568 Comments

Excuse my feeble attempt attempt at humor: "My Pillow Guy attempted to smother the Constitution. today."

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Not feeble...fantastic! Thanks for the pun-intended laugh, Michael!

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Lynell that is a dad joke

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Dad jokes matter!

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HA!👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

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Thanks for that giggle! 🤣😂🤣😂

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Something about the stories following the January 6 attack on the Capitol bothers me, and I ask your opinion if you feel this is just my overactive imagination playing tricks on me and bias.

A very big part of Donald Trump’s supporters have been staunch Christians who strongly push for stopping abortion and for making other changes which will ultimately have the effect of herding women in back into a narrow place in society.

They pushed so hard that they got a large enough number of supporters in government who have gotten their ideologues into the Supreme Court. They also have a number of fringe groups who have attacked abortionists, abortion clinics, and threatened those who fund them.

With this in mind, why haven’t they been specifically listed as a presence amongst the other Capitol-attacking groups? Did I miss something because haven’t seen a single story about involvement of Christian extremist groups.

Here is where my bias is likely going to offend people, and I apologize in advance.

I have long suspected that a significant number of people who practice a religion might be more susceptible to getting caught up in a cult. I feel it is because of the way religions are practiced, that the marriage of dogma, social acceptance (or rejection as punishment), of flattening complex problems (like abortion) into a simply a black or white situation, and so forth, just lends itself towards a type of mind control. When practiced with tolerance and moderation in mind, it is probably very helpful in keeping people working together for the good of society, but when intolerance and extremism is in mind....

Well, I just feel it could be at the heart of this big problem we have in America. This is why I think it is worrisome that it’s not being specifically called out in regards to the attack.

**Disclosure: I was raised with Judeo-Christian ethics and believe in G*d as Creator of the universe, but perhaps not as a being who watches over people. I was also not raised with religion (both sets of grandparents fought over which branch of Christianity their first grandchild should be raised, so parents finally decided their children would choose when they were old enough.). So my viewpoints of religion come as an outside observer.

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This may not be politically correct, but as a scholar, I must note: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people" K. Marx

And a further note to a previous comment. "Christianity" in practice is centered on white, male domination, dominion over the Earth, and oppression of 'the other'. IMHO of course.

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So are the other major religions. Women are just servants. I recall my parochial school days when the "mysteries of transubstantiation" were taught. If you didn't get it then you weren't smart enough. Religion is definitely a cult. It destroys critical thinking.

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Along with patriotism and law enforcement, all religions must also be de-politicized. We cannot be come a Christian Iran.

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Gilead?

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I was raised Jewish in a Southern Baptist town by Holocaust victims. There was a church on every corner town... 1st Baptist Church, 2nd Baptist Church, 3rd, etc. I love my heritage but not necessarily the religion. I am of the faith that if you have found something that speaks to you, gives you peace and contentment, then go for it. What I object to are missions to try and persuade the downtrodden to follow them. Jehovah’s Witnesses cones to mind.

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Yep. Repress the oppressed. Especially those heathens.

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A tool of the demagogue is to ask for faith in them and them alone. It’s easier to do this when people have already done this in their spiritual lives. It is a vulnerability that power has exploited.

We see this manifest in the population of LDS and Evangelical doctors and nurses refusing to wear masks, sabotaging their own family’s health, the health of their patients, community and hospital guidance and Covid protocols. It is unbelievable to me this day as I continue to hear doctors and nurses I know say things like, the pandemic is not that big of a deal. We don’t need to wear masks. We need herd immunity, etc, etc. It makes me sick to my stomach.

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LDS?

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Church of Latter Day Saints, Mormons ( not all, but a lot, but too many, and still to this day when 4,000 a day are "dying in a Leadership vacuum".

A danger of demagoguery is the erosion of professional ethics. The doc or lawyer who is either a true believer in the demagogue's lies, or just scared to loose your business, so they go along with the lie so as not to upset you, to say in the "we group".

This has a greater damaging effect when it reaches those on your school board and County's health district, and City Council. When enough believe in the lie and enough just go along with it, a critical mass develops, and common sense, common decency, and democracy are then decayed.

We cant have science and professional ethics in conflict with what the dear leader says.

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejme2029812

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/lawyers-and-doctors-making-americas-crisis-worse/617673/

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Thank you

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Latter Day Saints. Mormon.

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Note, I am not bashing any one religious group. I was raised Catholic, and I have friends and family guilty of the same short comings everywhere in our country. They are prey to the lie, to a demagogue, to propaganda, and everything that comes with it. DT's demagoguery has made them fools, and even the educated are vulnerable. Scroll down to the links in the Atlantic ( doctors & Lawyers making the crisis worse) and New England Journal of Medicine criticism of leadership)

You know you have a serious problem when doctors and lawyers, our most educated people believe the big lie. To witness professionals betray their professional oaths is really quite shocking.

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Should have typed, you know WE have..... ( sorry bout that :))

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Thank you!

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A little funny for a middle-eastern religion, that was "europeanized", officialized by a roman emporer when he made catholicism the state religion!

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I can't remember where I read that early Christianity was a cult that eventually killed off Greek & Roman established religions. It was a bit jarring to me, having been raised Catholic, to read of Christianity in that light.

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And the doctrine was fixed by roman emporer Constantin!

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Excellent comment and accurate, in my opinion.

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If you had acknowledged the presence of the likes of the Quakers, Black churches, Catholic Workers, and the slew of urban religious communities as a force for justice, I would feel that your analysis was more fair. I don't believe that members of churches are any more susceptible to cults than, say, sports fans or LARPers. I am an atheist, myself, but I do value the work of many religious organizations. I think we are short-sighted to lump all people of faith into a "cult" mentality. Anti-abortion, insurrectionist, "handmaiden" style organizations are created through the force of patriarchal ideology and it deserves more "outing" as a force behind so much of our historical messes.

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Not all people, but a lot, too many I think, but especially the Christian Right leadership to hold onto a single issue instead of truth, integrity, democratic values instead of Demagogic tactics. I wish they would collectively censure DT and his tactics. DT spell is stronger to these people than their faith in God and in the Christian values they espouse.

