Tag Archives: Politics

Reading: ‘Sue if you must’: Lincoln Project rejects threat over Kushner and Ivanka billboards

From ‘Sue if you must’: Lincoln Project rejects threat over Kushner and Ivanka billboards

Let’s see what happens when a group stands up to bullying.

On Friday, Marc Kasowitz, an attorney who has represented the president against allegations of fraud and sexual assault, wrote to the Lincoln Project, demanding the “false, malicious and defamatory” ads be removed, or “we will sue you for what will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages”.

The Lincoln Project responded that they would not remove the billboards, citing first amendment rights of free speech and the “reckless mismanagement of Covid-19” by the Trump White House.

In a legal response on Saturday night, attorney Matthew Sanderson told Kasowitz: “Please peddle your scare tactics elsewhere. The Lincoln Project will not be intimidated by such empty bluster … your clients are no longer Upper East Side socialites, able to sue at the slightest offense to their personal sensitivities.”

Reading: Amy Coney Barrett showed she’s ready to be part of Trump’s post-truth strategy (opinion) – CNN

From Amy Coney Barrett showed she’s ready to be part of Trump’s post-truth strategy (opinion) – CNN

And still, asserted Galileo, it moves. Senator K Harris visits with Barrett.

HARRIS: Do you accept that Covid-19 is infectious?
BARRETT: I think yes, I do accept that Covid-19 is infectious. That’s something of which I feel like, you know, we could say you take judicial notice of it’s an obvious fact. Yes.
HARRIS: Do you accept that smoking causes cancer?
BARRETT: I’m not sure exactly where you’re going with this. But you know …
HARRIS: It’s just a question, the question is what it is, you can answer it as you believe. [That’s ingenuous. It’s never “just a question.”]
BARRETT: Senator Harris. Yes, every package of cigarettes warns that smoking causes cancer.
HARRIS: And do you believe that climate change is happening and is threatening the air we breathe and the water we drink?
BARRETT: Senator. Again, I was wondering where you were going with that. You have asked me a series of questions like that are completely uncontroversial, like whether Covid-19 is infectious, whether smoking causes cancer, and then trying to analogize that to eliciting an opinion on me that is a very contentious matter of, opinion from me, that is on a very contentious matter of public debate. And I will not do that. I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial, because that’s inconsistent with the judicial role, as I have explained.
HARRIS: Thank you, Judge Barrett. And you’ve made your point clear that you believe that this is a debatable point.

Barrett takes it a position trap when it’s a question of the position of science.

Extra credit: Does life begin at conception? Birth? 12 weeks?

Reading: Tom Morello Responds to Angry Fans Who Suddenly Realize That Rage Against the Machine’s Music Is Political: “What Music of Mine DIDN’T Contain Political BS?”

From Tom Morello Responds to Angry Fans Who Suddenly Realize That Rage Against the Machine’s Music Is Political: “What Music of Mine DIDN’T Contain Political BS?”

Josh Jones writing at Open Culture reports on the coming-to-political-awareness of a music fan as a beacon of a hopefully broader awareness: culture is all political.

… the disgruntled former fan is not just one lone crank who didn’t get it. Many people over the years have expressed outrage at finding out there’s so much politics in their culture, even in a band like Rage that could not have been less subtle. Many, like former lever-puller of the Machine, Paul Ryan, seem to have cynically missed the point and turned them into workout music. Morello’s had to point this out a lot. (Ditto Springsteen.)

Uncritical and numbing consumption has led to the blind belief that political statements foul the entertainment pool.

The adjective [“political’] is weaponized against art and culture that makes certain people who have power uncomfortable. Saying “I don’t like political bs in my culture” is saying “I don’t care to know the politics are there.”

If, after decades of pumping “Killing in the Name,” you finally noticed them, then all that’s happened is you’ve finally noticed. Culture has always included the political, whether those politics are shaped by monarchs or state agencies or shouted in rap metal songs (just ask Ice-T) and fought over on Twitter. Maybe now it’s just getting harder to look away.

Reading: Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘next decade’ manifesto


Zukerberg weighs in on how to control communities: appear to give them the Right to Decide. A new take on the war-lord Divide and Conquer. This is from a commentary on Z’s yearly FB manifesto.

New Forms of Governance

Zuckerberg reiterates that the existence of monolithic platforms with access to so many people and their private data creates new governance questions. And that it isn’t right that private companies make “important decisions that touch on fundamental democratic values.” One way to deal with this, he says, is through regulation, especially on issues with elections, harmful content, privacy and data portability.

