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If at first you don’t succeed…

Republicans are very slowly condemning Donald Trump for calling for the termination of the Constitution, but they will still vote for him in the next presidential election.

© Kevin Siers
© John Darkow
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Free Speech!

A federal judge exercised his right to free speech, and told Florida gov Ron Desantis to sit down and STFU. The judge blocked state officials from enforcing a key part of the new “Stop WOKE Act”, saying it was “positively dystopian”.

Comparing the law to the book “1984” by George Orwell, the judge wrote that the law gives the state “unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom'”, which – like in the book where the state declares “freedom is slavery” – is the opposite of freedom. He continued, “The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints.”

The law restricts conversations about race in schools and businesses, and even allows students and workers to sue if a classroom lesson or workplace training course caused them to “feel guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress”. So the truth about America’s racist past can only be discussed if it doesn’t make a white person feel guilty?

Doubling down, DeSantis recently declared that it’s wrong to teach students that America “was built on stolen land” because it isn’t true. I have to wonder whether DeSantis is stupid or just lying. Hasn’t he ever heard of the “Trail of Tears“?

This comes on the heels of the “Don’t say gay” law that restricts even discussing homosexuality.

I’m all for someone who can help push Donald Trump out of control of the Republican Party, but not if it is some idiot like DeSantis who is going to destroy our rights and constitution.

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Denial

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and said it was up to each state to decide abortion rights, there have been six states that put the fate of reproductive rights on the ballot. The first ballot measure was from Kansas in August, where Republicans outnumber Democrats two-to-one. And yet the measure passed by close to a 20-point margin.

The other five were on midterm ballots decided this week. And every one of them affirmed the right to choose. It is no coincidence that voters who showed up to defend the right to choose were instrumental in drowning out the “red wave”, helping the Democrats do much better than predicted.

My sense is that most Republican politicians care more about winning than about abortions, and only used the issue to energize their base, especially evangelicals. Now that they see that it is a losing issue (even among Republican voters), I wonder if they will go back to their previous ways, pretending to fight against abortion, but not actually doing anything to prohibit it. In that case, we will probably see even more pro-choice ballot measures passing in the future. After all, the Republicans are supporting Herschel Walker for Senate, who hypocritically paid for women he had slept with to get abortions.

© Keith Knight
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The Waiting Game

We may not know who controls either house of Congress yet, but at least we have Stephen Colbert to cheer us up.

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GOP Blame Game

Republicans love to blame everyone else (Democrats, emigrants, gays, Jews, Blacks, and on and on) for their problems, but they are now turning on each other. And (hallelujah!) they are especially attacking Donald Trump. According to Maggie Haberman and Michael Bender in the NY Times:

Donald Trump faced unusual public attacks from across the Republican Party on Wednesday after a string of midterm losses by candidates he had handpicked and supported, a display of weakness as he prepared to announce a third presidential campaign as soon as next week. As the sheer number of missed Republican opportunities sank in, the rush to openly blame Mr. Trump was as immediate as it was surprising.

Foes and allies alike attacked the former president, questioning his role as the party’s leader. For example, Rupert Murdock ran this cover:

Speaking of Rupert Murdock, his Wall Street Journal editorial board ran an opinion piece titled “Trump is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser”. According to them, “Since his unlikely victory in 2016 against the widely disliked Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump has a perfect record of electoral defeat.” Ouch!

Republican politicians are finally starting to attack Trump. For example, Pat Toomey, the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania (where the GOP lost both their other Senate seat and the governorship) said that Trump bears significant blame for the election, and urged his party to move away from Trump’s influence.

Meanwhile, Trump is gathering dirt on his Republican rivals, including Ron DeSantis (who Trump has started calling “DeSanctimonious”, while the New York Post called him “DeFuture”), and others, including Virginia Gov. Glen Youngkin. Trump is also keeping track of any GOP figures who try to blame him for the election. Is this the start of a GOP civil war?

Trump promised to make a “big announcement” next week, but now the Republicans are trying to put that on hold. Americans, and especially Republicans, hate losers. Just remember what happened to Sarah Palin after losing the presidential election.

