More to ignore, Book 69.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump isn't done trying to get Pence killed: 'Mike did not have the courage to act'
Kerry Eleveld

GettyImages-1241371194.jpg

Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith & Freedom Coalition during their annual "Road To Majority" conference at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, June 17, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Mike Pence survived the Jan. 6 insurrection, but Donald Trump isn't done with him yet. At an evangelical political conference in Nashville on Friday, Trump used a keynote speech to once again disparage Pence's lack of "courage" to overturn the 2020 election.

“Mike Pence had a chance to be great," Trump told attendees of the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference. "He had a chance to be, frankly, historic, but just like Bill Barr and the rest of these weak people, Mike did not have the courage to act," Trump said, also taking a swipe at his one-time attorney general whose candid deposition has made him a star witness in the Jan. 6 hearings.

Trump also predictably blasted the Jan. 6 investigation as a "one-sided witch hunt" and said the House select committee investigating the attack was spinning a "ludicrous narrative" about his involvement.

“There’s no cleaner example of the menacing spirit that has devoured the American left than the disgraceful performance being staged by the ‘unselect’ committee,” Trump charged. “They’re con people. They’re con artists. Every one of them is a radical left hater, hates all of you, hates me even more than you, but I’m just trying to help you out."

Never mind the fact that the vast majority of witnesses have been stalwart Republicans, particularly loyalists from Trump's inner circle who held top positions in both his administration and his 2020 reelection campaign.

But amid his rambling hour-long diatribe Friday, Trump devoted a good amount of energy to trashing his former vice president, calling him a "robot" and a "human conveyor belt" for accepting the legal advice that he did not possess the sole authority to overturn the election.

One of the biggest bombshells from the Jan. 6 hearings has been Donald Trump's contemptuous disregard for the physical safety of his own vice president.

Jan. 6 committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming relayed in one hearing that Trump suggested his supporters might "have the right idea" after the terrorists broke out in chants of "Hang Mike Pence!" Trump added that Pence "deserves it."

But that crowd didn't come to that conclusion in a vacuum. Trump lathered them into a fury by first raising his supporters hopes that the two men were "in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act."

Trump issued that total fabrication the day before the Jan. 6 assault. On the afternoon of Jan. 5, Trump also tweeted, "The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors."

On rally day, Trump starting beating the coup drum again at around 6:00 a.m. "If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency. Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!" he tweeted.


During his speech to the crowd gathered at the Ellipse around noon, Trump again painted Pence as the linchpin to overturning the election.

"Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country, and if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you," Trump said, setting up rally attendees for the grievous betrayal he already knew was likely to come.

In fact, the Jan. 6 committee revealed this week that none of the early drafts of Trump's speech even mentioned Pence. Trump had simply taken it upon himself to extemporaneously pit the crowd against Pence.

After the crowd had breached the Capitol and Pence failed to take action, Trump sent another tweet

Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!

Within minutes, the pro-Trump terrorists were inflamed as they repeated Trump's tweet over bullhorns and concluded Pence's betrayal was now punishable by death.

So when they finally broke out in death chants and Trump suggested they "had the right idea," he was simply congratulating himself on a job well done.

Based on his remarks to the evangelicals Friday, it appears Trump's only regret is that his supporters didn't finish the job.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ignoring the Jan. 6 hearings? Michael Luttig explains why you shouldn’t.

.......Luttig was there because he had advised Vice President Mike Pence that Pence could not legally do what President Donald Trump wanted him to do, which was to interject himself in the process of ratifying the electoral count on Jan. 6 and prepare the ground to have the election overturned.

But the former federal appellate court judge far more than demolished the legal arguments Trump had bought into. His prepared statement was a clear-and-present-danger document, describing the fraught state of American democracy, the war that rages internally, and the role Trump and his followers have played to bring us to this moment.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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.....Imagine what would have happened if Barack Obama had plotted to subvert and overturn a presidential election that he had lost.

Republicans would have lost their minds. Having whipped themselves into a lather over fake scandals and manufactured controversies during the actual Obama administration, they would have exploded into paroxysms of partisan rage over any one of these misdeeds. The Benghazi hearings would have looked like a sober-minded investigation compared with what Republicans would have unleashed if the shoe had been on the other foot......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The first three hearings of the House Jan. 6 committee have deeply undercut, if not demolished, the postelection myths repeated incessantly by former President Donald J. Trump and his supporters and embraced and amplified by Republicans in Congress.

A parade of Republican witnesses — his attorney general, William P. Barr, his daughter Ivanka Trump, and his own campaign lawyers — knew he had lost the election and told him so. Mr. Trump was informed that the demands he was making of Mr. Pence to block his defeat unilaterally were illegal. Even the most active coup plotter, the conservative lawyer John C. Eastman, conceded before Jan. 6 that his scheme was illegal and unconstitutional, then sought a presidential pardon after it led to mob violence.

