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"And yet, that recent CNN/SSRS poll found that 59% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents think believing that Trump won the 2020 election is important to their identity as Republicans." Wow. So most Republicans base their identity on a lie. It has been proven over and over that there was no election fraud. Such a foundation is built of sand and cannot last. At least we hope so. The most challenging problem with gullible Republicans (and all of us, really) is their inability to admit they were suckered. Mark Twain said it best: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

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As the Jesuits taught me 60 years ago, every argument or debate has to have a foundation based on truth, anything else is built on sand, they were the most intellectually challenging people I have ever known. To have today, one of our 2 political parties, build the foundation of the argument for their primacy based on a demonstrable lie is unfathomable. Mark Twain seems to have gotten it right. God help us.

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On a factual basis, it's all lies. Emotionally, something else is going on. The claim seems to be that "we"(Republicans | whites | Evangelicals | whoever} have a literally Gd-given right to power (for the leaders) and top status (for the rest), therefore it's fraud if they don't win - even if the 'fraud' is nothing more than being out-voted.

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God-given right to power for the elite at the top harkens to monarchy, the very thing the founding fathers were striving to avoid with the U.S. Constitution.

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That's exactly what Bill Barr thinks the Presidency is, a king.

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How could he be so stupid?!?!?

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That’s the million dollar question. He did resign after the election, but what a stain on his career. Same as recommending to Bush 1 to pardon Oliver North and those war pony cronies.

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100%

Demagoguery based “leadership” style. Utilizing demagoguery is not leadership, it’s manipulation, gas lighting fraud when there was none.

When does it become so delusional that the QOP suffers a collective psychological crisis?

Oh wait, that was Jan 6th for some, and for many it’s today’s ICUs and hospital hallways and parking garages triage Covid wards.

When will enough be enough for these people?

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The most frightening part is that this faction of believers don't understand that the leaders they are following have zero interest in them. Too self-centered and power hungry to think and act for anyone else but themselves. And, there isn't a real brain among them. Ask them for a solution or platform for a societal problem, and they have nothing.

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Christi, There was a very worthwhile exchange between Joan and Nomi on this subject, what I'll call for now, the negative population. One part - the hate-profiteers/manipulators and - the people that they influence the most - the grievance/hate/anger population, at core, in terms of 'identity', I think are very near the same. There is a difference of opinion on the forum about whether to go after to hate-profiteers/liars. Those against such a campaign are concerned that the problem would be inflamed even more as well as, perhaps, of being ugly, demeaning and belittling. Not addressing the lies has certainly kept the doors open for more lies, along with more hatred becoming entrenched. I cannot know if revealing the liars for who they are would be more dangerous, less or to no avail. The profiteers are abundantly demeaning and ugly, so it would be impossible for messages revealing who they are and the harm they cause to be without strong feeling. It requires a good deal of talent and good sense to address the lies/liars in clear, honest. dramatic and persuasive ways. I think efforts in that direction should be made. I'm in favor of facing the lying murders because turning your back on them is surefire disaster.

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And that votes for "the other side" are illegitimate, and therefore, fraudulent so can't be counted.

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Morning Lynnel. Daniel Ortega and Vlad (the impaler) Putin solved this problem with relative ease. They simply imprisoned all those wishing to be placed on the ballot against them! However it doesn't mitigate their primal fear of what fate eventually beholds them when others more vicious even than they decide "enough".

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“Ceremonial Elections”

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Elections then serve only to confirm the peoples acceptance of the "Big Lie" and their subservience to the national saviour.

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I do think the idea of a Gd-given right is part of this, for sure. That's where it starts; that's where it's continually fueled by those in power. The minions following, however, are in murkier water, I believe. Yes, many have a compelling fear of losing their majority (as whites) in this country. But I'm not convinced that it's willful ignorance on their part, anymore than the lethal COVID beliefs are. I keep seeing people saying, "It's their duty to inform themselves." But where? Their feeds online are designed to reinforce what they already believe. The so-called news they watch seems absolutely legitimate to them. Often their entire communities are deeply involved in this alternative reality. They have been well and truly duped. Used and manipulated in the most ruthless inhumane way. Yes, many had the right fears and propensities. But we are all malleable. We are all sometimes susceptible to believing a wholly constructed false reality, for a moment, a year, a lifetime.

Those in power relentlessly perpetuating these lies need these millions of marks to believe them, obviously. But the brunt of the blame lies with the ones who've abused their power, break oaths and laws, to continue to manipulate millions of people whom they'd drop like a hot potato if it became advantageous to do so.

(This sounds like a refutation of what you wrote, Joan. It's not. What you say is true at its core, at the core of all of this. I'm only expanding to say that I believe it's important to draw the line between the manipulated and the manipulators.)

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Nomi, I totally agree with you. I know good-hearted people who think Joe Biden is senile because the only videos they have seen of him have been altered, people who tried to inform themselves about the election and went with the prevailing 'news' available to them.

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Nomi, I think that you have teased out an important distinction. Both parts of this I'll call, for the moment, negative population, come with somewhat different motivations, but as you and Joan have indicated, at the core the 'identity' that they are defending and puts them on the offence is the same. Their belief in their 'purity' and the righteousness of their hatred/anger is what makes this challenge very old and very treacherous.

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My observation is not that it is so much the "God given right" of the right, as it is the "unworthiness" of those who oppose them. The right believes in a lot of scapegoats that don't actually exist. "Welfare queens." The dreaded "Illegal alien bringing in drugs." The poor person who is too stupid/weak/worthless to make something of themselves in this "land of opportunity."

Assuming a God-given right contains a seed of inherent humility, or at least potential humiliation: what God has given, God can take away. Most of the people yelling on the right seem more to be self-justified than God-justified. "They worked hard to be where they are." They "pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps." Etc. The people they look down on are the people "looking for handouts," which is, of course, anyone that wants to support -- and gain the support of -- an actual functioning community or nation.

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Makes sense to me.

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I spent a year in a convent school at 15. The Jesuit priests were brilliant and made us actually think. They made learning exciting.

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Now that I'm older, (not old-old. just old), I can more readily understand and value that tough-as-nails education, early in life (after the age of reason sets in, natch!).

