More to ignore, Book 82.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump Proves His Idiocy (Again): He Thinks Verizon Dropping One America News (OAN) is Illegal
News Corpse

The depth of Donald Trump's ignorance is impossible to measure. He is the Mariana Trench of stupidity. And yet, he seems perpetually compelled to show off how pitifully feeble-minded he is at every opportunity. He appears to have a perverse pride in being an utter imbecile. Perhaps it makes him feel closer to his dimwitted cult followers.

On Sunday morning Trump posted a comment on his miserably failing social media website, TRUTH Social (that is currently being criminally investigated by a Grand Jury), yowling about the decision by Verizon to drop One America News (OAN), his favorite, ultra-rightist disinformation channel.

Naturally, Trump was shocked and outraged that a private company made a rational business decision that conflicted with Trump's inbred biases and petulant self interests. Especially OAN, that has served as his virtual North Korean style Ministry of Propaganda from its inception. So he raged on his Twitter ripoff site that...

"One America News (OAN) is AMAZING, with great ratings and a REALLY loyal following. Despite it being so good, VERIZON, for purely political reasons, will be terminating OAN at the end of this month. Isn't this 'stuff' supposed to be illegal? The good news is that the owners and management of One America News is smart and very wise. They will figure it out!"



What's "AMAZING" is how ridiculously foolish Trump can be, and how proud he seems to be of it. Trump's assertion that OAN has "great ratings" is laughably untrue. Their audience is so small that Nielsen doesn't even track it. So you have to wonder what "ratings" Trump is referring to. Although Trump may be right about OAN having a loyal following, because that's what cults do.

Trump goes on to accuse Verizon of ditching OAN for "purely political reasons." Of course, he doesn't offer a shred evidence to support that charge. However there is an obvious financial justification for dropping a channel that has a negligible number of viewers. What's more, OAN is being sued for defamation by the voting software company, Smartmatic. The case revolves around the part OAN has played in promulgating Trump's "Big Lie" about election fraud. Cable programmers would be wise to distance themselves from such potentially damaging legal exposure.

Finally, Trump asks his TRUTH(less) (Anti)Social followers "Isn't this 'stuff' supposed to be illegal?" Sure, if you live in a totalitarian dictatorship where the media is required to obey the mandates of power mad demagogues. But in a nation where a free press is protected by its Constitution, private companies are permitted to make their own business decisions in the best interest of their shareholders, employees, and customers. In the United States it would, in fact, be illegal for the government to interfere with such decisions.


Trump, however, has always leaned toward tyranny. He prefers a country wherein he is the fuehrer making decisions that only benefit him. He had the same autocratic reaction to OAN being dropped by DirecTV earlier this year. And he couldn't stop whining about it for months. So strap in. We can expect the same sort of obsessive ravings over the Verizon decision going forward.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Pulling back from the 'appalling descent': An interview with Jan. 6 investigator Jamie Raskin
Brandi Buchman

Jan. 6, 2021, was madness. Without a proper account of that day, the stain of its violence and betrayal, already indelibly etched into the national history, could continue to spread, shading and infiltrating every institution low and high until finally, this ‘great experiment’ collapses in on itself in a heap of dingy authoritarianism.

For the last several weeks, the Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol presented its findings on the insurrection incited by former President Donald Trump now more than a year ago.

He is the only American president ever impeached for this betrayal, making him uniquely offensive since his actions obliterated the core of what the Constitution demands of presidents above all else when they take the oath: its faithful preservation and defense.

So much of what happened on the way to Jan. 6 unfolded in public.

Trump said long before Election Day if he lost, it was because the election was rigged. Many of his personal attorneys and members of his administration spent weeks promoting or defending wild conspiracy theories of voter fraud at press conferences, on podcasts, on the radio, or on television. This continued unabated even after the nation’s Attorney General and heads of the nation’s intelligence networks confirmed to Trump in public—and in private, as the committee showed at length this summer—that his fraud claims lacked credibility entirely.

It was an all-out assault of disinformation and propaganda aimed at convincing the American public he was not defeated after a single term in the White House where his tenure and popularity were regularly marred by the cruelty of his policies and the consequences of his own actions, like impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Trump’s speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 was a tirade but it was also an open invitation to his most devoted followers to help him retain power by force despite losing the 2020 election popularly and by way of the Electoral College. And when the debris, blood, sweat, urine, and feces were finally cleared away from the Capitol after the mob stormed it, Trump’s second impeachment followed.

