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"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin. Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it is called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums.

Welcome to GOP Watch page 1 keeping an eye on Republicans for you

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

Republicans claim to be patriots but they are not. Real patriots put country first not party; Republicans put party first not country, Republicans are not real patriots. The Republican Party is doing some very unpatriotic things and is willing to destroy our democracy using lies, hate, fear, alterative facts, whataboutism and Russian talking points to stay in power and protect a comprised and corrupt Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party and Putin.

Republicans will tell you anything depending on the day of the week or the way the wind blows. Republicans use lies and alternative facts (more lies) to support there fabricated stories. Many of same Republicans who wanted to impeach Clinton are now protecting Trump from obstruction charges and are not protecting Americans from Trump or Russian election interference. There was a time (before Trump) Republicans did not support or trust Russia now that Trump is in office Republicans love Russian talking points and Putin more than they do America. Once again, Republicans put party above country. We need to keep an eye on them before they destroy America, as we know it. Welcome to GOP Watch keeping an eye on Republicans for you. The Republican Party is using lies, hate, fear, alterative facts and whataboutism to stay in power and protect a comprised and corrupt Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party and Putin. The GOP is a danger to America and Americans.

Republicans vs Republicans what Republicans said vs what Republicans said.

The Russians have infiltrated the Republican Party, the NRA, white evangelicals and white nationalist in attempt to sow division in America.

How republicans use voter suppression to steal you vote and gerrymandering to stay in power. In the old days, bad people used threats, sticks, knives and guns to prevent people from voting. Now Republicans remove you from the voter rolls or use voter ID laws to make it harder for some to vote so they can steal the elections and stay in power.

Is a threat to free press, free speech, free trade, the rule of law, human rights, human decency, our democracy and the American way of life. Find out more about the real Donald J. Trump (Don The Con).

Dedicated to Donald J. Trump's (aka Don the Con) time in the White House. We are dedicated to exposing the real Donald J. Trump and shining a light on the threat he is to Democracy and America.

Donald J. Trump drained the swap and filled it with toxic septic tank water. Washington in worse off now than it was before Trump became president. Donald J. Trump and the Trump administration will go down as the worse, most corrupt, comprised and dishonest administration in American history. This page is dedicated to tracking that corruption.

Many other republicans are making asses of themselves and their party to protect and appease Donald J. Trump. Donald J. Trump has made a mockery of Republican Party. Donald J. Trump has made the Republican Party his flunkies, minions and some his bitches. When he says do something they do it even when they know it is wrong or illegal. They do not care that the oath of office is to America and the constitution not to Donald J. Trump. Republicans put Donald J. Trump before America, the constitution and their oath of office. They are willing to violate their oath of office to protect Donald J. Trump.

Tracking the Mueller Investigation into how the Russians infiltrated the Trump campaign and the Republican Party to help get Donald J. Trump elected president of the United States of America.

Jerry Falwell Jr. is pushing greed, racism, sexism and homophobia instead of the word of the god. God warns us of false prophets.

From a hard nose prosecutor, to America’s mayor, to a right wing conspiracy nut and now a criminal suspect the rise and fall of Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani along with Trump are using Russian talking points to promote Russia’s version of interference in the 2016 election. You have to question were their allegiance are to America or to Russia, more and more it looks like their allegiance is to Russia and not to America.

Mitch McConnell (aka Moscow Mitch) is a Trump enabler who has done more to protect and enable Trump and help Russia than he has done to help America and protect the constitution.

Fox News (Fake News) is the Republican Party's propaganda wing. Fake News (Fox News) uses fake news, lies, propaganda, alternative facts and conspiracy theories to protect Republicans, attack Democrats. Fox News (fake news) is the place where the Republicans runs to for cover story and protection when they get caught doing wrong. Fake News (Fox News), Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party are destroying our country with lies, alternative facts and conspiracy theories. Fake News (Fox News) does not talk about the fact the Russia attacked America in an unprovoked and unprecedented cyber-attack during the 2016 election to help Donald J. Trump get elected, instead they distract us with lies, alternative facts and conspiracy theories to protect Trump. Russia is still attacking our democracy but you would not know that if you only watch Fake News (Fox News). Americans deserve better than third world tactics of fake news, lies, propaganda, alternative facts and conspiracy theories.

Trump enablers in the Republican Party have violated their oath of office to protect Donald J. protect Trump. They say bad men can do bad things if good men do nothing. Trump can do bad things because his Republican enablers will not do anything to stop him they actively help and support him.

UNPRECEDENTED
Blake Montgomery

The Republican Party plans to bar journalists from attending the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where party members will nominate President Donald Trump to stand in the November election, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. It would be the first convention without reporters. A convention spokesperson told the paper the change arose in response to coronavirus restrictions: “We are planning for all of the Charlotte activities to be closed press: Friday, August 21 – Monday, 24th given the health restrictions and limitations in place in the state.

Virus to close GOP convention doors by Frank E. Lockwood

WASHINGTON -- When Republicans renominate Donald Trump for president in Charlotte, N.C., on Aug. 24, journalists won't be on hand to witness it, a convention spokesperson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this week. Reporters also will be kept from the room when the Republican National Committee meets to conduct official party business. he spokesperson couldn't say whether C-SPAN, the nonprofit public service network, would be allowed to air the proceedings.

"[W]e are planning for all of the Charlotte activities to be closed press: Friday, August 21 – Monday, 24th given the health restrictions and limitations in place in the state," the convention spokesperson said in an email. "We are happy to let you know if this changes, but we are working within the parameters set before us by state and local guidelines regarding the number of people who can attend events." Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of delegates at the Republican National Convention had already been lowered from 2,550 to 336. Alternate delegates have been disinvited. Media seating has been eliminated.

Barring a last-minute change, this will be the first Republican presidential nominating convention in history where reporters are not admitted. Trump has had a sometimes-contentious relationship with journalists, branding them "the enemy of the American people" and labeling their stories "fake news." The Republican Party's nominating convention was originally set for Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte, but the final three days were temporarily shifted to Jacksonville, Fla., after North Carolina leaders refused to waive covid-19-related crowd limitations.

Greg Iacurci

Senate Republicans unveiled their plan to replace an extra $600-a-week boost in unemployment benefits on Monday. That subsidy — which the federal government has been paying on top of typical state benefits since early April — formally expires July 31. Republicans want to replace it with a $200-a-week subsidy through September. The plan would then shift to a more individual formula, with combined state and federal benefits replacing 70% of lost wages from October through December. Federal aid would be capped at $500 a week. (States unable to implement the formula that quickly could request a waiver to continue the $200 a week through November.) The plan is hugely consequential: There are nearly 31 million Americans collecting jobless benefits, about five times the peak of the Great Recession. So, who would win and lose from this new plan?

Everyone loses
From a personal-finance standpoint, all recipients of unemployment aid lose under the GOP proposal. This is true for both tranches of the plan: the flat $200 checks and the 70% wage replacement. Logically, this makes sense: $200 a week is less than $600 a week.

Republican gives interview to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Senator wants to ‘save’ US history from New York Times
Bryan Armen Graham

The Arkansas Republican senator Tom Cotton has called the enslavement of millions of African people “the necessary evil upon which the union was built”. Cotton, widely seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, made the comment in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette published on Sunday. He was speaking in support of legislation he introduced on Thursday that aims to prohibit use of federal funds to teach the 1619 Project, an initiative from the New York Times that reframes US history around August 1619 and the arrival of slave ships on American shores for the first time.

Cotton’s Saving American History Act of 2020 and “would prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the 1619 Project by K-12 schools or school districts”, according to a statement from the senator’s office. “The entire premise of the New York Times’ factually, historically flawed 1619 Project … is that America is at root, a systemically racist country to the core and irredeemable,” Cotton told the Democrat-Gazette. “I reject that root and branch. America is a great and noble country founded on the proposition that all mankind is created equal. We have always struggled to live up to that promise, but no country has ever done more to achieve it.”

He added: “We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as [Abraham] Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones, who was awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for commentary for her introductory essay to the 1619 Project, said on Friday that Cotton’s bill “speaks to the power of journalism more than anything I’ve ever done in my career”. On Sunday, she tweeted: “If chattel slavery – heritable, generational, permanent, race-based slavery where it was legal to rape, torture, and sell human beings for profit – were a ‘necessary evil’ as Tom Cotton says, it’s hard to imagine what cannot be justified if it is a means to an end.

