More to ignore, Book 24....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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FJlbhEBVEAISXX7
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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This post began as an attempt to figure out who developed the “fake elector vote count in a box” package Republicans in seven states used to create “alternate” elector vote certifications.

It ended up helping me understand the “bigger conspiracy” to which Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel referred. What follows is not an indictment and nothing in it is particularly new. Most of what I describe can be found in various comments here at emptywheel.

I’ve laid out how I think the “alternate” elector scheme played a central role in the coup. I think I understand why it was important for Nessel to refer this to the Department of Justice. Because some of these activities violated multiple states’ laws, it’s easier to show the entire scheme was corrupt........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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One America News anchor Christina Bobb assisted Rudy Giuliani on the Trump campaign’s outlandish plan to submit rival Republican elector slates to affirm then-President Donald Trump’s victory in five states President Joe Biden won, according to The Washington Post.

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are now focusing heavily on the origins of the rival Trump electors, seeing if it was all part of an orchestrated campaign assembled by the Trump team.

While the operation was conducted in plain sight in Dec. 2020, and cited by right-wing media and campaign officials at the time as necessary for Trump’s legal efforts, the behind-the-scenes operation led by Giuliani is now gathering attention....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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How Fox News and Republican officials devised one Biden smear


......There’s just one wee problem with the whole Biden-says-parents-are-terrorists claim, reported dozens of times on Fox News airwaves and echoed at each link down the Republican media food chain: It’s horse excrement.

Biden never said it. Attorney General Merrick Garland never said it. No senior (nor even junior) official in the Biden administration has ever been shown to have said it.

Yet Fox News presents it as unchallenged fact, week after week. (In response to my request, a Fox News spokeswoman provided me no instance of a Biden official calling parents domestic terrorists.)


The network, which “informs” the majority of Republican voters, has painstakingly constructed a parallel universe in which vaccines kill you, Biden stole the election, Biden is senile, grade schoolers are being force-fed critical race theory, the FBI orchestrated the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the country is in an apocalyptic spiral of open borders, rampant crime and runaway inflation..........
 

McCloudersportLion

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How Fox News and Republican officials devised one Biden smear


......There’s just one wee problem with the whole Biden-says-parents-are-terrorists claim, reported dozens of times on Fox News airwaves and echoed at each link down the Republican media food chain: It’s horse excrement.

Biden never said it. Attorney General Merrick Garland never said it. No senior (nor even junior) official in the Biden administration has ever been shown to have said it.

Yet Fox News presents it as unchallenged fact, week after week. (In response to my request, a Fox News spokeswoman provided me no instance of a Biden official calling parents domestic terrorists.)


The network, which “informs” the majority of Republican voters, has painstakingly constructed a parallel universe in which vaccines kill you, Biden stole the election, Biden is senile, grade schoolers are being force-fed critical race theory, the FBI orchestrated the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the country is in an apocalyptic spiral of open borders, rampant crime and runaway inflation..........


🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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'I just got hit by a car': Journalist goes viral for continuing to report after on-air accident
Aysha Qamar

A video of a reporter in West Virginia being hit by a car while doing a live report has gone viral on social media, with many talking about the depths reporters go to get the news out. In the video, the journalist, identified as Tori Yorgey, immediately pulls herself up and continues speaking on camera—despite having just been hit by a car.

“Oh my God. I just got by a car, but I’m okay!” Yorgey says as she falls to the ground. After she gets up, she laughingly says, “You know, that’s live TV for ya! It’s all good! I actually got hit by a car in college, too, just like that. I am so glad I’m okay!”
............
After her video went viral, Pittsburgh's Action News 4 team (WTAE-TV) shared that Yorgey would soon be joining their team. In an interview, they spoke to her about the incident.

"I think it was it was all just adrenaline and shock, because, when she had hit me, all I saw for that split second was the car next to my face. And I thought she was running me over, so I was scared in the moment, but I wasn't hurt," Yorgey said.