............
The case was, as Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told Daily Kos during an interview this week, “made almost completely with facts from the public record, and the statements and actions Trump made.”


“It was overwhelming,” Raskin said. “Although the incitement was plain to see and the violence was bloody and fresh on people’s minds, what we did not have was the detailed account of the president’s step-by-step effort to orchestrate a political coup against the election and essentially set aside Joe Biden’s seven-million-vote victory.”

Now, that “detailed account” has been presented to millions of Americans.

An average of 13 million broadcast viewers watched per hearing day, according to Nielsen, hearing evidence at each juncture about how Trump: 1) worked to overturn the election results by promoting a lie; 2) attempted to install his allies at the Justice Department when legal avenues to assert his victory were defeated; 3) advanced a fake elector strategy to pressure the vice president to stop Congress from certifying the count; 4) invited a crowd he understood to be armed to march to the Capitol with him during the Joint Session of Congress; and 5) abandoned his sworn duty to protect the United States by sitting idly for nearly three hours while ignoring pleas for help as a mob erected a gallows, issued calls to hang the vice president and Speaker of the House, stormed the halls of Congress and attacked hundreds of outnumbered police officers with a barrage of lethal weapons.

During its two primetime sessions alone, a cumulative 30 million (or more) broadcast viewers heard this evidence—and then some.

Raskin told Daily Kos in April he hoped the hearings would become a way of arming the American public with the tools of “intellectual self-defense against the authoritarian and fascistic policies that have been unleashed in this country.”

”These hearings have been so devastating for Trump and his followers because they have shown everyone exactly every effort he undertook to overturn the election and the Constitutional order. And almost all of it was based on evidence brought forth by Republican witnesses,” Raskin said by phone this week.

That is true, despite what disinformation may be flowing out from right-wing platforms.

The testimony during the hearings overwhelmingly featured Republican lawyers, judges, political commentators, election attorneys, Trump-appointed U.S. Attorneys, a Republican city commissioner, and a Trump campaign manager, to name but a few.

”I think [the hearings] have moved the whole spectrum of public opinion closer to the facts of what actually happened. These people who were already convinced of Donald Trump’s culpability now have a lot more evidence to corroborate their initial convictions,” Raskin reflected.

“Those who were on the fence have been moved to reject the ‘Big Lie’ and to doubt the continuing efforts to undermine the reality of Biden’s victory. Those who were in Trump’s camp as true believers have begun to melt away at the margins even though many of them are still holding firm. It does not look like a promising scenario for those who continue to want Donald Trump to be the central figure of American politics,” he said.

A Morning Consult/Politico poll released this week found that the hearings may not have shaken loose many of Trump’s most fundamental supporters, but the share of unaffiliated or independent voters in the U.S. that believe the former president is responsible for the insurrection has increased significantly. And almost more importantly, those independents who held “favorable views” of Trump have continued to dip, too. Many independents are indicating they will vote for a Democrat in November.

If the Justice Department will not make it so that Trump is unable to hold office, at the least, this should be a small comfort: the hearings have manifested an even greater number of Americans who believe there is good reason to vote against a person, or persons, who would incite a deadly insurrection.

Raskin would like to see the Justice Department take action publicly and more definitively before the midterms. He also knows that the timing of that announcement could draw ire, and that screeches of political impropiety are likely to come.

“But the Constitution itself regards this matter with the utmost gravity,” Raskin said. “Section III of the 14th Amendment said that people who have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and betray it by engaging in an insurrection shall never hold federal or state office again. That is a constitutional principle.”

He continued: “It’s obviously a legitimate thing for us to be talking about. But the Department of Justice and prosecutors at other levels have to make their decisions without regard to anyone’s political plans. If people had immunity from prosecution just because they were running for office, then anybody who was suspected of a crime, any crime at all, could simply announce for political office, and then they would have legal immunity. That can’t be right,” he said.”

The committee’s debut session was a year ago this month. Police who defended the Capitol testified for the first time publicly and put a personal face on the raw, frenzied violence that most Americans only witnessed from afar.

As the months have marched on, the committee has unearthed hundreds of thousands of pages of records from the White House and elsewhere and has interviewed over 1,000 people who were directly or indirectly involved with Jan. 6. Those interviews continue. Raskin said this week the number of former Trump aides who have come forward recently are producing a “waterfall of truth.”