“The Church is the Church only when it exists for others . . . not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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1. I did not deny my bias

2. Christianity is generally considered the dominant form of religion in America so i used it as my example, particularly as it has been used in our current political problem.

3. I lumped Quakers in with Christians as I thought it was a Christianity-based religion. Sorry if that is incorrect.

4. Black churches? Do you feel churches attended predominantly by Black people are a separate religion than Christian-based ones?

5. Aren’t Catholic workers Christian?

6. Patriarchal based society in America largely stems from Christianity.

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My thought was that Quakers, Black churches, Catholic Workers and a slew of urban churches of various names ARE "Christian" and are the exception to your belief that all christian churches are cults. Also, I believe that Christianity stems from patriarchy, not the other way around.

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I did NOT say any or all Christian churches are cults.

I DID say that I suspect people who follow a religion might be more susceptible to getting caught up in a cult.

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Do you think that Christians are more susceptible than other populations, like sports fans, political parties, Scientologists, John Rogerites, "Stop the Steal," the Greens, etc. I'm not arguing that Christians aren't susceptible to cults, I am arguing that anyone is susceptible to a cult. Steve Hassan is a cult specialist, and has managed to bring many out of cults. His books on cults offer a look into the mind of someone who can be brought into a cult. It is a very specific phenomenon.

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I think you’re missing the entire point of my original post, that of the varied groups of attackers at the Capitol, disgruntled religion-focus groups were not specifically named in the reports.

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I would argue that Christianity largely stems from patriarchy. Not the other way around.

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Hmmm. That might be a case of ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg’. Either way, men decided:)

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There has been foreign in efforts/like a marketing campaign on SM to harden three conservative groups: Christian Right, pro gun, white supremacy groups. Aligning their goals to support Republican candidates.

Clint watts

Malcom nance

Mueller report

Andrew Weisman

NRA Maria Butina

David duke moscow condo and speaking fees

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Thought provoking and initial reaction is that it is spot on.

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Dogma is a killer. They work, until they don't work any more. History is 20/20 hindsight.

I'm frightened by the people I know who cling to the abortion issue over and above of any political discussion, even if the discussion is about fixing potholes and quickly try to shift the justification of their exceptionalism to vilify the Democrat in charge. They are very insecure. Perhaps (and I do now) we need to kindly and peacefuly treat them like children who awoke in the middle of the night after a bad dream. It might take years. It is what it is. I don't know everything either.

I'm going to go off and watch some videos about John Lewis and MLK today.

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Well said.

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I saw the fallacy of religions as a teen in high school and have vacillated between agnosticism/atheism ever since. If you are able to believe that the mythology of bronze age goat herders is factual then your grasp on reality is not too strong. So, from Mainstream Religion to Cult Following is not a great leap.

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I admit the same thoughts did cross my mind.

I wouldn’t quite say their grasp on reality isn’t strong, just that perhaps because religious beliefs became entrenched before science came along, they became a coping mechanism and social rulebook which was passed on to future generations.

I think where it tends to go wrong is when there’s a bad leader or a significant number followers are rigid-minded, intolerant, etc.

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Re Capitol involvement by Christers. Here's an enlightened perspective in "The Terrorism in Jesus' Name" by John Pavlovitz. "What we're witnessing in our nation is not protesting, it is not fighting for freedom, it is not a defense of life--and it is certainly not reflecting Jesus.

"This is white domestic terrorism that was born in the Church and has been weaned on a theology of supremacy and it needs to be destroyed." Read on

https://johnpavlovitz.com/2021/01/09/the-white-terrorism-in-jesus-name

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Thank you. I will read it.

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Ur right!

Even in the 1830s Diplomat and French historian Alexander de’Tocville observed how naive/gullible Americans could be. Victims of their own freedom to pursue their passions and freedom of speech. SM has accelerated all of it.

Fantasyland, Kurt Anderson

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SM?

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social media, I think.

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Ah, yes. That fits Thank you!

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Agreed. One the most obvious books that could be used to teach and illustrate critical thinking skills is the Bible, written by many authors with a variety of motivations long after a history of oral story-telling. I used to work in public education and going anywhere near the Bible to educate students about the fallacies inherent in non-evidential belief systems is absolutely taboo.

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Trump is planning to leave office with a military style farewell including marching soldiers, tanks and maybe even a flyover of jets...

Is this his last and final attempt to take control using our own military? Can he garner enough support among military leaders to follow him in such a move? He is not finished and I will not feel better until Donald, his family and co-conspirators, including Flynn, Stone, Miller, etc. are locked up for what they have done.

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I have this image of all the soldiers bending over and giving him a collective moon as he walks past on his red carpet. Oh, what a photo for the history books!

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My husband said the same thing. “A 21 BUN salute!”

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PERFECT!

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I had an image of the guns instead of bullets, would have a little flags that shoot out the name loser. And then all their pants drop.. and yes.. a lunar vision ie mooning... haha

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If this send off comes to fruition, I hope NO media covers it on TV. Hey, Rupert Murdoch, can you call off Fox on this? Remove TV coverage of Trump and he withers.

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I would like to see Murdoch in jail. Why does he want to destroy our country?

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This shouldn’t happen. It disgusts me.

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My questions:

Will it be used against us - like handing over a bunch of planes & other instruments to 9/11 terrorists?

Will it stoke extremists?

If neither of the above, will it give closure to many of the Trumpists?

It will definitely cost money we can ill afford and which he doesn’t deserve.

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I have the same concerns. I am also leery of the massive troop deployment in DC. How many of them have gone to the dark side? I am nervous as hell about this.

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I’m with you on this. It’s another virus. Invisible and potentially deadly.

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I worry too about the troops in D.C.

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Purpose is to stoke extremists and rike up everyday magates. No closure for these folks. They will await future instructions from their fearless leader.

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This is "unprecedented "! Ugh.

IF this is allowed to happen, it would be absolutely crazy. WHO can tell this man, NO?!

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Despite the lunacy of this, imagine how much money this will cost! What a waste.

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No one has, all of his life . That's the problem.