Yorgey, a 25-year-old Philadelphia-area native and Penn State University graduate, was on one of her last assignments for NBC News affiliate WSAZ Wednesday when she was struck by the vehicle. She was reporting from the scene of a water-main break near an apartment complex in Dunbar, West Virginia, when a woman exiting the complex sideswiped her. The entire moment was caught in real-time.






After the incident, Yorgey says, the station took her to the hospital to get checked out. While she is sore, she has no broken bones or other serious injuries. Yorgey told NBC News: "I definitely love my job. I would not trade it for the world.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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South African-American businessman Patrick Soon-Shiong opened a new vaccine plant in Cape Town on Wednesday, intended to help his local NantSA company make COVID-19 shots in future and address the continent's deadly dearth of manufacturing capacity.......
.........
"Africa should no longer be last in line to access vaccines against pandemics. Africa should no longer go cap in hand to the Western world, begging and begging for vaccines," said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who attended the opening.


Soon-Shiong, who is also a medical doctor, will transfer technology and materials from his California-based NantWorks to scientists in South Africa, where they will also work on vaccines targeting cancer, TB and HIV........

TTM note: As I have noted before, the doctor is the owner of the hospital in Windber, where I live. He bought it because the the purchase included a cancer research center on the same campus. Surgery patients at the hospital can voluntarily contribute cells to his research. (I did.) He also owns the LA Times.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Anti-science gathering in Washington D.C. is the legacy of Donald Trump's miracle cure promises
Mark Sumner

Saturday marks the two year anniversary of an interview with Donald Trump at the world economic forum following the announcement of the first case of “novel coronavirus” in the United States. Asked if he was worried about a pandemic, this is how Trump replied.

“No. Not it all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person, coming in from China. And We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” Trump then goes on to brag about his “great relationship” with Communist Party boss Xi Jinping. That first statement was just one of many that would come over the following months as Trump repeatedly downplayed the threat posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

coronavirus-5.jpg


This weekend in Washington D.C., there will be a gathering that’s estimated draw over 10,000 people. These people will not be there to mourn the 887,000 known to have died from the virus in the United States. They won’t be there to celebrate the advances represented by the vaccines, or to call for protections against a wave of virus that represents a growing threat to children. Instead, they’ll be there to carry on Trump’s legacy—downplaying the pandemic, touting false cures, and undermining science. And, of course, they organized this action using the site that, throughout the pandemic, has provided a welcome home to conspiracy theories and harmful claims: Facebook.
.......
As NBC News reports, this weekend has been marked out for a anti-vaccine protest in Washington. That, of course, includes an featured role by Robert Kennedy Jr., who is currently suing Daily Kos in the attempt to dox an anonymous poster, along with his badly misnamed “Children’s Health Defense Fund.” Kennedy’s group will gather with other like-mindless groups and individuals — thanks to their ability to organize on a platform that continues to provide a centralized meeting place for misinformation and disinformation while churning out a pretense of action.

“The rally has been largely organized on Facebook and some extremist internet forums, and organizers have raised at least $200,000 on a crowdfunding site. Some nearby hotels in Virginia are sold out ahead of the event, according to the event’s organizers, who are arranging last-minute travel plans for latecomers.”

Really, that should be Facebook and other extremist internet forums.

But the group isn’t just gathering to promote lies about vaccines, or just to spread lies about the danger posed by the pandemic, or just to spread lies about the origins of the virus. They are also there to spread lies about COVID-19 treatments.

Key speakers include Dr. Robert Malone, a frequent guest on Joe Rogan’s anti-science podcast where he has advocated the use of ineffective anti-parasitic drug, ivermectin, Kennedy’s group is bringing along their own set of pet quacks who are not just pushing ivermectin, but also the long disproven hydroxychloroquine.