Attempts to stop the committee from airing its evidence have been unceasing, yet mostly unsuccessful. Those caught in the committee’s scrutiny have been unable to cast the panel as illegitimate when fighting subpoenas in court.

The committee’s work has been overwhelmingly bolstered through judicial opinions, providing an outcome that offers benefits twice over. When Judge David Carter ruled that Trump and John Eastman, the attorney who developed a six-point strategy to overturn the election, had likely engaged in a criminal conspiracy—and further that they “engaged in a coup in search of legal theory”—it set a strong precedent for Congress and upped the ante for investigations at the Justice Department.

In fact, this week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom revealed in court that the Department obtained a new search warrant to access records on John Eastman’s phone. This process has been unfolding for the last month. The home of Jeffrey Clark was also searched. Clark is the former DOJ attorney who Trump tried to install as attorney general after existing senior officials at the department refused his scheme to declare the election as false. And Clark’s underling, Ken Klukowski, is now cooperating with the DOJ’s probe into Jan. 6 in full, according to Klukowski’s lawyer, Ed Greim.

Cassidy Hutchinson, who provided some of the most shocking public testimony this summer is cooperating with the department. During the hearings, she testified under oath that Trump knew the mob was armed—“I don’t ****ing care that they have weapons, they’re not here to hurt me,’” she recalled him saying—and she disclosed that her boss, Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, sought pardons in the aftermath of the insurrection. She also disclosed information about a small battery of Republican lawmakers who sought pardons in the wake of Jan. 6.

She also divulged how the president wished to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6 after his speech, offering insight into his mindset that day. When this request was rejected, his outrage was so severe, Hutchinson said, that the former president lunged at the arm and neck of a Secret Service agent driving him.

Other witnesses have refused to cooperate under subpoena, courting contempt of Congress charges and indictments like Trump ally and strategist Steve Bannon and former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Bannon was found guilty on two counts and faces sentencing in October. Others, like Meadows or onetime adviser Dan Scavino, have cooperated to varying degrees and managed to evade prosecution. Other Trump-world officials have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights after being subpoenaed. Committee vice chair Liz Cheney said last month, more than 30 witnesses called before the committee invoked their right against self-incrimination.

The most high profile of those figures are Eastman; Clark; longtime GOP operative Roger Stone; conspiracy theory hack and right-wing podcaster Alex Jones; and Michael Flynn, Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser.

In December 2020, Flynn publicly advocated for Trump to invoke martial law to rerun the 2020 election. He was also part of discussions with Trump and his attorneys where there was talk of the military seizing voting machines. He did not ultimately cooperate with the select committee, but in airing a five-minute clip of Flynn’s deposition, the committee allowed his silence to speak volumes.

When Cheney asked Flynn if he felt the violence on Jan. 6 was legally justified, he pleaded the Fifth. When she asked if he believed it was morally justified, he pleaded the Fifth. When she asked him if he believed in the peaceful transition of power in the United States, the retired three-star Army general pleaded the Fifth.

With each day that has passed since the committee’s first-ever hearing last July, the truth continues to pour out.

”The defense of the constitutional order and the rule of law should be something that unifies Americans across the political spectrum,” Raskin said. “Trump convinced millions of people that if your team does it, if they break the law or upend the Constitutional order, you embrace it or defend it regardless of how unlawful or criminal it is.”

“But that’s just an appalling descent for intellectual and ethical standards in American life,” Raskin said.

“When the people [who believed the Big Lie] called for ‘Justice for Trump’ they said ‘let the people decide.’ The people voted for Biden. But Trump tried to overthrow the election, so he was impeached for doing that. And we took it to trial, and at trial, they told us then, ‘don’t deal with this through impeachment, you could prosecute him if there was a crime.’ “

“Now the Department of Justice is investigating whether there is a crime, and these same people are saying, ‘you can’t prosecute him, it’s too political!’ No matter what is done, they essentially assert that Donald Trump is beyond the reach of the law and that is a profoundly anti-democratic attitude,” he said.

One of the last battles to be waged between Trump and the truth about January 6 will very likely play out on the field of executive privilege disputes and crime-fraud exceptions where the Department of Justice, not the select committee, will lead the charge of a criminal investigation into the former president and his associates.

