More to ignore, Book 31....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said that he has been informed that Russia will attack on Wednesday.

The comments from the Ukrainian leader, made in an address to his nation posted on Facebook, come amid heightened tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.

Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. The troop buildup had raised concerns among the U.S. and NATO allies that Russia is planning a military incursion, but Moscow has continually denied having any such plans.

Officials from Ukraine, Russia and NATO nations have engaged in diplomatic discussions for weeks with hopes of easing the tensions in the region, but the conversations did not bear any breakthroughs.

Zelensky wrote in a statement on Facebook that Ukraine will hold a Day of Unity on Wednesday. He said the relevant decree has already been signed.

“We are told that February 16 will be the day of the attack," he said, according to a Facebook translation of his comments.

President Biden spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday and said that “swift and severe costs” would follow if Moscow invaded Ukraine.

Biden administration officials have warned that Ukraine could be invaded "any day now."

The Hill has reached out to the White House and Pentagon for comment.

Soon after Zelensky posted his statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the U.S. was “in the process of temporarily relocating our Embassy operations” from Kyiv to Lviv “due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces.”

The Associated Press, citing intelligence obtained by the U.S., previously reported that Russia was eyeing Wednesday as the target date for an attack. U.S. officials on Sunday said they were unable to confirm reports regarding the timeline.

Monday’s announcement from Zelensky, however, appears to confirm those reports.

On Saturday, the State Department ordered most U.S. employees at the embassy in Kyiv to leave. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan also said on Friday all Americans in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Sullivan on Sunday said the U.S. observed “a dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces” in the previous 10 days or so, suggesting that Moscow “could launch a military action, essentially at any time.”

Zelensky on Monday said Ukraine would like to resolve all issues at hand through negotiations, and U.S. officials have emphasized that a diplomatic path forward is preferred.

On Sunday, however, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the “time component” for diplomatic efforts between Russia and Ukraine “seems to be shrinking,” a development he said “gives us all cause for concern.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The United States is closing the US Embassy in Kyiv and "temporarily relocating" the small number of remaining diplomatic personnel in the country to Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, "due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces," Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday.

"I have ordered these measures for one reason -- the safety of our staff -- and we strongly urge any remaining US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately," Blinken said in a statement.

"These prudent precautions in no way undermine our support for or our commitment to Ukraine. Our commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering," he said. "We also continue our sincere efforts to reach a diplomatic solution, and we remain engaged with the Russian government following President Biden's call with President Putin and my discussion with Foreign Minister Lavrov."


"The path for diplomacy remains available if Russia chooses to engage in good faith. We look forward to returning our staff to the Embassy as soon as conditions permit," Blinken added.......

 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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A conservative lawyer who worked with then-President Donald Trump has turned over thousands of pages of emails to the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection but is withholding thousands of others, according to court filing Sunday.

John Eastman, a law professor who helped craft Trump's false argument that the 2020 election was stolen, has turned over nearly 8,000 pages of emails to the committee while holding back about 11,000 pages because it is what he calls privileged material.

The new numbers come before Eastman and House attorneys meet with a federal judge Monday afternoon about the ongoing dispute over a subpoena of Eastman's Chapman University email account........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Federal prosecutors told a judge that a plea deal with Steve Bannon’s longtime associate Andrew Badolato may be imminent in the case of We Build the Wall, a crowdfunding effort for a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border that led to indictments of four people associated with the charity.

“The Government and defendant Andrew Badolato are in the final stages of discussions about a pretrial resolution of the case and do not anticipate that a trial on the charges against Mr. Badolato will be necessary,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos wrote in a single-page letter on Monday.......
......
If an agreement is reached for Badolato, only two of the four original defendants will stand trial: Kolfage and Shea.

“Accordingly, the parties jointly propose that the Court request only one trial date for this case, for defendants Brian Kolfage and Timothy Shea,” the letter states. “However, if Mr. Badolato has not resolved the charges pending against him by March 10, 2022, counsel for Mr. Shea intends to submit a letter with exhibits to the Court objecting to Mr. Shea being tried with Mr. Kolfage.”

“Separately, the Government, Mr. Kolfage, and Mr. Shea are in ongoing discussions about potential evidentiary and legal issues that may arise at trial,” it continues......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Craig Greenberg, Democratic mayoral candidate for Louisville KY survives gunman shooting at him
LokiMom

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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U.S.-Canada crossing reopened after Canadian police clear anti-vax protesters
Hunter

Our long international nightmare is over; The Ambassador Bridge border crossing linking the United States and Canada is back open again after Canadian law enforcement authorities quietly pushed aside or hauled off the small gaggle of anti-vaccine protesters who had been blocking traffic for about a week.