Even if the Republicans do take over the House, they will have a very slim majority, and already some GOP House members are slamming the brakes on Kevin McCarthy becoming Speaker of the House, blaming him for the midterm election failures. And what about the Senate, which the Democrats will likely hold. Will Mitch McConnell get the blame for that?

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You win some, and lose some

The Democratic Party tried a rather risky gambit during the midterm election. During the primaries, they promoted far-right Trump-loving candidates (even running ads for them), assuming that such candidates would be easier to defeat in the election. At the time, there was much concern that it might blow up in their face.

But did it work? Yes, absolutely!

  • Election denier Donald Bolduc (R-NH) lost his Senate race to incumbent Maggie Hassan (D-NH). At the time, Hassan had very low approval ratings and the GOP was working hard to flip her seat.
  • In Michigan, the Trump-backed candidate John Gibbs was defeated by Dem Hillary Scholten, which flipped a red seat to blue (so much for the “red wave”!). The Dems even ran ads linking Gibbs to Trump, which helped Gibbs to defeat a primary opponent who was one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
  • This tactic was especially used by the Democratic Governors Association, and it worked very well, as far-right-wing GOP governor candidates lost to their Dem opponents in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
  • Two other races are too close to call, but right now Kari Lake (R-AZ) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) are trailing in their races. Both are rabid MAGA and QAnon fans. Amazingly, Boebert is the incumbent in a deep-red district (and FiveThirtyEight predicted she was “clearly favored to win”, as did the NY Times live election forecast).

One more piece of evidence that Donald Trump is way past his expiration date. He still holds sway with his base, but that only helps in Republican primaries, and can be a losing proposition in general elections.

https://twitter.com/gtconway3d/status/1590339666083217409
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Election trends

Hopefully I’m not being premature (it isn’t even midnight on the East Coast yet), but there seem to be two pieces of good news happening in the midterm elections.

First, a “red wave” was strongly predicted. After all, traditionally the party in power in the White House loses many seats in Congress – Obama lost 12 seats in the Senate and 64 seats in the House, losing control of both. But this time, a red wave doesn’t seem to be happening. It still looks likely that the GOP will take over the House (although with a small majority), but Democrats are in a good position to retain control of the Senate.

Second, and even better, is that the candidates endorsed (and often recruited) by Donald Trump are largely losing. My take is that (at long last) the voters – including Trump’s base – are getting tired of him.

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Vote!

I’m back from my big vacation in Australia (had a wonderful time!), just in time to vote. I just wanted to make sure that everyone else voted. It is the least you can do for your country!

© Pat Bagley
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Tiding you over

If you are wondering why I’m not posting much right now, I’m traveling, and to places where mostly no internet exists. I’ll be back at work in November. but meanwhile, here’s a story to keep you amused, that was just published in electoral-vote.com — https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2022/Senate/Maps/Oct07.html#item-9

Enjoy!

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Stunt Man DeSantis

It seems like Florida governor, Trump wannabe, and potential presidential aspirant in 2024, Ron DeSantis, likes to use stunts to get attention. There’s just one problem — they seem to backfire on him. Yes, I’ve seen it written that DeSantis is a smarter version of Donald Trump, but that must be an awfully low bar. Here’s two examples:

Back in August, DeSantis bragged loudly about arresting 20 people for voting illegally because of previous felony convictions. One of them was dragged out of his house by police in his underwear. But there is a big problem — the arrested people had been told by their local election boards that they were eligible to vote. Why did this mix-up happen? Because the state (notably run by DeSantis) is required to notify the election boards of people who are not allowed to vote, but they failed to do that. Oops!

And the most recent one is DeSantis bragging (again loudly) because he dumped a group of Venezuelan refugees, without warning, in upscale Martha’s Vineyard. Note that these migrants were not from Florida at all. DeSantis chartered a plane, which picked up the non-English-speakers in Texas, had the plane stop briefly in Florida, and then fly them to Massachusetts. Just the cost of the flight was $615,000, which comes out to $12,300 per migrant.