The Justice Department is moving at its own pace and operating mostly in stealth, but the dam seems to be breaking as more reporting now suggests the DOJ has its Jan. 6 prosecutors focused on two principal tracks: Trump’s possible orchestration of a seditious conspiracy and obstruction of a congressional proceeding and fraud.

The fraud track would stem from the fake-elector scheme and is believed to encompass the pressure campaign Trump and his allies put on officials at the DOJ to say the election was rigged and votes were fraudulently cast.

The committee’s investigation, meanwhile, is still humming as members maneuver their way through new challenges—like what to do about a batch of deleted Secret Service text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 as well as deleted texts from the same period at the Department of Homeland Security.

That department’s inspector general, Joseph Cuffari, the Washington Post was first to report on Friday, “scrapped” an effort to recover agency phones. In February, after learning that messages had been erased during a “planned” device reset, Cuffari reportedly decided to stop further review and collection of phones. He only this month notified the House and Senate Homeland Security committees of the “erased” texts. He was asked by the head of that committee, and various others 10 days after the insurrection to ensure all records and devices were preserved.

Committee chairman Bennie Thompson, as well as Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who sits on a committee that oversees offices of the inspectors general, have called on Cuffari to recuse himself from the investigation. The director of the Secret Service, James Murray, announced late Friday he would waylay his planned July 31 retirement to “ensure our agency's continued cooperation, responsiveness, and full support with respect to ongoing congressional and other inquiries.”

This is an unsettling series of developments, Raskin admits.

“This profound mystery of the Secret Service texts and what information is being masked by their disappearance is something we are all pursuing. We are invested in finding out the truth there,” he said.

The next hearing is expected in September and the committee plans to produce an interim report around the same time. A final report will follow, but meanwhile, over the next month, he said, “everyone has loose ends that they want to follow up on.”

During the course of its probe, every member of the committee has specialized in a different facet of the investigation.

Raskin’s focus was Trump’s mobilization of the mob as well as domestic violent extremist groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers. and Three Percenters.

“There are still significant things that we are finding out that I want to pursue there,” Raskin said. “The same goes for the shakedown of the Justice Department, the attempt to coerce state election officials, and so forth. I would say each member has his or her continuing research agenda and then we have some things we consider major to the whole of the investigation we are pursuing.”

It has been a long year already and it is not quite yet over. As for the man at the center of the probe, former President Trump, he has yet to stop his incessant spread of disinformation about the 2020 election and is poised to take another run for the White House.

But Raskin is optimistic.

“I’m most optimistic about the fact that the vast majority of the American people do not believe in coups, insurrections, and political violence to usurp the will of the people. There is still a profound allegiance to constitutional democracy in the country,” he said.

He is not cynical, but “sobered” around other facts.

What “sobers him,” he said, is that Republican Party, even now “remains under the spell and stranglehold of Donald Trump.”

He continued: “They are using every anti-democratic device in the book to thwart majority rule; from voter suppression statutes to gerrymandering of our districts to the weaponization of the filibuster to the manipulation of the Electoral College.”

“We are in a race between the clear majority’s will and preference for democratic institutions and progress and the efforts to drag us back into some kind of anti-democratic past,” Raskin remarked.

So, then, are the people now armed with the tools of “intellectual defense” they need to resist this and other aspiring tyrants to come?

“I don't think people will fall for any more ‘Big Lies’ or disinformation for the most part,” he said.


The lawmaker reflected: “People who have been disabused of all these notions aren’t going back. But there is an important question being tested here: whether the new propaganda systems that have grown up in the internet age can actually operate like an intellectual straight-jacket? Will millions of people really be locked into a system of lies? That’s a question that is closely connected to the future of our democracy. Democracy needs a ground to stand on, and that foundation has got to be the truth.”
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Sunday, Jul 31, 2022 · 12:48:54 PM EDT · kos
Interesting to see Russian forces hustled out of Tokmak to reinforce Kherson area. I wrote about how critically important Tokmak is, as it hosts the only rail line connecting Donbas and eastern Ukraine to Kherson oblast. It will undoubtedly feature heavily in any Ukrainian effort to retake its lost territories. If Ukraine can hold Tokmak and cut off the two bridges from Crimea, every Russian troop between Tokmak, Kherson, and up toward Kryvyi Rih will be effectively cut off. Helicopters won’t resupply thirsty artillery guns
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Guess Who Had An Epiphany On Trump? Arizona State House Speaker Rusty Bowers That's Who.
Merlin196357

rusty-bowers.jpg


Interesting. I’m not sure what particular incident changed his mind, but Arizona State House Speaker Rusty Bowers has announced that no way will he ever vote for Trump again. Maybe it was that censure by the Arizona Republican Party that woke Bowers up?