It didn't take much. According to the NBC News account, police officers made "25 to 30 arrests" and seized five vehicles. Also credited with helping to resolve the situation: It's freaking February, and apparently only the most devoted of anti-vaccine activists were willing to weather a light weekend snowfall in Canadian February.

Another unlikely hero of the siege: "Lawyers for auto parts makers," who successfully convinced a judge that blockading approximately $400 million worth of U.S.-Canadian trade per day was super not cool. Like,
really super not cool.

So that's that. Road got cleared, nobody got pepper sprayed or shot with rubber bullets, a whopping total of five (5) vehicles were towed off and none of it required any of the things that would probably have happened had the protests been on the U.S. side of the border, which if Trump were still in charge would probably have ended with Air Force strikes on key regional diners or whatever. No drama whatsoever.

The uneventful clearing of the Ambassador Bridge protest may or may not do much to quell demands by American conservatives that similar anti-vax, anti-mask blockades happen in this country. Fox News in particular has been giving the Canadian protests lavish attention, and national Republican figures like Sen. Ted Cruz have boosted the protests as part of their larger demands that democratic government do not a damn thing to help stave off pandemic deaths. But there's still no sign that demands that American anti-vaxxers block traffic and stall trade are gaining much traction.

Calls for a "trucker" blockade or other mass action targeting the Super Bowl fizzled mightily as well, on Sunday. While small bands of anti-vax protesters made their displeasure known, there was no significant effort made to block traffic into the event. And, if you think about it for a moment, the reasons for this are fairly clear.

For starters, conservatives have spent the last half decade arguing that if protesters are standing between your car and a place your car wants to be, you are allowed to straight-up run them over rather than taking an alternate route.

Second, any supposed "trucker" protests in the United States might quickly run afoul of that most ingenious of American law enforcement funding operations, civil forfeiture rules that allow local police to simply take your stuff and be done with it. An American trucker blockade of an important artery through town is perhaps as likely as not to result in that town's police force driving around in repainted semis for the next few years.

Third, American police forces respond to protests not with handcuffs, but with repurposed military vehicles, "less-than-lethal" weapons that regularly inflict permanent and semipermanent injuries, and rooftop snipers. We have all seen what happens to protesters in America who block roads. If you're carrying guns, they let you do it for approximately as long as you like, and if you're not carrying guns, you get the fullest pseudomilitary response local officials can muster.

Nonviolent "trucker" protests will not be a thing, in the United States. Conservative protests in this country consist of packs of barely-organized militia members loaded down with weapons and ammunition, daring police and government officials to respond. Whatever vehicles they take with them are usually incidental; it's the guns that do the "protesting."

Fox News guests and Republican candidates may titillate audiences with dreams of closing major U.S. arteries in response to President Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci and various other public officials rudely suggesting
things at them, but you've got to be incandescently, almost transcendently White to have been watching Fox News for the last half-decade and still decide that you can stand in the middle of an American street and nothing bad will happen to you. I'm not sure anyone who watches Fox News or listens to Ted Cruz has that much trust.

So no, I don't think the Canadian version is going to take hold here. The American anti-vaccine movement has been going in a different direction, with Proud Boys and other white nationalist groups attempting to commandeer an otherwise haphazard, dizzyingly conspiracy-addled movement for their own purposes; much of the rest of the Republican anti-government movement has skipped past peaceful protests to simply threaten officials outright, as on January 6. American anti-government forces may have played a large part in funding the Canadian protests, but if it didn't work in Canada it's not going to fare any better here.

We're talking about very, very small groups of protesters to begin with—and more of the general public seems to be losing patience with the anti-vaxxers by the day.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Alberta RCMP say they have detained 11 people after an investigation at the Coutts border crossing led to the seizure of more than dozen long guns, hand guns, ammunition and body armour.

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In a news release Monday morning, RCMP said they recently became aware of a small organized group within those involved in the larger Coutts border protest.

“The group was said to have a willingness to use force against the police if any attempts were made to disrupt the blockade,” RCMP said.

“This resulted in an immediate and complex investigation to determine the extent of the threat and criminal organization.”

A search warrant was executed early Monday morning on three trailers that RCMP allege were association to the criminal organization. The following items were seized:
  • 13 long guns
  • handguns
  • multiple sets of body armour
  • a machete
  • a large quantity of ammunition
  • high capacity magazines
Police said 11 people were arrested and detained as a result of this investigation.

