388 Comments

Another(huge) disconnect is between our daily lives and the (mostly garbage) we find in the news, regardless of platform. Spring in the northeast has been glorious this year, and my entire family is fully vaxxed. We’re still being cautious, but after a day in the sun, eating BD cake and chasing the youngsters around, it seems increasingly irrelevant to even *care* what McCarthy/Stefanik are spewing. It’s tempting to tune it all out, which of course gives the rats nearly free rein with their subversive ideas. I haven’t figured out a workable balance yet, probably because 4 years of outrage + 1 year of pandemic wore me down more than I’ve realized.

But we can’t afford to become complacent. “When you’re tired, rest—don’t quit”.

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“We have every reason to be hopeful, but no reason to be complacent.” Robert Hubbell, Today’s Edition.

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Great comment! It points to the desire to open up to life again, the need to take a break, and the need to stay involved and vigilant and active. The desire to sit back on the couch and watch the game is strong after 4 years of intense emotional and activist struggle. We must have a rest break but not for long!

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In our defense, there is something to be said for our outrage giving oxygen to the outrageous. Ignoring them, if used judiciously, may he salutary.

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That’s what I thought in 2016–“who the hell would vote for Tя☭mp? Ignore his BS”....and look where that got us. I think the key word you wrote is “judiciously”—somehow we have to sort the real threats from the bluster, and attack the root causes, not the distractions.

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Yep, it's a tightrope, for sure. We must do both at the same time--confront the lunacy without giving them more attention than they deserve. That's why I so admire the Biden/Harris approach. I think they've truly hit the sweet spot with this.

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That's it! The sweet spot! That's where 44 years of D.C experience pays off!

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We need to give a lot of oxygen to the For the People Act! With Minority Leader McConnell saying there will be no Republican votes for any of President Biden's bills, then they have removed themselves from the playing field and are sitting on the bench pouting. Let's focus on the people moving us forward with boldness rather than spend time on the remnants of the GQP. We need to talk about the actions the majority of the nation will take to assure we all have the freedom to vote in safe, secure and accessible elections. The For the People Act is the pivotal moment of our time. The biggest danger to America is that it won't pass.

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So does the bill actually have a timetable? It's going to take time to implement and clear all the legal challenges in order for it to make a difference in 2022.

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H.R. 1: For the People Act of 2021

"This bill is scheduled for the following committee meetings:

May 6, 2021 noon — House Committee on Financial Services"

Track its progress:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/117/hr1

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Better than being a spectator tracking the progress of HR1/S1, speak up and push it through! Let's break it down: For We The People, All of Us This Time, so Act!

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And let those most concerned with getting this Bill passed in West Virginia in particular tell their Democratic Senator in no uncertain terms where his duty to all the people lies.

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Fabulous little ditty to recite when thinking about our voting tsunami !

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Hi. For further info, please email heathersherd@gmail.com with your name and issues of interest. Thanks!

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thanks ellie

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Sorry folks the website is incorrect. The bill passed the House in March and was referred to the Senate, where no action currently is scheduled. The reference to a House Financial Services hearing is incorrect, none is scheduled on HR1 at this time.

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That makes sense. But govtrack.us does take you to a page to call or write Congress to make your voice heard.

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Although I agree with Ellie K. below, I'd also like to point out another place to track its progress - on C-SPAN. If you have the time and are fascinated with what your representatives and senators do all day, C-SPAN (radio or TV) is an excellent place to indulge that fascination.

https://www.c-span.org/search/basic/?query=H.R.+1+for+the+people

This week on C-SPAN, so far, I've watched or listened to oral arguments before SCOTUS in the U.S. vs. Palomar-Santiago (an immigration case), several appearances by President Biden, and a House appropriations sub-committee hearing on the Education Dept 2022 budget request with Secretary Cardona.

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Thank you, Lanita. That's good to know about C-SPAN. The more avenues we have to pushing HR1/S1, the better. And witnessing our government in action is great civics education!

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Thanks Ellie. There is movement at least.

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Aftermorning, Ellie!! Thanks for sharing ideas and resources -- among the best aspects of LFAA.

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While I agree completely, it's pretty clear the filibuster is going nowhere and without that, ten Rs would need to vote for the bill in addition to every D, which is far from assured. On the other hand, promoting the bill and making clear to the people of this country how endangered their democracy is will be a wise move, no matter what the outcome.

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Modified filibuster is possible

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Yes. Not sure it would stop the cultists and would waste a lot of time, but that might be our best option. I sure do get tired of contemplating the least bad option instead of the best good option, but that's where we are.

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Finish that sentence. That's the problem. There are no consequences.

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On the one hand, I love that the Biden administration is accomplishing so much, but on the other hand, it pains me to see that 45 & his lackeys continue to be afforded so much air time. By all means, give them negative air time such as in Judge Jackson's delicious uncloseting of Bill Barr's misleading lies, but the media must stop allowing sleaze bags like McCarthy, Mitchell, McConnell, and Greene the time of day.

Let's focus on the Bide/Harris team rather than on a totalitarian, unjust team of cut throats who are determined to unseat our democracy in favor of a despotic nightmare!

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They gave complete oxygen to the "orange cone of treason" for five years. Looks like his optics are rising again. Let your media know that they feed the fascists with their repetitive bullhorns. Report the current travesties they are up to, but do not play their propagandist videos and interviews. Let Randy Rainbow do that.