It’s not quite been two years since Trump began pushing hydroxychloroquine as a “miracle” cure for COVID-19. Between March and November of 2020, Canadian researchers tried to put a value on the damage Trump had done through pushing an anti-malarial drug to treat a viral disease. In just the eight months they covered, that damage was significant. Because people were not just listening to Trump’s advice on false cures; due to the concern everyone had about COVID-19, these claims got three times the audience of Trump’s usual disinformation.

“From March 1 to April 30, 2020, Donald J Trump made 11 tweets about unproven therapies and mentioned these therapies 65 times in White House briefings, especially touting hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. These tweets had an impression reach of 300% above Donald J Trump’s average. Following these tweets, at least 2% of airtime on conservative networks for treatment modalities like azithromycin and continuous mentions of such treatments were observed on stations like Fox News. Google searches and purchases increased following his first press conference on March 19, 2020, and increased again following his tweets on March 21, 2020. The same is true for medications on Amazon, with purchases for medicine substitutes, such as hydroxychloroquine, increasing by 200%.”

Over the course of his remaining time in office, Trump took up the cause of other fake cures, including suggesting the possibility of injecting disinfectants and somehow getting sunshine inside affected people. As a direct result of these pushes from Trump and others on the right wing, people have been poisoning themselves with colloidal silver, inhaling bleach, drinking absolutely toxic Miracle Mineral Solution, flooding poison control centers with overdoses of ivermectin, and downing fatal doses of hydroxychloroquine.

In the last two years, Republicans have discovered a very special way to get people sign onto a regressive agenda — the power of greed. Whether it’s offering people the chance to collect a bounty on women seeking an abortion in Texas, or Florida pushing a bill that allows anyone to sue teachers over claims that their teaching is “woke,” Republicans have learned that dangling a chance to collect big bucks is the key to getting people stoked about the opportunity to finger Goody Bishop.

Democrats might want to consider harnessing that power. How about a law that allows people to sue anyone — especially if that anyone calls themselves “doctor” — who pushes harmful, disproven medical advice on television, podcasts, or social media?
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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BREAKING: Arizona Democratic Party censures Kyrsten Sinema as six-figure primary campaigns launch
Blue Tuesday



FJuIpAGWYAQroWH


Arizona Democratic Party CENSURES Sinema Over Her Defense of The Senate Filibuster and Voting Rights
Merlin196357

 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Michigan GOP co-Chair claims schools keep litter boxes for use by kids playing “furries”
TheCriticalMind

038F318A-64D6-4D8B-8799-9DB5C6EEF63B.jpeg

MI GOP Co-Chair and member of the anti-litter box watch, Meshawn Maddock.

In a nation where many believe the absurd conspiracy theories propagated by QAnon, nothing should come as a surprise anymore. But it does. Here’s a newsflash from Michigan this week.

A newspaper, The Morning Sun, reported a parent, Lisa Hansen, irate that a local school provided litter boxes for the use of some of the kids. This concerned citizen was further worried that the problem was not limited to just one school. She believed it was part of a ‘nefarious’ national ‘agenda’. Her angst was such she raised the issue at a meeting of the Midland Public School District. She told the board she was still “trying to wrap her brain around this” — and that she was “a little bit upset”. In fact, she was “furious”.

In her words,

“So let’s talk about fury … furries. It was identified by a child a couple of months ago, that they are put in an environment where there are kids that identify as a ‘furry’, either a cat or a dog, whatever. So I heard yesterday, that in at least one of our schools, in our town, has a, in one of the unisex bathrooms, has a litter box for kids that identify as cats. And I am really disturbed by that.

Heck, I would be “really disturbed” if I had evidence that a school allowed children to go to the bathroom in litter boxes. But when I say “evidence”, I mean more than one story, told by one child, who probably has quite a vivid imagination. (If she even exists.)

Luckily, Lisa is on the case. She is going to dig into it. She adds,

“I will do more investigation on that. And I know that it is going on nationwide. I know it is. It is part of the agenda that is being pushed. But I don’t wanna understand it. I think people need to be aware of it. Because I am really upset as a parent that my child is put in an environment like that.