By Ted Barrett and Manu Raju, CNN

(CNN) Senate Republican leaders, undeterred by the scathing criticism leveled against them for blocking President Barack Obama's election-year Supreme Court nominee in 2016, are signaling that they are prepared to confirm a nominee by President Donald Trump even if that vacancy occurred after this year's election. The push comes despite ample apprehension from influential Republicans that the GOP could pay a political price for treating a nominee under Trump differently than they did under Obama. It also comes as Democrats are increasingly worried about the fragile health of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the 87-year-old liberal jurist who recently made public a new bout with cancer, and the possibility of other retirements. "We will," said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranking Republican leader, when asked if the Senate would fill a vacancy, even during the lame-duck session after the presidential election. "That would be part of this year. We would move on it." But the veteran Iowa Republican who chaired the Judiciary Committee in 2016 and helped block Judge Merrick Garland -- Obama's nominee -- by refusing to schedule election-year confirmation hearings, said he would not fill a fill a vacancy now for the same reason. "My position is if I were chairman of the committee I couldn't move forward with it," Sen. Chuck Grassley told CNN.

The Texas Republican tweets in support of Donald Trump and gets slammed
Juan Pablo Garnham

The Texas Republican is criticizing calls for a boycott because the Hispanic food company's CEO praised President Donald Trump. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday said calls for a boycott of Goya Foods because its CEO praised President Donald Trump were an attempt to "silence free speech." But one year ago, the Texas Republican encouraged people to boycott Nike after the company halted plans to sell shoes featuring the Betsy Ross flag that some say glorifies slavery and racism, according to NPR. On Thursday, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue praised president Donald Trump in a ceremony at The White House. Goya bills itself as America's largest Hispanic-owned food company. "We're all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder, and that's what my grandfather did," said Unanue. "He came to this country to build, to grow, to prosper. And so we have an incredible builder, and we pray for our leadership, our president, and we pray for our country that we will continue to prosper and to grow." That sparked an immediate reaction on Twitter, where hashtags like #BoycottGoya, #GoyaFoods and #Goyaway began trending. Hispanic leaders, including former Texas congressman and presidential hopeful Julián Castro, responded with anger, noting that the president has villainized and attacked Latinos "for political gain."

Del Marsh, a state senator in Alabama, said he’s “not concerned” with the spike in infections and touted the controversial idea of herd immunity.
By Lee Moran

A GOP lawmaker in Alabama said he’s “not concerned” about the current spike in cases of the coronavirus in the state. “In fact, quite honestly, I want to see more people, because we start reaching an immunity as more people have it and get through it,” Alabama state Sen. Del Marsh told reporters Thursday. “I don’t want any deaths — as few as possible,” he continued. “So those people who are susceptible to the disease, especially those with preexisting conditions, elderly population, those folks, we need to do all we can to protect them. But I’m not concerned. I want to make sure that everybody can receive care. And right now we have, to my knowledge as of today, we still have ample beds.” In his comments, Marsh ― who sits on the state’s coronavirus task force ― appeared to be referring to the idea of herd immunity, which contends that a virus will not spread as easily once a certain high percentage of the population has contracted it or been vaccinated, and therefore developed the necessary antibodies. The controversial approach has been contested by scientists and public health experts: Herd immunity could still be a long way off from happening, if it does at all with this virus, even with a vaccine. *** Trump and some in the Republicans Party do not care how many Americans will die from the coronavirus. ***

The more Trump and GOP leaders effectively abandon their roles as serious policymakers, the more breakdowns are impossible to avoid.
By Steve Benen, "Rachel Maddow" producer and author of "The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics"

As part of his needlessly divisive remarks on the Fourth of July, President Donald Trump briefly took note of the nation's struggle with the coronavirus crisis. "Our strategy," the president assured his audience, "is moving along well." Even by Trump standards, it was a curious boast. Now with 3 million confirmed cases in the United States, and over 130,000 American deaths from COVID-19, few would look at the public health landscape and conclude that the federal response is progressing "well." But there was also a problem with the assumption upon which the boast was based: The president believes there's a federal strategy? If there is, it's hiding exceptionally well. Months after the pandemic arrived, the Trump administration still does not have a national testing strategy. Or a federal program in place to fully furnish medical facilities with personal protective equipment. Or meaningful guidance to offer state and local officials on how, when and whether to reopen safely in the wake of mitigation efforts in the spring. The result is, to be sure, a public health crisis that appears to be intensifying with each passing day. But just as important, Americans should also recognize these conditions as part of a governing crisis.

State of the Union

CNN's Dana Bash questions Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) over her criticism of former President Obama over his handling of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, compared to President Trump's current handling of the coronavirus crisis. Source: CNN

By Veronica Stracqualursi and Nicky Robertson, CNN

(CNN) Sen. Tom Cotton argued on Thursday that Wyoming, which he called a "well-rounded working-class state," is more deserving of statehood than the District of Columbia, even though the nation's capital has more citizens. "Wyoming is smaller than Washington by population, but it has three times as many workers in mining, logging and construction, and 10 times as many workers in manufacturing. In other words, Wyoming is a well-rounded working-class state. A new state of Washington would not be," the Arkansas Republican said on the Senate floor. Advocates of DC statehood point to the fact that residents pay taxes to the federal government but don't have representation in the US Senate and only have one non-voting delegate representing them in the US House. But Cotton argued that Democrats are only pushing for DC statehood so they can "have two new Democratic senators in perpetuity" and to "rig the rule of our democracy." Partisanship has long been a central reason for Republican opposition to DC statehood, as they frequently point to the likelihood that Democrats would pick up two additional US senators. But Cotton's comments also underscore the economic, regional and racial divides that increasingly make up both parties. - Tom Cotton is a racist plain and simple. The jobs that people do has nothing to do with how rounded or how American they are they are still hard working Americans. The people of DC are hardworking tax paying Americans who deserve representation.

The three studies paint a picture of a media ecosystem that entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking steps to protect themselves and others.

By Christopher Ingraham

Coronavirus infections have surged in a number of states, setting the United States on a markedly different pandemic trajectory than other wealthy nations. There are many reasons our response to the pandemic tied to more than 120,000 U.S. deaths has faltered, experts say, including the lack of a cohesive federal policy, missteps on testing and tracing, and a national culture emphasizing individualism. In recent weeks, three studies have focused on conservative media’s role in fostering confusion about the seriousness of the coronavirus. Taken together, they paint a picture of a media ecosystem that amplifies misinformation, entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others. he end result, according to one of the studies, is that infection and mortality rates are higher in places where one pundit who initially downplayed the severity of the pandemic — Fox News’s Sean Hannity — reaches the largest audiences. “We are receiving an incredible number of studies and solid data showing that consuming far-right media and social media content was strongly associated with low concern about the virus at the onset of the pandemic,” said Irene Pasquetto, chief editor of the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, which published one of the studies.

Misinformation and conspiracy theories
In April, Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and Dolores Albarracin of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign published a peer-reviewed study examining how Americans’ media diets affected their beliefs about the coronavirus. Administering a nationally representative phone survey with 1,008 respondents, they found that people who got most of their information from mainstream print and broadcast outlets tended to have an accurate assessment of the severity of the pandemic and their risks of infection. But those who relied on conservative sources, such as Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories or unfounded rumors, such as the belief that taking vitamin C could prevent infection, that the Chinese government had created the virus, and that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exaggerated the pandemic’s threat “to damage the Trump presidency.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) refused to quit banging the table after House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) gave a witness extra time to finish his opening statement. Source: CNN

By Rebecca Klar

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that calls to impeach Attorney General William Barr are a “waste of time,” since the “corrupt” Republican-controlled Senate would not consider an impeachment trial. CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Nadler if he thinks Democratic lawmakers' calls for Barr’s impeachment in the wake of the firing of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoff Berman are premature. “No, I don't think calls for his impeachment are premature any more than calls for the president's impeachment were premature,” Nadler said. “But they are a waste of time at this point, because we know that we have a corrupt Republican majority in the Senate which will not consider an impeachment no matter what the evidence and no matter what the facts,” he added. “We’re instead going to do what we have to do without that.”