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Nancy Pelosi did I think, very early on in his dictatorship-wannabe. She needs to do so again. Congress holds purse strings right? Or he really can command "his" military since they're all getting paid anyway? I hope this story of his dream parade gets squashed like the last time he wanted to strut his stuff. Double, triple UHG

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I agree. She smelled a rat from day one. His last delusional military parade went nowhere. I feel if he gets his juvenile wish, he will interpret it into adoration , which it isn't.

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Let’s not forget when she tore her copy of his speech up!

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That is the question, Lynn.

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It’s astounding that granting him this grand send-off is even being considered. Can’t enough people who are being called on to orchestrate this simply refuse?

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I have been wanting the pilots of Air Force One planes and helicopters refuse to take-off!

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I understand he requested a 21 gun salute. I hope they aim carefully and don't miss their target.

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And more importantly, for what they and some of their more rabid supporters and enablers still plan to do in the future. That's the danger.

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So would they decline to do the traditional military farewell ceremony, and then agree to do a giant military parade? That seems hard to imagine.

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All about his regal image. Fox news will be sure to cover this "winning' event, so his magates will see their leader as King! And they will eagerly await his instructions for continued insurrections, sent from golf courses all over the world. Someone must stop this fascist, and silence him, because he is nowhere done destroying our democracy.

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Can you provide a link to info about this planned military farewell? I'd like to read more about it.

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To impress his magates, make it look like he won again, something higher. Like World Emperor. He must be locked up, ans Silenced.

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That "document" posted by Josh Hawsey that Lindell supposedly gave to Trump is one of the strangest things I've tried to check out. "The American Report" doesn't seem to actually exist beyond the single article shown in the screenshot, and my browser keeps throwing up warnings that if you continue to this site, unknown people may steal your stuff. The link at the bottom, www.blxware.org, leads to an equally strange site with wild, quasi-reasonable claims of domestic spying, written in caps so large that it's hard to read the page.

The content of this "The American Report" is just as strange, simply asserting, without citation, that some IP address in various other countries "hacked" some IP address in various States, like Georgia or Michigan, without any indication as to what the "hack" did, but that it's somehow supposed to be "proof" that foreign actors faked millions of votes.

Anyone who considers such material as evidence justifying a declaration of martial law is either stupid, demented, dishonest, or a combination of all three. What a strange world all those people live in...

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And, of course, the hacks only occurred in the so called contested states.

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They occurred in Georgia, for example, even though the machines there simply speed-count paper ballots that were also hand counted. They did not occur in Kentucky, where electronic voting machines are connected to the internet and McConnell won by 59% after polling at 39%.

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And some counties McConnell won in Kentucky had registered 120% of eligible voters, I assume dead or alive.

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Why is this not addressed?

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Too much happening now? The article I read (well sourced) indicated an ongoing investigation of Kentucky's "dirty rolls". Questions also arose re: the voting machines used in these counties were all the same brand (and NOT Dominion. Maybe ES&S?). Might be a good task for the National Democratic Committee and Abram's FairFight to investigate. If suspicions are true, would eexplain McConnell's shit eating grin all these years - he knew his seat was very secure.

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ES&S it was. Given Tя☭mp's habit of accusing others of his own misdeeds, and his attacks on the Dominion machines as having been hacked to throw votes (which is not technically possible) - add in his complete confidence that the Republicans would take back the House - that alone is grounds to wonder if some other brand of actually hackable voting machine was throwing votes to Tя☭mp's side.

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Oh dear. For real? Connected to the web?

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Our world is so interconnected, it is very very difficult to have any computer that is not directly or indirectly connected to the internet. All electronic voting machines are hackable. It's the nature of the beast. It's a good thing so many states, including Georgia, switched to paper ballots with optical scanners before this election. Voting rights includes getting the rest of the states to do the same.

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And they didn’t interfere with votes for down ballot Republicans who won.

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I thought the same thing, Daria

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Many Trump supporters ARE as you describe: stupid, demented, dishonest or a combination of all three. But some actually get elected to Congress by voters who share these qualities.

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At least they are honestly representing their constituents!

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Hmmmm...... It almost sounds like this could be an example of - wait for it - Fake News! I'm beinning to see a linkage here. For people who have locked themselves inside an information bubble where this is a normal occurrence, it makes sense that they regard suspiciously any news source. I say this only half jokingly. It's very sad that this is where we've come as a society.

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How effed-up is the government and the vaccine? Around 6:30 tonight I got a robocall from the Veteran's Administration that they were scheduling vaccinations for people in Group I (me). One clinic for ALL of Los Angeles - at the hospital in West Los Angeles! Tried calling the number given but the line kept going dead. I just talked to them finally (10:55pm). Turns out they have been taking that group for appointments for THREE DAYS but only got to notifying me today. And the earliest one can get it is March 8 (in case you don't have your calendar handy, that's SEVEN WEEKS FROM NOW). I told them I'd wait for it to be at CVS, which will be faster than they can do. This government as currently organized couldn't find its ass with both hands on a clear day with a twelve hour advance notice.

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I’m in Group 4 here in Germany – March - if we get the volume of promised vaccine. With the new strain of virus, I’ve taken to double-masking and limiting more than usual, the times I venture out into the public square. Even here, where people tend to follow the guidelines, there are pods of knuckleheads on street corners, maskless, heedless of the danger they pose to themselves and their neighbors.

And the location selected for mass inoculations, which are slated to begin next month, is a massive trade show arena in the middle of nowhere, accessible by car (which I don’t keep here in DE) and subway (which I avoid like the plague itself). I could go by bike – but a two-hour round trip in the dead of winter isn’t inviting. I may end up waiting for my local pharmacy as well – even though it may take a bit longer.

Stay safe, brother.

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I’m scheduled for my first round on Monday. But before I get jabbed I’m going to ask about the 2nd round. We’ll see what they have to say.

I’m also double-masking and greatly limiting my outings. I’ve already made the decision, however, to mask during flu season for the rest of my life and to change my public outing behavior to mirror what I’ve been doing during pandemic. I’m an outdoorswoman anyway and spend most of my socialization with family and friends in the outdoors.

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Double mask is necessary. Stay safe!

