449 Comments

Can someone please get around to sentencing Steve Bannon already?

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

Kathy, even better, the DOJ needs to arrest and indict Bannon for more than mere contempt of Congress.

Also, it is hard to believe Bolsonaro is not simply following Trump's playbook, then figuring that hiding out in lawless Florida will protect him from the application of Brazilian law. So far it appears to be working. And what sort of US visa does Bolsonaro have anyway? When will it expire? Who decides what to do with unwanted former wannabe dictators?

I find it embarrassing that he is allowed to stay in the USA as a private citizen. Surely Biden will allow him to be extradited when the time comes, no?

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

David,

We welcomed the Shah of Iran here in 1979. A truly bloodthirsty dictator.

That guy made Bolsonaro look like Santa Clause.

We also installed that beast in Iran in 1953 and then supported him while he killed and tortured the Iranian people.

So, don't be surprised. (about Bolonaro or the fact that we have, in the past, supported dictators who masqueraded as terrorists against their own people).

Of course, when Iranians protested the Shah's arrival in the US after he was flown here, and they took over the US embassy??

Not a single US news outlet explained WHY the Iranians were protesting the USA and burning the US flag. (Because they had wanted to arrest and kill the Shah).

Rather, all outlets demonized the Iranians as if their assault on the embassy was huge afront to America.

But? The Iranians were justified in what they were doing. We, here, were just duped.

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Mike, all you say is pretty much true, but the Shah was a pro-American dictator, while Bolsonaro was legally elected and has seemed to be the Brazilian version of Trump in almost every respect. Iran was a major oil producer in an area of interest very much on the frontline of the Cold War. Brazil is not and has not been on most Americans' radar too much, while we do worry about the Iranian nukes that may or may not exist, but certainly could.

It is difficult to argue now -- after many years of the Mullahs in control -- that Iran is either better off now than it was under the Shah or more democratic. Brazil, on the other hand, is a (young) democracy with a long history of periodic military dictatorships. Lula is a leftist democrat trying to run an enormous still-developing nation with huge problems that -- while they affect all of us -- are still just under most folks radar. But I assume Biden is not afraid of Lula, sees him as a fellow democrat and much better friend of the US than Bolsonaro could ever be.

In a nutshell, the two situations are and always have been a bit difficult to compare. The US made its bed when we supported the Shah's rise to power through the assassination of the Iranian prime minister who was no one's puppet, and we had to lie in it -- or thought we did --when Khomeini took over.

You are right that our MSM hardly covered itself with glory in its reporting on the US hostage situation in Iran or on why Iranians so detested the Shah. I would argue our MSM is not covering itself with glory these days, either.

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Thanks to you both for fhe sketch of history that I lived through, but did not pay attention to. Dr Richardson isn't the only teacher in this community. I really appreciate it.

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Still Learning, technically Bolsonaro is in Orlando Florida on A-1 Visa per Reuters. The US can simply cancel his Visa. But, better to extradite Bolsanaro & his CPAC-Star Son per the Brazil-US Extradition Treaty negotiated in the 1960's.

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Bryan, that's a bit over my head, but I do wonder if there will be an extradition at all. Or a cancellation of his visa. So many moving parts. So much I don't know. Thanks for helping me out.

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Would anybody be surprised if Bolsonaro SR and JR had a private audience with their role model (tfg) who is still at large after being identified as the J6 mob inciter?!

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You are absolutely correct. We have many good "teachers" in this community.

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Me too! Sad to say I will be 80 in July! It is never too late to learn! Thank you all!

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No, the good news is that you'll be 80 and still around to share a lot of experience with us youngsters who are still in our early 70s.

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Sharon, You.Go.Girl!Thank you, for taking the leap with your campaign.You are an inspiration!

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I used to believe that the media was a noble entity, that their task was honorable and that journalism carried a vow of selfless pursuit of the truth, with an obligation to explaining what was happening in the world AND why

I also used to believe in the Supreme Court, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy

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I'd rather have "the press" than not have it, and the same goes for the First Amendment, but when it comes to "honorable" and "selfless pursuit of the truth," we *can't* forget that the major media outlets are all corporate entities and dependent on advertising too. They aren't "free" in any sense of the word.

It drives me crazy that even now, more than four decades after the Reagan (Counter-)revolution got started, so many USians don't realize how feeble or non-existent are the checks on corporate / economic power. And as soon as anyone tries to rein them in, they're predictably (as HCR has noted more than once) accused of being socialists. I've long since been ready to paraphrase Patrick Henry: "If this be socialism, make the most of it."

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I like "USians." Calling ourselves American leaves out many other countries which are also "American."

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The sad thing is, money buys decisions; always. Business requires return on investment. News is not delivered via charity

Deep Throat; “Follow the Money”

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The Shah was by no means perfect but I would suggest that those who detested him in part detested him for letting women get educations and work. My stepfather interviewed him while he was dying of cancer in the US.

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

David I agree that the Shah, first installed in about 1941 to replace his pro-Nazi daddy, morphed into becoming a Persian pariah especially after he was floating on oil.

While the CIA claims credit for reinstalling the Shah in 1953 after the Mossadaq brouhaha (British Petroleum), in fact the ‘CIA coup’ fizzled, while the Shah cowered in Rome. At CIA headquarters, what began as a victory celebration turned to despair and then to surprise. My recollection is that General Zahedi on his own initiative was responsible for the coup.

1n 1975 I believe that former CIA director Richard Helms went to Teheran as ambassador. I was personally responsible for rating the credit of international bonds, including sovereign issues.

Merrill Lynch came with a proposed $1 billion Iranian bond(back when $1 billion was eye popping). Because of the post-1973 oil crisis, Iran had a balance of trade surplus of about $18 billion. I had been following Iran closely [I had already advised my corporate honchos not to establish a separate Dun & Bradstreet company there.]

I immediately told Merrill that if it sought to issue this bond, I would rate it below investment grade [making it unsalable]. For me the issue was political risk [check Egyptian Khedive Ismail in the 1860s/1870s].

