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Lonestarblue's Journal
Lonestarblue's Journal
July 6, 2024

Sunak axed, the cast eviscerated: at last, it's the Tories' season finale

I love the British way with words. Haven’t we gone past fatigability with Trump?

Our media should be drawing comparisons between what the Tories did to run the UK into the ground and what Republicans and the Project 2025 leaders plan to do to run the US into the ground. Burning the country to the ground and starting all over sounds good to their MAGA voters. Unfortunately, all we’ll be left with is a lot of ashes and no functioning government.

“Speaking of absolute weapons, hat twat George Galloway wimped out of his own count in Rochdale, presumably out of fatigability. He lost to Labour. There was jubilation for the Lib Dems, who finished not a million miles behind “the natural party of government”, and for the Greens, who won all four of their target seats. The SNP can now squeeze its MPs round the flip-down dining table of a motorhome. Referendum arguments may move to Northern Ireland, with Sinn Féin now that nation’s largest Westminster party.”


June 21, 2024

Rightwing cases built on made-up stories keep making it to the US supreme court

The fact that these cases are making it to the Supreme Court says that some circuit courts are so corrupted with right-wing judges that they are ignoring the law—and standing—to push the Republican agenda. Their purpose is to gain special privileges for only some people in the US—the extremist religious, the white, and the wealthy. We need a serious overhaul of the circuit courts. Expand them enough to balance the right-wing nuts Trump appointed.

“The 2017 provision, then, was a mere pretext: the case that came before the court was a much broader project, one that, by some estimates, would have unraveled as much as a third of the federal tax code.

Ultimately, the court ruled 7-2 to uphold the tax, thereby preserving both the theoretical possibility of a future wealth tax and also much of the federal government’s funding structure. The majority opinion was authored by Brett Kavanaugh. Clarence Thomas, joined by Neil Gorsuch, dissented, and would have thrown out the tax, narrowing congressional taxation power only to “realized income”. That interpretation has not carried the day – not yet.

But the fact that the case came before the supreme court at all reflects a troubling trend in the conservative legal movement, aided by Republican-controlled lower courts: the advancement of cases that promise to promote rightwing policy priorities even when the alleged facts are demonstrably untrue. Because Moore v United States was based on another lie, too: the lie that the Moores have not received income from their investment in the Indian company. They have.”


June 8, 2024

Trump loyalist pushes 'post-constitutional' vision for second term

Source: Washington Post

“A battle-tested D.C. bureaucrat and self-described Christian nationalist is drawing up detailed plans for a sweeping expansion of presidential power in a second Trump administration. Russ Vought, who served as the former president’s budget chief, calls his political strategy for razing long-standing guardrails “radical constitutionalism.”
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He has helped craft proposals for Donald Trump to deploy the military to quash civil unrest, seize more control over the Justice Department and assert the power to withhold congressional appropriations — and that’s just on Trump’s first day back in office.”


“Some of Vought’s recommendations, such as bucking the Justice Department’s tradition of political independence, have long percolated in the conservative movement. But he is taking a harder line — and seeking to empower a presidential nominee who has openly vowed “retribution,” alarming some fellow conservatives who recall fighting against big government alongside Vought long before Trump’s election.

“I am concerned that he is willing to embrace an ends-justify-the-means mentality,” said Marc Short, formerly chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he won’t endorse Trump. Vought, Short added, is embracing “tactics of growing government and using the levers of power in the federal bureaucracy to fight our political opponents.”

Read more: https://wapo.st/3VyftdG

Finally at least one the news publication is paying attention to the threat of Project 2025 and its leaders to our democracy and rights. I hope the coverage spreads to other media outlets.
May 23, 2024

Revealed: the extremist Maga lobbying group driving far-right Republican policies

We are up against well-funded, powerful groups trying to turn democracy into autocracy and theocracy. I don’t know whether Democrats are doing anything to counter these groups, but whatever it is doesn’t seem to be working.