By Kelly Mena, CNN

Washington, DC (CNN) Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has told local government officials that they won't get federal coronavirus relief funding if they require individuals to wear face masks in government buildings. Ricketts, a Republican, made the statement on Monday, the same day he set as the deadline for county courthouses and offices to be opened while encouraging but not requiring the use of face masks. Nebraska has allocated $100 million for reimbursements to local governments for direct expenses incurred in response to the Covid-19 emergency. "It's really their option, if they don't want to follow the guidelines, they won't be eligible for the CARES Act money but that's certainly their prerogative to do that," said Ricketts on Monday at his daily coronavirus briefing. In late May, Ricketts issued guidance for how the state's 93 courthouses and offices would reopen that included specific directions that "customers may be encouraged to wear face coverings, but may not be refused service for failure to do so." The May guidelines however did allow counties to require social distancing and disinfecting procedures. A study out last week found that wearing a mask is the most effective way to stop person-to-person spread of the virus which is mainly via airborne transmission, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

While Georgia state officials blamed local poll workers, voting rights advocates saw a continued pattern of voter suppression. It is a pattern Republicans seem determined to reproduce.
By The Rev. Dr. William Barber and Tom Steyer

Last week, as historic protests for racial justice grabbed the nation's attention, voters in some of Georgia's predominantly Black and poor precincts reported chaos, long lines and faulty machines at their polling places. While state officials blamed local poll workers, voting rights advocates saw a continued pattern of voter suppression by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. It is a pattern Republicans seem determined to reproduce. After Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California will mail absentee ballots to all registered voters this fall as a means of guaranteeing the right to vote during the coronavirus pandemic, the Republican National Committee sued, claiming that California's effort to protect voting rights opened the door to widespread fraud. Next week, voters head to the polls again, including in New York and Kentucky. The fight continues. Though voter suppression has been a quiet tool of Republican administrations for decades, opposition to an expansion of the franchise has become a clear talking point for the Republican Party in 2020. This assault on the franchise is an attack on the very idea of American democracy and its promise of equality for all.

By Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav, CNN

(CNN) A Senate amendment to remove the names of Confederate leaders on military property "picks on the South unfairly," a GOP senator said Tuesday, the latest sign that President Donald Trump's opposition to the plan has opened up an uncomfortable election-year debate within the party. Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican whose state has military installations named after leaders of the Confederacy, sharply criticized the amendment, offered by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and said he planned to offer his own measure "to rename every military installation in the country after a medal of honor winner." "I think history will show that in the 18th century, in the 19th century, and well into the 20th century, there were many non-Confederate generals, soldiers and others, in both the South and the North who practiced racial discrimination, anti-Semitism and misogyny," Kennedy told reporters. "I don't think we ought to just pick on the South." Kennedy added: "Sen. Warren's amendment, in my opinion, picks on the South unfairly." - Confederates were traitors who should not be honor for attacking America so they could keep slaves. The Republican Party supports traitors by protecting the monuments of traitors. Protecting the monuments of traitor’s means in some way you support what the people who committed treason against America did. We should not honor traitors; honoring traitors gives the impression that you can commit treason against America and be honored. We should not honor the traitors who fought against our country that dishonors all the great Americans who have fought and died for our country.

“What I do think is clearly a bridge too far is this nonsense that we need to airbrush the Capitol," he says.
By ANDREW DESIDERIO

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday rebuffed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s calls for nearly a dozen Confederate statues to be removed from the Capitol, saying it was an attempt to “airbrush” history. “What I do think is clearly a bridge too far is this nonsense that we need to airbrush the Capitol and scrub out everybody from years ago who had any connection to slavery,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters, noting that a handful of former American presidents owned slaves. Each U.S. state sends two statues to the Capitol building, and they can be switched out at any time. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, said seven states are in the process of removing certain statues from the Capitol. But last week, amid a nationwide reckoning over continued racial injustices highlighted by police killings of unarmed African Americans, Pelosi demanded that 11 Confederate statues be immediately removed. “While I believe it is imperative that we never forget our history lest we repeat it, I also believe that there is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country,” Pelosi wrote. - The Republican Party is on the wrong side of history. Confederates were traitors; the Republican Party supports traitors by protecting the monuments of traitors. Protecting the monuments of traitor’s means in some way you support what the people who committed treason against America did. We should not honor traitors; honoring traitors gives the impression that you can commit treason against America and be honored. We should not honor the traitors who fought against our country that dishonors all the great Americans who have fought and died for our country.

The Wisconsin Republican is playing a major role in pushing Trump's sought after probes.
By ANDREW DESIDERIO

Sen. Ron Johnson wouldn’t appear to be one of President Donald Trump’s closest allies at first glance. The Wisconsin Republican doesn’t flood the airwaves to defend the president. He isn’t a fixture in the conservative media world, and he hasn’t seen his political stock boosted by a barrage of tweets and retweets from the president. In 2018, he even criticized Trump’s mix of tariffs and bailouts as a “Soviet-style economy.” But Johnson, the chairman of the Senate’s chief oversight body, is playing a major role in advancing a key theme of the president’s reelection bid — that he and his associates were targeted unfairly by the outgoing Obama administration. He is also investigating corruption allegations involving Hunter Biden, the son of the Democratic presidential nominee, stemming from the younger Biden’s role on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. Trump and congressional Republicans have claimed the former vice president sought to shield his son from a Ukrainian-led investigation into Burisma — though Biden denies the allegation. In both instances, Democrats have accused Johnson of abusing his power, misusing the Senate’s oversight resources to boost Trump’s political prospects, and even operating a Russian disinformation front that jeopardizes U.S. election security — all serious allegations, even in today’s hyperpartisan Senate. But Johnson insists it’s just the opposite.

Donald Trump and his followers want "order," but they have zero respect for the law. Maybe America sees that now
By David Masciotra

Mark Twain's instruction to curious residents of Freedom Central is, by now, familiar: "If you want to see the dregs of society, go down to the jail and watch the changing of the guard." There is little doubt that the corrections officer who beats and torments the inmates under his supervision would use the phrase "law and order" as a defense for his own lawlessness. Almost any usage of that loaded term in American civic discourse serves as qualification for membership in a diner's club of hell. Donald Trump, the latest political demagogue to employ the term as a rhetorical bludgeon against peaceful protesters, can look forward to sitting alongside Sen. Joseph McCarthy, former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who ordered police to attack political demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention, Richard Nixon and many foreign dictators in the annals of history — and if there is an afterlife, in the middle of the inferno. Beyond the term's dark history and utility, there is also the rarely discussed fiction it is meant to disguise. In fact, the United States is one of the least lawful societies in the developed world, and that the bulletproof bullies who scream about "law and order" are typically society's most committed enablers of criminality and corruption. The police lynching of George Floyd provoked widespread denunciation, with even ghouls like Rush Limbaugh and Mitch McConnell condemning the individual officers responsible for the death. What they do not want to acknowledge is the continuation of not only systemic racism within criminal justice, but also a culture of crime. Pundits on the American right delight in reciting the bromide, "a few bad apples," as if they coined it, but they have seemingly forgotten the full cliché: "One bad apple spoils the bunch." One need look no further than Buffalo, New York, to observe how the mold of a single fruit will soon spread to the rest. When two sadists in uniform shoved an elderly man to the ground for the crime of approaching them, causing him a critical head injury, their fellow cops made no attempt to help the victim. After the city of Buffalo suspended the perpetrators and charged them with assault, 57 officers resigned from the Emergency Response Team in support of their "brothers" whose version of "law and order" includes inflicting random violence on unarmed senior citizens.

The subpoenas are part of a GOP-led investigation into the genesis of the Russia probe and Robert Mueller’s appointment.
By ANDREW DESIDERIO

Senate Republicans are ramping up their investigations into President Donald Trump’s foes. In a party-line vote Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee authorized Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to issue a broad range of subpoenas to a slew of former Obama administration officials who opened or were involved in the counterintelligence investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. It’s part of a GOP-led investigation into the genesis of the Russia probe and former special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment — a probe that that President Donald Trump has long sought, particularly as he seeks retribution after his acquittal in the Senate’s impeachment trial. The subpoenas target former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, among others. Graham has said he plans to seek testimony from Mueller himself, “or an appropriate designee.” - Republican are at it again. Republican have to cheat to win they use voter suppression and fake scandals to get votes and drive down support for democrats.