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"Tough-as-nails" meaning insist on the foundation being a truth. And secondly, logic must follow. And you must have evidence for what you claim. Right? These things are clearly lacking on Trumpers.

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Yes, But you have to look at the reasons why they want to believe the lies. They have reasons for that regardless. That, to me, is the crux of the problem.

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Anger is addictive. This addiction has been deliberately fed by Fox News, social media, talk radio and now our politicians.

If the death of their loved ones can’t snap them out of it, I don’t know what can.

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I would add hate to the mix. Anger and hate are highly addictive. Humans generally don't like to examine their own beliefs & actions to make positive changes. It is far easier to blame someone else - a specific person or groups like immigrants, people of color, women, the poor, etc. Blame & anger turn into hatred pretty quick and indulging in all of that is all so much easier than taking the time & effort to examine one's own beliefs and to look beyond news & information sources that validate one's anger & hate.

In my experience, changing someone's mind once they have latched onto blame, anger & hatred as their modus operandi is very difficult. Not impossible but very, very difficult. Usually it seems to take either a slow, steady positive influence or an abrupt traumatic event.

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Thank you Kasumii. I've lost a 48 year friendship to the kind of anger and hate you write about. I believe it is not recoverable at this point. My former friend gradually changed once the FG was elected. She is now one angry and hateful person and my sorrow over that is immeasurable. I think about her everyday. Your post here today just makes me feel better. I've tried on my end to be patient, but to no avail. She is irrevocably addicted to the anger, blame and hate that you write about.

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br, Clearly the losses in deaths, include the deaths of friendship. Is it not possible to see her and rule out together - no political talk? Am addicted to 'love can find a way'? Do you know what has hurt her most in her life or was there a series of disappoints? Perhaps, there is no passage to each other. I identify with your sense defeat, just looking for a sandbar.

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I am sorry for your loss. It is painful to lose someone we care about to such ugliness.

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I'm so sorry.

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Yes, I know a couple of people like that too. A brother and a cousin plus a couple of others.

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I have to add fear to that mix of motivating emotions. It's used so often by the rightwing to rile up their followers.

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I agree. First you make people afraid then you give them someone to blame and then you stoke that fear into anger and hate. It works quite well. Humans are very quick to leap into ideologies without taking the time to exams them from all angles.

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Fear first.

Then a communal granting of a license to be angry because others in your world are afraid.

Then lies to create a concrete object to direct the anger at.

Then an escalation to hate and a similar licensing of that hate.

Then the liberating, very Southern, philosophy of life, “Fuck it. Nothing works out anyway.”

Then a willing of the mind and soul to surrender to anarchy, which is a return to childhood before one knew there was such a thing as rules.

We are at the Fuck it stage now.

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The hate and anger so a part of Trump, its supreme promoter, along with the enabling Republican Party, are our biggest challenge. I'm hoping that some of it can be chipped away with the truth, fierce as well as humorous messages repeatedly revealing the self-interest of the hate-profiteers and the tragic losses to the rest of us.

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I think a week of massive struggling to breathe is helping many see the light.

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But is their week of struggling to breathe preceded by causing infections in their families and friends, and break-through infections for those who judiciously managed to seek vaccination. Nice that they've seen the light, but what about their innocent victims?

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"They", in this case social media, seem to love keeping us all angry at each other. It's why I step away and try to use social media for other things.

https://www.axios.com/social-media-polariztion-nyu-facebook-24a67901-86f9-4643-b4c2-7eba3ca3352a.html?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=email&utm_placement=newsletter

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I don't think anything. they grieve, they are sad, but for them, it is just what God wanted.

Religion and Science. these 2 "ologies" must link back together and show us the new and exciting insights emerging from this co-mingling.

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Our culture places to much emphasis on being right, on blame, on punishment. Facts are not helpful in an argument if people are not motivated to believe them. The argument must shift to what's important in that case.

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Why? When Leonard Pitts asked his detractors that question, they answered. "I have, however, heard from hundreds like “Matthew,” who worries about “immigrants” and “Gerald,” who thinks people of color have an “alliance” against him. Such people validate the verdict of a growing body of scholarship that says, in the words of a new study by University of Kansas professors David N. Smith and Eric Hanley, “The decisive reason that white, male, older and less educated voters were disproportionately pro-Trump is that they shared his prejudices and wanted domineering, aggressive leaders …”

My gut says they spoke the truth to him. They want someone just like themselves.

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Of course, you're absolutely right and I totally agree. But, being right is not necessarily going to solve anything. Do you want to simply fight? Or do you want to change minds? Where does shouting that we're right and you're wrong get us? It's going to take more than that to change things.

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Well, I think it's simply. They love to get into arguments. Arguments are exciting. Righteous. Makes the time pass quickly.

And, you can't lose. Either you "win" the other guy over, and they "agree" with you. YAY!! Or the other guy leaves in silence. Of course you also win this way, because they can't think of a counter argument, therefore you must have the upper hand. DOUBLE YAY!!

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Belonging to a tribe. We need some better tribal options in their country!

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I think they think they are some sort of Trumpian tribe. Except that the followers can't ferret truth from gaslighting. I find it totally amazing and terrible that vaccinated Republican leaders in our country are screaming for their followers to rise up and refuse vaccinations and masking.

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That poll was a little over 2000 total but 80 million eligible voters did not vote in the last presidential election. CNN/SSRS has recently changed sampling to begin with mailed invites to know more about responders. Poll reporting used to say what sampling was right up front and for the sake of accuracy and my blood pressure they should again. Pollsters are maybe not trying to fool us but certainly making themselves more important than they are. It’s a big business.

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“And it’s Hillary in a landslide!”

😂

So much for polling.

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This fact has me wondering what earth we are living on. There's reality. And, there is delusion. I think Heather is a part of my ability to stay in reality. Of course there is my ability to read and research and fact check for which I am forever grateful.

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Republicans are not "suckered" in the least. They are active participants in a Civil War they absolutely, positively, 100% understand. To suggest that they have been "conned" or "suckered" in any way is extremely naive. More importantly, that is exactly what their "generals" at the Federalist Society want you to believe. If I hear one more pearl-clutcher utter the words,

"Why do those poor, misguided people vote against their best interests", I will projectile vomit.

Those "poor, misguided people" vote 100% for their "best interests" ... namely the restoration and preservation of white supremacy.