I can see a problem here. It is absurd to assume that the school has a policy based on one fanciful child’s account. And how you get from one school to a nationwide agenda based on that account baffles me. However, I am not familiar with the workings of the conspiracy-theorist mind.

Hansen then adopts a conciliatory tone and allows that children should be entitled to fantasize — but only within strict limits

“You know I’m all for creativity and imagination, but when someone is put in a fantasy world and expects other people to go along with it, I have a problem.”

It is safe to say that Lisa is blind to irony. You have to ask, who is living in a fantasy world? And who is expecting other people to go along with it? Perhaps a mirror would be helpful.

It turns out that one person did go along with it. Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock promoted the conspiracy theory on Thursday.

"Kids who identify as ‘furries’ get a litter box in the school bathroom," she wrote on her official Facebook page above a video from the school board meeting. "Parent heroes will TAKE BACK our schools.”


This piece of nonsense was so egregious that Midland Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent, Michael E. Sharrow, had to take to Facebook to rebut it. It is obvious from his language he couldn’t believe he had to do it.

“It is unconscionable that this afternoon I am sending this communication. However, our Midland PS stakeholders may be confused about a false message/accusation that has resurfaced this week and is gaining traction in the social media realm.”
He further wrote, “Let me be clear in this communication. There is no truth whatsoever to this false statement/accusation! There have never been litter boxes within MPS schools. It is a source of disappointment that I felt the necessity to communicate this message to you.”

I know that part of the Republican plot to dumb down America relies on installing paranoid dumbasses on school boards. And I hope, for America’s children’s sake, that people like Sharrow will keep resisting this lunacy.

Here is a video of Lisa Hansen giving full flight to her fantasy. (She appears at 32:40)



Note: The GOP official, Meshawn Maddock is no stranger to delusion. She was among 16 Republicans who signed a fake electoral certificate declaring the former president Donald Trump won Michigan in 2020.
........
Spikesmama
Jan 22, 2022 at 05:49:58 PM

You know, not that many decades ago people who got all worked up over stuff like this would have been ordered to get a nice rest in a psych facility. Now a lot of them are people in leadership positions. It's frightening how effective the GOP war on our education system to dumb down our populace has been in such a short time.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Black Trumpkin pastor: Christian leaders who take COVID seriously are 'false prophets'
Darrell Lucus

It’s been amply established that one of the biggest reasons that we’re entering the third year of this pandemic is that far too many Christian leaders either cannot or will not take COVID-19 seriously.

Another reminder of this came a few days ago from a member of a very exclusive club—black pastors who have bowed down and worshiped The Messiah, Lord Donald Trump, The Most Merciful. A pastor from Richmond actually suggested that any pastor who believes in wearing masks or supports vaccines is a false prophet.
.......
Leon Benjamin is the founder and bishop of New Life Harvest Church in Richmond. Two years ago, he was the Republican challenger in VA-04 against Democratic incumbent Don McEachin—and got his head handed to him, 61-38. He’s back for a rematch in 2022 in this Richmond-to-Hampton Roads district, even though he’s now running in territory that is even more Democratic than its predecessor. According to Cook Political Report’s analysis of the recently redrawn map in Virginia, the new VA-04 has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+16; the old VA-04 had a PVI of D+10.

But Benjamin isn’t letting the prospect of being a sacrificial lamb dissuade him from the spotlight. Late last week, he was one of the guests at the Phoenix edition of the Reawaken America Tour, a right-wing conference organized by podcaster Clay Clark and co-sponsored by Charisma magazine. The speaker list is a virtual who’s-who of deplorables. At various times, speakers have included Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, Mark Burns, Mark Lindell, Greg Locke, Lance Wallnau, and many more.

With a list like that, you should expect wingnuttery to be a requirement. Benjamin didn’t disappoint. During his speech on Thursday, Benjamin took a swipe at pastors who actually take COVID seriously. Right Wing Watch got a clip.