By Don Winslow

Voting is an American citizen’s most basic and inalienable right, the absolute foundation of our republic. It’s simple – no fair election, no democracy. That’s just what this administration and its cohorts in too many states want – to kill our democracy by suppressing the vote. Sadly, one of those states is Georgia. Yesterday’s election was a disgraceful travesty. Impossibly long lines, inoperable machines, understaffed voting sites, unavailable absentee ballots and a myriad of other problems caused a chaotic, uncertain, and unfair election. To the surprise of no one, these problems were most acute for African-American voters. Whether it’s the deliberate culling of the voter rolls, as Governor Kemp did to steal the 2018 gubernatorial election from Stacey Abrams, or the blazing – and I think, deliberate – incompetence that was on brutal display in yesterday’s election, the intent is the same. The entrenched powers-that-be know that they will be defeated if all eligible voters get to cast their ballots. This is true in Georgia, it is true nation-wide. Kemp knows that, Barr knows that, and Trump knows that. They know they can’t win fairly, so they cheat. Let’s don’t be naïve – while there were problems voting in both traditionally Republican and Democratic precincts in Georgia, the worst problems were in areas where the majority of eligible voters were African-American. Voting in white precincts generally took minutes, in black districts it generally took hours.

Voting rights advocates worry the effort will target and intimidate minority voters.
By Jane C. Timm

Republicans are recruiting an estimated 50,000 volunteers to act as "poll watchers" in November, part of a multimillion-dollar effort to police who votes and how. That effort, coordinated by the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, includes a $20 million fund for legal battles as well as the GOP's first national poll-patrol operation in nearly 40 years. While poll watching is an ordinary part of elections — both parties do it — voting rights advocates worry that such a moneyed, large-scale offensive by the Republicans will intimidate and target minority voters who tend to vote Democratic and chill turnout in a pivotal contest already upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Some states allow poll monitors to challenge a voter's eligibility, requiring that person's ballot undergo additional vetting to be counted. In Michigan, for example, a challenged voter will be removed from line and questioned about their citizenship, age, residency and date of voter registration if, according to election rules, a vote challenger has "good reason" to believe they are not eligible. They are required to take an oath attesting that their answers are true and are given a special ballot.

Gov. Greg Abbott called on two Republican county chairs in Bexar and Nueces counties to resign after they shared a racist conspiracy theory about George Floyd's death. The post was also was shared by the GOP chairs in Comal and Harrison counties.
by Patrick Svitek

Meanwhile, the GOP chairman-elect in Harris County, Keith Nielsen, posted an image on Facebook earlier this week that showed a Martin Luther King Jr. quote — "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" — on a background with a banana. The juxtaposition of the quote and the banana can be read as an allusion to equating black people with monkeys, a well-worn racist trope. Nielsen appears to have deleted the post and apparently addressed it on his Facebook page Thursday evening. On Friday he updated his comments to say he would not resign. "It is unfortunate that the sentiment of the quote and my admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been overshadowed by people's misinterpretation of an image," Nielsen wrote, calling for "racial reconciliation" in America. "My hope is I will continue to be part of the solution and never part of the problem." The Texas Tribune became aware of Nielsen's post after Abbott called for the resignation of the Bexar County and Nueces County chairs. Wittman could not immediately be reached for comment about the third post. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Friday morning denounced Nielsen's post and said he "should withdraw immediately from any further consideration as county chair."

"There is an overt effort here to erase white history," Sen. Amanda Chase said this week, prompting the Senate GOP caucus to call her words "idiotic, inappropriate and inflammatory."
By Erik Ortiz

A Republican state senator in Virginia known for courting controversy and who is running for governor in 2021 is facing backlash from members of her own party after she said that the removal of Confederate statues is an "overt effort to erase all white history." Sen. Amanda Chase, whose majority-white district is just west of the capital, Richmond, made related comments in a fundraising email and a video shared Wednesday on Facebook live — a day before Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced that statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee and four other Confederate leaders along Richmond's Monument Avenue will be dismantled. His decision came amid a longstanding debate about whether Confederate symbols should be taken down because they represent a racist legacy and a divided nation or if they have historical and cultural significance worth preserving. Following national unrest related to the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, cities like Birmingham and Mobile in Alabama moved swiftly to remove such statues.

Barr now has "federal troops" on the street in D.C. with no badges or insignia. There's a word for that
By Heather Digby Parton

Since becoming Donald Trump's attorney general, Bill Barr has given several speeches to police organizations. This is not unusual for someone in his position, but Barr's comments have often been controversial. Last December he made the outrageous comment that "communities" have to "start showing more than they do the respect and support that law enforcement deserves and if communities don't give that respect, they might find themselves without the protection they need." It was bad enough that it hit the evening news: Barr's overtly partisan behavior as attorney general has been well documented. He is the president's No. 1 henchman, and the most openly political AG in American history. His far-right views on religion and morality are also well-known. But despite his speeches like the one above, until this week I don't think it was well understood just how fully authoritarian Barr's worldview really is. He appears to believe that the title "attorney general" is an actual military designation that gives him the authority to command troops on the streets of the United States. It isn't. (It's actually a very old term in common law, reflecting the idea that someone may hold a "general power of attorney" to represent the state.) In a call with state governors on Monday, when Trump demanded they "dominate" their citizens and put protesters in jail for 10 years, one of his many threats was that he would unleash Barr and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Later that day Milley was seen wandering around outside the White House in battle fatigues as if he were about to launch an attack on Fallujah, but he and the rest of the military brass have since balked at Trump's stated desire to send in active-duty troops to "dominate" American cities.

By Manu Raju, CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent

(CNN) Top Republican senators are defending the use of police force to clear out peaceful protesters near the White House that allowed President Donald Trump to pose with a Bible in front of a church amid the continued unrest in the United States. The stunning move prompted a visceral reaction among Democrats, who likened Trump's actions to a dictator as they prepared legislation to condemn the use of force -- including tear gas and rubber bullets -- against Americans exercising their constitutional rights to protest. But Republicans -- for the most part -- aligned squarely with the President, saying it was his right to take such action given at times the violent protests that have occurred in the United States and the need for him to demonstrate that the country would not stand for the actions of looters and "anarchists." It was the latest indication of the deeply polarized environment on Capitol Hill amid one of the most tumultuous years in American history, with the two parties at sharp odds over the President's stewardship of the multiple crises facing the country and violent protests in cities following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. - Once again Republicans show they are hypocrites and liars, if Obama did what Trump (Bunker boy) did Republicans would be crying about an abuse of power.

By JEREMY B. WHITE

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Republican Party has thrown its full weight behind challenging California’s move to a mail-ballot November election during the coronavirus pandemic. A lawsuit from the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the California Republican Party seeks to invalidate Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order that county election officials mail every registered California voter a ballot. While Newsom and California election overseers have said the switch is necessary to balance public health with civic participation, opponents argue that Newsom has overstepped his authority. The lawsuit argues that Newsom exceeded the limits of his powers by not seeking the consent of the state Legislature, accusing him of a “brazen power grab” that “was not authorized by state law” and transgressing the Constitution. Republicans in California and nationally have battled efforts to expand remote balloting for the November election, warning that mail ballots increase the risk of voter fraud. President Donald Trump has amplified that critique, including a string of Memorial Day weekend tweets, and additionally bemoaned mail ballots on the grounds that they disproportionately benefit Democrats. - Voter suppression is voter fraud, republicans have to suppress the vote to win.

'It's party over country, and they will do whatever they can to hold on to power'
By Andrew Feinberg - Washington DC

If you’ve paid any attention to the news over the past few days, you might come away with the impression that Michigan is where President Donald Trump’s hopes for reelection will rise or fall on November 3. On Wednesday, the Great Lakes State was one of two he targeted with threats over election officials’ decision to mail absentee ballot request forms to every resident of that state. “Michigan sends absentee ballot applications to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” Trump tweeted that afternoon, having been shamed into deleting a previous tweet which falsely claimed that actual ballots had been mailed out. It’s not the first time Trump has made baseless assertions about the integrity of American elections. Since winning the 2016 election, he has made innumerable false claims about “voter fraud,” including suggesting that more than 3 million voters making up Hillary Clinton’s popular vote margin of victory had voted “illegally”, as well as claims about nonexistent Democratic malfeasance during the 2018 midterms (in which the only documented case of absentee ballot fraud was committed by a North Carolina Republican candidate for Congress). And given Michigan’s importance as a potential source of electoral votes for former Vice President Joe Biden — Trump’s presumptive opponent — it’s no surprise that he’s a bit fixated on it. After all, Michigan is one of the three states that handed Trump electoral votes that had gone to Democratic candidates for decades, and in doing so delivered the presidency into his hands. It’s also one of the states into which his campaign is pouring inordinate amounts of effort and resources, in hopes of keeping enough Michiganders in his corner to equal — or improve — his 10,704 vote margin of victory from four years ago. Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who studies elections, said spurious claims about election results are par for the course for Trump. “This is a pattern that we've seen throughout his presidency where he, even after winning, wanted to throw down on the fact that he had lost the popular vote and made allegations about non-citizens voting that would explain why he had lost the popular vote,” McDonald said, though he took care to note that such allegations were “of course, completely unfounded”. He added that Trump appears to be engaged in “a similar pattern of throwing down on the electoral system, where it may either in the future or afterwards adversely affect him”. While McDonald noted that Trump and Republicans in Congress have little power to push back on election results once they have been certified and the electoral college has met, he suggested that the greater risk to a legitimate election comes not from Republicans in Washington making baseless claims about fraud in Michigan, but from those in a neighboring state with a notoriously gerrymandered legislature: Wisconsin.