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Exactly!

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Well, that’s less than 60% of 25% of the voting public. Which seems pretty consistent.

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Repeat a lie long enough and people will eventually believe it. This is especially true when a significant part of our country is untethered from facts.

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"California has about half as many registered Republicans as it does registered Democrats..."

So, there are twice as many registered Democrats as registered Republicans, yet Republicans claim, even before election day, Democrats can win only by cheating.

Cognitive dissonance doesn't describe it.

One assumes that Republican/MAGA rank and file are swallowing this malarky whole, and that every Republican hack in the state of California is promoting this "alternative facts" claim.

I hope that Democratic voters in my former home state will get to the polls today in such overwhelming numbers that the results will be difficult to deny.

I know, they'll try anyway.

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I am in CA Ralph, I went directly to the county Registrar's office in the Courthouse & voted last week in a private booth, then turned my ballot directly over to the hands of the Registrar of Voters. A much greater percentage of determined voter participation will likely be confirmed after the polls close Today, September 14.

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Thanks, Bryan. I am encouraged.

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Ralph, given that the Democratic candidate "only" won by 24% and he had a registration advantage of 100% over the Republicans, these numbers say it all. The Democrats have been relaxing, taking power for granted and not getting out all the vote and this seems to have been a pattern throught the States. Stacey Abrams showed the way for every State to follow.

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Agreed! In spades!

I believe Democratic apathy, and distaste for Hillary Clinton, gave us Trump in 2016. (After four years of Trump, and three Supreme Court justices, maybe Clinton doesn’t taste so bad now.)

American democracy cannot be taken for granted any longer.

I hope Republican attempts to undermine democracy, and truth itself, will inspire every Democrat and forward-leaning Independent to get to the polls in California today, and every election in every state from now on.

Thank you for responding to my post.

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I think you are dead on target 🎯 Ralph in everything you said. To my everlasting shame I voted for that bastard in 2016 because of my distaste for Hillary, and I know that I wasn’t alone, I would have happily voted for Joe Biden, as I did in 2020, if he had been the nominee. I thought that surely he would have to surround himself with people that had the nation’s wellbeing at heart like every other president has done, boy was I ever wrong, he like the piece of shit that he was, attracted nothing but flies that wanted to feast on it.

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You know, I did not want either of the candidates in the 2016 election. Hillary is a representative of corporations whilst TFG is nothing but a corporation in flesh. This is the tragedy of where politics and money lie (literally and figuratively). Maybe, just maybe, the travesties of TFG and all his comrades is the greatest, fastest wake-up call we could ever have had on our apathy, and all the shadows and stenches of our country and the fragility of this planet, that are blatantly before our shuttered eyes. If we cannot, en masse, answer this call, then perhaps our species is choosing Darwinism. It could be that Change is going to happen more rapidly because Apathy is about to be eradicated. Let's roll...and send that energy around the world to all totalitarian regimes that we care about our future generations and our little planet. It is time for the real new Enlightenment. BE it. It is hard and painful to fight the dark, so maybe it is easier to stand and march beside our Lady Liberty and help her carry that big, bright torch. Not tiki torches from Walmart, but the Light from within each of us. Just as I finished writing this, a beautiful heron emerged from the fog, flying towards me flew past my window! I take that as an omen to press SEND!!

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And, I voted for Hillary because I did not want the despicable, empty, bloated ego of a fascist in cahoots with oligarchs, shadow monies and Russia.

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Meanwhile, hasn't Biden surprised you? Isn't he doing an amazing job?

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I think Biden is doing much better than I ever dreamt he would. Especially considering the the load of stinky dung the GOP left everywhere they turned and continue to produce. The Party of Ivermectin must be cleaned up. And our healthcare workers are quitting. That should speak loudly when those who need care cannot get it.

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I didn't particularly like Hillary, but it was obvious to me that 45 was a bad person, based on the the business plan of Trump U (steal from those who can't afford to be stolen from)--despite the fact that I preferred him on immigration. I pushed others to vote for Hillary too, and may have gotten her a few votes.

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I had men around me that refused to vote for Hillary for the sole reason she was a female.

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I could see from the beginning that Trump was a fraud and only there for his own aggrandizement. And it has proven to be true. I simply read his body language, heard his crudities, knew of his dishonest business dealings, that initially he was looked at askance by fellow Republicans. These were all glaring signs to me. It was a slam dunk in Hillary's favor.

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Yes, Penelope. We know about the message of the blue heron, don’t we?

Agree. SEND!

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I think Joe was still mourning the loss of his son Beau which is why he declined to run in 2016?

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Yup. It's in his book, Promise Me Dad.

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Yes. That is what he said when asked about running then.

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I held my nose and voted for Hillary rather than thro away my vote on a racist, woman-hating facist. But then, I am female.

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I'd say you were simply being sensible.

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Ralph, you are assuming that the average person in our nation even cares. I have so many people around me that have zero clue as to what is happening in our nation on a daily basis. Too busy to care is what I often hear.

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I totally agree with you, Christy. Some people know think I am a zealot and should chill out. That is exactly what that insurrectionists/fascists are counting on.

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Yes.

Low Democratic turnout at midterms allowed the Republican Party to take control of more and more state governments. Midterms is when the majority of state races take place.

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Once again, George Orwell nailed it.

“In addressing Nazi anti-intellectualism, Orwell's reference might have been Hermann Göring's hyperbolic praise of Adolf Hitler: "If the Führer wants it, two and two makes five!"In the political novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), concerning the Party's philosophy of government for Oceania, Orwell said:

In the end, the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?”

From Wiki.

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Democrats in California are also hampered by having to actually govern. It is much harder to run with a public record of successes and failures than it is to run on (mostly empty) promises. I plan to keep my eye on this recall. California is a sort of bellwether for the US. That Elder is showing 'prescience' by contesting the recall vote before it actually takes place shows he believes he is going to lose. Oddly, all these antics seem to be good news for America.

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I thought the same thing with reference to Barrett’s speech at the McConnell center in Kentucky. Of course her claims that the Supreme Court should be seen as non-partisan were ridiculous, especially given the setting. But I thought the fact that she felt it necessary to make the claim at all showed that the Court is aware that its legitimacy is in question precisely because it has become so partisan. My tiny sliver of hope is that this awareness and fear by the Court might result in more balanced decisions, at least in the short term. I imagine they fear that too many hyper partisan decisions will eventually result in reform, as I hope it does.