And then, in the next paragraph, the kicker: “Another and perhaps even better way to address this is by establishing new ways for communities to govern themselves.” This includes an independent oversight board which can hear appeals against Facebook’s content decisions. This “independent board will have the final decision in whether something is allowed.”

On Monday, Bemidji voted 3-2 to not welcome refugees to Beltrami County. Wanna weigh in on that?

Reading: Opinion | The Arrogance of Trump’s Enablers – The New York Times


Another lesson taught in 9th grade Civics: citizens of a democracy act responsibly to defend that democracy. Eg: the draft. There is more than a little tension in this responsibility – eg, the draft – but taking responsibility is not optional.

Mr. Bolton’s statement Monday claims that he is trying to “resolve the serious competing issues” between his obligations as a citizen and a former national security official. In fact, those obligations point in the same direction. Like jury duty or paying taxes, testifying under oath about facts we know is not optional; it is a fundamental obligation of citizenship. As a government official, Mr. Bolton held high office under an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” Testifying at a Senate impeachment trial fulfills that constitutional oath.

The action is clearer once you’ve taken the oath of office – even though it’s not easier. Eg: the draft, Vietnam:

Unlike Nixon, Mr. Trump has now actually been impeached, for abuse of power and obstructing congressional investigation. If official witnesses don’t testify about these acts, the very subordinates who may have helped Mr. Trump commit them can aid and abet his continuing obstruction. If so, on what conceivable basis can such officials as Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Mulvaney continue to hold high office under an oath to support and defend the Constitution? And recent history only repeats itself if former officials can enrich themselves through memoirs based on what they learned in public office about Mr. Trump’s abuse of a public position for private gain.

Reading: Republican rush to defend Trump reveals a party in thrall to its leader


Arguments get buried. They need to be brought to light.

Trump, Republican politicians insisted, embodies everyone who once voted for him, while the Democratic House majority – installed just one year ago in an election with record turnout – stood for no one, or at best for a disembodied elite, or politically irrelevant classes who live in parts of the country that somehow don’t count.

The anxiety of the Republican position was palpable during the impeachment investigation in their efforts to present their minority case as the majority case, and in their strenuous sales pitch of untouchable executive power as a form of populism.


Reading: Trump Booed – Civility Police Call for Respecting the Office


“Respect for the office” is a self-governing citizen’s sin of idolatry. In that context, the Presidency is a graven image. Why should I respect the office of the president when the occupant so clearly doesn’t? Why should I respect the office of the president when it serves as a clubhouse for cheap crooks and mountebanks? Guns don’t kill people, we hear after every mass shooting, only people kill people. So, The Presidency doesn’t commit crimes, only presidents do?

Reading: Forget Trump’s “Meltdown”—Follow the Testimony


Early – and very clear – statement of Trump’s scheme. We need the clear statements to unmuddy the waters.

Trump himself, in other words, was putting together a rogue foreign-policy team, run by Giuliani, the President’s private attorney, that would go outside normal N.S.C. and State Department channels to pressure Ukraine. The effort would eventually result in Trump abruptly firing Yovanovitch, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, at Giuliani’s behest, and withholding a White House meeting from Volodymyr Zelensky, the new Ukrainian President, until he agreed to investigate unsubstantiated allegations involving Biden’s son, and also discredited conspiracy theories involving Ukraine working against Trump in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. At the same time, Trump was refusing to release hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, although it had been legally authorized by Congress.

Reading: Facebook should ban campaign ads. End the lies.


If you run ‘em, you’re complicit. “We’re in a post-truth era now where the spoils won through deceptive demagoguery are clear. Cable news and digitally native publications have turned distortion of facts into a huge business.”

Until you aren’t: “This is why the social networks should halt sales of political campaign ads now. They’re the one set of stakeholders with flexibility and that could make a united decision. You’ll never get all the politicians and media to be honest, or the public to understand, but just a few companies could set a policy that would protect democracy from the world’s . And they could do it without having to pick sides or make questionable decisions on a case-by-case basis. Just block them all from all candidates.”

Reading: George Conway: Trump Is Unfit for Office – The Atlantic


Your civics lesson for the week.

And so it turns out that impeachment is a more practical mechanism for addressing the fact that Trump’s narcissism and sociopathy render him unable to comply with the obligations of his office. It’s also an appropriate mechanism, because the constitutional magic words (other than Treason and Bribery) that form the basis of an impeachment charge—high Crimes and Misdemeanors.