Benjamin claimed that very soon, there was going to be a “sweep in America of false prophets.” Who was going to get caught up in it? Well, according to Benjamin, any pastor who told people to get vaccinated or wear masks, or who shut down their churches during the initial COVID surge of 2020, needs to repent, and fast.

As far as Benjamin was concerned, if you’re a Christian leader and you gave such advice, “you are a false prophet.” Why? In Benjamin’s mind, “God would never cover the mouth of a true prophet!”

So let’s see if we’ve got this right. Benjamin is saying that if you go to a church whose pastor encouraged his or her followers to mask up and vax up, you’re sitting under a false prophet. And here I thought that they were actually taking this virus seriously, and obeying Jesus’ command to love our neighbors.

I’m reminded that my little charismatic church here in Charlotte went virtual-only for six months during the initial surge in the spring of 2020. We didn’t open the building back up until September—and even then, for much of the fall and winter capacity was limited to 40 people, with masks and social distancing required. We gradually scaled back up to full capacity by the spring, and after Easter we had the option of taking off our masks if we were fully vaccinated. Something like 70 percent of us were fully vaccinated, so it was the only indoor setting where my wife and I felt safe going unmasked until the CDC recommended putting the masks back on in early August—shortly before Charlotte imposed a mask mandate.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, we didn’t do this because we were being deceived by a false prophet. We did this because we care about keeping our community safe—an idea that seems lost on Benjamin. Then again, we’re talking about a guy who seems to be willing to condone an out-and-out racist just because he was willing to check the boxes on social issues.

As bad as this was, the rest of his speech was every bit as wingnutty. He started out by touting a link on his church’s Website where you could get forms for a religious exemption from vaccine mandates. Apparently this is a thing among some churches that still have their heads up their butts about this virus. Just before Christmas, my wife saw that a church here in Charlotte was staging a free performance of the play “Scrooge.” But then we saw that they were touting religious exemption forms similar to what Benjamin is offering now. Needless to say, this was a hard pass.

Offering such exemptions would have been bad enough at any time. Indeed, to my mind, any pastor making such an offer is no different than a drug dealer. Now, in the midst of the Omicron surge? Benjamin is essentially setting a dirty bomb in the middle of Richmond. I can only recall one time that I’ve been more outraged at a pastor being so willing to endanger others. You may recall that back in 2020, the United House of Prayer triggered a superspreader in Charlotte when it held a huge “convocation” at its flagship church mere minutes from where I grew up. The church refused to cooperate with Mecklenburg County officials who were trying to find out the extent of the outbreak, forcing them to issue an abatement order that shut down ALL gatherings at the United House of Prayer’s three Charlotte churches for two weeks.

Benjamin also revealed that he is a loud and proud supporter of the New Apostolic Reformation, the overtly fascist offshoot of the religious right that believes it can bring about the Second Coming by taking over the world. He talked about the importance of the “Seven Mountains Mandate.” That’s the idea that Christians must take over the seven forces, or “mountains,” that influence our culture—business, education, media, family, religion, entertainment, and especially government.

But it says a lot that the fact Benjamin openly supports fascism wrapped in the cross isn’t the most outrageous part of this video. Not by a longshot. When you claim that pastors who take this virus seriously are false, your moral compass is severely warped.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Britain says it has uncovered a Kremlin plot to overthrow the Ukrainian government and install a pro-Russian regime in Kyiv.

The alleged plot involves several top officials who served under former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, a Moscow-backed politician who was deposed by a pro-Western revolution in 2014. The Kremlin has always referred to the events of 2014 as a Western-backed coup d’état, pointing to diplomatic and small-scale financial support that Western embassies in Kyiv gave to non-governmental organizations involved in the uprising.

Meanwhile, Russia continues to gather an invasion-sized force on three sides of Ukraine. It was unclear from the statement, released Saturday by Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), whether the office believes the Kremlin plans to install the government after invading and occupying Ukraine, or whether a coup attempt is seen as an alternative to large-scale Russian military action.