Yet the most striking revelation so far may be how deeply Mr. Trump’s disregard for the truth and the rule of law have penetrated into the Republican Party, taking root in the fertile soil of a right-wing electorate stewing in conspiracy theories and well tended by their media of choice. The Republican response to the hearings — a combination of indifference, diversion and doubling down — reflects how central the lie of a stolen election has become to the party’s identity......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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I’m reading the historian Gary Gerstle’s The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order. It includes about a seven-page discussion of Trump and Trumpism that is among the most incisive and comprehensive distillations of his worldview and appeal that I’ve seen.

Gerstle begins by noting that in spite of Trump’s famous shapeshifting political stances over his long years in public life (on abortion, for example), he has long held three core beliefs:

1) “he had never embraced the neoliberal promise of a world without borders….He did not believe in the virtues of free trade. Even the best rules of fair competition…would fail to restrain power hungry countries, corporations, or individuals (like himself) from pursuing advantage by whatever means necessary.” Only “smart dealmakers acting in their own self-interest” could achieve good results. He always rejected NAFTA, and the WTO, maintaining suspicion of any dealings with Mexico or China.


2) “Trump had always been an ethnonationalist who believed America’s destiny was to be a white man’s country. Like his father, he held that the best of people America were those of European descent.” Dating to his loud calls to reinstate the death penalty after the “Central Park Five” were accused of raping a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989, Trump saw it as his “mission to guard white America against ‘dangerous’ and ‘upstart’ minority populations.” His hatred of Obama, including his pursuit of the absurd “birther” theory, stemmed in significant part from these beliefs. So, of course, did his rabid hostility to nonwhite immigrants, the issue with which he launched his campaign for the presidency in 2015.

3) “Trump’s third longstanding belief was, in some respects, the most surprising one to find in a New York City billionaire: that America’s good, white people had to take back the country from a cosmopolitan elite intent on selling it out.”......

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As Gerstle describes (drawing on the work of others), Trump’s style, as a TV personality, a campaigner and as president, owed as much as anything to the “bombastic performance art” characteristic of pro wrestling. Trump cultivated his image to mirror the “aggressive world of staged male combat, a world always teetering - tantalizingly, in the view of many supporters - on the edge of violence.” While “effeminate,” “cosmopolitan” “multicultural” coastal elites became “obsessed with micro-aggressions,” Trump’s supporters “delighted in the performance of extravagant macro-aggressions.” The pro wrestling ethos that Trump brought to national politics valorized an “unapologetic will to power” and the notion that sheer dominance of opponents by any means, fair or foul, was to be celebrated.


Trump’s clownish bombast, his incessant name-calling, his delight in playing to the worst instincts of an increasingly worked up and bloodthirsty crowd, the way he reveled in playing the “heel,” - all of this mimicked the world that Vince McMahon, wrestling’s master promoter, turned into marketing gold.

In doing so, Trump rejected a core element of the old GOP. To return to Gerstle’s first point above, Trump had no use for the pro-trade tenets that Republican elites - however selectively - had long hewed to. In conjunction with his repudiation of those ideas, Trump had little patience for traditional conservative moralizing. By the lights of that older conservatism, one critical rationale for reducing the role of government was to reduce “dependency.” Freed from such shackles, individuals would have to cultivate for themselves a sense of initiative, industry and purpose that would be the building blocks of a virtuous society. Trump, by contrast, according to Gerstle, “regarded this GOP moralizing as both boring and out of touch with the real world….[Trump] was more interested in thrills and power than in integrity and discipline.” Trump supported deregulation, but not because he thought that free markets were virtuous institutions capable of instilling [in participants] ethical behavior." Instead, for Trump, markets were “built for manipulation, contracts were made to be broken.”

All of the above provides a roadmap for understanding Trumpism generally, and for making sense specifically of his motives and behavior as he insisted that a coup be carried out on his behalf. Some have wondered whether Trump “knew” what he insisted on was wrong, or whether he was deluded into really believing that the election had been stolen out from under him. But all of that presumes, first of all, that Trump possesses a normal mind and a set of life experiences that ordinary people could even conceivably relate to......

TTM note: LULZ at the thought that any of our RWNJ buddies could possibly imagine that they can relate to any of Trump's life experiences. (For example, spending many decades of their lives living exclusively in a NYC skyskraper that they own, occasionally taking up residence in a golf resort that they own for a month here and there. LULZ. Yeah, he is JUST like them, and really has their exact some concerns.)
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Craven Republicans marvel at Liz Cheney's lonely stand for American democracy as we know it
Kerry Eleveld

The GOP colleagues of embattled Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming just don't get it. Why would anyone decide to stand for something bigger than themselves at risk of their own career? Why not just look at yourself in the mirror every morning knowing that you are bargaining away democracy for your children and grandchildren in exchange for your own short-term personal gain?