Later the Shah fled—I believe first to Egypt and then to Mexico. He was dying of cancer. There was a discussion whether to permit him into America for dying days cancer treatment. I believe that Henry Kissinger, Nelson Rockefeller, and others argued in favor of this ‘humanitarian’ gesture to a once-fine American ally.

What could possibly go wrong?

Incidentally, earlier the Shah, faced with a troublesome Khomeni religious radical, chose to expel him. Once in Paris’s, Khomeni had an international megaphone.

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

Thanks Keith.

My knowledge of the Shah and the hostage crisis and I guess a lot of other historical stuff I enjoy thinking and talking about comes principally from a lifetime reading the Washington Post, New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker and a bunch of books and attending a couple of college courses and watching/listening to Walter Concrete and Huntley/Brinkley and having friends and family who tended to be well-read politics junkies and liked to yak until the cows came home. I'll bet you had plenty of similar things going on in your life, too, and probably still do.

I always look closely at your LFAA comments, as I expect to learn something new, and I am never disappointed.

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

David I loved your reference to “David Concrete” [Cronkite]. A book on the ten worst journalist stories focuses on the myth that President Johnson said ‘When Cronkite said (after a post-Tet visit to Vietnam) that we were in a stalemate, this indicates that we had lost American support.’

There is no evidence that Johnson ever viewed this Cronkite broadcast. Indeed, it became part of mythology in a David Haberstram book. In late February SecDef McNamara left and Clark Clifford replaced him. Clifford asked the Pentagon what was our policy to win in Vietnam and found none. General Westmoreland was asking for another 200,000 troops.

Also, Gallup polls reflected a sharp downturn in American support for Vietnam. Personally, after my Congo ‘exploits,’ I was twice invited (March 1965 and then in 1967) to join him in Saigon. I twice refused. It was clear from my years in Egypt the difference between ‘communism’ and nationalism. In Congo I encountered Army folks who urged me to support ‘strategic hamlets’ there. Nonsense.

From my personal experience and from reading Robert Shaplen’s and Bernard Fall’s books there was ‘no light at the end of the tunnel.

About the time of the Cronkite post-Tet broadcast, Johnson was still giving his forceful stay-the-course in Vietnam speeches. His poor performance in the NH presidential poll together with Clark Clifford’s assessment doves tailed with his Wise Men’ confab in which these folks reversed their previous support for a go-for-broke Vietnam policy. By the end of March Johnson made the personal decision not to run for re-election.

Thus, the ‘Cronkite story’ was clearly a myth.

P. S. In October, 1964 State Under Secretary George Ball wrote a penetrating 75-page legal brief on Vietnam alternatives. He concluded that there was no ‘winning’ strategy. This report was closely held by five people.

Sam Adams was my CIA current intelligence counterpart. He was excellent! Then he moved to do Viet Cong order of battle. The more he dug the more he could prove that the military was underestimating the Viet Cong forces by at least 200,000 [which would render McNamara’s kill ratio analysis meaningless.] Westmoreland sought to block Sam’s assessments. Within CIA Sam found that the CIA director refused him permission to circulate his assessments outside of CIA.

Ultimately Sam was obliged to reign (in 1966?).A book ultimately was published on his professional experiences. So much for McNamara’s ‘clinical analysis.’ When McNamara gave a talk in Canada, he seemed to be experiencing a psychological crisis. He had been Johnson’s ‘bright boy.’ Ultimately he was permitted to resign and go to the World Bank.

I found McNamara’s subsequent ‘apologia’ unconvincing.

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Jan 10, 2023·edited Jan 10, 2023

Keith, I, too, thought McNamara's 'apologia' was unconvincing. His statements of mea culpa seemed too little, too late, too desperate--desperate to try and clean up his image or salvage something positive for his posterity.

As an aside:

By your comments above, I'm reminded again of your vast and long-term experience in international relations and trade. I'd love to ask your opinion about assorted high-ranking figures. For example, General David Shoup, Commandant of the Marine Corps (appointed by Eisenhower and retained by Kennedy as an advisor) in the early 1960s when the Vietnam conflict became public. He refused to send Marines to Vietnam (in 1963, I believe) saying the war was wrong as it was for the purpose of exploiting the Vietnamese people. I believe Johnson silenced him, perhaps by forcing his resignation. I see Shoup as a very heroic figure, committed to honesty, integrity, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Do you have any inside info on him or personal expperiences with him?

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Walter Concrete--LOL!!

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Very valuable historical data Keith, thank you. I believe the 1953 covert action(s) was a joint US & UK intelligence operation headquartered at the operational level in Cypress.

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

Bryan Thanks. The Brits pushed for the over throw of nationalist Mossadaq as a result of nationalization of British oil holdings. Kermit Roosevelt was CIA’a point man. I got to know personally one of the spooks who had been involved in this 1953 operation.

There have been reams published on this. I recall an extensive article in Foreign Affairs some years ago.

Perhaps you remember the first ‘CIA success’ in electioneering. Postwar Italy was in shambles with massive food shortages that provided opportunities to Communists. This became CIA’s first major ‘dirty tricks’ operation, with truckloads of cash going to Christian Democrats.

In retrospect, most credit for the Christian Democrat electoral victory should go to the Catholic Church in heavily Catholic Italy. A number of Communists were excommunicated. There was a major effort to get Italian immigrants in America to write their families back in Italy. CIA may claim some credit for this.

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On the 1953 Operation, George Washington University has published over 30 intelligence documents years ago that provides precise details on many but not all events.

As to the timeline & operations in Italy, CIA operations in the post-WW II, post-OSS era, in JAPAN both in creating & funding the Japanese Liberal Party may have been first large operation as the OSS was involved in freezing & seizing Chinese assets to funnel to other operations in the Asia-Pacific 'theater'.

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We love democracy as long as it’s OUR kind of democracy. It was our CIA that deposed democratically elected Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 and installed Shah. Today we and Israel pay the price for that decision.