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The system is messed up in Orange County as well. Web site works poorly, if at all. If one can register any response has been slow or non existent. I do know of ONE person who got the vaccine at Disneyland. Pretty Goofy, if you ask me!

Hopefully, our new administration will get the ball rolling in the right direction, and fast.

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What do you expect from a Mickey Mouse outfit? At least, the adults in the room seem to be taking charge now.

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Just to keep this going: the entire Trump administration has been one long Mr Toad’s Wild Ride. Can’t wait until the orange monster is in his own Magic Castle far away, or perhaps his Haunted House.

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We are getting the vaccine here in Ft Worth Texas. It’s going by day you registered and my date appears to be coming up this week. When I registered, the prompt put teachers at the top of the selections. But my daughter in Queens can’t get even on a list. Neither can her fiancé and he has an underlying health condition. Once again confirming the rollout is uneven and disorganized. So disappointing! So many of my friends are getting sick! I’m placing a lot of hope in Biden! To address our many ills! Good luck in getting the vaccine! 🤞🏻

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No list to get on yet in Massachusetts. I’m a teacher teaching in person and there’s a flyer that says teachers are Phase II beginning in February and that’s the level of detail available.

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February is getting here! I’ve been f2f since August and asynchronous virtual. I have medical grade masks, so my school nurse won’t pull me for contact tracing ever. Every day feels like a crap shoot! If I can get both shots, I’ll get to go to New York spring break. Haven’t seen my daughter since Christmas 2019.

Hang in there! We can do this! And prove we’re more than a child warehouse!

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1 site for all of 20 million in LA???? that is so wrong! Im sorry!

Makes me think of TX and GA voting locations. Reduce the number of locations, create lines, grow apathic towards the process.

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In Michigan we have a good sign up and distribution system, but when the feds lied this week and then no "stockpile" was coming, the site for new appointments had to be shut down to assure enough doses for 2nd shots. Blame the feds, not tge states (much).

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Morning, all!! Morning, Dr. R!! "Yesterday," Jeff Cartwright, a member of our community, wrote a reply in response to HCR's January 14 Letters from an American. In it he invoked an oft-repeated phrase that serves as the beginning of our Declaration of Independence. Then he offered an addition to it that strikes a chord for what I believe democracy in the U.S. should be. I repeat it here in the hopes that it reaches far and wide. "We the People - ALL of us this time." Here is the artwork he created:

Jeff Carpenter

ask , and ye shall receive:

http://jcarpenterstudio.com/portfolio-portfolio/public-art-projects/we-the-people-2

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Beautiful! Words and Script!

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Thank you for sharing this essay, Joan. A much-needed hopeful perspective. I hope this paragraph is as prophetic as it feels today:

...”[On] matters of race and identity, [...] the Trump era doesn't have the crackle of a launch. It has been a mourning. A mourning for white power. A mourning for a time when simply to be white and show up was enough. A mourning for an era in which simply to be a man, and not necessarily an especially capable one, could get you ahead of other people. A mourning for a time when you could be the default idea of an American and not have to share your toys.”

I have followed Anand Giridharadas for a long time on Twitter, but hadn’t subscribed to his newsletter The Ink, only because, as it is, I can’t keep up with all of my newsletter reading, but I just subscribed after reading this essay. The comments are interesting, as well.

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Thanks, Joan. I like what she has to say.

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Boston Globe HCR fan Cate McQuaid also showcased a few HCR readers. Too bad she disregarded the guys with the label "sisterhood."

“She has a genius for distilling the chaos of current events, a reasoned calm, and an ability to let us know that what’s happening now has happened before, and America survived,” said Mim Eisenberg, 78, of Georgia, a retired oral history transcriptionist who follows Richardson on both platforms.

Mary Jo Shapiro, 58, reads Richardson on Facebook first thing each morning at her home in Maryland, when there are only just a few hundred comments. She likes being part of this community. “It’s cool. It lets us know we’re not alone,” said Shapiro, who works for a consulting company in higher education.

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Hey, Ellie. It was exciting to see Mim and Mary Jo highligted. But I would have liked to have seen many of our guys get a nod as well.

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I agree about the “sisterhood” and “older women” focus, in both The NY Times article and the Boston Gkobe article. It really irritated me. Someone in his forum yesterday or the day before said that she had gotten a response regarding this from Cate in a post, and Cate defended her focus on women following Heather, but I just don’t see it and, in any event, I don’t think that it is relevant to why we read the Letters.

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I agree that while McQuaid’s article was better than the NY Times, McQuaid still had a little too much of her own ego in it and was unnecessarily divisive—at a time when it is important for us to be inclusive in supporting the mission of amplifying messages of reason, reality, fairness, and justice.

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I am always glad to see any article that will give Heather a wider audience, and at the same time frustrated at the word "sisterhood" in the headline. Are men not welcomed in this community? Ha! Just try to keep us out!

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Love that! Thank you.

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Thank you for this. Great piece and it really gets Heather, unlike the NYTimes piece a few weeks ago.

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What a great article, thank you, Catherine!

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I shudder to think of the dirt that will come cascading out after January 20th.

I am very curious to hear exactly who was giving tours of the capitol on January 5th. I also read a number of articles about the panic buttons in Rep. Amanda Pressley's being ripped out prior to the riot. I sincerely hope that everyone who had their fingers in this disgusting pie feels the full force of punishment.

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/politics/panic-buttons-removed-from-pressleys-congressional-office-ahead-of-riots-chief-of-staff/2279777/

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There were six of them, I think. Their names and photos are being circulated on FB and Twitter. The usual suspects: Gohmert, Boebert, Pete Sessions--Boebert has denied giving a tour but I think it is logged in the guest book. Allegations are currently unproven but 35 Congresspeople have requested an investigation take place.

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I want them to go to prison! Unforgivable!

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I thought Sessions was a former representative. In any case, if true, I hope they pay.

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He apparently met with some of the coup-leaders and then deleted his tweet about it but someone captured it and reported it.

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He was beaten by Allred in 2018, so he changed districts to the Waco & more rural areas and won this time. He is a scourge to our state, along with Gohmert and all the others.

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No, Pete Sessions was from TX and was sworn (re-sworn?) in two weeks ago. I looked it up. So he’s back...

