Me too!

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Feb 24·edited Feb 24

Would mass protest in front of Congress push the Ukraine aid package?

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I think we would have to commit to an insurrection for them to pay attention.

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Great idea!!I wonder what they would do if it happened!

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'...an about face', I think about that choice of words, Marlene. Which way are they facing? Which way are Americans facing? How to know what kind of country America is today as we think of Trump, right-wing 'nationalists', white supremacy, guns-guns-guns, evangelicals, our schools, our health care, our elections, President Biden, Climate Change, Putin, Ukraine, Netanyahu, Dark Money... Democracy?

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FERN MCBRIDE (NYC), whew, when you list our troubles and our opponents, it's easy to understand our anxieties, fears, anger, overwhelm, etc. And you just listed some.

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Thank you for your message, M Tree. (I've always loved trees). It is so important for us to care for each other as we work together for Democracy, freedom and respect for life on earth.

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FERN MCBRIDE (NYC), thank you. I love trees too. It is a name I chose because of that. I had my identity stolen years ago, so I am very cautious and protective of it, perhaps overly. I definitely agree with you. We are wishing for and working for a government that sees us all (not just humans, everything) as interconnected and valuable. And along the way, we need to remember to honor the dignity of one another and ourselves with compassion, as this is truly the spirit of what we are wishing for in gov't. Thank you for your message, Fern. And p.s. that was my grandmother"s middle name. She was a pivotal person in my childhood who taught me to be kind and understanding toward all life, even toward a toad who lived in a hole in her cement steps.

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M Tree you touch my heart with your thoughts, feelings and your grandmother's teachings. Thank you.

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FERN MCBRIDE (NYC), thank you also, Fern.

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Marlene Lerner-Bigley (CA) - "Slava Ukraini!"

"Glory to Ukraine!" (Ukrainian: Слава Україні!, romanized: Slava Ukraini!, IPA: [ˈsɫaʋɐ ʊkrɐˈjinʲi]) is a Ukrainian national salute, known as a symbol of Ukrainian sovereignty and resistance to foreign aggression. It is the battle cry of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. (Wikipedia)

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'Front-line Ukrainian commander pleads with Senate leader Schumer for aid'

By Siobhán O'Grady and Kostiantyn Khudov

February 23, 2024 at 2:34 p.m. EST

'Ukrainian drone unit commander Denys, 31, who also goes by the call sign “Hipster,” monitors a Ukrainian-made reconnaissance drone from a foxhole near the front line as the drone departs to scout for Russian positions on Friday. (Alice Martins for The Washington Post)'

'DONETSK REGION, Ukraine — As U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) led a congressional delegation to western Ukraine on Friday, a 31-year-old Ukrainian drone commander sat perched in a muddy foxhole in the country’s east, scanning his laptop screen for Russian targets.'

'Schumer and four other senators were in the western city of Lviv to meet with military leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The meeting was a show of U.S. support as Republicans in Congress continue to block an aid package that would give Ukraine desperately needed military assistance as Russia’s invasion enters a third year.'

On Feb. 13, the Senate approved a $95 billion package that would commit $60 billion to Ukraine, but House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) preemptively rejected the legislation and has refused to bring it up in the House.'

'Schumer’s visit to Ukraine was intended to ramp up pressure on the Republican-led House to drop its resistance to the aid. Ukraine’s leaders insist they are already running out of ammunition, and further delays could help Russian troops seize more territory and potentially even lead to Ukraine’s defeat.'

'Denys, a reconnaissance drone operator who also goes by the call sign Hipster, said he is already feeling the pinch. He spoke on the condition that his last name not be used, in keeping with military rules.'

'Denys and his unit are responsible for identifying high-value targets, such as Russian equipment, artillery and armored vehicles. Ukrainian artillery units then rely on that intelligence to launch precise strikes on those positions using U.S.-supplied ammunition, including 155mm shells.'

'But in recent months, as U.S. aid has faltered, the troops have been forced to ration those shells. Even if Denys and his team found scores of important targets, he said, the artillery unit would probably have to choose just one.'