Even worse, Immigration law experts say that DeSantis broke the law by trafficking migrants. But DeSantis doesn’t care. He doubled down, saying he will keep doing it. The Florida legislature allocated $12 million to transport “unauthorized aliens out of Florida”. But these people didn’t come from Florida, he picked them up in San Antonio, Texas.

DeSantis was trying to “own the libs” by dumping these migrants on Martha’s Vineyard, an upscale island that passed legislation making it a “sanctuary city”. Apparently DeSantis thought this would make the community look hypocritical when they couldn’t take care of the migrants, but this also backfired.

What happened, instead, was that residents of Martha’s Vineyard rallied to provide food, shelter, clothing and services. The asylum seekers are now on their way to Cape Cod, to receive further assistance. The stunt failed to make its intended point.

Is this the best he can do? If he keeps screwing up, there’s no way he will be president. In fact, he might even lose his governorship in the upcoming election.

© Jen Sorensen
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The Trap Worked!

Last week, Joe Biden laid a trap for Donald Trump, as well as the entire Republican Party, and TFG fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.

As has been noted repeatedly, Republicans desperately wanted the upcoming midterm elections to be a referendum on Biden: the withdrawal from Afghanistan, inflation, gas prices, the border, race, and anything else they could blame on the current president, even if (like the withdrawal from Afghanistan) it was something that Trump caused. And even though Biden isn’t actually on the ballot. The GOP needed to make sure the election wasn’t about Trump.

So Biden baited Trump, attacking him. Even worse, he gave a speech that was more like one of Trump’s rallies than a typical Democratic speech. That must have really gotten under Trump’s skin.

48 hours later, Biden’s goading worked. Trump was scheduled to give one of his trademark rallies in Pennsylvania, in support of two Republican candidates who Trump had endorsed. What followed was ugly, strident, narcissistic, and completely and totally about Trump. Instead of promoting the two candidates who were actually running for office, Trump denounced the state’s largest city (where Biden had given his speech), saying “I think Philadelphia was a great choice to make this speech of hatred and anger.” Trump complained that “Last year, the city set an all-time murder record with 560 homicides and it’s on track to shatter that record again in 2022.”

But Trump mainly complained about the FBI, calling them and the DOJ “vicious monsters.” He called Biden an “enemy of the state”. He even attacked the Republican leader of the Senate, saying he “should be ashamed”. And of course, Trump also spread his typical lies, claiming that in 2020 he won the popular vote in Pennsylvania, when he actually lost it by more than 80,000 votes.

Of course, Republicans had to support Trump, in order to appease his base. So now, the midterm election is all about Trump. It is almost like every Republican name on every midterm ballot has been changed to Trump’s name. And remember that Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, control of the House in 2018, the Senate in 2021, and the presidency in 2020. The only thing he didn’t lose was the Supreme Court, but that was done using dirty tricks, and led to overturning Roe v. Wade, which is wildly unpopular, even in red states.

Let’s hope Trump just lost the midterms.

© Brian McFadden
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I know you are but…

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wants badly to be Speaker of the House, and there is a strong chance that Republicans will take control of the House at the midterm elections. There’s just one big problem: McCarthy makes big mistakes. For example, he clumsily kept most Republicans off the Jan 6 committee. Trump called him “very, very foolish” for that, and even said that he does not support McCarthy as Speaker.

Now, McCarthy has totally put his foot in it again. When Dr. Anthony Fauci (whom Trumpers like to attack) announced his pending retirement from his positions as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, McCarthy went on Fox News and tried to take a cheap shot at him:

But this totally backfired. Yes, Fauci has a painting of himself hanging in his office, painted by singer/songwriter and artist Joan Baez, honoring him for making “meaningful social change without the use of violence”. Heck, if Joan Baez painted a portrait of you, wouldn’t you hang it up? Besides, a 30″ by 24″ painting hardly counts as a “mural”.