What happened in Michigan this week was no "mistake." Infrastructure was privatized for profit, and it's crumbling
By Sophia Tesfaye

President Trump spent another week feuding with a Democratic governor, this time as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer dealt with historic levels of rainfall which led to the collapse of a pair of privately-owned dams in the state. Instead of momentarily pausing his politics of petty revenge, Trump made matters worse, as is his wont. The president diverted already strained resources for a campaign stop in Michigan that doubled as a political stunt, advertising his personal refusal to wear a mask, even in settings where everyone else is required to. Trump's antagonistic rhetoric towards a state that is facing multiple life-or-death crises at the same time was widely criticized. But what he did more quietly this week reveals just how vulnerable his deregulatory actions have left America. In a move strikingly reminiscent of the Ukraine scandal, Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to threaten to withhold federal funding from Michigan, even as floodwaters from the two breached dams forced thousands of residents of the city of Midland to flee their homes. Trump's apparent goal was to coerce Michigan officials not to send vote-by-mail applications to the state's 7.7 million registered voters. As usual, the president was unclear about exactly what funding he had in mind. Hours later he sent another tweet claiming that his administration had already activated military and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) response teams but said Gov. Whitmer "must now 'set you free' to help." Whitmer said at a news briefing on Tuesday that she had already contacted federal officials for help and activated the National Guard. Once again, nobody really knows what Trump was talking about. Nevertheless, the salient point here is that the president of the United States, after witnessing the flooding of an entire region amid a major public health crisis, was to suggest, in public, that the government and people of Michigan owed him something in exchange for federal aid. Trump then traveled to a Ford plant in Michigan on Thursday and offered this explanation for the failure of the privately-owned dams: "Perhaps there was a mistake." Like many disasters, the beginnings of the Michigan dam failures are far removed in time from the actual event, so this event can hardly be described as a mistake. All indications are that this week's historic flooding was caused by years of neglect and mismanagement of a public good that was co-opted for private profit. It doesn't help that the headquarters of Dow Chemical, including a Superfund site with known cancer-causing chemicals, is directly downstream of all this floodwater.

Republicans will control a seat on the state Supreme Court for an extra two years.
By Ian Millhiser

The state of Georgia was supposed to hold an election Tuesday to fill a seat on the state Supreme Court. Justice Keith Blackwell, a Republican whose six-year term expires on the last day of this year, did not plan to run for reelection. The election, between former Democratic Rep. John Barrow and former Republican state lawmaker Beth Beskin, would determine who would fill Blackwell’s seat. But then something weird happened: Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and the state’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, canceled Tuesday’s election. Instead, Kemp will appoint Blackwell’s successor, and that successor will serve for at least two years — ensuring the seat will remain in Republican hands. On May 14, the state Supreme Court handed down a decision that effectively blessed this scheme to keep Blackwell’s seat in the GOP’s hands. The court’s decision in Barrow v. Raffensperger is unusual in many regards — among other things, six of the state’s regular Supreme Court justices recused from the case, and they were replaced by five lower court judges who sat temporarily on the state’s highest court. The court’s decision in Barrow turns upon poorly drafted language in the state constitution, which does suggest that Blackwell, Kemp, and Raffensperger’s scheme was legal.

The scheme, briefly explained
In late February, just a few days before the deadline for candidates to file to run to replace Justice Blackwell was about to expire, Blackwell sent a letter to Kemp announcing that he intends to resign his seat, effective November 18. That means that Blackwell will leave office a few weeks before his term was set to expire on December 31. - Republicans have no shame they just stole an election and deprived American voters their right to vote.

A Missouri initiative would undo voters’ preference for nonpartisan legislative districts — and perhaps shift representation itself.
By David Daley

When Karl Rove laid out the Republican plan to win back power by weaponizing redistricting in a March 2010 op-ed, Democrats failed to pay proper attention. The vision set forth — called Redmap, short for the Redistricting Majority Project — proved simple yet revolutionary: In most states, legislatures control the decennial redistricting that follows the census. So in November 2010, Republicans invested tens of millions of dollars in these ordinarily sleepy local races and swept elections. Through gerrymandering, they drew themselves huge advantages in Congress and state capitals, firewalls that have allowed Republicans in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan and elsewhere to survive wave elections in which Democratic state legislative candidates won hundreds of thousands more votes. It’s a census-year election again, and this time both sides understand the stakes. Democrats know down-ballot elections this fall are the last opportunity to close the redistricting gap before next decade’s maps are drawn. Republicans appear to have a different strategy for 2020 — subtler, more technical and instructed by successful legal challenges that overturned Republican-drawn maps in North Carolina and Pennsylvania as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. Last week, Republicans in Missouri presented a dress rehearsal of this plan. If left unchallenged, it could once again dye many states red for a decade or more. In 2018, nonpartisan movements in five states, including Missouri, won redistricting reform via ballot initiative. (Oregon, Oklahoma and Arkansas are attempting to follow suit.) So last week, Missouri lawmakers looked to dismantle the initiative — called Clean Missouri and supported by 62 percent of the state’s voters — that would have taken mapmaking authority away from politicians and handed it to a nonpartisan state demographer. If Republicans have their way, that demographer won’t draw a single line and control over maps will be returned to a commission of party insiders.

By Jordain Carney

Senate Republicans issued their first subpoena on Wednesday as part of wide-ranging investigations tied to the Obama administration. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted along party lines to issue a subpoena for Blue Star Strategies, a firm with ties to Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the panel, has homed in on the U.S. firm as he probes Hunter Biden's work for Burisma Holdings, where Biden — the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee — was a member of the board until he stepped down in 2019. The subpoena asks for records from Jan. 1, 2013, to the present of Blue Star Strategies "related to work for or on behalf of Burisma Holdings or individuals associated with Burisma." Johnson is also requesting an interview with top Blue Star officials to discuss the subpoena. "This is not my choice to spend any amount of time on this vote. I would have issued the subpoenas quietly," Johnson said. - Republicans continue to protect Donald J. Trump and refuse to investigate Donald J. Trump who is a criminal who has violated our laws on more than one occasion.

By Marik von Rennenkampff, Opinion Contributor

Republicans and right-wing media are in a conspiracy theory-spewing meltdown. In the wake of selective, politically motivated “leaks” of sensitive documents, conservative pundits are launching an avalanche of baseless attacks against President Trump’s political opponents. But the reality is brutally obvious: Trump is weaponizing the American government to distract from his catastrophically incompetent pandemic response and the crushing economic fallout. While right-wing media continue to whip their audiences into hysteria over a nefarious Obama-led plot to undermine Trump, the documents — strategically released by Trump’s political lackeys atop the intelligence and law enforcement communities — do absolutely nothing to further such asinine conspiracy theories. In fact, they prove the opposite. The recently disclosed files show the Obama administration’s diligence and focus in the wake of Russia’s sweeping assault on American democracy. Moreover, contrary to unhinged right-wing conspiracy-mongering, the materials demonstrate Obama’s dedication to upholding the FBI’s independence from improper political influence. In short, Trump’s election-year ploy to distract the American public with selective leaks of sensitive information backfired. Spectacularly so. Well-documented exceptions aside, the files also show that the Comey-led FBI deftly steered a sensitive counterintelligence investigation amid nightmarish political circumstances. The FBI — rightly — opened counterintelligence investigations into several Trump campaign officials following a litany of Trump World contacts with shady Russian intelligence cutouts; these meetings coincided, naturally, with Moscow’s brazen campaign to swing the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