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The anti-Communist obsession screwed a lot of things up. Indochina for one thing. Chile for another. Even now U.S. law enforcement is having a hard time realizing that the most serious threats don't come from leftists or Black radicals or dark-skinned people with Arabic names but from homegrown white right-wingers and neo-fascists. (Yeah, I can guess what part of the problem is here. Probably you can too.)

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Mike S, agreed that both were violent dictators. One key difference is that where the US administration supported the Shah, our current administration recognizes Brazil’s legally-elected leaders, Bolsonaro and now Lula. It is our former president who still recognizes and coordinates with Bolsonaro., and more to the point, prefers dictatorship.

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Iran replaced a secular dictator with a theocratic dictatorship.

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Yes, and we helped replace a brutal dictator in Iraq. For what? ISIS, Taliban?

I traveled thru “our” Shah’s Iran in 1975 and altho his picture was everywhere, and our F-4 fighter planes were on the tarmac in the Tehran airport, we could feel the resentment around us and it was the most oppressive Muslim nation we went thru. It was so nice to finally get into Afghanistan. But, that too is now ancient history, isn’t it.

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"Lot of water under the bridge and other stuff too."

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"We also installed that beast [the Shah] in Iran in 1953 and then supported him while he killed and tortured the Iranian people."

Yes, and of equal or more significance, we (the CIA/USA) overthrew a Democracy to put the Shah in power. For all our boasting of supporting democratic nations, if we don't like the leadership which was elected in full democratic style, then the U.S. smashes them and puts a dependable fascist in control.

Take, for example, the case of Chile in 1973 when Pres. Nixon and SoS Kissinger coerced and sponsored the Chilean military under Gen. Pinochet to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Pres. Salvador Allende. Allende was a physician and ran his campaign on the promise of a quart of milk a day for children under 6 years of age. Allende had seen the ravages of brain damage in poor children who had no nutrients in their food. He was a popular, democratically-elected President who stuck to his campaign promises. Nixon/Kissinger didn't like that Allende was a declared socialist. Nixon and Kissinger not only destroyed a democracy, but further politicized the Chilean military which had traditionally been apolitical. We've done this in other countries, too.

As an aside, I wonder if Iran was the first democratic nation that we've overthrown? And, how can we promote democracy in the world when we overthrow democratic nations whose agendas the U.S. doesn't like?

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You might check out the history of Hawaii. Hawaii was taken over by the US because businessmen saw economic opportunities. . .for themselves, not the Hawaiians. Follow the money.

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Well, he's probably ok as long as he brought enough cash for our banks to launder. Plus some for Trump and the GOP.

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Well, David, Biden did nothing about MBS, who was widely seen as the murderer of the Saudi-American journalist Khashoggi. I found THAT sickening too. Oh, Lord. Here’s the citation in Wikipedia:

“On 18 November 2022, the Biden administration provided a legal opinion that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman holds immunity over his alleged role in the assassination of Khashoggi. The federal judge deciding a lawsuit had invited the administration's opinion.”

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

Elisabeth, I agree totally. It was sickening. But I assume Biden has so much on his plate these days he does not see much use in going after MBS. It would be morally correct, but politically and economically hazardous, easily portrayed as foolish.

Biden has never been one to upset the apple cart. In fact, he has been trying to keep it rolling on a pretty narrow, winding, bumpy path. If he can get Trump et al into court and into prison, it is likely the GOP will break into at least two camps and suffer major losses in 2024. Then maybe our relations with the Saudis would be ready for an overhaul.

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David Our petroleum relationship with Saudi Arabia goes back to when FDR met the Saudi king on a destroyer during WW II. I do not fault President Biden for his ‘hand bump’ with killer Mohamed bin Salman. {American presidents have been obliged to deal with scummy folks such as Mao, Stalin, and, more recently, Xi]. We have backed out of supporting the Saudis in Yemen. And there is the Iranian imbroglio.

Humanitarian is a variable issue in American strategic relationships. In Helsinki in 1975 President Ford was able to slip this into the agreement. This eventually contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union. Often such is not the case [China, North Korea, and elsewhere.]

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Where did you purchase your crystal ball? I would like to buy one.

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Jack On occasion gut instincts can be more prescient than analysis. We’ll see years later.

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No crystal ball. Just guessing.

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But you're guessing in the right direction. My guess is that we are going to end up with three parties nationally. 1. Democrats (40%), 2. Tradititonal Republicans (30%) and an amalgam of Movement Conservative Republicans, Freedom Caucus members, and Libertarians (30%). Unfortunately, at my age, I will not be around to see the result.

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The Abraham Accords are much more important to both Biden and Israel

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Politics, especially worldwide is a dirty, ugly game. Only those with ironclad constitutions can stomach the underlying stench. Resign yourselves to the facts, as revolting as letting MBS off the hook for Kashoggi’s murder, here does not mean there won’t be other opportunities to deal with him. Hello, UN? Are you there?

As pointed out here, people are upset with this development and are now wary of Biden?

At the time, that was the administration’s strategy, a concession for increased oil production offsetting Russia’s pressure to decrease oil production and increase prices. It obviously didn’t work. We walked away with MBS’s thumb in our eye.

It was a calculated attempt to reduce stress on the economy’s inflation and provide relief from higher energy costs. We suffered through and were back on an even keel as far as gasoline prices are concerned. Green energy looks pretty good.

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Elisabeth, I couldn't agree more. This alone has given me a reality check on Biden. For me, it moved the ticker from Pro Biden to reserve.

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He's still way better than Trump who would have given MBS a state dinner.

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Low bar…really low

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Global Diplomacy is, by nature, transactional

Any negotiation that doesn’t leave both parties with something they wanted is a bad deal

Expecting nobility from a President for every example of issues involving global human rights is of course one’s prerogative; however not practical in a world where The President is not an all powerful Dictator controlling other countries

He must pick how he uses his limited resources and influence

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Yes, but we must not forget the Khashoggi murder. MBS is still a young man. There will come a day...