Arizona state House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R) on Sunday said he’ll never vote for former President Trump again, a reversal of earlier claims that he’d back Trump in a match-up against President Biden.
“I’ll never vote for him, but I won’t have to. Because I think America’s tired and there’s some absolutely forceful, qualified, morally defensible and upright people, and that’s what I want. That’s what I want in my party and that’s what I want to see,” Bowers told moderator Jonathan Karl during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
The Arizona lawmaker called Trump a “demagogue” who maintains hold on his base through “thuggery and intimidation.”

You all may remember that Bowers gave testimony to the Jan 6th Committee about Trump’s attempt to overturn the election results in AZ.

Bowers, who has served a combined 17 years between Arizona's state House and Senate, shot to the forefront of the political universe last month when he recounted to the Jan. 6 committee how Trump and his allies sought his help to invalidate the 2020 election results, something he knew to be unconstitutional.
"It is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired, that this is my most basic foundational belief," Bowers, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told the committee. "And so for me to do that because somebody just asked me to, is foreign to my very being; I will not do it."
Bowers said his stance caused longtime friends to turn against him. He teared up as he detailed the harassment he and his family faced as a result of refusing Trump's demands. He said he has faced repeated protests at his home, adding that supporters of the former president have driven trucks through his neighborhood with video panels claiming he is "a pedophile and a pervert and a corrupt politician."
Much of the vitriol came as his adult daughter was gravely ill and living with him. She died just weeks after the Capitol riot.

"So it was disturbing," he testified. "It's disturbing."

Trump told a lie that Rusty Bowers agreed with him there was massive fraud in AZ. Bowers stated he said no such thing. In fact, he asked some of Trump’s cronies where is the proof? And he got the “We have a lot of theories..” BS from Giuliani.

But guess what? Bowers would still vote for Trump because “he did a lot of good things” before that whole COVID thing. Bowers was cited on several MSNBC shows as another example of Republicans who simply could not quite Trump, even after he tried a coup to overturn the government.

But I think that censure and watching his political career circling the toilet bowl has changed Bower’s mind. Most do not think that Bowers will survive his primary that is coming up. Even Bowers believes that.

So we seem to have a partial answer to that eternal question: “What will make a Republican politician break with Trump?” It may be having their political careers come to an end. It certainly isn’t little things like fomenting an insurrection or sending thugs to your home that will make a Republican change his/her mind about voting for Trump.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump Burger is a major hit in Texas town
OK Dodo

TrumpBurger.jpeg


Bellville, Texas, a town located an hour away from Houston, was home to Trump Café, an Israeli Muslim-owned American grub hotspot which was formerly a French restaurant known as the Bellville Café.

Located in Bellville, Texas, a small city some 60 miles outside of Houston, the Trump Café is the brainchild of Su and Eddie Hawa, who—needless to say—are yuge supporters of the Republican nominee.
“He loves America and we hope he will be president,” Su Hawa told the Houston Chronicle. “People like the name, they’re supporting him.”

The Trump Café has since closed, but nevertheless, in 2020, Trump Burger, the brainchild of second-generation Lebanese American Ronald Beainy, opened its doors to the public in Bellville. The place is adorned with pro-Trump paraphernalia, not the least of which include “Trump 2024” banners and T-shirts that include a sketch of Trump and the words “I’ll Be Back”. Even the hamburger buns are stamped with “TRUMP” on them.

“We have a lot of friends in Bellville. It’s a wonderful spot to have Trump-supported stuff, and it’s where I feel at home,” Beainy said.
[...]
“Being an immigrant from a place where everything is bad and you work for almost $200, you see somebody like him to support the country and get the economy doing better. Me being an entrepreneur, I appreciate what he did,” Beainy said.



The Boston-born Beainy boasted of his burger joint having a strong following, if only for the food and service. Indeed, the restaurant can get extremely busy, especially on weekends; hordes of people from out-of-town stop by the place. Some are even delighted by the fact that the restaurant has a military discount.