'Ukraine suffered losses during chaotic withdrawal as Russia seized Avdiivka'

'After spending the day at Denys’s drone position on Friday, Washington Post reporters had wrapped up interviews with him and other soldiers in a nearby town when Schumer’s press secretary called for a previously planned phone interview with the senator. Told about the drone commander’s shell shortage and offered the chance to speak with Denys directly, Schumer agreed.' (WAPO) See gifted link below.

https://wapo.st/49nqSld

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'Hard Lessons Make for Hard Choices 2 Years Into the War in Ukraine'

'Western sanctions haven’t worked. Weapons from allies are running low. Pressure may build on Kyiv to seek a settlement, even from a weakened position.' (NYTimes, excerpt)

'Two years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States has the capacity to keep Kyiv supplied with the weapons, technology and intelligence to fend off a takeover by Moscow. But Washington is now perceived around Europe to have lost its will.

'The Europeans, in contrast, have the will — they just committed another $54 billion to reconstruct the country — but when it comes to repelling Russia’s revived offensive, they do not have the capacity.'

'That is the essence of the conundrum facing Ukraine and the NATO allies on the dismal second anniversary of the war. It is a stunning reversal. Only a year ago, many here predicted that Ukraine’s counteroffensive, bolstered by European tanks and missiles and American artillery and air defenses, could push the Russians back to where they were on Feb. 24, 2022.'

'Now, some harsh lessons have emerged. The sanctions that were supposed to bring Russia’s economy to its knees — “the ruble almost is immediately reduced to rubble,” President Biden declared in Warsaw in March 2022 — have lost their sting. The International Monetary Fund’s prediction that the Russian economy would shrink considerably was only briefly true; with the huge stimulus of military spending, it is growing faster than Germany’s. Income from oil exports is greater than it was before the invasion.'

'With the setbacks, and the failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, hope has just about collapsed that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia will conclude anytime soon that he can make no further gains and should enter a serious negotiation to end the war.'

'American and European intelligence officials now assess that Mr. Putin is determined to hold on, even at the cost of huge casualties, in the hope that a failure in Congress to fund Ukraine’s effort sufficiently or a victory by former President Donald J. Trump in November will make up for the Russian leader’s many early mistakes.' (NYTimes By Steven Erlanger and David E. Sanger, Reporting from Munich and Berlin) See link below, sorry that it could not be gifted.'

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/24/world/europe/lessons-choices-war-in-ukraine.html

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Fern, I can only imagine what Biden said to Navalny’s wife and daughter. Because of Trump’s obvious sharing of names of our undercover spies, getting to Putin is impossible now. November cannot come soon enough.

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Oh, Marlene, You said that so well. Thank you. We have to do an end run around all these braying, obstructionist MAGAts. We simply must.

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I notice that a number of commenters are playing into Putin's false version of history by referring to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as "Russia". As anyone who has taken Professor Timothy Snyder's excellent course on the history of Ukraine can attest, Ukraine came into existence as a national state at a time when Moscow was a small trading outpost and no such thing as Russia existed. After the revolution, "Russia" was part of the USSR, as was Ukraine. "Russia" is now part of the Russian Federation, consisting of those Soviet "Republics" which did not choose independence when the breakup of the USSR took place.

If we use correct historical terminology we suck the wind out of the lies of Putin and his puppets everywhere.

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Heroiam Slava!

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I cannot forget that when Zelensky asked for ammunition, it took our government a while to agree. And as Zelensky repeatedly called for more, and more powerful ammunition, what we sent was consistently less than he'd requested. At multiple times, he asked for specific weapons, and each time we sent some weapons, but not he ones he'd requested. With hindsight, we have to ask ourselves whether our delay in sending what he knew he needed, whether our timidity, fearing escalating the conflict, was repeatedly too little too late and has now placed us in the position where we are unable to send the Ukranians the ammunition that they so desperately need.

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So true Betsy! John F. Kennedy once said, “Not to decide is to decide.” Everyone forgets that Ukraine, possessing the third most nuclear weapons on earth, gave them up when we guaranteed their safety. In the long litany of absurd, stupid, self-defeating, ignorant decisions by GOP leadership, turning their back on Ukraine and sucking up to Putin is high on the list.

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Yes this bears repeating: Ukraine gave up the third most nuclear weapons on Earth 30 years ago with assurances from the U.S. that it would be protected.

On last nights Amanpour & Co., Christianne Amanpour was in Kiev and interviewed Oleksiy Goncharenko, Ukrainian MP, who was puzzled by American lawmakers faltering and delaying aid to Ukraine. He brought up the fact that Ukraine gave up one third of the entire world's nuclear arsenal with promises from us. That Russia would never have invaded them if they had kept those weapons instead. He went on the state the obvious fact that Ukraine is fighting to keep its independence but also to stop Russia from steamrolling onto the next country that Putin has his eyes set on.