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I don’t think anyone is forgetting it at all, but I believe ( regarding issues I can not know about) that Biden isn’t going to spend global capital on taking a stand at this point in time

We have no idea what conversations occur with our allies

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I believe it's rather arrogant to believe our form of justice exists in a part of the world where it never has. MBS had to make a public example of those who did not support him--look what he did to his own family.

One must never forget Khashoggi knew exactly who the type of people were he had no reason at all to believe he was safe from, and aware how close ME relationships are between nations, and just walked into the embassy. I was gobsmacked an internationalist journalist with years of living/reporting in the ME thought his press credentials, or even entering the embassy publicly, would protect him. Did he believe the US would go to war if he was "disappeared"?

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Elisabeth As someone who, on occasion, has faced rock-and-hard- place professional alternatives, I lack patience for some Monday morning quarterbacks. I believe that Henry Kissinger once said that some of these-least-worst-decisions are 50-50 choices. Hold your nose and do it.

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Kissenger’s book “Diplomacy” was a long hard slog through the intricacies of global politics through the ages. Eye opening regardless of one’s political leanings

Ironically, I bought it at a garage sale for .50 cents. Hardcover!!!

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Dave Kissinger was chair of Eisenhower Fellowships with which I've been associated since its creation in 1953. Watching him in action I experienced world-class ego and arrogance. On balance, I'm not an admirer.

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Sickening as Biden's response to MBS was, nothing tops Kushner's and Trumps's

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Do NOT use Wikipedia as a source. In reviewing a number of their articles, I have found them increasingly being used for propaganda and lazy research. A not very important but illustrative example: Aaron Burr's second wife did NOT employ Alexander Hamilton's second son as the solicitor in their divorce. It's worse. She made a crooked deal with him to do a paper buy of her holdings until the divorce was over, retrieved them, and then tried to stiff her actual attorney (Wilson). Also increasingly seeing articles twisted to mislead readers and sometimes defame people they are about, despite Wikipedia's living person's policy. Citing Wikipedia is no longer a sign of accurate information.

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Wikipedia has been deemed an unreliable source in college/university papers since the 90s.

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I am pretty sure that the reason for this is that if we opened the door to suits like this, many of our own would be subject to them. Like, oh, GW Bush, certainly Kissinger, Rumsfeld, and many others. This is not to say I agree with the choice, but I believe it is the why of it.

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Let's explore Biden and MBS further please.

MbS immune from prosecution for Khashoggi murder: US judiciary

The royal decree to assume the premiership in KSA was instrumental in saving the crown prince from facing criminal charges in the US federal court

By

News Desk

- November 18 2022

https://thecradle.co/Article/News/18509#:~:text=3%20DAYS%20AGO-,MbS%20immune%20from%20prosecution%20for%20Khashoggi%20murder%3A%20US%20judiciary,-The%20royal%20decree

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The DOJ needs to be doing a LOT of things. The perceived indecisiveness and weakness of Garland's "justice" is very disturbing. (I say "perceived", because some suggest that Garland is merely being deliberate; methodical.)

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As a knee-jerk optimist I, too, hope his slowness is just deliberate and methodical, not weak or indecisive. But time will run out pretty soon.

I do not want these lowlifes escaping to luxurious confinement in North Korea or Belarus or Eritrea or even Saudi Arabia. No, their future homes should be in the Big House south of Canyon City.

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Garland has come under heavy criticism for what appears to be a slow-walk; or, timidity / fear over doing the right thing. He often projects a "deer-in-the-headlights" look. Those "lowlifes" you mention might not bode so well in those "resorts" you have cited. 😂

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I will remain up in the air on Garland until he makes his decision and in spite of the fact that I want to shake him and say, “Get on with it already, man!” I did, however, find this article in “Politico” very illuminating and well worth the read (regardless of whichever side one falls):

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/01/15/merrick-garland-donald-trump-00066769

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Thanks Alexis. Good article.

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Garland sure waited a long time; then didn't even have as much material as the January 6th Committee.

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One has to wonder if he went to Mar A Lago...

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and if he was invited, and how much he was paid to organize an insurrection that -- on video -- seems identical to ours exactly 2 years earlier. Fascists in cahoots.

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And Bolsonaro can take that phony Santos--or whatever his name is--with him when he leaves.

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Sentenced to 4 months and $6,500 fine, it's on appeal.

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Ugh! Someone should have kept him in for the sake of the world - like Grima Wormtongue, his words are poison.

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Great comparison.

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Much lower sentence & Much lower fine than sought, issued by Trump-appointed Judge Nichols; And BEFORE the stay pending appeal was Nichols' gift of a nice delay in sentencing as well - with Stevie out of jail making trouble until then.

Here's Market Watch Headline/Subheader and URL (also in NY Post)

Steve Bannon’s four-month prison sentence temporarily stayed by district-court judge

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/steve-bannon-four-month-prison-sentence-temporarily-stayed-by-district-court-judge-11667914379

Former Trump campaign and White House strategist can remain free as he appeals his conviction for contempt of Congress, says Trump-appointed judge

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Think about the Federalist Society's influence on the judges picked by Trump.

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This is a HUGE problem! I have been following Senator Whitehouse on this and the influence of dark money in general on our courts. It is extremely problematic.

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Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

Agree!

(also - you clearly have good taste - Sen Whitehouse is WONDERFUL)

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Yes he is. I've also been following him re dark money behind the SCOTUS.

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Whitehouse is a true statesman

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iKR?

There's an article up somewhere about all those much-more lenient sentences by those guys on Insurrection matters as well as this Contempt matter.

Nichols is one among many.

On the civil side, Trump appointee Trevor McFadden personally held up Congress's Trump Tax Return case for over 2 years (!)--letting Trump's hacks litigate a simple statutory matter whose salient term was that Treasury "SHALL" provide returns requested (sigh).