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Is it too much to hope that SCOTUS reform will encompass grandfathered in term limits?

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I sure hope so. Even if it would have meant that we’d have lost someone like RBG. I personally would like to see a real investigation of Kavanaugh, with an eye towards impeachment. But yes, term limits, and an expansion of the Court. If they’re so busy that they need to use the Shadow Docket so much, then we need more justices.

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Do you read Greg Olear's posts? If I remember right, I learned about him from Roland (remember him?) way back when. His writing style mirrors that of TCinLA. Here's his latest re Kavanaugh: https://gregolear.substack.com/p/breaking-brett?r=5g1rs&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email&utm_source=copy

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Your last sentence says it all - they're terrified that Biden will pack the court, and none of them are deluded enough to not recognize that Democrats hold the majority, regardless of the juggling of their mentors.

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Oh, how I wish we had the votes to do it! Sadly, I know we don’t. Maybe after 2022?

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That's what I'm hoping for as well. Just pray that we can ward off the midterm curse.

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Kathy, I like your “sliver of hope” thinking!!

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"It is much harder to run with a public record of successes and failures than it is to run on (mostly empty) promises." Echoes of Afghanistan, no? The parallels between the Taliban and the current version of the GOP should not remain unnoticed. I think "W"s references explain further.

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Which is why, Ralph, it’s is so inherently stupid as continued nonsense tends to be. People are more and more not paying it any mind and better yet, really staring it down.

After seeing Trump rant this past weekend, I’m more convinced than ever that he is on a steroid regimen. And has been since Covid caught him.

The steam is fading as I see it.

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How could you stand to see his face and listen to anything that it spouted? There’s no way I could have done that.🤷‍♂️

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Not to wish ill for anyone but I think Mother Nature will decide if he is allowed to play in 2024.

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Any way we can help her make that decision sooner? 🤔

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👍

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Mother Nature and the courts.

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The Republicans must be jealous of Nasser-fixed elections that I witnessed in Egypt in the 1950s. Before the polling started, officials had already determined the results. The only question was to declared Nasser president with 98 or 99 percent of the vote. I suspect that Republicans hope to be able to ‘predetermine’ the presidential vote in such states as Georgia, Florida, and Arizona before balloting commences in 2024.

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If Newsom survives and that voting rights bill is passed, we could sigh with relief. But we should not pause long. We have arrived at this point due to APATHY. California needs to send the clone of "45" packing with a resounding majority. And at least 10 Republican Senators need to stand up for democracy. Is that even feasible?

Will a voting rights bill fail simply because it is being proposed by Democrats? That seems to be the trend. Example: "Warp speed" development of a vaccine was to be a Republican victory - touted by the "dear leader" endlessly. We will be saved. But now that the leader saying nearly the same thing is a Democrat, asking everyone to get the vaccine, the leader is the "enemy of freedom". There is a sick hate embedded here. A self destructive, reflexive, bitter hate. This has always existed to one degree or another. But it has been cultivated by a money grubbing media (owned by a guy from Australia!) and clever political demagogues (using twisted religious rants).

We need to get our messages organized and make them clearer. We need to get louder and make more "good trouble". We need to tackle the real enemy: APATHY.

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Not so long ago, First Lady Michelle Obama publicly endorsed drinking water. Courtesy of a relative, at that time I was seeing quite a bit of radical right opinion in my FB feed. One man bitterly lamented that now he was going to have to stop drinking water. I kid you not.

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I believe you. People who live by anger & hate will willfully, even gleefully hurt themselves a thousand times over if it makes them feel special by going against what someone from a group they hate & blame says. Even when it makes zero sense.

For example - look at the state of Indiana. Hoosiers have almost always voted for politicians who are nothing like the citizenry. My two Senators and one House Rep are in the 1% (one billionaire, two millionaires). They are all Republicans who voted for their tax cuts but refuse to vote for voting rights, a steady pandemic income, child care tax credits, universal health care or even expanded Medicare - all policies that would help the majority of citizens of this state. Yet, election after election, the citizens happily and sometimes even vengefully vote for the same ultra-rich people who clearly don't give a damn about the people they represent. As my stepfather used to say every election "those card carrying Commie pinko Democrats can go straight to hell!" Yet he would bitch to high heaven about his inadequate health coverage and the pothole covered roads.

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In my opinion, It’s the role of martyr that many hold in their minds to accept their own obtuse, negative, false, guilty reality. Gives them a whiff of hero status.

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And, being from Illinois I have always envied your pristine roads...

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I haven't traveled through Illinois in several years so I must confess I don't know if you are serious or using humor about Indiana's roads. If you are serious then maybe Indiana's roads close to Illinois are actually taken care of.

I'm in central IN and can tell you that the roads in the middle and going to & from Chicago are so poorly maintained that you could rattle your teeth loose driving on them. I'll be driving south to Louisville next week so I guess I'll see how those roads are now. I'm doubtful that they are much better.

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My mother lives near Terra Haute. When we traveled to shop, and such, we knew we were in Indiana when the potholes were gone or the snowy roads were clear. Years ago. But, it just says a lot about how awful Illinois roads are.

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Ah. Now I understand. I'm glad the roads were nice at least in one place in this state.

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Maybe she should endorse breathing air.

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It didn't help that she is a person of color AND a Democrat. Double the hate.

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Perhaps we need to rethink media ownership in light of it’s importance to our body politic, there can be no doubt that the Murdocks have generated a great harm to our country in order to enrich themselves, and it’s not just here, the British have to deal with those bastards as well. Hey it’s our country and we can set the rules, if you don't like it you can go back to where you came from.

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Agreed. Deregulating media in the mid-80’s under Reagan (who was a TOOL) is what started the divisiveness and set up the money grab. The news used to be considered a public service by stations. Now it is an industry and a partisan wedge.

There was a reason for policy on fairness, truth, equal time.

We need it back.

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Gutting mental health care services was also a tool in my opinion. Look where we are.