“A powerful, rightwing lobbying group is promoting a hard-right policy agenda and cementing ties between the Republican party and the far right at at least 21 events involving senators, members of Congress, and both junior and senior political aides, documents obtained by the Guardian show.

The documents offer previously unreported details of Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) trainings and “bootcamps” for congressional staff at CPI’s sprawling Maryland ranch, and lavish, star-studded retreats for members of Congress – mostly members of the far-right Freedom caucus – at a string of Florida resorts.

They also show how CPI, widely described as the “nerve center of the Maga movement”, enlisted its own network of affiliated organizations along with like-minded far-right organizations – some classified as hate groups by experts – as well as individual extremists to promote anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-vaccine policies, along with others premised on the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.“


May 18, 2024

The View Within Israel Turns Bleak

The NYT has recently published a couple of articles about the right-wing takeover of Israel, essentially by the equivalent of our MAGA crowd. For a long time, I believed that the right-wing settlers were the minority in Israel. I was wrong. They and their philosophy of genocide for all Palestinians are now the majority. I know my views matter little to anyone but me, and I have no say in what happens in Israel or the US other than my vote, yet I find this change in Israel so very disturbing. It is as if the Proud Boys were now ruling the United States. How do we reckon with support of Israel as a state when that support funds the type of right-wing government that most of us abhor? A government and a population determined to exact death and destruction for another people?

“America’s romantic mythology and wishful thinking about Israel encourage a tendency to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the main cause of the ruthlessness in Gaza, where Israel has killed more than 35,000 people. The unpopular, scandal-ridden premier makes a convincing ogre in an oversimplified story.

But Israel’s slaughter in Gaza, the creeping famine, the wholesale destruction of neighborhoods — this, polling suggests, is the war the Israeli public wanted. A January survey found that 94 percent of Jewish Israelis said the force being used against Gaza was appropriate or even insufficient. In February, a poll found that most Jewish Israelis opposed food and medicine getting into Gaza. It was not Mr. Netanyahu alone but also his war cabinet members (including Benny Gantz, often invoked as the moderate alternative to Mr. Netanyahu) who unanimously rejected a Hamas deal to free Israeli hostages and, instead, began an assault on the city of Rafah, overflowing with displaced civilians.”


“Israel has hardened, and the signs of it are in plain view. Dehumanizing language and promises of annihilation from military and political leaders. Polls that found wide support for the policies that have wreaked devastation and starvation in Gaza. Selfies of Israeli soldiers preening proudly in bomb-crushed Palestinian neighborhoods. A crackdown on even mild forms of dissent among Israelis. The Israeli left — the factions that criticize the occupation of Palestinian lands and favor negotiations and peace instead — is now a withered stump of a once-vigorous movement. In recent years, the attitudes of many Israelis toward the “Palestinian problem” have ranged largely from detached fatigue to the hard-line belief that driving Palestinians off their land and into submission is God’s work.”


May 4, 2024

Israel's offensive is destroying Gaza's ability to grow its own food

This is what the IDF is doing to Gaza for no reason other than trying to starve the population and make Gaza unlivable for Palestinians. The before and after photos in the article make that clear. I doubt any Hams fighters were hiding in the lettuce.

“Even before the war, most of Gaza’s fruits and vegetables were imported into the enclave. Gaza’s ability to feed its people has been limited for nearly two decades because of a punishing blockade by Israel and Egypt, which was put in place after Hamas seized power in 2007. Israel controlled all but one border crossing; limited electricity and water supplies; barred access to deeper fishing waters offshore; and restricted the import and export of goods.

As a result, agriculture and fishing were often small-scale but essential undertakings. Gazans farmed and fished where they could, building greenhouses on rooftops, harvesting rainwater for irrigation and jury-rigging boats to run on cooking oil or car engines. Small olive groves and fruit trees dotted the landscape.”