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Pete Sessions is also the rep connected to donations from Giulani's business associates.

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Boebert acknowledges the tweet about Pelosi. Her defense is that anyone watching on TV would have seen the same thing. That conveniently ignores that the rioters were not watching TV, they were watching twitter.

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Ayanna Pressley (autocorrect...sheesh!)

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I despise auto correct!

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Yep. As a former English teacher, I'd rather have my own occasional mistakes go out than to have my computer try to figure out how to write! I've turned off auto-correct on my word processing program (OpenOffice.org, not Microsoft, btw), but the predictions/corrections made by my smartphone when I'm texting or writing an email on it do get through when I'm in too much of a hurry to slow down and reread what I've written. My own name has been twisted in so many ways by my phone (even though I've saved the correct spelling in my personal lexicon) that 'smartphone' has become 'evil, vindictive, sarcastic smarty-pants phone' in my view.

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No worries. Happens to all of us.

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Well, I read yesterday that the Acting U.S. Attorney in D.C. was walking back the assertion that the insurrectionists were planning to capture and assassinate members of Congress. Since I'd heard several of them screaming that "death was the only remedy," it occurred to me that perhaps this Acting U.S. Attorney might be spinning the story to mitigate Trump's role in the disaster. Sure enough, Michael Sherwin was appointed by Bill Barr in 2020, and had been a key player in working to keep Michael Flynn out of prison. I was quite proud that my nose had led me to this conclusion. A few hours later, Lawrence O'Donnell was interviewing an ex-Prosecutor from D.C. and asked him whether the U.S. Attorney was attempting to quiet the rhetoric (paraphrasing here), and he was emphatically told that Michael Sherwin was a Barr appointee, had worked to help Flynn, etc. I was quite gratified to have my suspicions validated. What is very worrying is the number of levels of government that have been compromised by this Moron in Charge. Let's hope that the true gravity of the insurrection can be uncovered and the perpetrators, including Trump, are brought to justice.

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You might it interesting where Barr worked prior then. Head counsel for Kirkland Ellis. And who is one of Kirkland Ellis clients? Well, Alpha Bank. ( one of the state banks of Russia, or where Putin needs to export his cash, sharked from the oligarchs, laundered around the world)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2019/07/19/how-attorney-general-bill-barr-built-a-40-million-fortune/?sh=401b505c4f3a

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Yes, it all fits with what I've believed for the last four years - Putin has been pulling all of the strings.

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Acting Atty. General Mike Sherwin (Trump appointee) was rabid in his efforts to get Mike Flynn's conviction overturned, among all of the other questionable cases he championed. I listened last night to a senior FBI director say that in a week, the new Attorney General will no doubt brush aside Sherwin's attempts to gaslight the public.

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There are so many gaslighting Trump appointees, it will take a long time to rid ourselves of them.

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Panic buttons removed from Congressional Offices? That is just horrible. That just thickens the plot for sure.

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I've seen multiple articles, but don't know if this has been confirmed.

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As to Biden saying he will manage the hell out of this crisis, I think it’s already had the hell managed out of it. The difference is that with Biden the operative word is “managed” and with Trump the operative word is “hell.”

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Ever wonder about how well you can trust someone who has suffered and survived?

"If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete."-V. Frankl

There is something transformational about suffering. Biden, loosing his wife and kids, that is an unfathomable grief and sorrow. To make it out of that, and continue to love, to serve, to lead. Quite a contrast to DT, who has never suffered anything, no accountability ever, a narcist not capable of empathy nor self reflection.

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T**** suffered plenty of emotional and possibly physical abuse as a very neglected, albeit materially spoiled, child. He is currently suffering the pain of losing his sense of omnipotence. However, the adult T**** long ago lost the ability to learn any self-reflective meaning from his suffering. When he begins to feel any negative emotion, he turns it outward into anger, cruelty, spite, and hatred - which he then projects onto his followers.

If you have read any of Biden's books, you understand that he came from a very close, loving family and that he has continued to keep that love and warmth at the center of his life. So different from, so much more to him than to the man he is replacing in four days.

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F O U R days! Oh gosh it can not come soon enough for me :)

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I don't think DT is suffering any current pain. He is only a lonely angry man incapable of feeling loss or sadness. He only feels a loss of power over others. That is all I think the narcist feels. Therefore, he is not someone to be trusted. "The honor of leadership should not be given to people who crave authority or seek attention."

I trust Joe Biden because he knows of love and loss, what greater loss could their be to lose a child or spouse? "Power should be reserved for individuals who are daunted by the weight of the role but guided by a sense of responsibly to serve. Heavy should be the head that wears the crown."

I trust Dr. Jill Biden also. When either speaks, it is with reverence and responsibility fully grasping the weight of the office. What a wonderful team they are!

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He’s definitely the right man for the job at this time in our history. I appreciate how he ran a campaign of compassion, wisdom, reality. I love listening to him.

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Yes. True. (I am still looking for my copy of Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning." Will be covered in 30 years of dust.

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Biden is demonstrating that we had the means all along to handle the pandemic effectively.

Elsewhere I read how states are barricading their capitols, and cancelling legislative meetings and public events. I fear this will become entrenched in the same way as airport security.

Typical, it seems, of this “ pro- America “ and gun rights crowd that their actions lead to the curtailment and debasement of basic, everyday freedoms.

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I had the same thought. I have fond memories of visiting various state capitols (WI stands out) and just walking into the capitol building and admiring the architecture. Those days are probably over.

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Indeed! Growing up in Philadelphia, I remember being able to walk up to and touch the Liberty Bell, which now is protected behind bullet proof glass and metal detectors. Quite a symbol of our time!

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And we probably all remember being able to meet friends or relatives at the airport right at the gates. Or being sent off on a trip by friends or family in the same way.

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Me, too. 😢

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Exactly.

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Well of course we did. But remember that Trump dismantled Obama’s pandemic team and department. Biden knows the government. He knows departments, leaders, people, infrastructure and how it all works. Trump did not and never bothered to learn. Nor did any of the idiots he put into leadership positions. Our country has been operating with a skeleton infrastructure at best for the past 4 years.