In an unrelated news conference Monday morning, Premier Jason Kenney addressed what he called the “urgent developments” at the border.

Kenney said he was told “thousands of rounds” of ammunition were seized by the RCMP.

“This underscores the severity of what has been happening,” the premier said.

“To those who have been impatient about enforcement, I ask them to understand that this investigation has been ongoing over the past week and the RCMP, obviously, did not want to escalate the situation that could provoke potential violence until they had a tactical plan in place at the appropriate time to take enforcement action and to seize these weapons.”

Kenney said the government has procured “all of the necessary heavy equipment” and service to operate that equipment, to assist RCMP in removing vehicles that are blocking the highway.

“Broader enforcement measures will commence, and of course the government of Alberta will be there to support that every step of the way,” Kenney said.

The RCMP did not say whether charges had been laid, but said more information would be released as it become available.

The RCMP said it is also searching for a suspect after an incident at the blockade Sunday night. At about 8 p.m., police said a large farm tractor and a semi-truck attempted to ram a police vehicle. The officer in the vehicle was able to reposition and avoid the collision.

Police followed the suspects to an area where protesters were gathered. The driver of the tractor was identified and police are working to locate him so he can be taken into custody. The tractor and semi were both seized by the RCMP.

The RCMP said this is an example of “the militant mindset” of a small group of the protesters.

“The Alberta RCMP will resume efforts to end the illegal blockade which has prevented access to the Coutts border,” RCMP said Monday. “We encourage all participants who are involved in this illegal action to leave immediately or relocate to the designated site for the legal protest.”........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Judge Jed Rakoff, the judge overseeing former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against the New York Times, said Monday afternoon that he will dismiss the suit, ruling Palin's team did not prove a key element of its case.

Rakoff's ruling came while the jury is deliberating over a verdict -- and Rakoff said he will allow the jury to continue deliberating and to reach a verdict, and will dismiss the case once it has done so.

Rakoff presented his findings in court on Monday with an eye toward an inevitable appeals process.

The judge in the closely-watched trial said Palin did not prove "actual malice," which is the standard her legal team had to meet in her defamation case.

The jury of nine, five women and four men, began deliberating around 4p.m. on Friday after sitting through seven days of trial.

Palin sued the Times and its former editorial page editor James Bennet in 2017 after they published an editorial that erroneously linked a map that Palin's political action committee had posted to a shooting in 2011 that killed six and injured former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The editorial in question was called "America's Lethal Politics" and it was published on the day of the shooting at a baseball practice that injured Congressman Steve Scalise. It was meant to address heated political rhetoric ahead of the shooting, but it erroneously said that there was a "clear" link between a map that had crosshairs over congressional districts, including Giffords', and the shooting that injured her. Bennet testified that he added language about there being a clear link and that once he realized his error, he worked to quickly issue a correction.

Palin testified she was "mortified" that the Times falsely accused her of inciting the murder of those six people, which included a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, six years after that deadly shooting.

Bennet testified that he was surprised that some people interpreted the editorial as saying the man who shot Giffords and others was incited by Palin, testifying "that is not the message we intended to send."

This is a developing story. Check back for more...
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Crybaby Trump Whines that the Media Didn't Fall for the Durham Nothingburger About Clinton 'Spying'
News Corpse

Donald Trump has taken a temporary leave from his obsession over having lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, a humiliation he still has not managed to get over. He is now fixated on a new obsession concerning a court filing by special counsel John Durham that Trump and his minions are misconstruing as a "bombshell" that vindicates his prior delusional allegations that the U.S. government was spying on him.

The definition of "bombshell" has been watered down here to include nonsense that has no bearing on anything. Durham's filing didn't contain a shred of evidence of any spying, and didn't even make that allegation. The entirety of his claim was that information about Internet IP addresses that are publicly available were shared with Hillary Clinton's campaign. To which the media resoundingly, and appropriately, said
"So what?" The only thing of interest in the filing is that it affirmed prior reports that the IP addresses and Domain Name Servers (DNS) it referenced connected Trump's computer communications to Russia.

On Saturday Trump went ballistic over the Durham news, falsely asserting that it provided
"indisputable evidence" that he was the victim of a broad "Deep State" government cabal to spy on him led by Hillary Clinton. He went even further to advocate the death penalty for Clinton and others he accused of this imaginary crime.

However, given the utter lack of substance in Durham's filing, the press took a pass. This triggered Trump to throw yet another tantrum over what he regards as the "fake news" ignoring
"the biggest story of our time." He released a statement (via his Twitter ban defying spokes-shill) that sobbed...