But more than that is the fact that they gave up so many nuclear weapons that have the potential to cause something called overkill or annihilation of every living thing on Earth. By giving up some of the most destructive, menacing, horrifying weaponry mankind has ever devised they are now being invaded and devastated by Russia. Republican House members ought to ashamed of themselves for not helping Ukraine but I'm sure they're not.

https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2024/02/22/amanpour-goncharenko-ukraine.cnn

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Some people make decision making into a painstaking drawn out event. My partner and I decided before we got our first client that we would never delay a decision. I don't recall a single time we later reversed ourselves or that we over rode one another's decisions.

As it turns out, one rarely, decides differently from your initial decision and new facts rarely change your decision either. So instead of wasting everyone's time by putting off a decision, just do it.

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It is attributed to the late Marilyn Monroe “ sometimes the best decision is ‘ oh what the hell’”.

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Of course, they are not. They are on Putin’s payroll.

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Traitorous is almost too kind of a word for them.

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It’s the worst I could come up with. They are worse than bottom feeders

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Wow...I did not know that....but I am not surprised that the US has failed to keep its promise. What does surprise me is that Ukraine trusted us.

If I were the rest of the world....my hated for the US and it's entitled and pompous ways would be growing every day. The sad part is....I do not believe that the actions of Congress have reflected the will of the majority of US citizens for decades.

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Yes, how is it that a handful of rabid idiots call the shots?

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Russians were part of that deal and also guaranteed Ukrainian sovereignty. The idea that they can be negotiated with should be long rotted away.

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Much of the rest of the world has the knowledge that a minority of people in America are as bad as a minority of people in other countries — fascists, bullies, etc.. They know that America also has its share of good people. Being disappointed or even hurt is more likely than hatred.

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Recall that delay for certain categories of weaponry was due to whether or not the US would be perceived as actively participating in the war. Other types required training of the operators. The delay we’re seeing now is purely political gamesmanship and/or based on ignorance of our obligations to Ukraine.

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At Republicans are no longer capable of shame

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I want our troops to jump in the fight with Ukraine against the invader Vladimir Putin. Just go around the roadblock the traitors in congress have erected.

Joe is Commander in Chief. 30 years ago when we promised to protect Ukraine in exchange for giving up their nuclear arsenal that made Ukraine an automatic member of NATO to my way of thinking.

If USA cannot be trusted to keep our promises we’ll be a country without allies and without friends. We’re on the verge of that now.

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Traitorous, working against the positions of the government, and from within. Way more than policy disagreements. The evil puppet master is a traitor, period.

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Why have we let this go in for so long? I should think if Biden can find a work around to cancel student loan debt he could find an alternate way to send $ to Ukraine and to kneecap Johnson.

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I keep reading of things he can do. Not things that are normally done, but it's not normal times. Bring out all the options and get busy. While you can...

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Should I step off the train track before the train gets here? Not to decide is to decide.

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100 Panthers, thank you for reminding us of the JFK quote: “Not to decide is to decide.” So absolutely true. And there are so many Americans on the fence about our election in November! When I hear people quiver about supporting Biden because of his age, I am hearing them deciding by not deciding. Lawrence Tribe has an excellent commentary about this that I found inspiring, cogent and decisive, for anyone questioning BIden. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9vsivYrC4U

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Betsy Smith, Many of us will always wonder about being a step behind in our weapons shipments, but there’s a sharp distinction between then and now. Then Biden was being cautious based on risk analysis and information most of us will never see. He cared about the potential big-picture harm of his decisions. Now is so different. Mike Johnson, Gaetz, and the rest are thinking only of the smallest picture. They care nothing for the harm done while they play kid’s games. I agree with you. It’s time for Biden to pull out all the stops, including offensive weapons, NOW NOW NOW!

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Stanley, who could have foreseen how the malignancy of MAGA would metastasize so quickly into the blind obedience that the GOP has toward an insane megalomaniac, Sauron’s Eye

We’re living in a realty of Fiction’s Nightmare in the Flesh: Frodo vs Gilead

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Dave Dalton, I believe a lot of us here in the comments section would raise our hands and say: “I did”.

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I did not see the collapse of the House coming in such extreme that MAGA would sacrifice US National Security, global security in deference to a mad man’s mean posts

I had more faith than that. If you predicted that, well ok then

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You sound like a raving madman who would hustle us along toward a nuclear confrontation that we can't win.