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That battling cry from Larry Elder is “Voter Fraud”. Actually that is now what I call the “whining cry” of the Repub Party. Newsom will defeat him and the others, as our state is mostly Democrats. All of the Repubs are gathered in Orange County and around the rest of No. CA. We are tired as we have endured horrible fires and this horribly expensive recall.

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Yes. According to Rachel Maddow last night, Elder's website already has a page predicting his loss through electoral fraud, and laying out the four "boxes" to be activated sequentially to rectify the loss. The fourth and final box named is the "ammunition box". Check it out online - she spends 5 minutes on this in the opening of the program.

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Two enemies - Misinformation. Good people believing the bad lies.

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How far away are we from time when Republicans boycott an unwinnable election to make a statement about the big lie?

I can see the day coming where Republicans are herded into not voting at all in an election in a staunchly blue area?

Then they could delegitimize the winner.

And it will spread from there.

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For the first time in my life -- I am 70 years old -- I am afraid.

I fear a dangerous outcome for myself, my family and the country.

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“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

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Yes. Because the Light always seeks even the merest crack. And finds it.

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I am 74, live in England, and share your fear, but not just for your country, or ours but for the whole world.

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Richard, I too am British, a bit older (old enough to remember the 2nd World War). You sum up my feelings.

Except for these words of another American, Henry Thoreau:

"I would share my ease and not my disease".

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Peter, I would so love to sit with you, drink wine, and listen to you talk. You seem very wise to me. Are you a teacher?

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Thank you for the compliment, Kathy, and yes, it would be both easier and more useful to talk (even in Italian) rather than trying to communicate things that aren't easy to put across. And you'd soon get wise to my unwisdom (thank heavens).

May all go well with you and with America.

It has been said that if America catches a cold, the world risks pneumonia. But if America catches something worse... We cannot afford that.

And no, I am decidedly not a teacher, I've worked as a translator.

A human being.

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Well, thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I’m learning.

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This is a valid point. Despite the myriad imperfections of pax americana, the system brought a period of RELATIVE peace unlike any in history. The prosperity has been uneven, the peace imperfect and the politics still ugly - but look back 100 years. Been a long time since we were in violent conflict with millions perishing. Wishing you the best.

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I feel bad asking people in this sensible, well-informed community to reflect on the deeper origins of the psychoses besetting America (and consequently, the world).

But there's a case for digging as deep as we're able to, and as long. I'd not expect quick answers, this must take time.

But... how to envision recovery, reconciliation?

Look at what it took in Europe. And still there are repeats of the old symptoms... All, in theory, citizens of the same, country. But since the 1860s...

Can Americans realize that all are human beings sharing the same land. Human beings, fellow members of mankind, before all else? Even before being Americans.

That is hard to envision, but envision it we must.

Or there can be no cure but violence, war, worse.

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Thanks for bringing this up. Everyone has their own opinion as to why this mass psychosis exists. My sense is that TV and social media have usurped Americans' ability to think independently and we've become lazy. It's much easier to nod in agreement while walking like sheep over the cliff. And how do we stop war? We can't, at least not at this stage of our evolution. When Einstein was asked what kind of weapons will used in WWIII, he said, "Rocks."

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I think that another factor in this equation is the decline of our public schools since the mid 1970's, and the hijacking of education by the Republiqans as they enact "no child left behind" which did anything but.

As some wag pointed out "social media may not cause stupidity, but it is very adept at putting it on display for all to see."

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You said it - social media, laziness, and as Ally says (below) educational hijacking/dumbing down.

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Yes, dumbing down was one of the first thoughts that came to my mind, a process that has been becoming worse over decades as "education" has narrowed the scope of what is taught and how it is taught.

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Peter, I like your reminder to us that we think deeply about ourselves and the solutions we hope for. I am not hopeful that American society as a whole can come to these realizations- we place too much emphasis on “rugged individualism” rather than the knowledge that we all share this planet and her resources. I am following your advice from the other day and thinking deeply about myself and my place in the world, and right now, that’s all I can manage. Well, that and my letter campaign to my state reps and my senator! After five years I think they must be so sick of me.

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FANTASTIC to see someone participating in a representative democracy with such energy!! Five year letter campaign!! Love it!!

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My initial writing was aimed mostly at my Republican congressional rep (and also neighbor, who I know personally). He resigned in May (the coward) and now I don’t have a rep at all. So I’m writing more often to Rob Portman but he ignores me. I do try to write sometimes to Sherrod Brown to thank him. But my weekly writing has tapered off a bit. These days, I’m shifting over to the statehouse, since Ohio is in the middle of redistricting. But I’ll be honest, I think I’m whistling into the wind. It’s discouraging.

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Keep whistling Kathy. I thought I heard snippets of a tune in wind and I might try whistling that tune myself. 🎶🎵Letter writing campaign🎵, more involvement🎶. Now to get the rhythm. It has worked wonders for Amnesty at Large against seemingly impossible odds. Not always successful but definitely made a difference.

Kathy you are an inspiration. You gave me hope. Please don’t give up.

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Thanks, Christian! I won’t, I promise.

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Kathy, I was most of the way through writing to you when the draft disappeared. No doubt premature.

But now the thought just came that the positive reality behind the myth of "rugged individualism", as opposed to the standard hyped-up nonsense, means calling upon our ultimate resources as human beings and asking ourselves the most basic questions. Not wasting too much time on inessentials.

Painful, difficult. Only, avoidance will be far worse.

Hard to converse about such things in writing. But real questions attract answers.

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Peter, blessed are the peacemakers. There are models for healing the wounds currently being inflicted on our nation. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, Gandhi's Ashram, MLK's Blessed Community, Quaker (Friends) decision making process, are just a few. All seem to require the acceptance of recognizing the divine on all of us. This is a devilishly difficult (pun intended), profoundly radical idea for most of us. Thanks for having the compassion to look for a way to heal.

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Healing can only occur after the abuse ends. First we must stop the assault and destruction.

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Curiouser... and curiouser. Second time today an almost complete reply of mine has disappeared just before completion.

This spoke of the need to go for the head rather than the foot soldiers, the mis-leaders rather than the misled. As soon as possible. These people are far more than a nuisance, they are a public danger.

And of the need to promote dialogue between members of both tribes -- an end to tribalism...

Peace is made between enemies, not friends.