“We have information that indicates the Russian government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine,” the FCDO statement reads, without naming the source of the information. The statement says Yevhen Murayev, a former pro-Russian MP from Mr. Yanukovych’s disbanded Party of Regions, “is being considered as a potential candidate” by Russian intelligence services to lead the Moscow-backed regime.

“The information being released today shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says in the statement. “Russia must de-escalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, and pursue a path of diplomacy. As the UK and our partners have said repeatedly, any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake with severe costs.”

The statement also names four other Yanukovych-era officials as “maintaining links” with “Russian intelligence officers currently involved in the planning for an attack on Ukraine.” The four are former prime minister Mykola Azarov; former deputy prime minister Serhiy Arbuzov; Mr. Yanukovych’s former chief of staff, Andriy Kluyev; and the former deputy head of Ukraine’s national security council, Vladimir Sivkovich.


Mr. Sivkovich was one of four Ukrainian citizens targeted for new U.S. sanctions announced on Thursday. A statement from the U.S. Treasury – which also named former pro-Russian MPs Taras Kozak, Oleh Voloshyn and Volodymyr Oliynyk – said the four were working with Russia’s FSB security service to prepare “to take over the government of Ukraine and to control Ukraine’s critical infrastructure with an occupying Russian force.”......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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As Russian President Vladimir Putin lays the groundwork for an invasion of Ukraine, Republicans in Congress have been laying the groundwork to blame President Joe Biden for failing to prevent an attack.

But it’s former President Donald Trump, recently retired military officials and diplomats told The Daily Beast, who may bear more responsibility for the looming crisis with Russia than Biden.

Trump, whose relationship with Russia has been famously complicated, pushed back on providing aid to Ukraine in 2017. Trump was reportedly reluctant to provide security aid, in part, because he wanted Ukraine to pay the United States back. That year, Putin made his case to Trump during a 2017 meeting that Russia had sovereignty claims over Ukraine.

Trump has also parroted and played into Putin’s rhetorical arguments on territorial expansion. Trump told world leaders during a private dinner in 2018 that Crimea—the peninsula of land in the Black Sea between Russia and Ukraine that Russia annexed by force in 2014—actually did belong to Russia because everyone there speaks Russian.

In a more hard power sense, Trump also withheld military aid to Ukraine in 2019, conditioning the aid on a political “favor.” In withholding the funds, which had been appropriated by Congress for security assistance to Ukraine, the Trump administration violated the law, the Government Accountability Office later determined.

During the infamous July 2019 phone call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Trump, Zelensky was still asking for Javelin anti-tank weapons. And while Trump held the security aid back, Ukraine became more susceptible. Ukraine was deprived of weapons, artillery, training, and advisers, leaving it weak and in the lurch. Ukrainian soldiers eventually began resorting to stuffing straw in empty uniforms and carrying around logs to make it seem like they had anti-tank missiles on their shoulders, The New York Times reported in 2019.

Even when Trump eventually relented and did provide aid, he made it a condition that the equipment not be used for war.

The delay in supplying Ukraine with top military equipment—as well as Trump’s overall dismissiveness of the security realities on the ground in Ukraine—has had lasting consequences, strengthening the Kremlin’s resolve to take further action in Ukraine today, according to Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe.

”He absolutely did not appreciate and understand the significance of what was happening,” Hodges said of Trump. “And that’s what I think was most valuable to the Kremlin is that they see the American government didn’t appreciate or understand or frankly even care that much in that administration what was going on.”

Hodges told The Daily Beast that Trump’s disregard emboldened Putin and caused damage that’s now ratcheting tensions up.

While the political blowback of any bloodshed or catastrophe in Ukraine in the coming weeks will no doubt fall on Biden—tanking his approval ratings further just as the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan did—it is the lingering rot from the Trump administration that created much of the conditions ripe for an attack......
 

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