But the GOP has plenty more tricks up its sleeve.
By Ian Millhiser

Wisconsin’s April 7 election could have been a disaster for voting rights. Election officials received four or five times more absentee ballot requests than they normally do in a spring election. Milwaukee closed all but five of its 180 polling locations, in large part because it struggled to find poll workers during a pandemic. And, on top of all that, Republicans in the state legislature, on the state Supreme Court, and on the Supreme Court of the United States all thwarted efforts to make sure voters would not be disenfranchised by the unique challenges presented by an election held when most voters were stuck at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Yet a report by the Wisconsin Elections Commission suggests the election went much better than it could have. The overwhelming majority of voters who wanted to vote absentee were able to do so. And it is likely that only a small percentage of voters were disenfranchised by a US Supreme Court decision backing the Republican Party’s effort to make it harder to cast a ballot. The report, in other words, suggests that a sophisticated and multi-front effort by Republicans to prevent many Wisconsinites from casting a ballot achieved very limited results. That’s not a reason for voting rights advocates to relax. Turnout is likely to be much higher in the November general election than it was in Wisconsin’s spring election, so election officials could still be overwhelmed by ballot requests in November. Republicans also have a $20 million legal war chest that they can use to obtain court orders limiting the franchise.

The North Carolina senator holds numerous investments in firms regulated by the committees on which he sits.
By MAGGIE SEVERNS

The insider trading investigation stemming from Sen. Richard Burr’s sale of stocks ahead of the coronavirus pandemic highlights the North Carolina Republican’s long record of investing in companies with business before his committees, according to a POLITICO review of eight years of his trades. While Burr sat on committees focused on health care, taxes and trade, he and his wife bought and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock in an array of health care companies, banks and corporations with business overseas. At times, Burr owned stock in companies whose specific industries he advanced through legislation. Those trades are entirely legal, as long as he can prove that he didn’t act on private information. But the co-mingling of legislative responsibilities and personal financial dealings has long worried ethics specialists, who insist that such trading amounts to a serious conflict of interest, even if it doesn’t reach the level of insider trading. “Maybe the bottom line is, if you’re going to be in the Senate you can’t own any stock. Or at least own mutual funds. Who knows, people could say you’re gaming an index fund,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told POLITICO this week. In 2017, Burr traded stock in two companies that make medical devices, Zimmer Biomet and Philips, while introducing bills to repeal the medical device tax and working to repeal Obamacare. He invested in financial institutions including the Bank of New York Mellon and U.S. Bank, which are regulated by the Senate Finance Committee, on which he sits. As the finance committee debated the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Burr held stock in multinational conglomerate Kimberly-Clark, owner of Kleenex, which owns brands in Mexico. As tensions rose in 2019 with China, he picked up stock in 3M, another multinational whose purchases and sales with China were affected by President Donald Trump’s tariffs, which also fall under the finance committee's jurisdiction.

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded Thursday night that he was wrong to claim that the Obama administration had not left behind a plan to deal with a pandemic in the US. "I was wrong. They did leave behind a plan, so I clearly made a mistake in that regard," McConnell said during an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier. The concession comes days after he falsely accused the Obama administration of failing to leave the Trump administration "any kind of game plan" for something like the coronavirus pandemic during a Trump campaign online chat with Lara Trump, the President's daughter-in-law. "They claim pandemics only happen once every hundred years but what if that's no longer true? We want to be early, ready for the next one, because clearly the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this," McConnell had said Monday. In reality, former President Barrack Obama's White House National Security Council left the Trump administration a detailed document on how to respond to a pandemic. The document, whose existence was publicly revealed by Politico in March, is called the Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents. The playbook contains step-by-step advice on questions to ask, decisions to make and which federal agencies are responsible for what. It includes sample documents that officials could use for inter-agency meetings. And it explicitly lists novel coronaviruses as one of the kinds of pathogens that could require a major response. Additionally, outgoing senior Obama officials also led an in-person pandemic response exercise for senior incoming Trump officials in January 2017 -- as required by a new law on improving presidential transitions that Obama signed in 2016.

By Christopher WilsonSenior Writer,Yahoo News

With more than 80,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump are trying to deflect blame to former President Barack Obama. In a dialogue with Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, live-streamed by the Trump campaign on Monday evening, McConnell said that Obama’s team, which exited office over three years ago,“did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like [the coronavirus pandemic].” Politico reported in March that the Obama National Security Council left its successors a document titled “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.” It warned of potential problems like shortages in personal protective equipment that have plagued the nation’s response. The Trump administration neglected to implement its recommendations. “We literally left them a 69-page Pandemic Playbook.... that they ignored,” tweeted Ron Klain, who oversaw the Ebola response under Obama and now advises presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. “And an office called the Pandemic Preparedness Office... that they abolished. And a global monitoring system called PREDICT .. that they cut by 75%.” “The maddening thing is Obama left them a WH office for pandemics, a literal playbook, a cabinet-level exercise, and a global infrastructure to deal with ‘something like this,’” tweeted former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes. - Mitch McConnell and the GOP think the American people are dumb of course, that excludes people who listen to Fox news or right wing media they will believe anything except the truth. Trump has been in office for three years and was giving a 69-page Pandemic Playbook that the Trump administration ignored. If Mitch McConnell wants to place the blame on someone, he needs to point to Donald J. Trump and the Trump administration.

Lawmakers are sending a new ballot proposal that would undo 2018 protections against manipulation of electoral maps
The fight to vote is supported by guardian.org
By Sam Levine

In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, Missouri Republicans are seeking to undo a recent effort to make electoral districts in the state legislature more fair. Lawmakers are trying to gut a referendum voters embraced in 2018 that sought to prevent excessive gerrymandering, a process of manipulating electoral maps that Republicans have used to gain advantages throughout the country this decade. The 2018 measure, approved by 62% of Missouri voters, put a non-partisan demographer in charge of drawing districts, limiting partisan influence on the process. It also makes partisan fairness one of the top criteria the mapmaker must follow. It would likely weaken Republican control of the legislature, according to an Associated Press analysis. Now, Republicans are on the verge of sending a new ballot proposal to voters that would undo those protections. Their plan would eliminate the non-partisan demographer and return redistricting power to committees nominated by the political parties and selected by the governor. It makes partisan fairness the least important criteria to follow when drawing maps, instead prioritizing keeping communities compact. The proposal also makes it harder to get a gerrymandered map struck down in court. “The substance of what they’re trying to do has already been outrageous, and it’s incredible that they’re trying to move this attempt to overturn the will of the voters, when voters literally can’t participate in the process,” said Sean Soendker Nicholson, the campaign manager for Clean Missouri, the group behind the gerrymandering reform measure. The measure has already passed the state senate, and is awaiting a vote in the full House. If approved by 15 May, voters across the state would then choose whether to support it later this year. It is likely the last chance Republicans, who control the state legislature, have to undo the referendum before the once-a-decade redistricting takes place in 2021. If Republicans succeed, advocates worry it could serve as a model for weakening gerrymandering reform elsewhere. Voters in Michigan, Colorado and Utah all used ballot measures to pass gerrymandering reform in 2018. “If this moves forward in Missouri, we are a testing ground for them to be able to implement these systems elsewhere,” said Peter Merideth, a Democrat who represents St Louis in the state house. There is also deep concern the Republican proposal will open the door to redistricting in a way that will disadvantage minorities and non-citizens.

By Kevin Johnson - USA TODAY

It started almost immediately, with the roll-out of the Russia investigation. Before the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election were made public a year ago, Attorney General William Barr declared that there was insufficient evidence to charge President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice. A month later, Barr announced the appointment of a federal prosecutor to review the origins of Mueller’s investigation, adding to a startling assertion that the FBI had spied on the Trump campaign. When prosecutors in February recommended a stiff prison sentence for former Trump adviser Roger Stone – the last person charged in Mueller’s inquiry – Barr intervened again, prompting the dramatic withdraw of four department lawyers from case in protest. Justice's latest decision to abandon the prosecution of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, analysts said, adds yet a new chapter to the steady dismantling of Mueller’s work that had long threatened Trump’s presidency, while exposing Barr, yet again, to fresh recriminations of fueling a continuing politicization of Justice as a powerful annex of the White House. “The Department of Justice under Attorney General Bill Barr will likely be remembered as the most political Department of Justice in history,” said Jimmy Gurule, who once worked under Barr during the attorney general’s first stint at the department during the George H.W. Bush administration. "It deeply saddens me to witness the severe damage inflicted ... to the independence and integrity of the Department of Justice.” David Weinstein, a longtime former federal prosecutor in Miami, said Justice's repeated interventions in the Mueller cases is "setting a pattern that I have never seen before." "Brick by brick, Barr is taking apart the house that Mueller built," Weinstein said. "And the only reasonable explanation for it is that the president wanted it to happen."