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Our Sinclair owned newspaper only publishes anti-Biden political cartoons, and puts any positive Biden news on the back page. They still publish letters to the editor though. Some hope.

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How sad!!!

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😔 Yes. I am preparing to make a fuss (or at least a letter to the editor) but doubt it will have much impact, except to support our local reporters, who didn't drink Sinclair's or Faux's kool-aid.

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Flood the comment sections with goodness and light.

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🤗

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Go for it, MaryPat!

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Oh, yes! Randy Rainbow has carte blanche to do that!

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My favorite person, Randy Rainbow!!

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I agree with you, Rowshan Nemazee. To act in good faith, the mainstream media must refuse to give oxygen to The Big Lie. Margaret Sullivan, of the Washington Post, reports on a local all-news radio station that’s on mission to do just that!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/the-politicians-who-tried-to-overturn-an-election--and-the-local-news-team-that-wont-let-anyone-forget-it/2021/05/01/cc8764f6-a91e-11eb-8d25-7b30e74923ea_story.html

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It is good to know that someone is doing something. It seems to me that our national news outlets are not reporting news, just the fluffy stiff and they give way to much credence to the rethuglicans without holding their feet to the fire!

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Thank you, Catherine, for posting this very cool story!

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Afermorning, Lynell!! You are one of our champs in digging up valuable references to share. Keep them coming.

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Thank you, TPJ, but this one belongs to Catherine!

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Yes, it is a good read.

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Thank you for the link. I think it’s important to support this type of thinking so I’ve made a donation to WITF to help them keep up their good work. May we see a whole lot more of this type of reporting!

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Lena McG, what a great idea! I’ll be calling in my support as well!

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I subscribe to WaPo and I don't know how I missed this excellent report. Thank you! I have now shared it on my FB page and on Twitter, which is how I "communicate" things of importance to everyone I can reach. I also sent this to the major cable networks via Twitter.

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Thank you, Catherine! I appreciate the link, too!

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Whereas I agree in principle, the fact is that they are, whether we like it or not, the leadership of a party representing nearly half the people of this country. The press has a responsibility to report what they are doing.

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Reid, I, too, agree with you, in principle.😉 However, the magic word here is "responsibility." They have the responsibility to report "responsibly." As president, Biden and his administration must come first and should be given appropriate airtime, whereas, the flailings and absurdities of the cabinet-in-waiting (let's hope forever😂) can be given second place and less repetitions over and over and over again. IMHO.

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part of the problem is that the Rethuglicans are "Little Johnny One Note" and there is very little variety to what they spew. So whatever media source you watch, it 'seems' to be the same thing repeated - because it IS! If I might summarize their message: "No, whatever the topic, our answer is No."

On the other hand, Biden et al have a multitude of issues to tackle with a great deal of nuance with each one. So it appears that their message is watered down, but it's not. It's varied, but each topic is covered (or should be) in depth.

Then the answer from the fringe right is "no" and we've heard it all before.

I'm not sure what the answer is, other than to applaud the cornucopia that the dems are tackling and scroll past the echo chamber of rethuglicans.

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Too true. Democracy has constantly swirling waters because of the need for fidelity to basic principles. Authoritarian regimes are more like ponds, slowly becoming stagnant over time, if the autocrat is clever enough to seduce the populace into (probably grudging) submission.

The Republicans are by no means fringe and it is imperative that their doings be reported on fairly and vigorously.

There lies ahead enormous potential for mischief. I repeat my comment from the other day - the really important matter is a legal indictment of Trump or a series of them. A trial would temporarily stop the flow of mischief. The nation would watch, agog.

A conviction and appropriate penalty would either lance the boil or provoke another insurrection.

The latter is no pleasant thought, but America cannot be made whole again without this public confrontation. Giuliani and Barr matter only as much as their past actions draw the net ever more tightly around Trump.

If there is no indictment of Trump, then either we have all been fooled in the past years, or the will and courage to do so is lacking. To not pursue charges in the face of overwhelming evidence would be the beginning of the end for true freedom in America.

My belief is still on the side of good. We saw it dramatically from thousands of people on November 3 and in the two months afterward. We need the legal system to stand up again. I think they will.

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So true: "I repeat my comment from the other day - the really important matter is a legal indictment of Trump or a series of them. A trial would temporarily stop the flow of mischief. The nation would watch, agog."

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Every outrage these clowns create during their out-of-power time make Trump's indictment(s) and trial(s) more likely. Prosecutors and judges are not deaf and blind.

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The press, yes. Not Fox Opinion ‘news’, where being responsible, or mature, is a foreign concept.

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Yes, and the press has a corresponding responsibility to remind people that their lies about the election are lies, that they represent the insurrectionists, etc.

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Maddox always focused on what they were doing NOT what they were saying which is a pack of lies. I liked watching her because she would always report on what was going on in the courts.

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Listened to Dr Fauci talk about the virus and vaccinations yesterday I was reminded how smart he is and how silenced he was during the tRump times. Fauci talked about no longer trying to get to herd immunity, but focusing on vaccinating as many as possible. He's concerned that young people are less likely to get vaccinated because they believe that they won't get the virus and if they do, it won't be a bad case. Fauci said for the most part that is correct, but that young people often are asymptomatic and then pass along the virus to others. He believes there needs to be a concerted effort to get respected people (sports figures, actors, some politicians) to make public announcements about the vaccine and the value to all when one is vaccinated. It was such a joy to hear him able to speak unfettered.