I await more information about bridge-building organizations like those mentioned by Steve Abbptt and shall pass this on

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Fantastic comment. Essentially what I am asking myself. My concern is that if we feed into the "anger spiral" that comes so easy to all human beings, we are in trouble. To your point: how do we break the antagonistic conduct? How do we engage with kindness? How do we diffuse the "us vs. them" mentality? Not easy.

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Diffuse organized religion. In particular, those that identify as Christian. Has that not been a religion organized on the us vs them belief system? I was raised Catholic but walked away at 14. The hypocrisies were just so blatant.

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Ralph I’m not going to say I’m not. But there is more of us than them. And in their desperate attempts to win at all costs, I believe that many Repubs are jumping ship. The Polls are showing it.It’s a proven fact that there are more highly educated Dem’s than Repubs. Yes TFG got 78 million Votes. But look what they have been doing that will affect their own party since then. If the Dem’s were to all of a sudden , after losing an election make it harder for me to Vote that would be it ! Not to mention all the other things they’ve pulled since then. They (Repubs ) got to know. So why do they keep digging their Hole Deeper ?Call your local County Dem’s and ask how to help. I’m donating what I can. Put you’re self on a News Diet. And chose wisely what you watch and read. And the most important, don’t forget to have fun and comfort food at all times. Lots of it ! The reason we are all here today is because those before us “ Got Through It ! “. Look at all Professor Richardson teaches us about them.Keep the faith guy.When you have a former Republican President mentioning Foreign and Domestic Terrorist and your most recent Former President assumes insult( Guilt ) You make a sacred day in America about you and your home grown Terrorist. And throw that President of your same Party under the bus. You know it and I know that was a huge no no. Serves Trump right to get what’s coming .And it will come.I’m buying popcorn for the occasion . 😉

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Marsha! Guess what? I’ve had my supply of popcorn bags in the pantry ready and have actually popped a few. But now that the September 22nd autumnal equinox is almost upon us, I’m adding caramels and apples to the popcorn party.

I love your spirit!

Cheers!

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Thank you . But to be honest it’s on any given day Hills and Valleys , Rollercoaster for myself as well.I always told Ppl laughter is better than bad medicine. What’s happening is NOT funny. But sometimes I see the Actors liken to Looney Tunes. You just have to laugh. You do understand that TFG’s objection to ‘W’s ‘ subtle remark was admitting that His base were/are Terrorist ! The reason they never wanted TFG to testify on anything ! Haha ! Their going to protest this weekend because those who have been charged with 1/6 crimes are Political Prisoners.This gets stupider by the day ! Bunch of Bully whiners like him. Who are the “ Snowflakes Now ! LOL ! Again !😂

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And it’s a dang blizzard!

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Blizzard of Chit ! You made me laugh so hard with that ! Thanks !😂

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There is really NOT much more of “us” than “them” as we want to believe. A good portion are easily swayed by mis/disinformation tactics. That is part of the reason Hillary Clinton lost. Also, a good portion of “us” are those who only wanted Trump out and still voted Republican into other positions.

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I think there are a lot more people who want what the readers of these pages want. The issue is participation. I believe we got to this tragic place because of apathy. We stare at our phones and our big TVs - as motivated "movement conservatives" and "right wing ultra religious nutcases" take charge with lies, voter restrictions, redistricting and now....we see the impact of jamming the courts with Federalist Society robots.

There are enough of us to keep the ship of democracy afloat, if we get off our butts. The internal enemies of our nation have been better organized and more energetic.

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I really hope you’re right, but I’ve never seen such support for junk politics in my life. People in my area are really becoming Red, and I have no idea why. They’re not unintelligent, and Red agenda will not benefit them. It was staunchly Blue.

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Unfortunately, sheep are easily led by the nose.

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Marcia Rockvegas, you are a delight. With that, I'm going out to pull some weeds.

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Marcia Rockvegas I hope you are right.

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Thank you for this blockbuster!

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👍

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I will be 88 next month and I am afraid. This fear is much worse than what I experienced during World War II and the Cold War—it is the fear that the country of which I have been so proud can lose its pulsating, vibrant soul. . We must pull our country back from this precipice.

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Bless you, Keith. I just turned 70. My parents were both Holocaust victims. They never called themselves survivors because they weren’t in camps. They had to take circuitous routes through their countries of Germany and Poland, to escape. That was in the latter part of the 30’s. They were so very proud to be in America where they could vote freely and happily pay their taxes. I am so very glad that they are not alive to see their dreams diminish.

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My grandparents, as well. My grandfather was born in Switzerland, my grandmother and father in Germany. They came to the US under the Swiss quota, by way of Le Havre, in early 1939. My grandfather’s siblings were all born in Germany, and all relocated to Switzerland, also in 1939. One of my great uncles was a chemist. Family lore has it that he had a plan to blow up IG Farben (where they later made Zyklon B), where he worked until being pushed out. But he fled instead.

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Chilling, Marlene and Kathy. I'm so glad that they escaped. So much for denying refugees entry. We will forever be shamed for not doing more to help during the Holocaust.

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Republicans are backed up by Christians. Some see being a Democrat as sufficient offense as to deserve death. Churches that promote political views should lose their tax-exempt status.

Consider where Christianity is going.

Wiles wants to kill Democrats. It doesn't matter if they are Christians.

https://www.newsweek.com/pastor-urges-trump-admin-shoot-democrats-journalists-if-they-conspired-rig-election-1551246

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"Churches that promote political views should lose their tax-exempt status" 👍

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Churches should lose their tax exempt status-FIFY

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Except for something called the First Amendment. :)

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Tax-free status is granted on the basis that no political proselytizing will take place in church services. When these grifters go on television, trying to raise yet more money for another private jet, and using their office to promote killing people with opposing views, the first amendment has long since been violated.

I think death threats are covered under another part of the code.

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Absolutely.

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...and there is not way to "misinterpret" the first...say, like the way we do the second?

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I've been complaining about that bully pulpit for the past several decades.

Nauseating. They are no better than crazy imams calling for death to infidels.

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They are the same as those crazy imams. I see no difference. At all.

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"More than 243,000 children tested positive for the virus last week, the second highest number of pediatric cases since the pandemic started. About 2200 are currently hospitalized."