By Jordain Carney

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Republicans are hitting the brakes on another coronavirus relief bill even as House Democrats are preparing to vote on a yet-to-be-unveiled bill as soon as next week. "I think I can speak for our conference by saying we're not ruling that out, but we think we ought to take a pause here, do a good job of evaluating what we've already done," McConnell told reporters after a closed-door caucus lunch about the prospects for a new bill. "The Senate Republican majority and the president of the United States are not irrelevant to the process, so we're going to keep talking to each other and decide to act when and if it's appropriate to act again," McConnell added. McConnell's comments come as the Senate returned to D.C. for the first time in five weeks with nominations — not the coronavirus — at the forefront of the agenda, which has sparked days of Democratic ire. McConnell did not specify what he views as a timeline for any potential Senate action. The chamber is expected to be in session until a weeklong Memorial Day recess. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, said he did not see this work period as a deadline for Congress passing additional legislation. "No, I don't think so," he said. "I think we need to think about whether or not what we continue to believe was the right thing to do in March is still going to be the right thing for us to be doing in June." Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), an adviser to McConnell, also told reporters that the next bill was likely weeks off.

By J. Edward Moreno

A federal judge is calling for an investigation to find out whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pressured a Washington, D.C., federal judge to retire so the senator could nominate judge Justin Walker, a 38-year-old Kentucky federal judge who was confirmed for his current role in October. Demand Justice, a progressive judicial watchdog group, requested a postponement of Wednesday’s scheduled hearing on the nomination of Walker. “The hearing on Walker’s nomination should not go forward until we know the truth about what ethical lines Mitch McConnell crossed to get Walker this seat," Demand Justice said in a statement. “McConnell should come clean about whether and when he contacted Judge Thomas Griffith prior to his sudden retirement.” On Friday, Sri Srinivasan, the chief justice of the court to which Walker has been nominated, issued a public order asking U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to transfer to another circuit after Demand Justice’s allegation. The New York Times has reported that McConnell has allegedly pressured judges to retire in time for President Trump to fill their vacancies this term. A spokesperson for McConnell’s office told The Hill that the senator, “looks forward to watching Judge Walker’s confirmation hearing this week.”

The message to workers is “endanger your life or starve,” critics say
By Tony Romm

Iowa, Oklahoma and other states reopening soon amid the coronavirus outbreak are issuing early warnings to their worried workers: Return to your jobs or risk losing unemployment benefits. The threats have been loudest among Republican leaders in recent days, reflecting their anxious attempts to jump-start local economic recovery roughly two months after most businesses shut their doors. In Iowa, for example, state officials even have posted a public call for companies to get in touch if an “employee refuses to return to work.” For some states, the concern is that residents who are offered their old jobs back simply may not accept them, choosing instead to continue tapping historically generous unemployment aid. The $2 trillion congressional coronavirus relief package signed by President Trump in March greatly added to weekly benefit checks for out-of-work Americans, and some people may be earning more than they did previously. Business leaders say they desperately need workers to return to stores, restaurants and other operations to stay afloat financially. Labor activists, however, contend the reality is far more complicated: Some now-unemployed Americans weren’t making much money in the first place, so they may not want to risk their safety just to return to underpaid old gigs. In the process, some states’ public comments have frustrated federal lawmakers, labor activists and public health officials, who say forcing workers to return so quickly might be dangerous — and could undermine the country’s response to the deadly pandemic. “These states are offering people the choice to endanger your life or starve,” said Damon A. Silvers, the director of policy and special counsel for the AFL-CIO. Generally, states have the legal right to revoke benefits if unemployed Americans are offered jobs comparable to their past positions yet decline to take them. In response to the novel coronavirus, regulators also have put in place special exemptions to protect people out of work because they’re sick or caring for family members diagnosed with covid-19. - It is not pro-life to send a person out to a possible death, another lie from the right exposed.

Maybe the judicial Obamacare wars are fading?
By Ian Millhiser

On Monday, the Supreme Court voted 8-1 to reject a Republican effort to sabotage parts of the Affordable Care Act. The upshot of this decision is that health insurers will receive payments owed to them under Obamacare’s “risk corridor” program. Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s majority opinion in Maine Community Health Options v. United States, relies on “a principle as old as the Nation itself,” according to the opinion. That principle: “The Government should honor its obligations.” The vote in Maine Community was not close. Eight justices joined all or nearly all of Sotomayor’s opinion, leaving Justice Samuel Alito in a lonely dissent. That’s a bit of a surprising outcome given what was at stake in the case, which involved a $12 billion Republican scheme to sabotage Obamacare. And yet, after years of litigation seeking to destroy the Affordable Care Act, and after many more years of partisan rancor bitterly dividing the two major political parties on whether Obamacare should continue to exist, only Justice Alito was willing to endorse this particular effort to undercut President Obama’s primary legislative accomplishment. The other eight justices all agreed that the risk corridors program should be preserved.

Risk corridors, briefly explained
Insurance operates on a fairly basic model. People who fear some kind of unfortunate event agree to pay premiums to the insurer. If that event happens, the insurer pays at least some of the customer’s costs. This model necessarily involves risk for insurance companies. If they set premiums too high, they won’t be able to attract customers. But if they set premiums too low, an insurer can potentially be obligated to pay for costs that vastly exceed the amount of money they’ve brought in. For this reason, insurers are often reluctant to enter new markets because they might not know enough about that market to set the right premiums.

A family-run network of pro-gun groups is behind five of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to protesting shelter-in-place restrictions.
By Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins

Protests against state stay-at-home orders have attracted a wide range of fringe activists and ardent Trump supporters. They have also attracted a family of political activists whom some Republican lawmakers have called "scam artists." A family-run network of pro-gun groups is behind five of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to protesting the shelter-in-place restrictions, according to an NBC News analysis of Facebook groups and website registration information. The groups were set up by four brothers — Chris, Ben, Aaron and Matthew Dorr — and have amassed more than 200,000 members collectively, including in states where they don't reside, according to an NBC News analysis based on public records searches and Facebook group registrations. The Dorr brothers are known in conservative circles for running pro-gun and anti-abortion rights Facebook groups that bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by antagonizing establishment conservative leaders and activists. Their usual method is to attack established conservative groups from the right, including the National Rifle Association, and then make money by selling memberships in their groups or selling mailing lists of those who sign up, according to some conservative politicians and activists who have labeled the efforts as scams. The Washington Post first reported on the Dorrs' role in the events. The pages are just part of the more than 100 state-specific Facebook groups that have been created in the last two weeks to protest the stay-at-home orders, according to an unpublished analysis by First Draft, an organization that researches disinformation. The pages have organized at least 49 different events. Most of the groups are similarly named, and they have attracted more than 900,000 members in total. The Dorrs' pages, however, follow a particularly uniform naming system, according to information openly available on Facebook. A Dorr brother created or is an administrator for the groups Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine, Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine, New Yorkers Against Excessive Quarantine, Minnesotans Against Excessive Quarantine and Ohioans Against Excessive Quarantine.