I do enjoy reading well-written filings. (retired atty here) LawFare posted the Bannon Sentencing Memo by DOJ; rereading it reminded me why I was not only POd at Nichols' 3+ month delay to Oct 31 sentencing after Bannon's 7-22 conviction- leaving him free to spew more Coup-friendly poison - but also why Nichols' bare speeding-ticket-level FINE, despite DOJ's ask -was also SO insulting:

"For his sustained bad faith contempt of Congress, the defendant should be ... fined 200,000, based on his insistence on paying the maximum fine rather than cooperate with the probation offices routine, presentencing financial investigation"

-- Nichols read that, and issued a fine of - what - under $5k or so.

Grrrrr.

If interested - here's Lawfare w DOJ's fiing

https://www.lawfareblog.com/justice-department-issues-sentencing-recommendation-bannon

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We can thank the Federalist Society and Leonard Leo directly for Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Berrett. Trump himself wouldn't have had a clue who is qualified for those SCOTUS seats.

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And not many would have any idea ------> which is what makes the Federalist Society so valuable to lawmakers. Too bad there isn't a less biased alternative out there to provide a counter-weight. .

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The Catholic Connection

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“influence” kryst they picked them and installed them - worthless trump and mcconnell stood by and clapped like the trained seals they are

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The Biden Administration is doing a lot to install more judges to balance the judiciary.

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I understand and appreciate that - but - SCOTUS can’t be cleaned out for decades

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Amen! And the four members of Congress whose names were turned over to the DOJ by the Jan. 6 committee.

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My thoughts too plus Miller!

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That doggone Steve Bannon is a silly goose!

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He’s a frigging terrorist. Goose, my ass!

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Why insult geese? At least geese do have some redeeming qualities, whereas Bannon is a waste of oxygen.

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A valid point.

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“Silly goose”. ????? WTF

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I think there’s a missing “/s”.

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Or putting in a long-term coma?

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Here's hoping that Lula will be as successful in his first two years as President Biden has been. Programs that substantially improve a nation and the lives of its people are the best antidote to the lawlessness, chaos, and lies of right-wing extremists.

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I applaud him for his commitment to stop deforestation of the Amazonian rain forest, but Lula is going to encounter some very stiff resistance from vested interests who will stop at nothing to protect their "right" to rape and plunder for profit. He's going to need all the outside support he can get.

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I don’t know what countries will step up to help. How many companies in the USA have their tentacles into the beef industry?

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But… the evil lurks and pounces

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Living well is the best revenge - George Herbert.

Just get on with governing, Lula.

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How telling the silence of McCarthy and McConnell is. How can they condemn what just happened in Brazil without acknowledging the significance of what happened in this country a year ago?

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Agreed, but the House Republican'ts are so preoccupied with themselves and their new sense of power that anything that happens elsewhere holds no interest for them.

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Oh, but it does. It is confirmation that their efforts to spread their tripe has taken hold. When I first heard that Bannon was in Europe and S America, my blood ran cold. It still is.

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They are a recidivist cancer!

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Exactly. It is worldwide.

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The intelligence killing MAGA Brain Worm is spreading worldwide The original source must be eliminated.

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Don’t be so sure about that. I mean we already know they are just doing investigations of investigations.

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But it's all for show. Climate Crisis? They could give a %#@&. COVID toll? Stuff happens. The self-serving, self-centered show is all about them. It all done with mirrors.

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They are DEAD serious

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They leave a massive wake of tragedy and destruction, but get away with it because they fool so many of the wiling unwitting. There is certainly method, and very maliciously so, in their madness; even MTG.

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"Willing unwitting". I like that. It goes along with their intentional ignorence, in which they take great pride.

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They appear to desire their followers to die, as long as they can continue on their plan to destroy the U.S. I still think it's they've been co-opted by Putin.

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They are very much co-opted by Putin, and I imagine that some at the top of the party realize how much Putin how much Putin hates the USA, but flatter themselves that they are the chief beneficiaries of the "arrangement". I don't think those who drive "Republican" policy want to destroy the USA, but rather to subjugate it, and if possible, the Universe and beyond.

That said, predatory sociopaths don't care who or what they destroy when it suits them, and get a rush of a sensation of power by acting it out, like a toddler knocking over a pile of blocks. I envision the metaphor of Charlie Chaplin as Hitler, tossing a globe-balloon in the air.

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I’m sure they’re quietly cheering. Curious how fox and newsmax have been covering this?

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Living in a vacuum.

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I like it. Another great tee shirt. I'll swap you a Gergels Turtle for it.

REPUBLICAN'TS

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Republican’ts! Most relevant, isn’t it? Thank you, Betsy!

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My dictionary says a republican is one who favors a republic. That certainly isn't the Party of Trump, DeSantis, or any other leader currently on the "GOP" Horizon.

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Republican is simply a label currently used as a banner for the FAR FAR right robber baron group. Any southern planter from the 1850's, robber barons from the Gilded Age would feel comfortable in the faction labeled "Republican" today.

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I am grateful to the Founders for their foundation for democracy, though it was hypocritically narrow in inclusion, it left the door open for improvement, which seemed to be gaining momentum till plutocratic Reagan, and is now partly down, but not out. Yet I find it ironic that those who hated feudalism violently conquered a people, and so many built or supported the analog of feudal manors and serfs in the new world, even more evil in the extent of their sociopathic oppression.

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Along with Pharaohs and Attila the Hun.

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Simple, they're hypocrites. Once you start telling outrageous lies, it gets easier. And besides, silence is complicity (another lie)

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The Atlantic this month has a great article about Marjory Taylor Green. It outlines the path that has taken her to the House and how and why she has become such a successful liar. Unfortunately for our country it is a path perfected by TFG. The point is we have learned outrageous lies convince millions of republicans that they are truth, and bring success to the liar. The real question is how to refute lies and shame the liar.

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It is impossible to shame a liar who has not a conscience.

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Liars have a twisted sense of entitlement. “Why shouldn’t you believe me? Everyone knows I’m a liar” mentality. I have learned you can’t combat willful ignorance with logic.