If every American would pay attention to Biden’s transition roll out and who he has been appointed for various position — and I mean really paying attention to these peoples backgrounds and experience — you’d feel very afraid that the USA is evening standing today after the last 4 years. And now it will take years and years of rebuilding.

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I've actually felt safer watching the Biden/Harris team roll out their choices. Finally, professionals will be in charge again. The next 4 days may be interminable, however.

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An abuse of power, in an odd, twisted way.

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Wow!

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I am so over the entire Trump administration’s self-congratulatory aggrandizement of their record and accomplishments. They cannot depart the scene soon enough and will be remembered as the worst, most corrupt administration in U.S. history. Now unfortunately for us all we are likely to have to spend more time and treasure investigating and prosecuting this gang of scoundrels and their capo DJT. My wish and prayers are for at least equal attention to legislating the necessary reforms now required to protect democracy, democratic institutions, democratic norms, and free and fair elections.

As we all think about what’s next and where to turn our attention I urge all to think about how we reached this point and where to focus attention to protect our democracy, the rule of law, and democratic institutions. Free and fair elections have not only been targeted in 2020. They have been under attack by various forces since the founding of our republic in a variety of ways that can all be grouped under the heading of Voter Suppression.

To explain the attack on the Capitol, you can’t just turn your focus to Donald Trump and his enablers. You must also look at the individuals and institutions that fanned fears of “voter fraud” to the point of hysteria among conservative voters, long before Trump. Put another way, the difference between a riot seeking to overturn an election and an effort to suppress opposing votes is one of legality, not intent. And it doesn’t take many steps to get from one to the other.

But it goes back much further than recent decades. Voting rights in this country have been denied to those who did not own property, people of color, women, people who could not pass Jim Crow “guess the number of jelly beans in a jar” literacy tests, gerrymandered districts, and a variety of other plans to make voting difficult for some.

Legal efforts to suppress voting are just as insidious as insurrectionist riots to overturn elections and far more common. We can expect to see those efforts redoubled by those in power regardless of their political affiliation or ideology. Voter suppression it seems is in the genetic DNA of too many politicians. It is dependent on us as voters to guard the right to vote, have those votes fairly counted, and election results recognized and representative of the will of the majority.

Our present electoral system retains many vestiges of voter suppression. These include an electoral college system for Presidential elections that grants more power to a minority of voters. Gerrymandering also allows imbalances of power amongst voters unfairly. Difficulties for both registering and voting too often are not designed to “protect the ballot” but to create and maintain imbalances of power.

So, do not ignore voter suppression efforts or excuse them because of cries they are “legal.” They are just as seditious as insurrectionist riots and far more common.

Support bipartisan groups like the League of Women Voters as well as efforts by other groups seeking to increase access to voting. Support efforts for fair and truly representative redistricting. Support efforts to increase the ease of registering and voting for all citizens. Support our election workers and judges. Protect and enhance everyone’s right to vote. It is the right that empowers our democracy and provides us all a voice in how we are governed.

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Well said, Bruce, and my feelings as well. I made in my New Year’s intention to get involved with local efforts to fight voter suppression. It has irked me for some time when a neighbor, coworker, friend or relative complains about current leadership, at any level, and when I ask if they voted, often the answer is no. Well, then you can’t complain is my usual response. They throw away their right to vote, and so many others, here and abroad, hunger for the right and don’t have it. Fairfight.com was a first good place to sign up for information and donate. Not sure yet how that transfers to my state, Washington, but I’ll be asking.

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Got to this Michigan Redistricting Commission site, see how we did it, and replicate in your state! https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1633_91141-488602--,00.html

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Very well stated. I agree that working to overcome voter suppression is essential as we move forward.

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What he said ^.

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Thank-you Heather! Today my daughter accused me of joining a cult by subscribing to your news letter. How she even found out that I did stuns me! Not only has Trump worked hard at destroying our democracy, he has also driven a wedges between people! I have vowed to remain silent when my daughter starts ranting but it’s difficult! Your insights are my lifeline!

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I’m with you Susan! Although my adult son and I can talk about current events, these topics are off limits with my husband because he is firmly in the OANN/Fox/NewsMax camp. I don’t know what I would do without these letters! Thanks Heather!

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My heart goes out to you, too. We need a support group for loved ones affected by this disease much like Al-Anon for those living with alcoholics.

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I fully understand. I got ostracized from my blood and in-laws coming out against the stunt Trump pulled in front of the church, holding up the Holy Bible. I haven't had any communication with most of them since June, and if they surface, it's a text message about grandchildren. Only if I play by their rules of communication am I even recognized. So I stopped communicating for the most part. Sad.

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I feel for you!

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When I see that maga hat, to me it might as well be Nazi symbol or SS hat. I can not be in the same room with those people whether they are family, friends or anyone at all. To me, it is just a sign that people have given up on their own intellect, they have surrendered something deep in their souls.

“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”-JFK

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Seriously, my friends, we really do need some sound guidance about how to break through this extreme right-wing thinking with our family and friends. I think it is going to require a concerted grassroots de programming effort to pull these people back into reality, but I don’t know how to do it. My son has gone from being engaged in civil rights and social justice efforts up until he was 21 years old to a racist Trump cult follower at age 32. I am both bereft and outraged about this change in him. I did join the Facebook group Smart Politics, which has some excellent content regarding how to navigate conversations with people who hold divergent views, but I can’t even sustain a conversation with my son long enough to work through some of the conversation techniques recommended there. Of course, our isolation in the last year hasn’t helped, because we aren’t getting together over dinner or in our communities in a way that provides opportunities for longer conversations. It’s been awful for much longer than that, but the isolation and lack of time for conversations in the last year has definitely created an absence of personal connections during which time extreme rigid beliefs have been able to percolate and grow like an out-of-control fungus.

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Mary Anne, thanks for your thoughts. It’s helpful when others are experiencing similar pain. Today my daughter said she hoped someone would shoot Biden in the head at his inauguration! As a parent this is agonizing to hear, my daughter is well educated and works in the health care field. Her statement goes totally against the values she was raised with. I’m well educated also and am a retired school counselor... just can’t debunk her! Recently read an article on how it is impossible to change a person’s mind when they believe in conspiracy theories. Advocated to not even try to change them. It’s hard not to get hooked and frustrated... now I just parrot “I don’t want to argue, let’s agree to disagree “. Then I seek the companionship of like minded people who deal in fact and truth. It’s not easy and we must remain strong.