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As the people died, where was the uproar as we see about Gaza today.

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Let’s see the loss of Ukrainian lives touted in the press each day so we can compare.

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Feb 24·edited Feb 24

Seems our MSM can only handle one headline at a time. Not adequate since the onslaught is constant and from all directions.

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And actually the number of Russian deaths.

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It's sickening. Heartbreaking. Slava ukraini!

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too little, too late, then sputtering out? what does the current funding paralysis say about the world's largest global superpower with a two-ocean navy like no other and outspending the next nine largest military budgets?

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THAT always confused me....why we did not go full blast in helping them. Why not give them the exact equipment they asked for. Even now I wonder why we haven't found a way around Congress. Roosevelt did before the US declared war on Japan and Germany. He found a way to supply Britain.

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😢

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Betsy, Hindsight tends to ignore the multitude of reasons that tough decisions were made as they were. Better to trace back to that point time to understand why the aid was offered as it was

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Betsy, it seems that the GOP (god awful party) supporting TFP, and particularly the MAGA radicals, are blocking everything we hold dear in this country, our freedom, our democracy, our equality, the common good.

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Each time weapons are requested the legislators do the same thing they are doing now--performance politics. Rather than supporting democracy, the pander to the voters selling their lies.

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Sad to say, democracy does not seem to be on the radar of the MAGA legislators. Being obstructionist just for the sake of being obstructionist and deferring to the leader of the cult seem to be the determining factors.

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Oh brother! Sister did you hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

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Feb 24·edited Feb 24

I know the whole point of this newsletter is current events through the lens of history, but frankly one should not need to take a sweeping, geopolitical "eyes of history" approach to understand why supporting Ukraine is a moral gimmie: They are an allied nation - a friend - and you don't turn your back on a friend when the going gets tough. Would you stop bringing cookies to your friend with cancer because it is taking them "too long" to get better and it's just, like, a bummer? No, unless you're a grade-A a$$hole.

My rants are usually longer, but it is really that simple on a basic, intuitive level any child could understand.

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In addition to a truthful accounting of current events, we need activism. So far the only activism I see is young people re Gaza. Which overshadows Ukraine. When will the gravity of Ukraine holding back the flood with a finger in the dike become front and center.

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Oh, the activism is out there, Jeri, and on a variety of subjects! Believe you me!

However, I think much of it takes differing forms than it used to. In my Dad's day, you had to show up in person, which made demostrations more dramatic but also more localized and limited in who was willing to participate. So much of young people's lives is spent in the digital world. This can have a myriad of drawbacks, as we are well aware. Yet it also blow the door open wide to so many new ways that did not exist before to reach people, share important messages, and organize action. Think of what we do here: in our own homes, but getting more informed and determined at the same time. Easier to miss, but still powerful.

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Interesting comment, Will. I made a comment yesterday wondering where the protest songs I grew up listening to (on a 33 1/3 RPM record) were. The answer is “on digital platforms” that I can barely find, much less navigate. The fire is there…

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I'm loving the trend of the sale of physical records and books spiking these last few years. It makes sense to me. After the pandemic that kept us immersed and immiserated in virtual and distanced everything, many people would of course gravitate back toward the tangible. For the youngest cohort of shoppers that are "digital natives," it would actually be a genuine novelty and status symbol. When I helped my younger brother move recently, both he and his bestie/roommate had several boxes of vinyls & CDs. Now they're both musicians, but still...

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My brother-in-law is a real audiophile. He’s got some fabulous vinyl records. I really want to get Jimmy Buffett’s “Bubbles Up” album on vinyl. (Yes, I am both a musician and a Parrothead.)

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A bunch of my brother's friends are the audiophile/vinyl type too, and always talk it up. I am I no monetary position to replace my hundreds of CDs, so I felt better when I read up and found out that the idea that vinyl "sounds better" is a myth. What the people who prefer vinyl are reacting to is how it can sound oh-so-slightly *different,* and they feel like the analog quality is more "warm" and "authentic." (If it was recorded before the advent of CD, that might be true in one sense, though!) To be clear, I am not mocking it, I was just relieved when I realized it was more of a cool-person thing than an inherent-quality thing. I still love the large tactile nature of it, though! I wish I was rich lol.

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Are you saying that although young people are not physically gathering to protest they are doing so online and making progress with tangible results?

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Yes, I wonder this also. How is digital activism happening? What impact is it having? How is the press picking this up?