Under international humanitarian law, civilians caught in conflict cannot be denied access to food or water by warring parties, legal experts said. This also extends to targeting food infrastructure.
“With very narrow exceptions, it’s prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless those objects,” said Tom Dannenbaum, an associate professor of international law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.“


April 4, 2024

Almost 50,000 Wisconsin voters just told Biden to stop the Gaza war. Will he listen?

Ignoring the message that swing voters are sending is dangerous. US policy for arming Israel must change. I don’t think these voters are protesting the existence of Israel. They are protesting Israel’s decimation of Gaza and its murders and deliberate starvation of innocent Palestinians, and now humanitarian aid workers, and the US role enabling Israel. Not a good look. I hope Biden’s advisers are paying attention.

We all know that Trump would be a worse alternative since he would just tell Bibi to do whatever he wants so long as he reserved waterfront property in Gaza for a Trump development. But I think these protest voters are registering their belief that our policy is wrong and needs to change. How that will play out in November is anyone’s guess at this moment, but if nothing changes and Israel has murdered many thousands more Palestinians, the result for Biden will be a lot of no votes.

Edited to add link and info:

“This Tuesday, more than 48,000 people defied cold, rainy weather to register protest votes in the Wisconsin Democratic primary against the Biden administration’s unrelenting support for Israel’s war on Gaza.

In 2020, Biden defeated Trump in Wisconsin by an excruciatingly narrow margin of victory of about 21,000 votes. As of Wednesday afternoon, Wisconsin’s “uninstructed” vote tally – the equivalent of the “uncommitted” campaign that Arab Americans launched in Michigan – was 48,093 votes, more than twice Biden’s 2020 win margin.”


March 29, 2024

Workers were on break in cars when Baltimore bridge collapsed, wife of survivor says

Most of this information has already been posted here, but I’m posting this article for its information on an organization that is raising money for the families of the victims in case anyone wants to donate.

“A crowdfunding campaign set up by the Latino Racial Justice Circle, a non-profit organization serving the Baltimore area, had raised nearly $100,000 for the victims’ families as of Wednesday afternoon. The funds will be distributed across the families and will be put towards basic needs including rent, groceries and utilities, the campaign said.”


March 29, 2024

From New England to Notre-Dame, a U.S. Carpenter Tends to a French Icon

We can all use a happy story, and this one about a carpenter from New England who is helping to restore Notre Dame cathedral is such a story. It’s well worth reading the whole article about artisans who are using ancient wood-working techniques to be faithful to the restoration.

Free link


March 25, 2024

The next Clarence Thomas? Abortion pill case spotlights rightwing judge and his wife's shadowy connections

Packing the courts with right-wing extremists is just one weapon in the Republican war on freedom in the US. Evidently the Ginni-Clarence corruption duo on the Supreme Court was a model to pack federal courts with the same. There are many people like the Hos working to impose right-wing extremist theocracy on this country, and most of them are unknown to voters who just vote for Republicans based on the lies they tell, not the laws they pass to hurt people and take away freedoms. Unfortunately, Republicans have done a far better job of setting up media as their propaganda machines, and too many voters do not bother learning about real issues. I truly fear for the future of this country..

“The Hos are just one of the increasing number of power couples in the conservative movement in which the wife of a prominent official works in the background, laying the groundwork for Republican policies that their spouses will rule upon or legislate. In the mifepristone case, the wife of the Missouri senator Josh Hawley, Erin, is the attorney of record for Alliance Defending Freedom and argued the case before Ho. The supreme court justice Clarence Thomas rankled the legal world when he refused to recuse himself from a case involving questions about the January 6 insurrection and the “Stop The Steal” campaign to which his wife, Ginni Thomas, was closely tied.

For Aronson, these are examples of “serious concerns about what is becoming an apparent pattern of coordinated activity by some of these couples in this extremist movement, including the Thomases, Hawleys and Hos”.”


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