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Ask her when she intends to pay back protection loan she applied for and received.

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The sounds of silence from the right are deaffening.

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It’s not that it “looked” eerily like the US January 6, it was pretty obviously a copycat.

Curiously, Bolsinaro is in Florida and he has a son who seems to be a Bannon buddy. You wonder if this is a world-wide plot with thugs like Trump and Bannon and others. Then there are those hard right members of the Republican Congress. I believe that this attempted coup was timed for a Republican House. And also curious, there is newly-elected George Santos who is from Brazil. He fits in with the other Republicans in that he embraces lies. We don’t even know if he is an American citizen. The far right connections are probably world-wide.

As for McCarthy and McConnell- they are doing what Republicans do.

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Worldwide plot? No "wondering" about it. Bannon and Farage. Check who was at CPAC 2022 in Texas. (Including Bolsonaro's son).

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Just thinking about an American

Political party, the repubs, inviting a Fascist to their political Action conference, right here on American soil, was ignored by more than half the country. Too many Americans are not paying attention.

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It would be nice if the media would publicize these facts when they are happening. Maybe they don't want to draw attention to Republican events(??), but any American political party entertaining fascist leaders IS news. Do your job!

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How much of MSM and it’s stations are majority owned by republican supporting owners / shareholders / board of directors. It would explain the crickets.

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Good point, but the right consistently accuses MSM as being leftist so there's that...

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Cuz they say it doesn't make it true. (Like cheeto accuses others of things HE does... like voter fraud.)

Truthfully, our issues are not Right vs. Left. More like Up vs. Down... and MSM is very much serving the Up side... regardless of who they claim is being served.

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I agree that MSM has not been what American’s need to decide truth, discern character, check power, or thwart autocracy. I watch it knowing that. Yet independent media is filled with niche spaces to fit any personal grudge or prejudice you have. Im thinking of all the Daily Stormer fans, the InfoWars fans, etc. They look at those sights as “independent journalism”. I also support local news, but they are caught in an impossible to maintain business model. High quality journalism requires money. We got what we paid for. How do we change this going forward without making information just a privilege?

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Those damn cat videos on TikTok are just more engaging to most people. This does not bode well for “ democracy, if you can keep it”.

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Awfully true. Too much entertainment (of all trivial kinds) holding their attention.

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Don't forget CPAC being held in Turkey -- the model they want to copy on this soil

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I thought it was being held in Dallas? I remember they were in Budapest last year. Interesting

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Thanks for correction. I was thinking of last year, and it was Hungary

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No problem. I just remember gorka and carlson sitting with doofus grins at the feet of Orbán

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... And donors; big money donors, including enemies that want us to fail. Kooks have to be well funded to do things on such large scales.

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Right out in the open for all to ignore. Of course, all are busy swatting the flies of the ongoing insurrection.

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Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, was the authoritarian star of CPAC

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With both carlson and gorka salivating at his feet

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Americans Set an Example for the Rioters in Brazil

By Anne Applebaum

January 8, 2023

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/01/brasilia-riot-bolsonaro-lula-trump/672677/?utm_source=feed

Anne Applebaum, a respected and informed journalist and historian, has been covering the spread of authoritarianism in the world for some time now. Her latest piece is worth the read.

You should be able to access this essay without going through The Atlantic paywall by viewing it on her site: https://www.anneapplebaum.com/articles/

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Thanks! I like her writing and Timothy Snyder’s, too!

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Me too. Timothy Snyder has a wealth of knowledge, writes clearly, and speaks without histrionics or hyperbole.

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''Timothy Snyder: The Making of Modern Ukraine'' (his course on Ukraine available free on youtube) is terrific. I know this has been mentioned before on this forum, but just in case it was missed.

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Agree! I found out about Prof. Snyder’s fall course at Yale from Robert Hubbell’s newsletter. Every one of Prof. Snyder’s 23 lectures is well worth watching.

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Terrific.

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Thank you for the link. I read her book “Twilight of Democracy “ it was excellent.

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Thank you for the link. Anne Applebaum is a powerhouse!

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Thanks for the link. Great piece. -saw-

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GREAT reference. Thank you.

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Thanks! I let my subscription expire. May have to renew.

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I had all the same thoughts Jan. The tangled webs have been woven much deeper than I thought. And it is more than unsettling.

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I'm getting the feeling of an international network of relay stations. Thinking now of how De Santis managed to fish Mexicans out of Abbott's territory and send them to Martha's Vineyard. They were complicit.

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It’s like a really frightening and depressing game of connect the dots.

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And after connecting the dots, trying to convince anyone on the right to see, believe and accept.

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Funny,

the far right bandies about this conspiracy theory that a worldwide cabal of rich men are controlling everything when, in fact, it is them that want to do that.

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I first heard of the New World Order in the 1980s, whispered on the office grapevine. It was something so preposterous that you didn't talk about it, in case anyone should think you believed it. I've never forgotten that man's face. Easy laughter, easy bonhomie, total cynicism, and the coldest eyes I've ever seen.

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Didn’t Bush Sr mention NWO, or was it Dubya?

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None of this is “spontaneous.” Plotted and deliberate. When Biden presidency was confirmed, they moved past chump and looked to the future, while us and MSM focused on chump’s blather

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Lordie, Jan. The notion that Santos is beyond just a pathological liar is not something I ever imagined about him. But if the shoe fits...

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He certainly appears to be a ventriloquist's dummy - a badly-informed ventriloquist. And the Florida connection can't be a coincidence.

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Research The Bilderberg Group. Yeah, world wide. Plus Putin

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I agree-I think he's been in cahoots across the world-think Italy, France, and U.S. Republican'ts.

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And so it begins…the Republican ‘silence’ when dictators (friends of Trump) attempt international power grabs and treasonous behavior….

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And so it continues....

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The Steve Bannon Global Fascist Indoctrination and Uprising Show. Broadcasting daily.