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I agree - especially with your last comment. As I recall, he was also in favor of emphasizing that being vaccinated was not so much for the person getting the vaccine as it was a societal responsibility to get it to protect OTHERS, family members, friends, the infirm, the vulnerable, etc. I know many young people who would be far more motivated by this reason than by their own fear (which, as he noted, is almost absent in the young!)

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I remember Fauci saying last year that he washes his hands 50 times a day. I'm far from being that diligent, but he sets a terrific example.

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I never count, but I have new habits now that I did not have pre-pandemic! I wash mine after touching literally anything that another human might have touched - mail, doorknobs, etc. Hand lotion companies must be making a small fortune right now!

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Trump, left unchecked, will be the 21st century Hitler. Let's hope we can resist more effectively than the Weimar Republic did.

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I am more worried about Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley

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How so? Please educate me about them.

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Either Cotton and Hawley could assume the mantle of 1/45 in 2024. Both are a lot smarter than; less personally reprehensible; and not as likely to be prosecuted. That makes them more dangerous.

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Hawley said 'yes' yesterday as to whether Biden had been duly elected as the president of the country. How will that suit Trump and his base? Cotton has below 0 charisma. That matters. I think DeSantis is the closest to the crown.

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Gary DeathSentence could deliver more Electoral College votes from FL than the other two seditionists.

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TPJ, I would like a favor from you. Subscribers are using acronyms, abbreviations, made up words, initials, etc., more and more. It is driving me crazy -- too demanding and too time consuming to figure out what the word is -- who's name it is??? I hold a lot of information in my head, along with names, lists, sources, etc.., so this other stuff is like dust that I have to keep clearing away. SO PLEASE USE NORMAL WORDS AND NAMES when exchanging with me. My patience has hit the WALL! Thanks T P J.

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Add Ted Cruz and Governor DeSantis

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Nah, Hitler was actually fairly competent. Unlike Bozo the Kooky Krazy Klown.

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Hitler was mocked like Trump is. He was underestimated constantly. Just sayin'...

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I believe it, but then it was just too "far out" of a notion. Now we remember and know that it can happen and what the consequences could be.

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Both Hitler and 1/45 were very limited in competence, but never under-estimate; it is a fateful error.

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Correct.

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Yep, " Walk softly but carry a big stick"

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A year ago, I never would have imagined Joe Biden to be the president he is. From the roll out of VP candidate Kamala Harris, through the convention, the election, the run up to his inauguration and since Day One, he and his people have done everything pitch perfect.

Now that McConnell has vowed there will be no Republican votes for either Biden’s infrastructure package or his “American Families Plan”, the Dems are free to ram them through Congress. With the Midterms historically putting the other party in power in both houses of Congress, basically Biden has two years to put his agenda into law. On the other hand, with the GOP on the verge of being under Trump’s control, and given the character of his administration, his post election behavior, the insurrection of January 6, and his perpetuation of the BIG LIE, and now as HCR writes, “... Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a strongly worded opinion ordering the Justice Department to release a 2019 memo connected to whether Trump should have been charged with obstructing justice during the Russia investigation.”, perhaps in 2022 enough voters will take stock of the difference between governances and keep the Dems in power. We’ll see if we can trust in God...

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I am doing what I can to promote Dems in 2022. I make small donations to numerous campaigns, primarily Get Out The Vote campaigns, helping Dems build their ground game early.

As I understand it, the early money is the most effective. The late money goes to media buys, which hardly moves the needle.

With my back and vision and vertigo issues, I'm not willing to go out and march. But I am able to make small donations, and I do. I like Emily's List and Fair Fight Action and SMARTElections.us.

BTW, I think, for the most influence, donations to education and policy-making bodies are the best. I give to my local news-and-information public radio station (WAMC). I subscribe to two local papers (the Albany Times-Union and the Glens Falls Post-Star).

Small monthly donations matter more than occasional dollops.

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Thanks Bob, for setting a good example. Local media outlets need all the support they can get. They perform an essential watchdog role that major news orgs cannot or will not do.

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Sadly, I don't think he has the votes to ram anything through. But I still agree he is doing very well playing this ugly hand he's been dealt.

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You cannot see much looking down. Please look up more often.

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We have disagreed about this before. I don't think being pragmatic about our chances is defeatist; rather, it prepares us for the fight ahead. On the flip side, a sunny assessment in the face of dark clouds is disingenuous at best, in my estimation. This may just be an unresolvable personality mismatch for the two of us.

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Reid, Thank you for your response. If you read my comments and replies, you would not be see a rose colored glasses character. I think that you may have mischaracterized my positions. With reference to Trump, he may be headed for a good deal of legal trouble. The start of it is not known to the public. The Party could very well go down with him. I am not in the prediction camp; what I do think, is that we are in flux. My thoughts are neither sunny nor dark, for the most part. While concerned about the effects of social media on vulnerable citizens and the difficulty of getting some crucial bills through, I do not rule out enough worthwhile stuff getting through and the possibility that there be some needed examination of social media leading to a bit of regulation. The board's decision with reference to Facebook's ban of the former president may help to spur that inclination. My way of facing these problems is to avoid assuming a negative or positive opinion. In terms of behavior, my perspective is closer to Henry English's in that I support work that has a chance for rectifying a wrong and or programs that advance the needs of our society. Our different perspectives may have more to do with personality, what doesn't? I enjoy the sunny side of the street but that does not reflect my political philosophy.