But there are good reasons to believe it will end as soon as the next Democrat wins the presidency.
By RYAN LIZZA

Crises nearly always create political upheaval. In recent history the catastrophes of 9/11 and the Great Recession both defined American politics for the decade that came after each event. The crisis of Covid-19, which has already killed far more Americans than the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that were waged in response, seems likely to have a similar effect. And while the political impact of a deadly pandemic is by no means the most important question of the moment, the Trump administration’s embrace of a massive government intervention to cushion the economic impact of our national self-quarantine has intensified a debate on the right about Republicans and the role of government. Anyone who watched the 2009 stimulus debate has to be flabbergasted by the Republican response in 2020. Back then, President Barack Obama struggled to pass a $900 billion bill even as his top economists believed the country needed a package several times that size. The Obama stimulus received no Republican votes in the House and three Republican votes in the Senate, including Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, who soon joined the Democratic Party. Congressional Republicans in 2020 have embraced $2 trillion — and counting — in stimulus with almost no resistance. Thomas Massie, the one House Republican who loudly questioned the initial package, was nuked by Trump in a tweet and the legislation passed with a voice vote in the Democratic-controlled chamber. In 2020, the economic libertarians who once defined conservatism have disappeared. Instead the most interesting debate is among Republican policymakers crafting large-scale programs to get government checks into the hands of economically disenfranchised people as quickly as possible. The two most notable politicians crafting stimulus policy for Trump to sign are Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri. Before the coronavirus crisis, both senators had taken stabs at articulating a new kind of policy populism for the GOP that was self-consciously anti-libertarian, skeptical of big business, and more comfortable with big government. When the economy started crashing in March, Rubio, the chairman of the Small Business Committee, helped dream up the massive Paycheck Protection Program, which has the government shoveling hundreds of billions of dollars out the door every month. Hawley, who is only 40 years old and was elected in 2018, wanted — and wants — something even more expansive: a program that would pay businesses to keep their workers on the payrolls.

by Caitlin Yilek
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s apparent lack of enthusiasm to combat Russian interference in the 2016 election changed spy chief James Clapper’s opinion of the top Republican. According to David Rohde’s recently published book, In Deep: The FBI, the CIA and the Truth about America’s “Deep State," McConnell repeatedly told the Obama administration he did not have time to be briefed on Russian interference. In late summer 2016, President Barack Obama asked intelligence officials to brief the four top Democrats and Republicans in Congress on the election meddling before it became public. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi quickly received the briefings, the book said. “When Clapper called McConnell to set up the briefing, he did not respond. McConnell finally received the briefing in early September,” Rohde wrote. Clapper, the director of national intelligence from 2010 to January 2017, said he was surprised that some Republicans, particularly McConnell, did not take election interference more seriously. “All the previous dealings I had with McConnell, I thought he was a patriot, he cared about the country,” Clapper told Rohde. “But for whatever reason, we were on two different planets when it came to this Russia deal.” When Clapper and a handful of other intelligence officials briefed lawmakers again in January 2017 on Russian interference, McConnell was quiet. “He was very dour. He didn’t ask any questions,” Clapper said. “Ryan asked a couple questions. Richard Burr, he asked a couple questions and evinced that he was interested. Senator McConnell not so much.”

The Senate majority leader is prioritizing the Republican Party rather than the American people during this crisis.
By David Frum

American states are abruptly facing their worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that more than 25 percent of state revenues have evaporated because of the pandemic. Demands on state health-care budgets, state unemployment systems, and state social-welfare benefits are surging. By the summer of 2022, the state budget gap could total half a trillion dollars. States need help. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not want to provide it. On The Hugh Hewitt Show on April 23, McConnell proposed another idea. Instead of more federal aid, states should cut their spending by declaring bankruptcy: I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. And there’s no good reason for it not to be available. My guess is their first choice would be for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to send it down to them now so they don’t have to do that. That’s not something I’m going to be in favor of.” McConnell expanded on the state-bankruptcy concept later that same day in a phone interview with Fox News’s Bill Hemmer: We’re not interested in solving their pension problems for them. We’re not interested in rescuing them from bad decisions they've made in the past, we’re not going to let them take advantage of this pandemic to solve a lot of problems that they created themselves [with] bad decisions in the past. McConnell’s words instantly attracted attention, criticism, even some derision. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted the idea as “dumb,” “irresponsible,” and “petty”: How do you think this is going to work? And then to suggest we’re concerned about the economy, states should declare bankruptcy. That’s how you’re going to bring this national economy back? By states declaring bankruptcy? You want to see that market fall through the cellar? … I mean, if there’s ever a time for humanity and decency, now is the time. Cuomo’s fervent rebuttal grabbed the cameras. It did not settle the issue. State bankruptcy is not some passing fancy. Republicans have been advancing the idea for more than a decade. Back in 2011, Jeb Bush and Newt Gingrich published a jointly bylined op-ed advocating state bankruptcy as a solution for the state of California. The Tea Party Congress elected in 2010 explored the idea of state bankruptcy in House hearings and Senate debates. Newt Gingrich promoted it in his run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. - Mitch McConnell is not suggesting businesses go bankrupt, but does suggest states to go bankrupt, while he protects businesses and the rich.

We’ve reached a level of dystopia that I’m not sure even Margaret Atwood could have imagined.
By Arwa Mahdawi

Rightwing protesters in handmaid’s costumes are taking gaslighting to a new level
The shapeless scarlet cloaks and oversized white bonnets have become a familiar sight at protests around the world. From pro-choice demonstrations in Belfast to women’s rights marches in Buenos Aires, the clothes worn by Margaret Atwood’s handmaids in her dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale have become a striking symbol of female defiance. Now it seems the handmaid’s uniform has taken on a newly dystopian dimension: the outfit has been appropriated by Trump-supporting protesters at the anti-quarantine rallies that have been spreading across America. These rallies, orchestrated by a network of far right and extremist groups, have also seen rightwingers hold up signs with pro-choice slogans like “my body, my choice”. Do these protesters not understand the irony here? Do they not understand how hypocritical it is to fight against a woman’s right to choose while simultaneously fighting for their own right to do whatever they like? Do they not understand how you can not possibly be “pro-life” if you’re flouting lockdown laws to participate in dense protests that could cause a surge in coronavirus cases? It’s always been clear than anti-abortion extremists aren’t actually pro-life, they’re just pro-controlling women. They have always been shamelessly hypocritical. However, their hypocrisy has become particularly brazen during the coronavirus crisis. On Monday, for example, Dan Patrick, the virulently “pro-life” lieutenant governor of Texas, called for the reopening of the country, saying there are “more important things than living”. This is the same guy, by the way, who went on Fox News last month and said “lots of grandparents” would rather die than see the US economy suffer. This is the same guy who suggested senior citizens ought to “take a chance on … survival” for the good of the Dow Jones. This is the same guy who seems to see no disconnect between sacrificing old people and sermonizing about the rights of foetuses. - The rabbit right has shown its true colors they are not pro-life they are just against a women right to choose. The rabbit right is putting people’s lives at risk. If they really cared about the right to life then that would not willing to put people’s lives at risk.

Experts across the board insist that household cleaners should not be used internally on humans.
By Cody Fenwick

Facing a barrage of fact-checks, criticism, and mockery, President Donald Trump and his defenders are trying to make excuses for his absurd and dangerous suggestion on Thursday that injecting people with disinfectants might help fight COVID-19. To be 100 percent clear: There's no reason to think this would work, and it is an even potentially fatal idea. Experts across the board insist that household cleaners should not be used internally on humans. Because this is an obvious fact, Trump and his supporters are desperate to find an excuse for his dangerous suggestion. And unfortunately for them, two of the excuses they've already offered are contradictory. To review, here's what Trump actually said:

And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out, in a minute. One minute. Is there a way we can do something like that? By injection, inside, or almost a cleaning, 'cause you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. You're going to have to use medical doctors, right? But it sounds interesting to me.

These remarks came after a discussion of a recent study on sunlight and disinfectants' abilities to kill the virus on surfaces, outside of the body. Before discussing disinfectants, Trump also preposterously speculated that light could somehow be used externally or internally on the human body to treat COVID-19, which Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, dismissed. Watch the remarks below:

After hearing presentation President Trump suggests irradiating people's bodies with UV light or injecting them with bleach or alcohol to deal with COVID19. pic.twitter.com/cohkLyyl9G — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 23, 2020

If you watch the remarks, there's really no ambiguity about what Trump is saying. He's trying to extrapolate from studies about effective methods of cleaning the virus in the environment to treating humans who are infected. It's a frankly childish understanding of medicine, but he presented it as a fascinating possibility — and on national TV, no less, where some vulnerable and susceptible viewers may actually take his claims seriously. So how could one possibly defend these remarks? Breitbart, a far-right website that closely aligns itself with the president, took a widely mocked stab at offering an excuse in the form of "fact check":

CLAIM: President Donald Trump suggested injecting people with disinfectant to cure coronavirus.

VERDICT: False. Trump was speaking generally about new information about sunlight, heat, and disinfectant killing the virus.

This is not so. As the clip shows, Trump was talking about using this information as a possible basis for testing potential treatments of COVID-19.

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