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Good point David….the disgrace indeed ‘continues’….my reference only dealt with the operation of the NEW House ‘leadership’ and it’s complicit ‘silence’….

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Yes David. That is more accurate.

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While I know that most are comparing the similarities with the US Coup attempt on January 6 two years ago, some of what struck me were the differences. One, the people who did this, were not led by the sitting president on the day of the new president's confirmation. In fact, Bolsonaro is hiding in Florida, presumably with his buddy Trump. He is avoiding potential prosecution for crimes he committed as president. Apparently Brazil is proud of its strong courts is what I have heard. They have cleaned up and will prosecute the powerful. We do not have a Supreme Court that we can be proud of. It is a shame for us with its' corruption.

https://www.cato.org/policy-analysis/corruption-rule-law-how-brazil-strengthened-its-legal-system#factor-1-the-plea-bargain-option

Secondly, according to the German report that I saw on ZDF tonight, after the military came out to help the police since they could not handle the number of people who showed up, the people had to disburse when faced with a wall of military who could contain and arrest the demonstrators. The people that should have called the military early on, did not and in fact many people involved in the riots were part of the safety system we have. They acted like on their days off from their jobs they can just go and overthrow the government. We may find out that there were police and military involved in Brazil's uprising too, but when it came down to it the military backed democracy in a timely manner. Also, President Lula was not there when this happened, he was starting to undo some of the horrendous damage done in the Brazilian Rainforest which our planet is dependent on. His government reflects these priorities in cabinet positions. It may still be too late because I understand the Brazilian Rainforest is now releasing more carbon than it is capturing and the developers do not care what the government wants, they will just go in and do what they want to. While Brazilians may have learned from the USA how to do this, they were not effective.

https://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/Brazil-authorities-seek-to-punish-pro-Bolsonaro-17703996.php

Lula is claiming that he wants not just the perpetrators of the insurrection to be found and brought to justice, but their financial backers too. If that were to be the case in the USA wouldn't the Koch Brothers be investigated and held to account.

https://kansasreflector.com/2021/01/21/how-kansas-koch-industries-helped-fuel-the-u-s-capitol-insurrection/

http://www.unkochmycampus.org/gopinsurrectiongeorgemasonuniversity

https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2021/01/05/the-koch-coup-charles-kochs-political-machine-bankrolled-senators-who-will-attempt-to-steal-election-for-trump-tomorrow/

In fact, all of the people listed in this article would be investigated and on trial.

https://www.citizensforethics.org/reports-investigations/crew-reports/insurrectionist-members-have-received-2-6-million-from-corporate-interests-since-january-6th/

If Brazil is successful in prosecuting its funders of insurrection, whereas we cannot go after them, because of the First Amendment and the difficulty of proving that they understood that they funded this insurrection, I will want to have our constitution look more like theirs. I would love for our courts to go after the rich and powerful who are corrupt too. Less likely to happen when the Republicans can create a committee to investigate the investigators, and keep them too busy defending themselves to get their jobs done, and probably bleeding them of money. However, perhaps the Federal Government employees can use the SLAPP laws to defend themselves if they work in the District of Columbia.

https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/responding-strategic-lawsuits-against-public-participation-slapps

https://earthjustice.org/from-the-experts/2022-september/its-time-to-end-strategic-lawsuits-against-public-participation-slapp

https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/representative-jamie-raskin-introduces-the-first-federal-bill-to-deter-strategic-lawsuits-against-public-participation-slapps/

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Linda,

Wow, your note is a veritable library of how America supports rich white men to do whatever they want, whenever they want and however they want.

Great references supporting the above statement.

We are a country without laws for a significant part of the population, rich whte men, and your references are the supporting documents for that statement.

I have copied this for future reference and to send to all the history professors that I know.

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The following is of interest concerning CATO's position regarding Latin America{

CATO HANDBOOK FOR POLICYMAKERS

CATO's position with reference to U.S. Policy toward Latin America

2022 • CATO HANDBOOK FOR POLICYMAKERS

By Daniel Raisbeck

https://www.cato.org/cato-handbook-policymakers/cato-handbook-policymakers-9th-edition-2022/us-policy-toward-latin-america

'Cato Institute:The Cato Institute is libertarian in its political philosophy, and advocates a limited role for government in domestic and foreign affairs as well as a strong protection of civil liberties. This includes support for lowering or abolishing most taxes, opposition to the Federal Reserve system and the Affordable Care Act, the privatization of numerous government agencies and programs including Social Security and the United States Postal Service, demilitarization of the police, and adhering to a non-interventionist foreign policy.' (Wikipedia)

'The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Koch Industries. Wikipedia

Executives: John A. Allison IV, Harrison Moar, Steve Kurtz, MORE

FOUNDERS CHARLES KOCH, Murray Rothbard, Ed Crane

'On domestic issues'

'Cato scholars have consistently called for the privatization of many government services and institutions,[68] including NASA,[69] Social Security,[70] the United States Postal Service,[71] the Transportation Security Administration,[72] public schooling, public transportation systems,[73][74] and public broadcasting.[75] The institute opposes minimum wage laws, saying that they violate the freedom of contract and thus private property rights, and increase unemployment.[76][77] It is opposed to expanding overtime regulations, arguing that it will benefit some employees in the short term, while costing jobs or lowering wages of others, and have no meaningful long-term impact.[78][79] It opposes child labor prohibitions.[80][81][82] It opposes public sector unions and supports right-to-work laws.[83][84] It opposes universal health care, arguing that it is harmful to patients and an intrusion onto individual liberty.[85][86] It is against affirmative action.[87] It has also called for total abolition of the welfare state, and has argued that it should be replaced with reduced business regulations to create more jobs, and argues that private charities are fully capable of replacing it.[88][89] Cato has also opposed antitrust laws.[90][91]' Wikipedia

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I am grateful to Otto von Bismarck for introducing social welfare ideas like social security, and pensions. That led to heath insurance later on.

https://www.ssa.gov/history/ottob.html

Needless to say paid vacations are also a benefit. This appears to have developed more extensively under the Nazi's. The Strength through Joy program that was introduced by Hitler and run by Robert Ley, was a program where the working class was kept occupied in their leisure time with organized activities that included travel. This of course included paid vacation time to be able to do this. https://erenow.net/ww/risefallthirdreich/42.php

Carrying out the Koch agenda, disguised as the Republican party has successfully done, in fake economic ideas of trickle down, and anti-laziness concepts, as well as overstating the benefits of being free to starve in the streets as upholding individual liberty is anathema to other wealthy countries, and is indeed part of the evil side of our nation.