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Almost wrote "amen", but I don't think god has near as much to do with it as we will, with our voices and our votes. I can't predict the future, but I do agree with the sense of hope in your analysis. I think we are closer that we think right now, and hope that's right. Understandable to fear being burnt again, but I don't think right wing is anywhere near having the "GOP" (it hasn't been that in a long time) under control. They just like to make a lot of noise in the hopes that people will think they do, and some of the media are still willing to be a sounding board. That appears to me to be winding down (largely because they are starting to actually listen to themselves and realizing that they are not reporting news). And, as you so aptly point out, there is more and more seepage. With Biden moving us in the direction we need to go in and being the steadying force he is, I am optimistic. Just still awfully tired, but unwilling to back up.

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What astonishes me, apart, of course from the ongoing tantrums of the Republican Party, is how, day after day you can produce your calm, informative letter packed with fascinating facts. Do you not sleep or have you found a way of packing 48 hours into every normal day? As an aside my brother is called William Barr. I enjoy blaming him for the mayhem across the pond.

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That's what brothers are for sometimes....friendly punchballs!

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An awkward but understandable missive. The republicans are left in the wake of Trump to fight it out in a way. While ms. Cheney and mr. Romney get boos and scorn, they at least get a minority-report out there. I love a good debate and those two can bring it. I rarely champion Republicans but these two deserve it, in this moment…

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Do you think Adam Kinzinger fits in with Cheney and Romney anywhere?

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Yes I do. I’ve listened closely to Kinzinger. I find that his honesty shows. And that he understands but does not place political peril above what he believes and the values he represents.

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Yes. Ben Sass too…

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I don’t think Sasse has the backbone.

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Absolutely, he does.

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I understand Republicans need Trump's support for votes but I don't understand why they are so willing to destroy Democracy to do stay in power. All of them can look at the autocrats around the world and see that not one of those countries are thriving. So what do they think will happen? I get that they don't want regulations, want tax breaks for the rich, control of women's bodies and to take away rights from all minorities and stop immigration.... so do they honestly thing America will be better off with all this? History had proved this wrong time and again and what they invision would be more extreme than what we have experienced in the past. Somehow this message needs to get through to those who really don't understand what they are trying to do. Maybe Cheney and Romney can get this message out but seems like right now they are too busy fighting to just stay in the game.

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Agree. And play that out… what happens when they are the dog that catches the car? Is that even a country they would want to live it? Where we make nothing and have the diversity-equivalent of a box of Kleenex?! I won’t care, frankly, because I’ll be singing O’Canada long before that anyway. But seriously: I don’t get their endgame.🤷‍♂️🙈

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YES!!

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Hope springs..

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"... man NEVER is, but always TO BE blessed."

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While I don't agree with most of their policies, it's best not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

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Bless Judge Jackson! She called out Barr Nun for the sleaze that he is and now his memo directing the DOJ not to charge Fake 45 with anything should be made public.

Are far as Liz Cheney is concerned, I am not fond of her as she let Fake 45 get away with murder, however, she now seems to have found balls that Qevin McQarthy shed. She is more clever and smarter than he is. I can’t say I am not enjoying the infighting.

Stefanik is a pathetic female specimen. If she and Liz were to get into a boxing match, my bets would be all on Liz for the TKO.

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Keep in mind Stefanik cheats and lies. She would follow trump’s playbook and insist the match was rigged. She is a low person who is in it for herself and will do/say anything to advance her position.

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Not a TKO - an actual Pow! to the face that leaves a permanent mark after Stefanik picks herself up from where she landed on the mat on the far side of the ring.

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More violent fantasies from TCinLA. Not appropriate.

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You’re right of course. I just wish she would disappear. In a totally nonviolent way, of course. It’s sad when our so-called Representatives bring out the worst in us (me).

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Not blaming you, Adker -- your comments are always fine. I post near TC's comments b/c I never reply directly. Yours happened to be nearby. Cheers!

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Thank you Heather. I think.

I did not realize that Stefanik was the GOP choice to replace Liz Cheney. As an owner of a cottage on Lake Ontario that makes Stefanik the reining Republican for that area, I will refrain from giving my opinion of that rancid POS or I will most assured be tossed from this forum as well as Facebook.

She is certainly the perfect choice to perpetuate "The Big Lie".

There seems to be an upsurge on social media in misinformation on everything from effects of the COVID vaccine to blaming Biden for the cost of lumber. I'm growing tired of trying to explain facts to these GQP (Grand QAnon Party)members. I think we all are.

Perhaps this is part of their long game.

What I do know is, my gardening plans are coming to order. Spring is giving us the greening of grass and budding trees and the birds are spectacular in voice and numbers.

Be safe, be well.

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I remember seeing her at the second impeachment. She was a sycophant spouting BS and I thought back then that she was an idiot.

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Annette, you were right. I had to sit with her at an event. She is everything you saw at the Impeachment hearings and more.

It was all I could do to not get up and leave the table. I told my boss I wanted hazard pay for being forced to sit with her.

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I walked out of a George Bush speech - one that my boss required me to attend. I was sitting in the middle of a large audience. I stood up and literally climbed over people to get to the door, which I slammed behind me. I have never regretted the scene I caused.

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We felt the door slam here in New England.