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Oh, Susan, that is excruciating! My son makes extreme, rash statements and it is horrifying every time. I do think there might be some good information and resources for families on Steven Hassan’s website. I haven’t read very far yet, but go to his site and click through some of the pages you’ll see in the site drop-down menu in the upper right. You might find some ideas that could be helpful. I wonder if more resources and support for families will be available in the near future. This issue has been mentioned so often recently, even just within this forum, and I have heard the need for deprogramming mentioned several times by psychologists on news channels in the last couple of weeks. Here’s a link to Hassan’s website: https://freedomofmind.com

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I don't see how you bear it. Perhaps this would help: https://livingroomconversations.org One of the people in the Heathersherd group mentioned it today.

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Thanks for that suggestion, Patricia. I’m definitely going to check it out.

What’s the Heathersherd group?

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It is an internet group that is forming around Heather’s posts. So far, it functions as an exchange for ideas. I believe there have been three zoom meetings so far, on Saturdays at 1 PM Eastern time. You can join here: heathersherd+owner@groups.io

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Oh geez. I’m so sorry about that. My young adult son attempts to poke me into an argument whenever he can about far right rhetoric. I’ve learned to ask for specific examples of what he is talking about and to define his words because I’m confused and don’t understand. I say this all calmly. He can’t respond and turns quiet.

His latest rant is about taxes. And our governor and Biden and social handouts. I fwd’d HCRs letter yesterday and suggested he read it and the very enlightening comments and that I would love to have a chat about taxes afterward.

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The only honest thing to do is ignore what they are saying. They are adults and they can make their own decisions. We all tend to take on their problems as our own. We feel guilty and sad. This is called codependency. We try to make things better but we can’t. Mothers are famous in wanting to fix their kids or family’s problems if their thinking doesn’t align with theirs.

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I generally agree with what you are saying, Marlene, but I draw the line at racist comments and bigotry. Personally, I will take a stand against racism every, single time with my son. I don’t have the illusion that anything that I say will bring him back to more egalitarian beliefs, but I cannot let racist comments go unchallenged or, at a minimum, I will try to have a conversation in hopes of shedding some light on the harm caused by racism. And I do think that some of what is happening in our country with the political radicalization of so many is the result of the narrowing of information sources and the prevalence of social media, which, together, have enabled right-wing factions to take hold of people’s minds. This does seem a lot like the mind control that is used to draw people into cults - a modern tech version of such. I don’t know if “cult” is the best moniker or framework for the rigid, fact-free direction that so many people’s beliefs have taken, but I have started reading some information about how to reach a family member who has been taken in by a cult. Steven Hassan, who joined the Unification Church (i.e.Moonies) in the 1970s for a period of time and who recently wrote The Cult of Trump (I haven’t read his book) says that helping our family members get back in touch with their roots and their previous beliefs is an important step in encouraging people to shed their rigid beliefs. I don’t have the answers and the only way I have found to deal with this, at this time, is to avoid conversations, for the most part. But racist comments? Nope. I will challenge racism and bigotry every time, even if that means that my son knows that I will not continue a conversation with him if he heads in that direction.

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I get it and I too don’t hold back. You gotta do what you gotta do.

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I don't feel guilty or sad and have exercised a great deal of restraint and tongue biting over the years as I've watched my children make decisions that I've not agreed with or haven't aligned with my morals or values. Most difficult part of responsible parenting. And as a single mother, for that matter. Having worked with children and families for over 30 years, I've seen the opposite and what some professionals describe as 'helicopter parents' (both fathers and mothers, not just mothers). An entire generation of young adults who grow up entitled, who think their parents are going to save them, who have little respect for rules and authority.

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Thank you so much! I think that you and future historians will have your work cut out for you, analyzing and writing histories of this time!

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Miriam, you are so right.

I imagine the focus this period will attract will fall somewhere between Watergate and the Civil War.

The thing is, we don’t really know - and won’t for some time - the full extent of this story because it is far from having run its course. “Precursors” and “Part One” might be ripe for analysis on January 20th, but the phenomenon of Trumpism is not.

This period in history feels somewhat akin to that at the end of World War One, which wasn’t the end of the conflict, but rather the beginning of a hiatus during which the poison lurking in the bloody muck of battlefields and the last gasps of Imperial ambition expressed in such infamous accords as the Sykes–Picot Agreement, festered until the world was engulfed in a war of previously unimaginable suffering.

Last night, I was talking to my wife about “Lonesome Dove”, the TV series Professor Richardson mentioned in this week’s history talk. I told my wife that HCR’s talk was noticeably more light-hearted than usual – an effort to give her followers a little relief from the political storm that has been raging around us. My wife said she was happy this was nearly over, now that Trump was leaving office in less than a week.

But it isn’t over, not by a long shot.

Just the issue of “Justice”, whatever that will amount to, for the crimes and civil injuries Trump and his followers have committed and will have committed, from the moment he descended that escalator and into our lives in 2015, to the moment he lifts off from the White House lawn, is an endeavor of such magnitude that it will take an army of Federal and State prosecutors, private attorneys, journalists, historians, and private citizens like the group assembled here, to unearth and pursue.

So, we will enjoy “Lonesome Dove” and the Inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris – a respite, a shift in focus.

What follows – the continuing life of Trumpism – is yet, unknown and it is a huge unknown. The story is still unfolding.

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I read a Washington Post article yesterday comparing January 6th with Beer Hall Putsch in Germany, a failed overthrow of government led by Hitler. He failed then, but 10 years later committed mass murder and established the Third Reich. There was debate on both sides why we need to stay alert and others claiming this could never happen. I think I lean towards staying alert. Granted, Trump is too old to wait out 10 years, but someone following in his footsteps may pick up the cause. It is why I believe there needs to be swift and severe punishment. The article sited that Hitler's penance for Beer Hall Putsch was minimal. (Sorry, I looked back to see if I still had the link to the article, but I do not.)

