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What the Republican senator has asked Americans to do

The data at the Trump Twitter Archive show that President Trump tweeted: “no collusion” five times in 2017, fifty-three times in 2018, and ninety-five times in 2019.“no obstruction” once in 2017, twelve times in 2018, and fifty-two times in 2019.“no quid pro quo” eighteen times between Sept 24 and Dec 12, 2019.“no bribery” and “no extortion” four times each in late 2019.Nixon said "I am not a crook" only once on television, and everyone immediately knew he was a crook.Trump's repetition wears down people's skepticism. It shouldn't. It's the same kind of transparently false defense as Nixon's. Trump denies committing these offenses because he knows he committed them, and he knows we know he committed them, and he knows that a lie can replace the truth if he repeats it enough. The disinformation has taken root, but we mustn't let it grow any further.Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican who isn't seeking reelection, said he would vote against calling…
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Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's defense attorneys, receives $65 million in charitable funds

Yesterday the Associated Press published a most interesting article by Michael Biesecker. It is long. Here, I've summarized and reorganized the information.Although the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), "as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, is barred under IRS rules from engaging in partisan political activities," nevertheless a half-dozen ACLJ lawyers, including its chief counsel Jay Sekulow and his son, are part of Trump's legal defense team in the impeachment. "Charity watchdogs for years have raised concerns," the AP story explains, "about the blurred lines between for-profit businesses tied to Sekulow and the complex web of non-profit entities he and his family control."An AP investigation "of tax returns for the ACLJ and other charities tied to Sekulow" found that between "2008 to 2017, the most recent year available, show that more than $65 million in charitable funds were paid to Sekulow, his wife, his sons, his…

Eye-popping climate headlines from 2018 and 2019

I have collected these links. Who knows what to do with them? You do. Go do it, please."Antarctica just registered its hottest temperature ever," Drew Kann, CNN, February 7, 2020."Bumblebees are going extinct in a time of ‘climate chaos’," Douglas Main, National Geographic, February 7, 2020."We may avoid the very worst climate scenario. But the next-worst is still pretty awful." Chris Mooney and Andrew Freedman, Washington Post, January 30, 2020."Unprecedented data confirms that Antarctica’s most dangerous glacier is melting from below," Chris Mooney, Washington Post, January 30, 2020.Wait for it. 100 years of #climate anomalies in 15 seconds.

There’s no time to waste. There is no planet B. #ActOnClimate. Time for a #GreenNewDeal.#ClimateCrisis#Energy#go100re#PanelsNotPipelinespic.twitter.com/B5OkV5QbGT— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) January 26, 2020"Nearly Half A Billion Animals Feared Dead In Australian Wildfires," Josie Harvey, Huffingt…

January 2020: Misrepresentations of North Korean denuclearization

At the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in June 2018, the leaders signed what Fox News described as "a vague statement" with a vision of "a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when or how it would occur." On December 8, 2019, Trump tweeted that Kim had "signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore" and that Kim has "far too much to lose" to throw away this agreement. A North Korean official, Kim Yong Chol, responded with the correction that they feel that they "have nothing more to lose."(Meanwhile, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien referred to Kim Jong-un as "Chairman Un," rather than Chairman Kim.)"Chairman Un" may have reconsidered his Christmas gift, says Trump's national security adviser, but the US is still closely monitoring.

"I don't want to speculate about what will happen. But we have a lot of tools in our toolkit." pic.twitter.com/VF8ZBznsf4— …

The beginning of the Iraq War in 2003

[This article was written in 2004. It was never published, and I have decided, fifteen years later, to post it online here.] The invasion of Iraq was declared for the purpose of ending the decades-long dictatorship of President Saddam Hussein — which was suspected of producing weapons of mass destruction and sheltering terrorists who threatened the US — and to replace it with a democratic government. The U.S. military’s mission objectives were:End the regime of Saddam HusseinIdentify, isolate, and eliminate Iraq’s WMD, systems, and facilitiesCapture or drive out terrorists sheltered in IraqCollect intelligence on terrorist networks and on Iraq’s illicit WMD activitySecure Iraq’s oil fields and natural resources for the Iraqi peopleEnd sanctions and immediately deliver humanitarian relief and assistanceHelp the Iraqi people rapidly transition to a representative form of self-government that does not threaten its neighbors and is committed to the territorial integrity of IraqThe United…

The 'quid pro quo' in the Trump/Zelensky call transcript

Transcript of the July 25, 2019 phone callCaveat within the transcript itself: "The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty Officers and NSC policy staff assigned to listen and memorialize the conversation in written form as the conversation takes place. A number of factors can affect the accuracy of the record, including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation."Gordon Sondland, testifying publicly on Nov. 20, said:...members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a 'quid pro quo?' With regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.In late September, a week after news broke that a whistleblower had reported an inappropriate call President Trump had with Ukraine's President Zelensky, Trump attempted to defend himself by releasing what he referred to as a "transcript&quo…

Praying with the U.S. president

In 1950, the evangelical preacher Billy Graham, then 31 years old, landed a brief private meeting with President Harry S. Truman at the White House. Graham offered to pray, and Truman consented.Outside, on the White House lawn, reporters were waiting for Graham. Graham eagerly revealed details of the conversation. Tell us more about the prayer, the reporters asked. And Graham, not realizing the reporters were looking to sensationalize the story, knelt in prayer for the cameras. Image caption: From left to right, Jerry Beavan, Billy Graham, Clifford Barrows and Grady Wilson. Photo by the Associated Press.Truman was furious. He thought the preacher's prayer stunt looked ridiculous and made him look ridiculous by association.What changed in the assumptions of proper presidential behavior?Flash forward nearly 70 years. Today, the President allows people to pray for him — not just one preacher in private, but multiple preachers, touching him, with official cameras in the room. Image capt…