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Afternoon, Annette!! Respectfully, why use past tense? It's not like she's improved since then.

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"that rancid POS" is quite a non-opinion opinion.

Best wishes with your gardening, Linda. Bring plant life into the world.

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TPJ, well you should hear what I call her in private 🤭

I just came home to find a gorgeous pair of Orioles partaking in the oranges I put out in the garden. What a treat to see.

Thank you, I am looking forward to making this year's garden special.

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Due to the lumber shortage, (and inflated costs), instead of replacing my deck this spring, I am turning it into a lush potted plants garden. The few chairs will have to be 6 feet apart.

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Mary Pat that sounds like a wonderful alternative. We are postponing our back deck as well for those same reasons. My partner and I may find out we really don't need it. We are going to be more creative with our backyard instead.

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Empty suit full of ambition McCarthy (R - Okiefornia) may find that tying everything to Trump doesn't get him to where he gets to be the least-qualified/most-ignorant Speaker of the House in history, if next year becomes a referendum on the Fat Old Senile Duffer vs Accomplishment You Can Bank On. Looking at the video of Fatso crashing the wedding party to air his fantasies, he was sooooo pathetic. Hopefully the FleeceBlock scum won't decide to let him back tomorrow.

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Harsh words TC but they fill me with hope. I want better headlines and I think you're on the right track. How about "Senile Old Duffer Bloviates!" We need to walk a fine line that ridicules with just the right air of dismissal and reason and that gradually erodes more and more Trump victims (the Republican rank and file). We are still in a parlous state but with the very solid achievements of Biden's administration and the frantic fraying of the Republican political class, things are continuing to move in a positive direction. While I am hardly euphoric, I am hopeful.

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Unless they go back to their pre-election strategy of producing "stumbling duffer" videos of Biden and planting stories about his "declining mental capacities" to compete. We aren't talking truth here, we're talking propaganda. We end up discrediting all politicians. Let the journalist and their revealing captured moments of truth do the work and offer no chink in the armour of "truth, candour and reason" that the Republicans can exploit.

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Yeah, not euphoric but am hopeful. that works.

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I agree with you but feel the need to call out the fat shaming involved in using a term like Fatso. This is used as a slur and presumes there is something inherently shameful in obesity.

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Yeah, I didn't like fatso.

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There's something shameful in an idiot who eats his steaks well-done and whose diet includes way too much Mickey-D. Plus, it's that mendacious, malicious, malevolent motherfucker.

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I'm not worried about him (he can go **** himself). But slurs affect everyone who reads them and sees themselves in them.

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True, Reid. Say something precise about 1/45 being unhealthy or out of shape, but skip the fat-shaming. The ripple effect is hurtful to others who are innocent.

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You know the phrase “no news is good news....”.

Seems like we cannot appreciate how well things are going unless we are also inundated with how dreadful human beings can behave.

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Democracy is very messy.

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Especially when our Country is the "trail blazer'

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Biden appears to be betting that Americans of all parties will pay attention to what he is accomplishing and stop listening to Republican lawmakers, who are living in an entirely different political reality than the Democrats.

And he is going to loose that bet. Not understanding that is the problem with all of us that want to live in a reasonable time. It is denial. I don't like it and it is true that it is a fear based belief.

The question now is how long is Biden going to hold those cards. I'm Ok with waiting through the flop. I think that time is here and the betting is taking place. As HCR states the media attention after the flop (which was Biden's speech) is still on the chaos and the Republicans. At the turn card Biden should fold the idea that enough Republicans are going to see the light. Unfortunately, if I was betting against him I would feel that he is going to stay in that game straight through to the river thinking he has the cards but in this case if he sticks with that hope (republican sanity) through the river he is going to loose to an inside straight. There are hands that you just know are going to go against the odds of reasonableness.

And, there is also the point that such antics among our leaders, knowingly lying, backing a concept that has been defeated in court many times, therefore denying the rule of law, these antics are intolerable in and of them selves. Fold the hand. Stop playing poker. Speak the truth. Be loud with it and stop acting as if politics is a game.

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I disagree. Biden is walking a tightrope and doing so masterfully. He is playing the hand he was dealt, which is a pretty weak one. He HAS publicly called out the Big Lie by name, but to focus on that to the point that it overshadows his policy decisions would be a derelection of duty as well as politically unwise. Do I think his wager here will pay the dividends he wants? I have been clear in my belief that it probably will not. But I still think he is playing this more or less perfectly: advocate for policies that will help everyone and let the chips fall where they may (to extend the poker metaphor yet further) while letting the clear irrationality and mendacity of the Rs speak for itself.

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Yes. And he's not in a bubble. He sees what is going on. I (have to) believe at this point that he has a long term strategy.

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Add to that there are no grass roots Tea Party ( not they ever were) rallies to oppose the help people are getting from the federal government. All they have is the Big Lie.

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He is not going to win over the cult of believers and white supremacists. All he needs to do is win over independents and the 30% republicans who are not in Trump’s camp.

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That's sort of like the hopeful approach of many eventual losers playing Texas Hold 'Em. Democrats all too often underestimate the ignorance and gullibility of the American voter.

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Politics IS a game. Public service is not and should not be a game. “May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese curse. The previous admin’s 4 interesting years were more than enough for me and I am most grateful for President Biden and his administration’s emphasis on public service instead of selfish political antics. The bad actors should be poked out of office and floated down the river of no return. -with apologies to Patrick and anyone who understands poker.