The children, the children! We have a sacred responsibility toward them which must surely weigh more heavily on our consciences that our "rights" and our freedoms, for heaven's sake! The narcissism of some adults and their total disregard for our children and communities are beyond belief. As I read somewhere recently regarding another topic, I would like to say (and I paraphrase): I forgive these individuals, for they know not what they do, but I can't -- because, d*** it, they know exactly what they do and they recognize the consequences of their self-centeredness.

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"The children, the children!"

These are the same people for whom a zygote in the womb is holier than the welfare of the mother carrying it. All that seems to change the day a child is born.

"Good luck, kid. Sink or swim on your own; you and your mom get no help from us. That would be socialism."

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The way the GOP and pro-lifers in Texas and elsewhere behave towards the unborn, women and children, I’ve come to the conclusion that they believe that life ends at birth.

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Pro-birth not pro-life!

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Wow, good one, Fran. Why have I never before heard it put that way?

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Your cry from the heart echoes mine, which has been crying since Sandy Hook. I feared then, and know now, that if 19 dead children wouldn’t change their minds on gun control, nothing would. This is the same, and it breaks my heart. We have lost our soul.

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Nothing would and nothing will. These people are absolutely (pick your word here; I cannot find one that conveys the combination of self-righteousness, disregard for anyone other than themselves, lack of awareness, absence of common sense,) and cannot fathom that with "rights" comes "responsibility".

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Unvaccinated Republicans are killing each other off. The irony...

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THIS, Rowshan!

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And the threats against election officials is ramping up in anticipation of midterms. 😩

“DENVER — Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is no stranger to threats online.

She says since the election in 2020, threats have been a constant. Fueled by lies alleging stolen elections and widespread voter fraud, the attacks against Griswold and her staff have not only sustained, she says they have increased.

The Colorado Secretary of State's Office shared some of those threats with Denver7. The comments were posted to Griswold's personal and public social media accounts and sent in direct messages. The messages make direct and gruesome threats against her life.

"I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP, I SEE YOU SLEEPING. BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID. I hope you die," one message said.

"Everyone knows... there are people looking for you," another said.

Thousands more posts and threats, many with unrepeatable vulgarity, have filled her online accounts over the past year. She says the threats come as she works to increase access to voting and election security in Colorado.

The Secretary of State Office says they forward all threats to the Colorado State Patrol for vetting. Police have not made any arrests at this point. As political rhetoric across the nation remains at a fever pitch, Griswold believes so will the threats.

"I believe this is, in a large part, because the lies about the 2020 election are actually growing stronger," she said. "We continue to receive threats. But with that said, we won't be deterred."

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Correct. We will not be deterred.

Unitad!

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The bullies are In the minority though the media and the polls make it seem otherwise. Remember poll samplings are of a thousand or so, half Dems and half cult of 45 which often are reported in blaring headlines as what “Americans” believe. It’s still important to contact officials and the media at all levels. 🇺🇸

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I am increasingly concerned that the police/sheriffs are with the R's. Refusing to get vaccinated all over the country and supporting the PBs during protests/events. Where will this leave us as things get more heated?

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Gestapo Rule.

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The claims of election fraud in the absence of evidence is, of course, frightening. Unfortunately this fear has become a low-grade hum in my life that I am trying to compartmentalize. It is not going away.

Read Matt Taibbi's book "Hate Inc." If you are seeking confirmation bias and a simple "hate on the right narrative" this book is not for you. If you want an unforgiving and honest appraisal of what ails our country and the complete abdication of "centrist" narratives in our press today, it is a fantastic read. You can buy the book on not-Amazon at bookshop.org - an Amazon look-alike that gives the vast majority of its profits to independent booksellers.

One of the things in today's missive about increasing taxes on individuals over $400k and couples over $450k is that while good in intentions it still misses the mark IMHO. Towards the end we read that the wealth of the top 400 people increased by $1.4 trillion in a couple years. That wealth is NOT coming from income - it is coming from capital appreciation in assets. The appreciation in asset prices is a double-win for the ultra-wealthy who control the vast majority of the nation's capital as they pay no taxes on the increase in wealth unless they sell the assets. Would love to hear people's thoughts on how do we level that playing field without running afoul of US property rights - one of the bedrocks to a functioning Democracy.

Saw an incredible chart about the egregious use of stock compensation (link below). There are now over $700bn in companies that pay themselves ONE THIRD of revenues as stock compensation. Defies belief. You run a company, you are paying yourself in stock so it doesn't show up in the cash flow statement, and you pay yourself 33% of SALES? WHAT? That is part of what is causing the "asset" wealth to spiral higher rather than income based wealth.

Lastly - if you haven't seen the Netflix documentary "American Factory" I cannot recommend it strongly enough. To me, it effectively explained the MAGA phenomenon. The brutal complexity of navigating a global order are on powerful display. When watching it my feelings about what was "right" and "wrong" bounced all over the place. Simple in presentation and powerful in effect, the film compressed the brutal economic disenfranchisement underway across America in a way that makes it hard to point the finger at one simple cause. What feels horrible here in America is an aspirational dream for people in other countries.

As always - grateful for the thoughtful dialogue here. I make no claims to having the answers, refuse to engage in anger and hope we can all take a breath and realize we have more in common than the media would have us believe.

https://bookshop.org/books/hate-inc-why-today-s-media-makes-us-despise-one-another/9781682194072

https://kailashconcepts.com/the-steep-cost-of-stock-compensation/

https://www.netflix.com/title/81090071

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Thanks for this. We do need to look around at different ideas and thoughts and be willing even to question what we think and have grown up with. I listened to a Vox podcast about rights with Jamal Greene who wrote a book about rights. Very interesting! Then coincidentally, I started reading Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart." The way that the Nigerians in the book govern is so interesting and made me realize how much focus we Americans have on fault and blame and punishment. As an example, the minute something bad happens, the first question the press ask is "Who/what was to blame?" Very basically/briefly, the Nigerians understood that each party has a reason for what they did. The solution is to come up with a (very creative) reaction that take that into account. Creativity. And when you add in starting to question what our rights are--do we really have that right? It's a good way to dissolve some inflexibility in your thinking and begin a new way to discuss. Not easy stuff but often the old ways were brilliant, just not capitalist.

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Thanks for the suggestion. Just borrowed Things Fall Apart from my library. Sounds interesting.