Bellville resident Brian Hajek was there for a burger on a recent weekday. The restaurant is close to his work and home. Hajek said weekends at Trump Burger can get jam packed.

“I thought they’d be out of business after the elections, but you come here on the weekend, you see a big line of motorcycles, sports cars and antiques and Trump flags,” Hajek said. “They’re all from out of town.”



Nevertheless, the place has spawned many reactions on Yelp and Twitter.






Would you frequent a place that is opposite of your politics? For certain, there are people that won’t.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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.....That morning, as Joe Biden’s lead in the state grew to more than 30,000 votes, news organizations began calling the race for him. By noon, crowds were gathering on behalf of both candidates at the Capitol in Harrisburg. The larger, louder pro-Trump contingent included many of the same groups, and in some cases the same people, who would later be investigated for their role in the events of Jan. 6. There were men with assault-style rifles and forearm tattoos pledging allegiance to the Proud Boys and the Three Percenter antigovernment movement, and the Groypers, supporters of the young white nationalist Nick Fuentes’s America First group. There were also Republican congressmen, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jim Jordan of Ohio, and members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, among them a state senator named Douglas V. Mastriano.

“This is a republic,” Mastriano declared from atop the Capitol’s terrace over a public-address system. “I know the Democrats want to play a game with our republic. They keep calling
it a
democracy.And to the democracy for which it stands,’” he recited mockingly. “Come on, really? Come on, man!” .......
 

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John Fetterman may still be recuperating from a stroke, but that doesn’t mean he can’t campaign. The current lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania is running for the state’s soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat, and while he’s on the mend, he’s been able to attack his opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, online. Fetterman is very good at social media. Oz is not. Not only has the former TV star been repeatedly humiliated, sometimes by celebrity guests, but he’s also trailing in the polls. And that’s got the GOP is worried.

Sources tell Puck that Donald Trump, who enraged some of his base by supporting Oz, is now complaining to his Fox News bud Sean Hannity about his poor performance. Hannity was the one who coaxed Trump to endorse him in the first place, and throw in the fact that Hannity hasn’t had Trump on his show since April, he must be hopping mad.

Trump’s not the only one pissed. After Oz went abroad instead of campaigning, a number of people in the GOP were aghast. “No one can believe that he took a damn vacation at the end of June, after only coming back to the state on June 10,” a Republican strategist told Puck. “He screwed up with that video that was from his New Jersey house instead of Pennsylvania house. It’s really bad.”......
 

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......When you write off a candidate in midsummer, there’s always a chance that you’re rendering a verdict too early, and that either the candidate, his campaign, or fate has some late twist that will change the dynamic.

But the GOP primary was May 17, and Dave McCormick conceded to Oz on June 6. Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman suffered his stroke on May 13, and still hasn’t returned to the campaign trail on a regular basis. Oz effectively had the state to himself for almost three months… and he’s gained no ground during that time. (Oddly, the Oz campaign ran no television ads from late May to late July.)

And the latest Fox News survey finds Fetterman leading Oz, 47 percent to 36 percent, and only 35 percent of voters have a favorable opinion about Oz, while 55 percent feel unfavorably towards him. No poll has put Oz any closer than six percentage points behind.

Oz just looks like a lemon of a candidate. (I would use the metaphor of a particular flightless bird, but people would think I’m mocking Oz’s country of origin, which isn’t really his problem.) Oz offers all of Trump’s weaknesses (inexperienced celebrity dilettante, limited roots in the state) without any of Trump’s strengths; the typical Trump voter isn’t impressed by Oz being Oprah’s favorite doctor or hosting a health-focused daytime talk show, nor his old support for abortion and gun control. Oz is too Trumpy to win the suburban soccer moms in Bucks County, but not Trumpy enough for blue-collar southwestern Pennsylvania.......
 

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Ukraine Update: Russia has lost 40% of its GDP as foreign firms quit the country
kos

Every time I see an anecdote like this, I marvel how it equally applies to MAGA:



No wonder MAGA loves Russia and vice a versa. They both love living in a media cocoon that protects them from reality, as the rest of the world watches in horror. Reminds me of this:

iqwkz46u1ze91.jpg


Don’t worry, she lived and is still a despicable deplorable despite suffering from long COVID symptoms. Those Russians acting like they’re god’s gift to the world will have their comeuppance as well. Or maybe they’ll just move permanently to Paris as Russia burns to the ground. Russian oligarchs play by different rules. But rank and file Russians? Serious trouble is brewing.