So, who else not only has lots of pictures of himself hanging around, including one that might just qualify as a mural, but who also really truly needs to answer a lot of questions. Can you guess? Well, the internet went wild:

https://twitter.com/starbucksgirl51/status/1562230610193776640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1562230610193776640%7Ctwgr%5E0811c7a4558bd07fda2afa1f54f6d04d5e55701a%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffpost.com%2Fentry%2Fmccarthy-trump-portrait_n_6305b781e4b00c150d6600f7

Oops! I wonder if McCarthy has any chance of becoming Speaker now.

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Scamming the Scammers

Whatever you want to call it: Swindling the swindlers, or grifting the grifters.

We already know that Donald Trump was illegally keeping confidential, highly classified documents at his private home and club. And lying about it — in June, one of Trump’s attorneys declared that no classified documents remained at Mar-a-Lago.

The next question is, how secure is Mar-a-Lago? And now we know, the answer is not secure at all. A Russian-speaking immigrant from Ukraine worked her way into Trump’s inner circle by claiming to be an heiress to a family fortune. Calling herself Anna de Rothschild, and equipped with multiple fake passports and other forms of identification, plus luxury automobiles and designer clothes, she infiltrated Mar-a-Lago and spent time there for over a year, even meeting with Trump and other politicians, including Senator Lindsay Graham. She’s like something out of a cheesy spy movie.

Furthermore, she wasn’t the first. In 2019, two different women from China were arrested after sneaking into Mar-a-Lago with electronic equipment, including a thumb drive containing malicious malware.

Trump is a total sucker for hot women, so it is no surprise that foreign countries would use them as spies. How can there be any doubt that the top secret documents that Trump stole have been accessed by foreign governments, including Russia and China, and who knows who else?

Inna Yashchyshyn, as Anna de Rothschild, golfing with Donald Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham.

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A Tremendously Innocent Man?

From the NY Times:

Although Trump White House officials were warned about the proper handling of sensitive material, aides said Mr. Trump had little interest in the security of government documents or protocols to keep them protected.

Early on, Mr. Trump became known among his staff as a hoarder who threw all manner of paper — sensitive material, news clips and various other items — into cardboard boxes that a valet or other personal aide would cart around with him wherever he went.

Mr. Trump repeatedly had material sent up to the White House residence, and it was not always clear what happened to it. He sometimes asked to keep material after his intelligence briefings, but aides said he was so uninterested in the paperwork during the briefings themselves that they never understood what he wanted it for.

Donald Trump was carting around Top Secret documents in a cardboard box wherever he went? What was he doing? Giving them away? Showing them to our enemies in exchange for money (or worse)? It would not surprise me one bit if Trump was deliberately handing them out (or selling them) to people. What I want to know is how many of those documents ended up in the hands of our enemies?

© Tom Tomorrow
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Legally Screwed

Are you confused or having trouble keeping track of all the different legal actions against Donald Trump? Or do you just want to know if Trump will eventually pay for all his crimes?

Vanity Fair has published an article “The Complete Guide to All The Ways Donald Trump is Legally Screwed.” The article is definitely worth reading, but here are just the names of all the criminal investigations and civil lawsuits Donny is currently facing (including several I had never even heard about before).

  1. The Classified-Documents Investigation
  2. The Justice Department’s Criminal Investigation of January 6 and the Plot to Overturn the Election
  3. The Georgia Criminal Investigation
  4. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Criminal Case Against of Trump Organization, Etc.
  5. The New York Attorney General’s Civil Investigation Into the Trump Organization
  6. The Westchester Criminal Investigation of the Trump Organization
  7. The DC Attorney General’s Criminal Investigation of January 6
  8. The E. Jean Carroll Defamation Suit
  9. The Mary Trump Lawsuit
  10. The House of Representatives’ January 6 Lawsuit
  11. The Eric Swalwell Suit
  12. The Capitol Police January 6 lawsuits
  13. The Metropolitan Police January 6 lawsuit
  14. The Michael Cohen lawsuit
  15. The Class Action Lawsuit Against the Trump Biz and the Trumps
  16. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund Voting Rights Lawsuit
  17. The Trump Tower Assault Lawsuit

The article has a succinct explanation of each one.

© Matt Davies
© Michael de Adder
© Kevin Kallaugher

© Bill Bramhall
© Scott Stantis
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