"Can you imagine that, what should be the biggest story of our time, bigger than Watergate, is getting absolutely no mention, ZERO, in the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC Fake News, NBC Fake News, CBS Fake News, ratings-dead CNN, and MSDNC."

Yes. Anyone with moderate comprehension skills can imagine that. So naturally, Trump thinks it is "a scandal, the fact that a story so big, so powerful, and so important for the future of our Nation is getting zero coverage from LameStream." He goes on to say that "It shows how totally corrupt and shameless the media is." He even reprises his death wish, saying that "the electric chair would immediately come out of retirement." But he closes with the following bizarre claim of victory...

"The good news is, everybody is talking about not only this atrocity against our Nation, but that the press refuses to even mention the major crime that took place."

In other words, he doesn't think he really needs the media because the story is on everyone's lips even without any press coverage. So what's he griping about? To the extent that this fictional story is being talked about, it is wholly due to the right-wing echo chamber that includes Fox News and Republican Trump-fluffers. Here a few of the tweets by Trump's toadies trying to disseminate this dishonest "news":
  • RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel: Durham’s report shows that the Trump campaign and White House were illegally spied on, paid for by the Clinton campaign.
  • Rep. Jim Jordan: They spied on Trump.
  • Brit Hume, Fox News: But good luck getting the story into the big organs of the mainstream media. So far, a blackout.
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik: Hillary Clinton must immediately be held accountable for her involvement in the biggest criminal political corruption story of our lifetime.
  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn: Evidence is out that Hillary Clinton and her campaign allegedly paid tech companies to manufacture a false narrative that Donald Trump was linked with Russia.
  • CPAC founder, Matt Schlapp: With the revelations that Trump was indeed spied on during 2016 and deep into his presidency it is time for anyone complicit in this crime resign from the Biden Administration and be charged. Jake Sullivan must step down.
  • Brian Kilmeade, Fox News: The Durham filing confirms the Clinton campaign paid to infiltrate Trump servers. @dbongino joins to react.
  • Felonious election fraudster, Dinesh D'Souza: Hillary has been caught red-handed!
  • Conspiracy crackpot, Glenn Beck: So according to the Durham probe, the Clinton campaign was not only behind the Steele Dossier and Alfa Bank hoax, but it SPIED on the Trump campaign AND White House.
  • Rep. Ronny Jackson: Hillary Clinton is the MOST corrupt politician in American history. How she spied on President Trump is CRIMINAL! This is just the tip of the iceberg too. The full truth of Hillary’s crimes have yet to be revealed. LOCK HER UP!
None of those comments can be remotely associated with reality. However, that last tweet by Ronny Jackson is especially interesting. He is Trump's former White House "doctor" who was known for drinking on the job and loosely handing out prescriptions. And now he is calling for Clinton to be locked up even though her "crimes have yet to be revealed."

Expect Trump to get more outrageous as the legal walls close in around him. He has never been able to restrain his most insane impulses. In this rant about the media not reporting a story that has no merit, he is demonstrating just how desperate he is for attention and approval. And the less he gets of both, the worse his meltdowns will be.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Deplorables around the country are filing bond and insurance claims against school boards
Darrell Lucus

The war against school boards is taking on a new and potentially scary dimension in North Carolina and around the country. A right-wing activist is encouraging his followers to file claims against school board members’ surety bonds and liability insurance packages in order to force boards to drop mask mandates. In so doing, they’re relying on a tactic that is straight out of the sovereign citizen movement, whose members are known to slap bogus liens against government officials.

In some states, school boards and superintendents are required to purchase surety bonds in order to guarantee that they carry out their legal duties. In other states, school boards are covered by their district’s liability insurance. North Carolina-based activist Miki Klann saw this as a way to bludgeon school boards into dropping mask mandates and other measures intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. She recently launched a site called “Bonds for the Win” that helps anti-mask parents turn up the heat on school officials by hitting them in the wallet. Unfortunately, a number of parents across the country—including here in North Carolina—have taken up the cry, and it’s very likely more will follow.
.......
Klann’s site provides sample intent letters to parents arguing that mask mandates violate a host of state and federal laws, as well as international law. If the school boards don’t comply, the parents then file claims against their surety bonds. Ironically, North Carolina doesn’t require surety bonds for school boards and superintendents, so Klann’s North Carolina followers file claims against their district’s liability insurance.