Vladimir Putin may have a corrupt and incompetent armed forces, but his economic team is some of the best. They propped up the ruble by forcing domestic companies to convert foreign currencies to the Russian currency. Record prices have proven a bonanza to Russia’s massive energy industry, and buyers are forced to pay in rubles. All of this increases demand for the currency. Yet Russians can’t convert their rubles to foreign currencies, and they have less to buy with those rubles because of sanctions. That means conversion is a one-way street: Russia is forcing key sectors to buy rubles, and no one can sell them. Hence, price goes up.

Putin loves his record-high ruble, equating a “strong” ruble with a “strong” Russia. The reality, however, is that all those backroom economic manipulations can’t hold back calamity forever. Yale’s School of Management has tracked over 1,000 companies leaving Russia, and those companies represent 40% of it’s GDP.

- Despite Putin’s delusions of self-sufficiency and import substitution, Russian domestic production has come to a complete standstill with no capacity to replace lost businesses, products and talent; the hollowing out of Russia’s domestic innovation and production base has led to soaring prices and consumer angst
- As a result of the business retreat, Russia has lost companies representing ~40% of its GDP, reversing nearly all of three decades’ worth of foreign investment and buttressing unprecedented simultaneous capital and population flight in a mass exodus of Russia’s economic base
- Putin is resorting to patently unsustainable, dramatic fiscal and monetary intervention to smooth over these structural economic weaknesses, which has already sent his government budget into deficit for the first time in years and drained his foreign reserves even with high energy prices – and Kremlin finances are in much, much more dire straits than conventionally understood

The authors concluded that “Looking ahead, there is no path out of economic oblivion for Russia as long as the allied countries remain unified in maintaining and increasing sanctions pressure against Russia,.” Meanwhile, energy prices are dropping on weak factory demand in China and Japan as global recession looms, and Europe is working furiously to wean itself from Russian energy. It’s not happening overnight, but within the next 24 months, Russia will be forced to sell elsewhere. Already, China and India are benefiting from big discounts on Russian oil. There’s little price leverage when the world’s wealthiest nations won’t buy your energy.
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This is heart-wrenching.



I’d love to see less of that, and more of this: fathers and mothers and sons and daughters coming home for good.



This is interesting:



We have confirmation the main bridge into Kherson from the south is still unusable. Russia’s “ferry” service in and out of Kherson is two pontoon segments lashed together.

If you watch the video, the focus is on civilians and their vehicles. We all know undoubtedly that the service (which reportedly consists of four such ferries/barges) is also being used for military purposes, whether at night, or simply when the camera isn’t recording. Thus, when Ukraine sinks these barges, as is inevitable, Russia can scream about Ukraine attacking civilian targets. Like conservatives, everything Russia says is projection.

We’re lucky that Russia’s efforts are so transparent and stupid.



The situation on the ground hasn’t changed (publicly) from what Mark last wrote yesterday. He’s now on vacation, so I’ll cover until Friday, when I myself also go on vacation, then attend Netroots Nation. Hunter will cover several days between me leaving and Mark returning.

Some other odds and ends:



We’ve had a full-on insurgency in Kherson and Melitopol for months, but there was a tight lid on reporting their activities. That is now lifting as Ukraine is ramping up its psyops to erode Russian morale: roadside bombs (IEDs), targeted assassinations, threatening flyers, and “propaganda shells”—fliers urging surrender delivered via artillery. As Ukraine tightens the supply noose around the region, it’s giving Russians the opportunity to consider whether it’s truly worth dying for Putin’s ambitions.

Meanwhile, down in Sevastopol, the home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet at the very bottom tip of Crimea, stuff is happening.



If Russia says five were wounded, does that mean than in reality, 20+ were killed? Why would they cancel their big Navy Day festivities over a supposedly minor breach? It’s very interesting either way, since Sevastopol is about 160 kilometers from Ukrainian-held territory. So some drone just lazily flew into what is one of the most heavily protected places in all of Russia, and actually scored a direct hit into the fleet’s command and control center? Perhaps that's why this was happening in Sevastopol last night:



One more for the morning:



I get most excited about “captured.” Russia is Ukraine’s best weapon’s supplier.