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Poker metaphor we are sitting at a table where the opponents are allowed to cheat. IE knowingly lie. Them's shootin words!

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Immediately changing the filibuster to what it was originally will shoot the liars in the foot with their own guns. Just like in the impeachment trials, they will rant and rave as we leave the room.

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Gigi, my thought on the Impeachment trial was it was an impotent gesture. Trump suffered no implications for his deeds and proved to emboldened him. The filibuster mechanics must change, immediately.

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The evidence presented at both trials can be used in future prosecutions. Also, it's important to have them in the historical record.

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Those Senators who voted not to impeach, are forever a stain. Drumf Tower, Drumf University, Drumf steaks, Drumf Senator. No wonder they want total control over teaching history!

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Now we're getting at the inherent dangers of metaphors.

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Well mixed.

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Don't say "mixed" - it just makes me want another martini!

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Moving the metaphor to football, teams that try to outdo an opponent playing THEIR game almost always lose. The temptation to play Trump’s game is huge. Get in the mud and wrestle him into submission. Biden is trying to play his own game of good governance vs mud wrestling. The crowd wants mud wrestling.

What to do? Can Biden rewrite the rules and play both games at once? I think you are saying he needs to beat Trump at Trump’s game. I agree he needs to show he can mud wrestle and win. But he must also continue to do his good governance at the same time.

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To all you analogy hawks (Ned, Patrick and GIgi), I enjoy the odds making. I have to wonder, though, if in keeping with a focus on public service, that Biden may be leaving the clean up work to the DOJ. And if that may be a more shrewd and prudent way to let the chips fall.

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Biden is changing the game. He's directing government policy towards helping women and children. Children are our future.

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TOTALLY AGREE ABOUT DOJ, David. And Biden knows it. Don’t underestimate his poker skills, Patrick. Garland has always been and still is an ace in the hole. The people and Cabinet that Biden has surrounded himself with is the BEST circle of wagons in a long time. I feel confident that when I hear of something PaJoe is doing, I know it’s a formidable team that’s at work.

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Sorry, Gigi, for the typo.

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Put the clown in jail where he belongs and the problem solves itself

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I don't know . . . Remember the Free Nelson Mandela T-shirts. Those MAGA folks love swag.

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I think it may depend on how many go down with Trump.... Hopefully it will be family, cabinet members, campaign people and members of Congress. Then it would be hard to to keep up the pretence they are not all crooks.

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You know he’d sell out every one of them to keep himself out of trouble.

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Think of all the t-shirts that'll show 1/45 in jail. Is pre-ordering possible? I'll take a bunch of them.

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I would pre-order those t-shirts, too, but I'm afraid my skin would burn if one touched my skin.

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Lanita 100%

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I almost clicked the 'heart' / like icon here, but it bums me out to see the red hat folks mentioned in the same post with Madiba. (And you're not wrong about the swag!)

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I expect that if Biden were to talk regularly and while I said loudly I mean in Biden's style, loud is probably the wrong word, I mean consistently. Biden would speak truthfully and about facts, not addressing Trump or his minions directly but speaking about what their presence in our system is creating, ie, pseudo respectability of lies ect. And he would reiterate the truth over and over into the news because it is hard for the news to ignore the president. So I don't see this as playing Trumps game but as realizing that the internet and social media has changed politics forever allowing personality and inflammation to be the order of the day. He has to regularly pour water on that fire which he can only do by talking honestly and consistently about who is obstructing, not even why really. He doesn't need to speculate but he has to have a presence that equals and eclipses Trump, Cruze, and all those who are feeding on the media frenzy.

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In this metaphor show I am reminded of Dylan's lyrics,

"While one who sings with his tongue on fire

Gargles in the rat race choir

Bent out of shape from society's pliers

Cares not to come up any higher

But rather get you down in the hole

That he's in."

It seems to me that Biden is doing a pretty good job of avoiding the hole, while in retrospect Hillary might have done better in that arena.

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I’m thinking there must be great scholarly minds who have studied authoritarianism in great depth and collectively could give counsel and advice to this administration on our best way forward? Am I wrong to think good leaders would seek counsel from the most learned minds?

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Anne Applebaum, Hannah Arendt, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Alan Bullock, Ian Kershaw, Mark Mazower, Stanley Payne, Tim Snyder, Max Weber

Some oldies but goodies, some new kids on the block. (Music metaphors)

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Perhaps HCR’s next book. 1980 to 2021, how fascist is America?

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Any critical biography of Idjt

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No doubt!

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But who'd be able to stomach reading it?

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Prof. Tim Snyder

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🙏🙏🙏

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TPJ mentioned Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Timothy Snyder, both of whom are now also writing on Substack.

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Thank you!! Some there for me to check out. How about someone like Robert Jay Lifton?

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For the basics/foundation of Fascism, " The Anatomy of Fascism" Robert O. Paxton

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"How Fascism Works" -Jason Stanley

"Fascism: A Warning" -Albright, Madeleine

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Oops. Where’d it go?

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Sorry Christie! Deleted, augmented, re-posted. I've wondered if editing comments would leave folks confused; apparently it can.

Not sure what RJ Lifton's written on authoritarianism, but he is always worthwhile. Thanks for highlighting him on LFAA.