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Trump is an old man and he will also be very busy fighting lawsuits and defending himself from arrest to be much of a threat. I’m more worried about the as yet unknown person gaining acceptance & backing from Trump’s hoard.

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Or already planning and/or currently in Congress.

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I am surprised or perhaps I missed it, but no-one has written bout Vladimir Putin’s influence on Trump, both in one on one meetings and an unknown number of phone calls between them.

EVERYTHING Trump has done in four years has weakened our country in SO MANY WAYS. Surely Trump is not smart enough to have thought up these deeds by himself. Trump had to BE CAREFULLY TUTORED‼️

U.S. history during the Cold War showed that the USSR had “sleeper cells.” These cells were designed to infiltrate our gov’t. And send back information to the Soviet Union.

Given all we’ve learned from The Muller Investigation and the behavior of this useful idiot in TheWhite House, I am convinced that DT was well chosen many years before 2016.

Related, I have wondered for years how many Republicans are part of a Putin sleeper cell. Their purposely spreading MISINFORMATION has worked well for many in The U.S. who do not have CRITICAL THINKING skills.

I don’t believe in conspiracies, but given all that’s happened during the last four years and , especially the past week, there is a lot more going on than we know.

DEMOCRACY can be fragile if there is not an EDUCATED and INFORMED public. We are entitled to our own opinions, but NOT OUR OWN FACTS [paraphrasing Daniel Patrick Moynahan].

President Elect Biden enters The Presidency with an overflowing plate. I tend to be socially progressive but I have concerns that socially progressive Democrats will be pressuring President Biden from the left at a time when our country is most in need of a chief executive who will need all the help he can get.

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I totally agree with you, Bob. According to this article, Russia has invited Trump to move and build his Trump hotels there--apparently he is popular there. If he moves there he can play the victim card and fan the flames of a fascist movement. I wonder if the invite will change now that his coup attempt has not succeeded and his social media platforms have dissolved. Certainly, Putin wins if an American fascist movement arises out of the Trump ashes. Or will Putin poison him now that he is radioactive and no longer useful?

https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-state-media-trump...

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Hawley

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Possibly. But I suspect it will be another person who will seemingly come out of nowhere as they were not involved with current politics.

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Thank you Suzanne - I read that article as well.

We will never know how fortunate we were that Trump did not get a second term.

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Hawley has got to be ousted. Cant let him get to the engine room of the T train.

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Josh Hawley? By the way: let's contribute to "Josh" - Just Oust Seditious Hacks campaign fund for former Senator Claire McCaskill!

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That is Beautiful!

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Thanks, Suzanne. I too read Tharoor's article with interest. (LH has already linked it below if others want to access it.) I agree with those experts he cites who say that there are too many differences between 1923 Germany and 2021 USA to draw direct analogies. But I found myself thinking about Hitler's minimal punishment that you note. He certainly was not penitent. In his shortened and rather cushy confinement he wrote--or rather dictated--"Mein Kampf." He later added another "book" to that, but what intrigued me is that, if you wade through the repetitious, disorganized prose, he stated exactly what he planned to do. Still, his book did not begin to sell until he became a rising national political figure.

My thought is that, while Trump could get someone to ghost-write another book for him, we already have in front of us what "the plans" are. These range from Trump's tweets and assorted right-wing conspiracy ravings to the less-publicized but equally obvious goals of the oligarchs. The former are blatantly broadcast throughout the population, while the latter are hidden or couched in terms of individual liberties, free markets, great American "values," government red tape, job creators v. the unworthy takers, etc., etc. So, Tharoor is undoubtedly right that there must be "meaningful consequences for the lies and subversion of democratic order that Trump appears to have encouraged." But, as Prof. Richardson has so eloquently argued, there have long been efforts to subvert the democratic order, and they will continue long after Trump. Tharoor ends by quoting Jo-Marie Burt that allowing impunity hurts the American experiment. Indeed. But we should think of this as applying not just to the various Jan.7th law breakers but to the plutocrats who continue to profit by cementing their control over the economy and elections. Yes, (most of) what they're doing is currently legal, but that just means we should seek to change some laws.

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Suzanne I agree. I don't think it will be Trump but somebody like Josh Hawley. They will be clever and charismatic.

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There are plenty waiting in the wings.

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R Dooley Your point that this is not the end of Trump but the beginning of Trumpism is chilling. I would love nothing better than for Trump and Co--and Trumpism--to dissolve into a million pieces like Humpty Dumpty. However, just as pundits declared the beginning of a post-racial world with Obama's election and were blindsided to find the opposite to be true, it's important that we not be blindsided by underestimating Trumpism. Several forces continue to smolder deep in the American psyche. In her book CASTE, Isabel Wilkerson describes "dominant group status threat," where those in the dominant caste, ie, white in America, experience someone of a lower caste rising above them as a personal existential threat. I think that explains (not excuses) Trump's response to Obama and Trumpers' current eruption of fear/hate that Trump has inflamed. In the past 4 years, the number of hate groups in America has multiplied exponentially as have police brutality toward blacks. This movement is not automatically going away with Trump's demise. I think we need to address it.

The following article says that trumpism will rise out of the dust to become a new fascist movement in America. Photos of Trump in the media giving the white power hand sign (the okay sign has been co-opted by the far right to mean white power) fans the flames. He does it in a way that is normalized and most people don't recognize that he signaling white supremacy, but his followers do. Yesterday Business Insider had an article about Trump moving to Mar-a-Lago illustrated with a photo of Trump in black tie giving the white power sign. (I doubt BI realized this.) I think we need to be aware of this possibility. Here are the articles. What do you think?

https://eand.co/this-was-always-how-trumpism-was-going-to-end-and-be-born-again-2a35ff77bb86

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-move-mar-a-lago-after-white-house-bloomberg-2021-1

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Watching video clips of his pre-riot rally, I saw him use it several times with his right hand at roughly waist level. Even with gloves on, it seemed obvious if you’re looking for it. I’ve been curious about why that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the media coverage I’ve seen.

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Yes! I will never use that gesture again, that's for certain. I'm pretty sure I've used the OK emoji more than once since I started texting. Awful.

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