The Washington Post writes:

Cheney’s Republican colleagues have struggled to understand her motives, especially given the political price she is paying in Wyoming, where Trump celebrated his largest margins of victory. Some wonder whether she is angling to run for a higher office.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky—who has repeatedly underestimated Donald Trump's staying power—is mystified that taking down Trump is "the only thing she cares about,” a McConnell confidant told the Post. “That doesn’t help anyone," McConnell added.

Likewise, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has privately called Cheney "obsessed" with decimating Trump and his political hold on the Republican Party. In fact, McCarthy reportedly told Cheney he would try to shield her from backlash over her impeachment vote if she would just play nice with Trump going forward. She declined the invitation to morph into a spineless slug.

These accounts are the most recent in a long line of reports relaying how perplexed Cheney's colleagues are by her crusade to dismember Trump limb by limb, even if it ultimately crushes her political future.

But Cheney described her motivations at a campaign event earlier this month, pondering the notion that the nation's peaceful transfer of power (i.e., democracy) could come to an end.

“I looked at my boys in the weeks after January 6; it became very clear that we might suddenly have to question that,” Cheney said of the peaceful transition between presidents. “And I am absolutely committed to do everything I can do, everything that I am required and obligated to do to make sure that we aren’t the last generation in America that can count on a peaceful transition of power. It is hugely important.”

What Cheney’s GOP counterparts are really marveling at is the concept of principled leadership—of placing the good of the whole above the immediate concerns of oneself. They either suffer from a total lack of imagination about what turning the country into a fascist hellhole would be like or they are indeed excited by the prospect. Surely “very fine” Republicans fall on both sides of that divide.

But somewhere in between that craven naïveté and that authoritarian bloodthirst, Liz Cheney has stepped into the void.

Her political views are 99.9% abhorrent to us as liberals.

Her evil genius is sometimes frightening.

But we cannot deny Cheney this moment in history. She should rightfully be celebrated for her vision, her courage, and her relentless perseverance.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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In two sentences, Lindsey Graham explains the difference between Republicans and Democrats
Mark Sumner

There are few reasons to admire Sen. Lindsey Graham. Actually, that’s not quite right. There are no reasons to admire Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Still, every now and then, just by accident, Graham gets something exactly right, and at the “Faith and Freedom Coalition” meeting held this week in Nashville, Graham managed to do something that might even seem amazing. In just two sentences, Graham deftly defined the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

He did it without mentioning a single policy. He did it without talking about the price of gas, or attacking LGBTQ people, or suggesting there should be a law allowing officials to peek under the skirts of teenage girls. He didn’t even mention “faith” or “freedom,” which was supposed to be the theme of the day. But he did it very effectively, and in a way that everyone can understand.
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At the podium, Graham made it clear what he really missed about Trump — the bullying. “You know what I like about Trump?” Graham asks the audience, before providing the answer. “Everybody was afraid of him.” He then waits for — and collects — applause for this insight before jumping in to express how terrified he was of his own leader.



It’s true. Everyone was afraid of Trump. I woke up every morning concerned that he might launch a military attack to distract from his latest scandal, or destroy a diplomatic alliance to fit some twisted narrative, or finger some group of Americans as the source of all the nation’s ills, or ruin he environment just because he could. There were good reasons to fear all those things. Because they all happened.

Trump was, and is, an erratic, logic-free id storm whose tantrums often call for his followers to rain down abuse on anyone he deems a critic. He’s a guy who thinks his ability to hate, powerfully, is his best quality. He may even be right.

The difference is … Republicans like it. They like being afraid. They want that bully at the bully pulpit. They want a “strong man” to tell them what to do, to yell at anyone who strays from the course, and to threaten everyone who refuses to go along with the fascistic flow. They don’t want to have to deal with facts and reason, much less justice and fairness.

Republicans like being afraid of Trump. It’s no wonder that they are always making paintings and posters in which Trump is some muscle-bound action hero. Because admitting they enjoy being bullied by the actual Trump … is simply pathetic.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine Update: Ukraine pleads poverty, more on logistics, and Putin suffers diplomatically
kos

All week, I’ve been skeptical of Ukraine’s casualty numbers. Other analysts are starting to arrive at the same conclusion.

You can find more of my arguments in my recent writings, but in short, casualty numbers have varied all over the place depending on who is talking. Several weeks ago, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said 50-100 Ukrainian dead per week, then a week later someone else said it was 100-200, and then this week it was 200-300. Now this:



Meanwhile, on the ground, NASA FIRMS fire imagery shows heavier artillery fires inside Russian-held territory, Russia’s advances grind to a crawl, and Ukraine is gaining territory around Kharkiv and Kherson.