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It's all good. for a minute I thought I had joined the delusional. I appreciate the list. I especially like Snyder because he gives concrete suggestions for what we the people can do to push against the tide of authoritarianism. It certainly seems like we need a vaccine that protects us from it spreading. I just signed up for Lucid (Ruth Ben-Ghiat) on substack, so thank you for mentioning her. I'm hoping Biden admin is getting advice on language to use to put out the authoritarian wild fire. Arendt and Lifton both write about language (especially cliches) that serve to stop thinking. It's fascinating, and frightening.

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Biden is not the only Democrat in town. It makes perfect sense for his administration to concentrate on what they are getting done. It is also very important that other people work against the radical right actions restricting voting. You might want to pay some attention to Marc Elias and pals at democracydocket.com. For example: https://www.democracydocket.com/2021/05/legislative-power-grabs-ignore-voters/

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I agree with you about loudly speaking the truth, although that just invites counter talk from the other side; counter talk that simply cements Trump's base even more, if that's possible. I'm curious why you thought Biden's speech was a flop. Can you explain?

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I thought Biden's speech was exquisite! He set the calm, we-can-do-this tone we need, proved it with all he had accomplished in 99 days, then raised the bar with his emphasis on children and education and infrastructure and democracy itself. Several NPR commentators panned the speech as lacking the fire of Obama or JFK. Huh? The goal is to reassure us after 4 years of verbal abuse by the former guy. And to teach us how government is supposed to work: WE are the government. I was especially impressed with what may have been where NPR thought he "went off script" - to repeat important points in another way, like a great teacher does, so we all get it and learn it and value it. Thank You, President Joe Biden!!

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Yes, I think the media needs to step it up. They can and should do better, it's as if many of them have been brainwashed also.

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I agree, Christy. Even NPR seems to have lost sight of what journalism is for. It's about informing us as the 4th estate. It's NOT about critiquing politics as if it were a play or performance. It's about making choices, decisions, implementing programs that serve the American people.

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At least we now have twitter where we create our own media, because they sure won't get played on Fox NOT News. Love our new press secretary. Nobody can say Biden didn't understand how to pick the best.

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that "100% of my focus is on stopping this new administration." Response from

@presssec: "I guess the contrast for people is 100% of our focus is on delivering relief to the American people and getting the pandemic under control."" from LFAA's May 5th letter

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Not "just." It's not true that speaking the truth loud and long "just invites counter talk."

That kind of thinking gives up the game before you even start.

I have a friend who has been speaking with a group that is pro-Trump about the risks of voting machines called ballot marking devices (BMDs) that -- hold on to your hat -- actually pass the printed, voter-approved ballot under a print head again. At which point a misconfigured or hacked machine could tamper with the ballot, either adding a name left off, or putting a stray mark on the ballot that invalidates the ballot.

There are 4 such machines on the market, including the ExpressVote XL, by ES&S, and Dominion ICE.

In NYS, there are bills before the state legislature (Assembly bill A1115 and Senate bill S309) that would prevent BMDs with this disastrous design flaw from being certified for purchase.

So, if you are in NYS, contact your Albany rep and say you favor these bills.

If you are in another state, go to verifiedvoting.org and check to see if these devices are used in your county. And work to prevent their use.

More info at:

https://smartelections.us/hybrid-voting-problems

Find out who your state representatives are and put their phone numbers into your phone's contact list. Add their email addresses to your email address book. Look them up and find an issue you agree with them on and back them up. Let them know who you are, that you are not a kook, and that you vote.

Make Good Trouble.

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My friend talking to that group? She thinks that, just possibly, she was one of a few voices speaking verifiable truth to them. Lets them know that it's possible to join us in the real world and not "feel stupid."

Because, after all, they just learned something good and trustworthy and actionable. And I think that's gotta be a good thing.

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Bob, I agree that too often the problem is folks are especially sensitive to feeling "stupid" and it creates a huge barrier in conversations. You've inspired me to try harder with my representative. I tend to direct my overwhelming anger at the state of our affairs to my MoC's even though I know that never influences anything.

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Has the FEC actually approved such vote-tampering machines?

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Well, the FEC itself does not actually approve or disapprove of voting machines, or voting machine design.

The EAC (Election Assistance Commission), established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, sets up *voluntary* guidelines (VVSG, or Voluntary Voting System Guidelines), which the states are free to adopt or not.

The approval of voting machines and election systems is at the state level (states' rights, ya know). In New York State, voting machines and elections systems cannot be purchased (by county boards of election) unless the State Board of Elections certifies them.

Surprisingly, I cannot readily find which voting machines are certified on the NYS BoE web site (https://www.elections.ny.gov).

I use the very helpful "Verifier" on Verified Voting's web site (https://verifiedvoting.org/verifier/#mode/navigate/map/ppEquip/mapType/normal/year/2022).

For specific information about why certain hybrid voting machines are bad, see https://smartelections.us/hybrid-voting-problems

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Bob, thank you for clarifying. How would/could the FEC play a role? Do they need to wait for someone to file a complaint about voting machines? Thanks again.

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AFAIK, the FEC has nothing to do with voting machines. On fec.gov, their "tag line" says, "Protecting the integrity of the campaign finance process."

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I do understand that. I spoke loud and long against the Vietnam War back in the early '70s. Marched, attended campus gatherings and sat in the middle of a PA highway to stop traffic and protest. The protest was in front of a naval research facility and the university I attended. We stayed until the state cops showed up with helmets and billy clubs. Trump and company have a way of having a way of turning loud protesting to their advantage; I think that's what I was trying to point out. I don't see the Democrats mustered to counter the crap the Republicans are doing.