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The Cato Institute is also something of a retirement home for Libertarians in their waning years with a free email address.

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They aren't waning. There are a significant number of Libertarians in Silicon Valley

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So? Please say more.

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Decades ago, pre-law career I had a number of skirmishes with Cato over the Costituional developments in the former post WW II "Trusteeships" in Micronesia specifically Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) & Mariana Islands where the US had a missile testing data sensors inside the spacious Kwajalein Atoll. I learned much about inside House-Subcommittee realities from 2 veterans, R & Dem Staffers."We do not hold hearings unless we already know the Answers". Cato "experts" were not players in that small pond. In fact, they were pathetic.

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Thanks, Bryan. I can't take anything from your response about CATO as a player or not at this time. Which House Subcommittee? No reading here about how House has been functioning in this regard and the House, now!? If you know what I mean.

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The famous Subcommitte in Public Lands was created by Phil Burton in the House. Yes, "Public Lands" included small islands, atolls and reefs in the middle of the Pacific; some islands the scene of terrible WWII battles & later exposed downwind from infamous nuclear weapons tests. I lost a Marshallese friend way to early to the long term effects of radiation exposure. Occassionally, Cato no-nothing creeps woud opine on policy which was basically keep control of Micronesia no matter what -- similar to neocolonial structures. Burton's Subcommittee was a mini-

State Dept run by decent staffers.

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Just mentioning Koch has my blood run cold

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You got it, Kevin. After years of working against addressing 'climate change' read its recent statement:

'Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975. But global warming is also a very complicated and difficult issue that can provoke very unwise policy in response to political pressure. Although there are many different legislative proposals for substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, there is no operational or tested suite of technologies that can accomplish the goals of such legislation.'

'Fortunately, and contrary to much of the rhetoric surrounding climate change, there is ample time to develop such technologies, which will require substantial capital investment by individuals.' (CATO Institue)

'AMPLE TIME'! ACORDTING TO CATO!

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Ample time passed at least 50 years ago. When bees can no longer survive, and extinction rates are rising every year, Houston, we’ve got a problem. It seems people are more interested in taking then giving back

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Great links Linda.. thank you ! My attention went immediately to the differences as well.

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Thank You Linda.

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great post. BTW -the worry for Lula had been that SO many of the governors were explicitly Bolsonaro supporters - including one Governor whose area included parts of the Amazon - and who RAN on a motto of

(paraphrase) "Elect ME to make SURE we develop more!"

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Saved for perusal for my downtimes today!

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One very sad result of autocrats, dictators, and fascists, like tfg and Bolsonaro is the wasted and lost focus, policies and funding of environmental, educational and technological expenditures and mandates to make this planet habitable for our grandchildren and future generations. Bloated military budgets reduce the funds that our representatives will approve for critical quality of life budget categories. President Biden’s agenda and policies have focused on many of those needs but the repubs proudly broadcast their threats to dump or reverse what has improved life for many Americans. President Eisenhower: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired,” the outgoing president warned in his farewell message of January, 1961, “signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hopes of its children.” The continuing use of fossil fuels is connected to exploration and exploitation of resources that threaten an environmentally healthy and peaceful present and future. Right now in current conflicts, pipelines and fuel are controlled and used as bargaining chips. Freeze during winter or negotiate land for oil. Or in some countries resources like water are negotiable. It’s not random. If countries work to be energy efficient and “green” that’s a step towards a healthy and safe planet for now and the future.

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Too true.

Thanks for this, Irenie.

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If Brazil seeks extradition of Bolsonaro and his son Eduardo along with Bannon, do it! For Bannon, after he serves his time for Contempt of Congress.

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And if Brazil does not seek his extradition, he should still be declared persona non grata and kicked out of the United States.

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While we're extraditing, how about all the wingnuts in Congress. They'll be more at home in Brazil. To Ted, it'll be just like Cancun.

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Better to arrest them here and keep them safely imprisoned for life.

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Waiting,,, and waiting….

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And getting nervous that positive change won’t happen soon enough.

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Brazil & the US do have a mutual Extradition Agreement circa the 1960's. Initial steps are underway in Brazil by a Prosecutor Team in Rio de Janiero (muieto bien). The scene of the check crime was in the town of Niteroi outside Rio de Janiero.

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'Your hat, your coat, the door, good bye'! Let's not forget to add Rep. Santos to this extradition flight.

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Hope I live so long…but I’m old

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Things looks unfavorable for Bolsanaro & Santos - the latter with his tell-tale 4 names.

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Your not old in spirit

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Giorgina Melani of Italy condemned it as well. https://twitter.com/giorgiameloni/status/1612222502008225792?s=61&t=XxjSjkB8PLzG2rCLwxb-eg

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That's the best news so far. And a relief that the far right Italian leader supports the peaceful transfer of power.

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Many Italian rightwing nuts admire Trump and Bolsonaro. I wouldn't trust Giorgia Meloni any farther than I could throw her.

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Giorgia Meloni.

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Giorgia MELONI...

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Thank you Heather.

“Political scientist Brian Klass observed that “[p]olitical scientists have a name for what’s happening in Brazil: ‘authoritarian learning.’ It’s when autocratic playbooks spread across borders. Trump taught the world how to do January 6th. Brazil won’t be the last one.””

And here’s yet another of myriad reasons why Trump must be tried, convicted, sentenced and sent to prison.

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