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Kathi, if you could read my response to Marj up above I think it also applies to your questions... although I am no authority and would love to hear everyone else's experience!

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Feb 25·edited Feb 25

Marj, I have been thinking about this all day and I think that the trouble with considering whether a protest produced "tangible results" is that any form of protest so rarely works quickly and directly like that. You usually don't have 1,000 people show up outside the Capitol building and then a couple Senators say, "Wow, people seem to really care! I guess I will change my mind!" The more usual road is that minds keep getting changed as people keep getting louder and eventually you reach a point where the thing you wanted to see happen all along seems like the only viable option left. This only happens if people care, and are willing to utilize whatever resources they have available to affect change in a way that seems right to them. All I can say is that I have clearly seen an uptick in young people - along with older people too - taking an interest in politics and current events and participating in the body politic. More people are discussing current events with urgency online (and in person!), organizing events online, making persuasive videos, making phone calls through Zoom, doing text banks, signing and petitions, etc... and all this leads to greater turnout when it comes to VOTE, which change really gets made. Whether people are voting begrudgingly, defensively, or enthusiastically, it doesn't matter. All we know is more people have been voting, and more young people have been voting proportionally. We all know how immersed on the daily the newest generation of voters are online, so it is reasonable to me to draw an inference/connection.

I read something once that said that my Dad's Vietnam-era generation of protest was a cultural success, but a political failure. The protestor cohort of Boomers were original, loud, visible, influential... and Nixon was elected and then re-elected in a landslide. The war might have ended faster than otherwise, and the counterculture changed public perception of the citizen's role in politics irrevocably, but it didn't last and the ensuing decades of federal policy ended up quite opposite from their goals. If all goes well this year, we will be experiencing the opposite: a movement that is fractured and largely invisible to the press and the cameras that ends up resulting in the 8-year Presidency of a competent elderly stateman without a fervent following... and a genuinely transformative shift in public policy that leads the country in a more progressive direction long-term.

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How can we bring Ukraine back to center? I’m going to email President Biden in addition to writing more letters to the “persuadable “ house republicans. Maybe we need postcards with sunflowers 🌻 , hand write our support for Ukraine, and send them to every member of the House. I bet there are sunflower postcards on Etsy.

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Postcards coming up. Sunflowers a great idea. Ukraine was such a beautiful country before the deliberate destruction. Our country is too, Piss on those trying to destroy what so many have died to achieve.

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What congressperson doesn’t want to come back from a “two-week vacation “ to find their mailbox stuffed with a gazillion sunflower postcards that say something like, “Support Freedom. Fund Ukraine. I Vote.” Together, we can do this.😊🌻

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I hope you don't support Ukraine's far-right one-party thug regime.

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Ukraine isn't holding back any flood. That's a war-mongering delusion.

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We tried extreme isolationism after WWI. That didn’t turn out very well. How many people, including Americans, died in WWII as a result of it?

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A lot fewer.... exponentially fewer Americans died, than say Russians...or even most of our allies. That is the only benefit to isolationism....but if we continue to default on our promise to Ukraine...we could see boots on the ground....unless of course if DT comes to power....then we'll all be speaking Russian and used as slave labor building more golf courses. Women will be forced to wear red.

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I listened to Anne Applebaum (Twilight of Democracy) last nite. She wondered if citizen trump's plan might be that after he won, he would negotiate peace between Russia and Ukraine (strongman action) by returning Ukraine lands to Russia, return to isolationism, and remove the US from NATO. She called it a very sinister plan.

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No a welcome image.

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You sound like a raving lunatic.

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Agreed, Susan. The damage from isolationism goes way beyond short-term death count. Civilization would suffer, and probably the world’s empowered despots would rule to their own short-term benefit. Independent and balanced justice would disappear. Treaties would be about greed and power, rather about greater good.

We did lose fewer people and experienced far less destruction, probably because fighting was there, not here.

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Stanley, MAGA is not about isolationism, its about completing a Neo Axis consolidation with Putin and Xi. Trump’s Dream of sticking his finger in Daddy’s Eye in a post mortem world

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Dave Dalton, interesting. You made me stop and think. My response is that it is about isolationism and axis alliances, both. In my mind, international engagement, as the approx opposite of isolationism, is widely open, multi-dimensional, and complex. Aren’t N Korea and Iran isolated, despite their deals with China and Russia? Engagement includes tourism, private business dealings, and much more. Under Trump, how else would the US remain a Christian theocracy with only approved, wealthy immigrants?