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In Texas holdem poker the first three shared cards that are turned over are called the flop. I don't think there was anything wrong with Biden's speech. I don't think his effort to get republican senators to be reasonable by example is going to work. I do hope that he has an in depth plan that goes beyond asking the Senate to ACT.

I also think that if the president got on the news daily, every day, and talked about the present state of politics and named senator's names and repeatedly states that the rule of law stated that there was no fraud in the 2020 election. I believe that president Biden is sitting at a cross roads and although he cannot make congress do what he wants he has potentially the loudest voice in the nation if he chooses to use it. But if he remains classically presidential not recognizing that the 'playing field' is fundamentally changed by the internet then all his political skill, and reasonable work will be overturned in the midterms. He will not be able to enact laws and will be reduced to executive orders and a loosing fight in 2024 because he will be behind the new 'game' that is controlled by fake news. He has to change that game now, before the midterms and although he cannot make it change he can talk daily about it in very specific terms. Talking like the fire side chats, during the war would/could change that 'game' that is currently profiting Face Book and the like. Public lying simply cannot be tolerated among our public officials. Truth-in-depth, meaning multiple sources on record with independent knowledge must be returned to standard in public life. Without that we are simply lost sailing with a broken compass, betting on the river card having miscounted.

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You “hope he has an in-depth plan”?????? What in the world? I’d say his “plan” since he was elected has added the necessary people, management (including strategy) and behavior systems to create a presidency with many layers—growing constantly.

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Agree totally - time for fireside chats, texts, tweets, posts...

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I understand what you're saying, and agree Biden could do more to enunciate his policies and why what Republicans are asserting is so damaging and so wrong. I don't think, though, that he is playing to the Congressional Republicans or expecting much of them. I think, through what he is saying, and particularly through the policies he is proposing/enacting, he is speaking to Republican/Independent voters who may have voted for T**** but can be persuaded. Not T****'s gullible ignorant base, but others.

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YES! He needs to be putting his presence out there, and making it clear what he's accomplished. But he needs to do it on a Joe Shmoe level and stay away from the political jargon.

I consistently hear more about tru*p's party shenanigans than anything that President Biden has going on and that needs to change.

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YES ! Finally, this is what I'm saying.

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I feel like this is what Heather is saying in her letter. So in reading thru your posts I see you think fireside chats might be helpful. Do you have other suggestions? I think much of the problem lies within the media. I cannot stomach broadcasts other than say npr and Ari Melber (Maddow is on too late for this east coast granny) because they focus too much on the "noise" and drama for the sake of drama. Biden and many Dem congresspeople post regular very positive updates on their FB pages.

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Yes, I’m interested too. That sounded like troll-ish bait.

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Yeah, when you use a specialized term, it's smart to define it at first use.

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Thanks, Dennis. I'd like to know why Patrick characterizes Biden's speech as a "flop."

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Ive written this a couple of times now The Flop is a poker term.

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Thanks, Patrick. I've read it a couple of times, from a couple of folks.

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Biden’s Good will prevail over GOP’s Evil. Eventually.

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It is almost a classic battle of good versus evil, isn't it! I keep thinking of Trump as a mythological beast who is injured but not mortally wounded. He bellows and keeps on spitting fire in outrage that he's been bested. He's still dangerous.

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Whenever you comment, the Audacity of Hope springs to mind. Thank you.

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Eventually may not happen before the midterms

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And your suggestion to deal with that possibility is what? Patrick, this is right now, not then. And right now is the time to speak up, stand up, and let our reps know what we need to have happen.

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With our help. We need to avoid falling back into that trap of expecting one person to pull off a miracle for us. We've talked in the past about the need to speak up, write letters to our reps in congress, AND at the state level and local levels too. AND to newspapers. Speak up at meetings. Join groups of folks supporting the same values you share. If we keep saying what we need and expect over and over, it will stay alive. Yeah, that includes sometimes having the back for people investigating the radical right. But what will really change the tide is not trying to make Biden into a different person because we think he's not flashy enough. Flash is what gets things messed up.

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Why was Biden't speech a "flop"?

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"flop" is poker jargon. These comments are full of that jargon.

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poker reference

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Please see Patrick Munson NC's one line explanation above.

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That's Munsons opinion, not mine or that of the friend I watched with. Nor, do I believe, a widespread opinion among many others. That it was loaded with facts & policy statements instead of fiery rhetoric was a great relief.

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Seems to me there's not much point in worrying. It's the same as electing Biden in the first place: he's either got the chops, or he doesn't. If he doesn't, it's clear the democracy will fall, given that the Republicans are clearly interested in tearing it down. If he does, he's got the position, the experience, and a lot of very smart (and devious) advisors. If that isn't enough, we don't have any other real options. It's the downside of any peaceful society: it requires peace by definition. If we resort to internecine war, we've already lost -- the best we can hope is to destroy "the enemy," however we define that.

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We all need to be Stacy Abrams. I think Biden is the man for the moment, but this isn't on just him.

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Biden's speech to the joint session of Congress was a flop? With who? (I thought it was pretty good.)

Sorry, even though most of the commenters below seem to have followed your analogy, I'm not finding a lot of sense in it. You're making odd allusions to "cards" and "bets" that have ambiguous referents. Please