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Oh good. It took me a while to get into it as it was a 180 from what I had read just prior. I encourage you to stick with it if that happens to you too!

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Thanks.

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“You can buy the book on not-Amazon at bookshop.org - an Amazon look-alike that gives the vast majority of its profits to independent booksellers.” - Thanks for the link, was not aware of this bookseller.

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Look it's simple. We have governance, economic and educational systems which are designed to foster greed, hate, and delusion. Until those systems change to more highly value life-affirmation, respect, and protection of Mother Earth and communal life nothing will change.

We need to re-boot with a different operating system to borrow a computer analogy.

We might be well advised to look to the wisdom of the ancients. https://media.awakeningtowholeness.net/walking-backwards-into-the-future/

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Yes. And remember the original download from the Creator.

“We are all in this together. There is enough to go around.”

This supports one tribe…Human Beings and the beautiful Earth given to us to flourish in our survival.

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Thanks for the bookshop.org link. It is time to tax the unrealized gains of high worth investors. Elizabeth Warren has ideas about this. It could be a simple formula based on total assets. A very small percentage on everything over a certain threshold would not harm the wealthy, but, would ensure their proportionate contribution.

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Thanks for the links!

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Thank you for being an active member of an increasingly vibrant and well-intentioned group of people. Empathy > Anger.

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Bought hate why.

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Sorry - confused. The book is called "Hate Inc." and its about how everyone has a massive financial incentive to make us angry. The book is emphatic in suggesting we reduce the anger and seek to identify rather than judge. Thought it was a powerful testament to the unfortunate impact of financial incentives in reporting today. Taibbi does NOT give himself a "hall pass." He readily admits he has played his unfortunate part in this anger filled dialogue.

Wishing you health.

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As ignorant, malicious, malevolent and downright stupid as you know Republicans are, today was one of those days where they show the ignorance, maliciousness, malevolence and stupidity are bottomless.

I don't know what it's going to take for the rest of us to realize these people have declared war on us. Elder's website talks about "boxes," - the soapbox, the ballot box and includes "the ammo box" as its final choice. These people really are hellbent on starting a civil war.

And this time, we don't let them have their horses for the spring planting. We plant them.

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When I saw that message in advance of the election results, I was disgusted. And the inclusion of an “ammo box” is not shocking, but is another disgusting signal. I can only hope that Biden and his team absorb this and move forward without any more illusions. Thank you for your excellent newsletters, too. ❤️🤍💙

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How can this be legal? When a candidate can openly refer to “ammo boxes” / violence as a response to loosing an election, it’s time for jail.

Two children were taken into custody today in Florida for plotting a school shooting. Why isn’t Larry Elder being arrested?

Our lack of outrage demonstrates how much we’ve normalized this outrageous behavior. Are we so traumatized that we no longer see the danger in front of us?

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There’s an increasingly misguided American optimism that right and good sense will prevail. That’s accompanied by a reluctance to shut down opposition voices because that looks like fascism. But if we don’t shut down fascism, we will have it. Some very fine lines to be negotiated as we consider how to turn off this extreme it’s thinking which leads to extremist action.

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Correction: “extremist thinking”

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Hopefully planting their toxic remains won’t poison the good earth they are planted in.

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Agree. Like the cow patties they are.

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"If losers in a democracy refuse to accept the legitimacy of elections, the system falls apart." I wonder if Republicans and other right-wingers have ever considered that if the system falls apart, all bets are off. There's no guarantee that they will hold the levers of power in whatever system emerges. In fact, they could rue the day they embarked on rampant voter suppression and peddling ludicrous conspiracy theories about election fraud.

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Yes, Michael, they could end up in prison, and a few might find themselves hanging from lamp posts. History teaches that the denouement of chaos is often worse than what preceded the chaos, sometimes even worse than the chaos itself. A disintegration of the USA into chaos could even lead to the extinction of our species. Continuing to humor the Right is a fools errand. Got that, Manchin? Joe Biden? Reach down. Are they still there?

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Lamp-post hemp-rope futures, anyone? It's getting scarey - what would be really interesting, would be the percentage of those claiming to be Democrats, who are gun owners. I had a good lady friend in CA - who was quite vocal in the anti gun lobby in the 70's, then became a psychiatrist - and flipped, and slept with a gun under her pillow (not the first one I've encountered). Fear is a very powerful driver. "The best politics is fear"

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There are more of us than they think. Of course, the "they" thinks that I am "like them" because of my former profession. I. Am. Nothing. Like. Them.

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Let's say right-wing insurrection spreads, triggered by some event. These false prophets of patriotism could make inroads in some less populated areas. But unless the military joined their side (highly unlikely), the big cities would not capitulate. I do worry about city police forces, however.

Most Americans aren't aggrieved enough to want the chaos and all the travails that would ensue. Only a small minority is out for blood. Their monied instigators are indeed playing with fire, fire that they aren't guaranteed to control.

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Oh, yes, indeed, Michael Bales, this will not end in Masters of the Universe style. The GQP/Trumpists have made a deal with the devil(s). If they wallow any deeper into the morass, if they continue instigating this Thing, it will not wrap itself up quickly and neatly with the Gutt Guys in power. This Thing, this "Storm," will get Ugly. Fast. And they are going to be mighty surprised at the outcome.

(Kind of how the Christian Nationalists are going to feel when they find out their brand of Jesus' teachings did NOT get them into heaven.)

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Morning, all!! Morning, Dr. R!! So by all means, invoke the name of The Loser when it comes to the Recall and NJ and VA voting this November: "...early indications in California suggest that Democratic ambivalence that sparked party worries weeks ago has dissipated at least in part as Newsom has nationalized the race: By Friday morning, registered Democrats had returned more than 4 million mail ballots, more than twice as many as were sent in by registered Republicans."

(A gifted WaPo article link below: "Democrats wanted Trump gone. Now they want him on the ballot.")

https://wapo.st/395RqK0

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Murphy called Republicans “ultimate knuckleheads.” For that alone, he deserves a landslide.

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"Support for Newsom increased after he announced vaccine mandates for health-care and education workers, another tactic Democrats think they can scale across the country. “It’s good politics and good policy marrying together,”

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Morning, Lynell. Thanks for the link.

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