IN THE NEWS- “Jared Kushner Saudi Revelations Compared to Hunter Biden Laptop "After leaving the White House, Kushner cashes in on being 'foreign policy adviser' to his father-in-law with a $2 billion investment from a fund led by the Saudi crown prince. Who wants to talk more about Hunter Biden's lap top?” Robert Reich
“Why Republicans Are Smearing Everyone as Pedophiles Now …Two years ago, the pedophilia charge was confined almost entirely to QAnon, a sprawling web of far-right conspiracy theories that operated around the fringes of conservative politics... It is now becoming the Republican Party’s most energetic idea. The two most prominent theaters of partisan combat of the moment, the Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation and Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, have both seen a growing swath of conservatives embrace charges of pedophilia as their central theme... In four days of KBJ's confirmation hearings, Dana Milbank found, “ the phrase ‘child porn’ (or ‘pornography’ or ‘pornographer’) was mentioned 165 times,” along with 142 mentions of “sex” or related terms like “sexual abuse” or “sex crimes...”
…One irony of this debate is that if Democrats wanted to turn the issue against the Republicans, they would have a much richer fact pattern available to them. Trump, still the party’s effective leader, has been accused by five witnesses of walking in on undressed teenagers. The party’s former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, engaged in horrific sexual abuse of minors. Representative Jim Jordan helped cover up a sex-abuse scandal in college. More recently, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore was credibly accused of sexually assaulting minors. What is true about the Republican Party is that some of its members are still willing to support fellow Republicans even after learning of their sexual exploitation of minors... If you go to the Federalist today, you will find headlines like “Disney’s Obsession With Grooming Children Is Nothing New, But Their Openness About It Is,” and “Joe Biden’s Reversal on Sexual Exposure for Kids Shows Just How Extreme the Democratic Party Has Become.” -Jonathan Chait, Intelligencer
“Former Trump campaign aide and GOP staffer Ruben Verastigui was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in a child pornography ring. – Politico
POWER BASED ON BIG LIES …Trump, Le Pen and Orban don't come anywhere near the depravity and violence of Putin, who is perpetrating atrocities in Ukraine on a scale not seen since at least the Bosnian war and probably since World War II. But the tactics of many of the anti-establishment politicians stem from a similar well of political toxicity. They rely on whipping up anger over economic conditions into resentment of foreigners, Muslims and outsiders, including other minority communities. Some concentrate on eroding the reputation of democratic systems and a free press to build power. Anything that increases the cynicism of the electorate about its rulers and the system that keeps them in place creates a new pool of anger that can be exploited.
...Voter suppression eroded democracy in Russia and Hungary, and it's doing the same in the US. It's not certain that Trump's extremism will provide a path to power among a diverse general electorate. But he remains the dominant figure in his party and the front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Trump's entire political project -- one that incited an unprecedented assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 -- is now based on a big lie: that the US election was rigged in 2020. The more outrageous the lie, the more it can be weaponized for a politician's nefarious means. Putin's rationale for invading Ukraine -- that the country is under the grip of Nazis, when in reality it has a democratically elected, Jewish President -- springs from the same well of dangerous fantasy politics. CNN Analysis
“In the last several weeks, a list of “traitors and enemies” has cropped up online, published by the Committee for the Protection of National Interests, a shadowy group claiming a duty to expose public figures who support “anti-Russian” sanctions and political pressure.” WaPo
“Russian students are turning in teachers who don’t back the war... In the weeks since the invasion began, Russian social media have been flooded with photos of schoolchildren attending special patriotic lessons or posing for pictures as they formed the letter Z - a symbol signifying support for the war. Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov said in early March that more than 5 million children across Russia had watched a lesson called “Defenders of Peace.” It was part of a government-produced series reviewed by The Washington Post that promotes many of the Kremlin’s arguments and -justifications for the attack on Ukraine.” –WaPo
“You think you can apply political science to Russia. You need to apply criminal science. You need to be a criminologist to understand Russia. People don’t go into government to serve the country. They go into government to steal money...”
A trillion dollars: That’s how much money famed investor Bill Browder believes Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarchs have stolen from the Russian people since the fall of the Soviet Union. “And that was money that was supposed to be spent on health care and education, roads and services,” Browder said at a Manhattan event to celebrate the publication of his second book, “Freezing Order,” which chronicles how he became a Putin nemesis as a result of his attempts to expose Kremlin corruption. Those efforts led to the death of Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who was tortured in a Russian prison and whose name is affixed to sanctions bills passed by Congress...
...Browder is especially withering when it comes to the Western attorneys, bankers and publicists who help Putin’s oligarchs hide their ill-gotten gains, sue investigative journalists into submission and burnish their blood-spattered records with favorable coverage. There could be only one motive for Western firms to do business with the Kremlin, Browder believes. “They’re just a bunch of greedy bastards that are trying to make as much money as possible,” he said... Alexander Nazaryan, Senior White House Correspondent
“Gov. Greg Abbott is driving up prices across America by purposefully slowing down traffic at ports of entry, causing massive truck backups. Pass it on.” Parker Butler
"More Immigration, Less Inflation-Democrats have the opportunity to solve one problem with another... The pandemic has drastically changed the American workforce. More than 47 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021, the highest level in 20 years, including almost a quarter of Hispanic and Asian workers. A Pew study shows that most people who quit cited low pay and no opportunity for advancement.. Most of these workers found other jobs, with a majority (56 percent) earning more than they did previously. While that increased pay accrues benefits to individual workers, the costs are born by employers and consumer in the form of higher prices... Job dissatisfaction may spur upward mobility, but then who is going to do the jobs ambitious workers leave? For decades, new immigrants filled the first rungs on the economic ladder, taking entry-level jobs in the service, food, and construction industries while building the work experience and language skills needed to move up over time. But immigration restrictions over the last half-decade stemmed the flow of new workers into the United States—and the combination of the Trump administration and COVID restricted it even more... The best solution, of course, would be for Congress to enact legislation allowing more workers to enter the country and granting legal status to the millions of undocumented workers already here, two-thirds of whom have lived here more than 10 years.” – Bulwark
Mark Meadows was removed from the North Carolina voter rolls this week, as the state investigation into allegations that the former Trump chief of staff committed voter fraud continues... Last month, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation confirmed to CNN that its special investigations unit was investigating allegations that Mark Meadows registered to vote in 2020 at a home where he never resided. The investigation is being carried out in conjunction with the North Carolina State Board of Elections. – CNN
The reason conservative men don’t feel like they fit in modern America is because they DON’T fit in. They’re a minority. The problem is that they’re accustomed to having near-hegemonic control of society anyway and any loss of influence or respect feels like marginalization. These men are just describing the uncertainty that accompanies being in a minority - a tame version of it, mind, where the threat is “criticism” and “cancelling” rather than physical violence - but experiencing it as the collapse of the natural order. – Will Stancil
“Within hours of the surprise disclosure this week that Elon Musk, a self-described "free speech absolutist," acquired enough shares to become the top Twitter shareholder, political conservatives began flooding social media with calls for the return of Donald Trump. The former U.S. president was banned from Facebook and Twitter after the Jan 6. Capitol riot over concerns around incitement of violence... With Musk on the board, the employees said his views on moderation could weaken years-long efforts to make Twitter a place of healthy discourse, and might allow trolling and mob attacks to flourish... The employees, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, point to Musk's history of using Twitter to attack critics. In 2018, Musk came under fire for accusing a British diver who had helped rescue children trapped in a cave in Thailand of being a pedophile...” Reuters
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