In late January, several parents in Wake County, home to the state capital of Raleigh, followed Klann’s advice in a bid to shake down the Wake County school board. From
The (Raleigh) News & Observer:

Katie Long, the mother of two Wake students, received advice from Bonds For The Win before she served papers at the Jan. 18 Wake County school board meeting. She crossed under a security barrier to deliver the papers after the law enforcement officer at the meeting declined to serve them.
(...)
“If you cause wrong or harm, we the people have a recourse and can hold you accountable,” Long told the board. “You have violated your oath of office.”

When the 72-hour deadline passed, Long and at least six other parents filed $1 million claims against the board’s liability insurance policy with Liberty Mutual. The board intends to “vigorously defend” itself against these parents’ claims. For its part, Liberty Mutual considers the claims to be improper.

A similar scene played out in Johnston County, east of Raleigh. Even though that school board intends to make masks optional starting next week, a gaggle of parents filed liability insurance claims because—horrors!—the board hasn’t ruled out ordering the masks back on if case counts spike up. And in Iredell County, north of my home in Charlotte, dozens of people tried to take over the board room in an effort to “serve” the board with liability insurance claims.

Deplorables in Iowa have tried this as well. It’s led Iowa State political science professor and self-identified conservative Kelly Shaw to note, in a classic understatement, that these people are engaged in “a desperate attempt to get one’s way through intimidation.”

As unnerving as this is in and of itself, Bonds for the Win has unmistakable ties to QAnon. The site has numerous links to QAnon shibboleths like mass arrests of child traffickers, as well as claims that John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive. Klann herself is a full-on QNut; she also helps run the QAnon YouTube channel Our Great Awakening, and has promoted Bonds for the Win on several Our Great Awakening videos.

This isn’t all that surprising, given that the QAnon and sovereign citizen movements have been growing closer together for some time. A lot of QAnon followers, such as rabid Trumpvangelical false prophet Johnny Enlow, believed that Trump would return to the White House in March as its first lawful occupant since Ulysses S. Grant. They have adopted a longstanding sovereign citizen claim that the United States was secretly and illegally turned into a corporation in 1871. While Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the “corporation,” Trump restored the “republic” in 2017 and still presides over it. And now it looks like a QNut has put a twist on another sovereign citizen tactic.

When I first saw this, I immediately thought of a longtime friend of mine who serves on a school board in a deep red Midwestern state. If they haven’t tried this out her way—and elsewhere across the country—it’s only a matter of time before they do so.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A Louisville activist was charged with attempted murder Monday after shooting at mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg in his campaign office, police said.

Quintez Brown, 21, was also arrested on four counts of wanton endangerment in connection with the incident, the Louisville Metro Police Department announced Monday.

The department did not provide details on any possible motive, but said it is believed the suspect acted alone.

According to the Courier Journal, Brown is a well-known civil rights activist in Louisville who also previously served as a former intern and editorial columnist for the newspaper.

He had recently announced that he would be running for Metro Council in District 5, according to the Courier Journal.

He also previously made headlines after going missing for about two weeks, prompting a search before he was found safe on July 1........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The mayor of a small city in Ohio resigned Monday after he suggested that permitting ice fishing could lead to prostitution.

Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert, who has twice made national headlines with unusual remarks since his wife died in early September, said his comments amounted to dry humor weaponized by political opponents.

Shubert questioned the idea of allowing ice fishing, which he noted could come with accompanying shelter, at Tuesday's City Council meeting: "If you then allow ice fishing with shanties, then that leads to another problem — prostitution."

He informed the city of his immediate resignation Monday in a terse letter to City Council clerk Aparna Wheeler, which was copied to council President Christopher W. Foster.

Shubert, 65, also released a statement to the public on his campaign website, including the following passage:

"My comments at Tuesday’s workshop were made out of concern for our community; what could become of unintended consequences of new legislation, based on my prior television news reporting experience. My attempt to inject a bit of dry humor to make a point about this, in the midst of a cold, snowy February, was grossly misunderstood."

He said foes have used the remarks to engage in "personal destruction by means of character assassination, blaming me for the negative international press they helped to promote.".....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Opinion: Sixty years late, right-wingers join the counterculture​

.....Covering the hypocrisy of the Trump right is a full-time beat these days. “Law and order” Republicans now embrace insurrectionists. Those who decried “cancel culture” now ban books and history lessons. Conservatives who supported “tort reform” now enshrine the rights of private citizens to sue one another. A party that welcomed libertarians now has officials incentivizing people to report on their neighbors. Onetime Cold Warriors now sympathize with Putin.......
 

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