For example, Russia took Popasna over four weeks ago. Time flies, huh? In that time, as they push out in 14 different directions (see my last update), the most Russian forces have managed to extend in any direction is 15 kilometers (10 miles). They’re averaging about half a kilometer a day. 500 meters. Given that Ukraine still holds around 5,000 square miles of territory in the Donbas, someone else can do the math on how long it might take to conquer it all. No one should bother, it ain’t happening.

If Russia really had a 10-1 advantage in artillery (British intelligence said 20-1 yesterday!), things would look seriously different, no matter how many shells the invaders waste on civilian infrastructure. No doubt Ukraine has suffered severe losses. But I read that tweet above and my brain sees it as “Please send more stuff!” For context, the Oryx list of visually confirmed Russian losses is currently 781 Russian tanks, 1,402 armored infantry vehicles, and 204 artillery systems (which are destroyed behind enemy lines, so hard to document until territory is liberated).

Ukraine has clearly decided that pleading poverty is the best way to jump-start flagging European support. And maybe it worked, given the visit this week of the heads of state of France, Germany, and Italy. But Ukraine looks better when playing to its strengths—its resilience, its refusal to bend or give up territory easily, the bravery of its soldiers and strength of its civilians. They are Europe’s (and Central Asia’s) bulwark from Russian aggression. And if we want some realpolitik, they are fighting the war NATO was designed to fight, but without having to do any of the dying.
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I am deeply triggered by people whining about the pace and quantity of equipment sent. These logistical challenges aren’t insurmountable, but they’re serious and take time to work out. Looks like I'm not the only one.

Take the American Brigade Combat Team (BCT), the basic deployable combat unit for the U.S. (It used to be the much larger divisions until 2013.) Unlike a Russian Battalion Tactical Group (BTG), which is 10 tanks, 40 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), and around 600-800 soldiers, the BCT is much larger. The exact composition of a BCT depends on the specific type of unit (armored, light infantry, mechanized infantry, etc), but an armored BCT is around 4,400 soldiers, 87 tanks, 152 IFVs, 18 artillery guns, and 45 M113s armored troop carriers for various support roles.

Now here’s the thing—the cost to move this BCT is $66,735 per mile. Per mile!

That’s fuel, parts, food, etc. That’s the cost of logistics. People looked at the latest U.S. aid package and its billion dollar price tag, and had all sorts of comments about how little it seemed to deliver. Some Harpoon anti-ship missiles (already in action) and 18 M777 artillery guns. Yet one of the bullet points for that aid package was “and parts.” Ukrainian brigades won’t be as expensive as American ones for one major reason—they don’t need to move jet fuel for their tanks, like American ones need (the biggest reason Ukraine won’t be getting American tanks). But it’s still incredibly expensive and logistically complex to move an army.

In fact, this is the likely reason Ukraine is getting older M113s armored personnel carriers, cost per mile $58, instead of more modern Bradley M2 infantry fighting vehicles, $162 per mile. And don’t think it’s just about tripling the cost of operation, that it’s about money. A big part of that cost is fuel, and every extra gallon of fuel needed to move a vehicle requires that many more tankers ferrying that fuel to the front lines. And if there’s one thing Russia has done correctly this war, it’s target Ukrainian fuel depots.

Just like HIMARS and MLRS are useless if Ukraine and its allies can’t ferry enough rocket pods to the front, armored vehicles are useless if Ukraine can’t get fuel to them. In fact, a big part of Ukraine’s army is former Russian vehicles that simply ran out of gas in the early weeks of the war.

On the diplomatic front, Russia is hosting an international “economic forum” in St. Petersburg to pretend everything is business as usual (literally). Problem is, not many nations showed up, with only the likes of the Taliban and Kazakhstan making appearances. The latter made for a particularly awkward moment, as two dictators, Vladimir Putin and Kazakh strongman Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took shots at each other while sitting on stage together.



Oof, way to tell the guy next to you, from a former Soviet republic, that Russia isn’t happy with the current arrangement. Putin has made it overtly clear that Ukraine is just the beginning, not the end goal. But don’t worry, no one fears Russia anymore, and Tokayev got his punches in later:



Kazakhstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a NATO-style alliance among Russia and several of its former Central Asian Republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan (Turkmenistan and Mongolia are “observers”). These countries haven’t just ignored Putin’s demands for military assistance, only Belarus voted with Russia when the United Nations rebuked Russia’s invasion in early March.

Now, half these countries are firing on the each other, so it’s not exactly a harmonious “alliance,” and Russia plays favorites, like backing Armenia against Turkey-backed Azerbaijan, both locked in a bloody border dispute. Now, a CIS country is actively arming Ukraine.



The list of nation’s still friendly with Russia continues to shrink.



 

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