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My thought is that China doesn’t rattle their swords too much against us because they need the America market place. Killing your customer is kinda bad form on the demand side of the price curve. Putin has no American market so he can act like a dick. Markets like stability, not chaos

Xi understands that, Putin is a dying man with nothing to lose, but if his puppet Trump can take over America, consolidate with China, Putin dies accomplishing his dream of Vlad the Khan in what would remain of world history; then the amoebas take over once more

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Xi is watching and building his forces. He has created islands and turned them into naval bases in international waters. His forces have attacked other countries’ ships. He’s does it on the QT, while Putin tears open his shirt and pounds his chest.

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So true, Will. Friends are sometimes hard to find but when you do, you hold them close.

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Will, you’d be surprised that “friends” do melt away in the face of a cancer diagnosis. I was. People don’t know what to say, treatment is long and depressing and scary, and yeah, it’s a huge bummer, and they become silent. They’re still your friend, but you don’t forget. Because now you know that they really are grade-A a$$holes. Or fair weather friends, as I call them, people you cannot rely on in a pinch. On the other hand, also surprising is the depth of the incredible support of real friends and family, and also of mere acquaintances who amazingly step up. Cancer is so weird. It’s a good analogy. I know which kind of friend I want our nation to be.

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Feb 25·edited Feb 25

This just breaks my heart. I hope you are doing well and are cancer-free. My whole feeling is that if someone is at a low place in life, and you say you care, than you need to be *all* about *that* person and *their* needs while they need you. Hopefully they will do the same for you when you are inevitably the one in need. I know people use the excuse that they don't know what to say/do, but the magic words are right there: "I don't know what to say? Is there anything I can do? What do you need?"

I was told recently that my uncle has become the longest living person with his particular type of inoperable brain tumor, so I know that the odds may be against you, but anything over zero still means hope. The job of the sick person is to survive. The job of everyone else is to help them do that on their terms. Some people struggle with the concept of "it doesn't always have to be about you."

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You nailed it, Will. That’s exactly how I see it too. Fortunately, most of our friends and family were amazing. We felt completely surrounded by love. My husband was a total rock, well, he still and always is. And I have just had my 2.5 year recheck, still in remission, and actually feeling better than I have in years. I’m lucky.

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Glad to read your rants, Will. Missed you!

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Thank you , Sheila. I wish I could hang out with you lovely virtual people all day, alas most days there are not enough hours!

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Will, Eventually Trump turns his back on everyone. The moral argument can carry no weight with True Believers who’ve lost whatever soul’s they might have possessed as they serve their new Lord

The Irony that clucks such as Moscow Mike claim a Christian Calling in their devotion to the false god Christ warns him about is thick

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Ego (Latin for "I") makes us human but ego unbalanced by other motives can make us monsters. To a predatory sociopath like Trump, other people have value only so long as they are useful, as tools or toys. I studied it some, and I still don't quite get why so many people find such malicious con-men (and women, but primarily men) so charismatic. Projection of an authoritarian father perhaps? The confidence-building addictive stimulant of flattery? Being praised as "The Master Race", the "Righteous", etc, or the conscience-numbing narcotic of scapegoating their troubles on others. We have seen how this plays out in history, how it plays put in other societies, and yet, like an addictive drug, it still pulls people in. Media plays a part in that.

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Fast talkers and those control the microphone use snippets of facts borne upon a sea of false conclusions to mesmerize an audience already primed to agree with trigger words and “San Dimos High School Rules” rah rah team spirit. It’s like a riot mentality only with words; “ Hey Everybody, run this way”. A school of minnows is a great example. Being part of a crowd provides a sense of security from the sharks (ie Libs) that threaten the tail fins. Group Cohesion, belonging is at the heart of every gang recruitment strategy (and frat/sorority mentality). Once yer in yer in (Our Thing, just playing with the Latin)

The strong human trait of Fight or Flight also suggests that being associated with a strongman means you are SAFE as long as you don’t break ranks. No one wants to be identified with the “flight” aspect, its so unmanly (even for Trumpian Wimmens)

Ego is a complicated concept where the one possessing the strongest sense of self need not parade around like a Cock of the walk, but rather confidently does his Billy Jack imitation when confronted with adversity. MAGA is definitely not Billy Jack ir even Cock of the Walk, they’re boisterous students of the Evil Sensai that Daniel-sen eventually overcomes. All Hail Mr Miagi

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Good call 🙏

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