Heather Cox Richardson

Well, his very privileged wife is permitted to make certain decisions for herself. This does not, of course, apply to those kind of women out there. Horrors!


And she will continue to have the right to make decisions for herself, for as long as she continues to make the decisions he would make.


May 30, 2024 (Thursday)

After slightly less than ten hours of deliberation, a jury today found former president Donald J. Trump guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records in order to unlawfully influence the 2016 election.

For the first time in our history, a former president of the United States is a convicted felon.

For the first time in our history, a former president of the United States has been convicted of committing crimes to steal an election.

Republican senators could have convicted Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors in 2019. In that year, the House impeached Trump after he tried to rig the 2020 presidential election by withholding congressionally appropriated funds to support Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s 2014 invasion. He withheld the funds to try to force Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to manufacture dirt on Democrat Joe Biden.

Republican senators could have convicted Trump, but they acquitted him.

Republican senators could have convicted Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors in 2021. In that year, the House impeached him after he tried to seize the presidency by instigating an attack on the U.S. Capitol and trying to rig the count of the electoral vote after Americans had elected Democrat Joe Biden.

Republican senators could have convicted Trump, but they acquitted him.

Today, twelve ordinary Americans did what Republican senators refused to do. They protected the rule of law and held Trump accountable for his attempt to rig an election.

Trump stared blankly ahead as the verdict was read. “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.”

Trump has managed to escape accountability from the political system, but in a court of law, where prosecutors brought facts, witnesses were under oath, and jurors did not need him to keep them in positions of power, he lost.

And so he continued his assault on the rule of law. MAGA lawmakers, including House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), both of whom were involved in the events of January 6, 2021, joined him in attacking the system that produced the guilty verdicts, although they steered clear of defending Trump himself.

After the verdict, Trump turned back to politics. He went directly to the television cameras outside the courtroom, where he gave his usual speech, saying the trial was rigged, he was “a very innocent man,” and that “our country has gone to hell.” Within four minutes of the verdict, his campaign posted a fundraising pitch on social media, proclaiming, “I am a political prisoner!”

Trump has repeatedly urged his supporters to defend him with violence, but there was none reported. In some cities, there was cheering. Shares in Trump media fell sharply in after-hours trading.

Judge Juan Merchan will sentence Trump at 10:00 in the morning of July 11, four days before the Republican National Convention begins.

A spokesperson for the White House said: “We respect the rule of law, and have no additional comment.”

Tonight, for the first time in our history, a former president of the United States is a convicted felon.


I’m imagining her composing this sentence with some glee… just cutting and pasting with pure joyful abandon! :tada:


I thought about making my celebratory post like that yesterday, but I was too lazy.


May 31, 2024 (Friday)

Today felt as if there was a collective inward breath as people tried to figure out what yesterday’s jury verdict means for the upcoming 2024 election. The jury decided that former president Trump created fraudulent business records in order to illegally influence the 2016 election. As of yesterday, the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States of America is a convicted felon.

Since the verdict, Trump and his supporters have worked very hard to spin the conviction as a good thing for his campaign, but those arguments sound like a desperate attempt to shape a narrative that is spinning out of their control. Newspapers all over the country bore the word “GUILTY” in their headlines today.

At stake for Trump is the Republican presidential nomination. Getting it would pave his way to the presidency, which offers him financial gain and the ability to short-circuit the federal prosecutions that observers say are even tighter cases than the state case in which a jury quickly and unanimously found him guilty yesterday. Not getting it leaves Trump and the MAGA supporters who helped him try to steal the 2020 presidential election at the mercy of the American justice system.

After last night’s verdict, Trump went to the cameras and tried to establish that the nomination remains his, asserting that voters would vindicate him on November 5. But this morning, as he followed up last night’s comments, he did himself no favors. He billed the event as a “press conference,” but delivered what Michael Grynbaum of the New York Times described as “a rambling and misleading speech,” so full of grievance and unhinged that the networks except the Fox News Channel cut away from it as he attacked trial witnesses, called Judge Merchan “the devil,” and falsely accused President Joe Biden of pushing his prosecution. He took no questions from the press.

Today the Trump campaign told reporters it raised $34.8 million from small-dollar donors in the hours after the guilty verdict, but observers pointed out there was no reason to believe those numbers based on statements from Trump’s campaign. Meanwhile, Trump advisor Stephen Miller shouted on the Fox News Channel that every Republican secretary of state, state attorney general, donor, member of Congress must use their power “RIGHT NOW” to “beat these Communists!”

The attempt of MAGA lawmakers to shape events in their favor seemed just as panicked. Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) posted on social media that “New York is a liberal sh*t hole,” and Jim Jordan (R-OH) today asked Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who brought the case against Trump, to testify before the House Judiciary’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government about “politically motivated prosecutions of…President Donald Trump.” Representative Dan Goldman (D-NY) noted that Trump is a private citizen and Congress has no jurisdiction over the case, but that Jordan is using his congressional authority illegally to defend Trump.

MAGA senators were even more strident. Republican senator Mike Lee of Utah melted down on X last night over the verdict, and today he led nine other Republican senators in a revolt against the federal government. Lee, J. D. Vance of Ohio, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rick Scott of Florida, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin issued a public letter saying they would no longer pass legislation, fund the government, or vote to confirm the administration’s appointees because, they said, “[t]he White House has made a mockery of the rule of law and fundamentally altered our politics in un-American ways. As a Senate Republican conference,” they said, although there were only 10 of them, “we are unwilling to aid and abet this White House in its project to tear this country apart.”

It was an odd statement seemingly designed to use disinformation to convince voters to stick with them. Ten senators said they would not do the federal jobs they were elected to do because private citizen Trump was convicted in a state court by a jury of 12 people in New York, a jury that Trump’s lawyers had agreed to. The senators attacked the rule of law and the operation of the federal government in a demonstration of support for Trump. A number of the senators involved were key players in the attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Awkwardly, considering the day’s news, a video from 2016 circulated today in which Trump insisted that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who he falsely insisted had committed crimes even as he was the one actually committing them, “shouldn’t be allowed to run.” If she were to win, Trump then said, “it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis. In that situation, we could very well have a sitting president under felony indictment and, ultimately, a criminal trial. It would grind government to a halt.”

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo put it correctly: this is not an “outpouring of rage and anger,” so much as “an overwhelming effort to match and muffle the earthquake of what happened yesterday afternoon with enough noise and choreography to keep everyone in Trump’s campaign and on the margins of it in line and on side.”

Still, there is more behind the MAGA support for Trump than fearful political messaging. Trump has been hailed as a savior by his supporters because he promises to smash through the laws and norms of American democracy to put them into power. There, they can assert their will over the rest of us, achieving the social and religious control they cannot achieve through democratic means because they cannot win the popular vote in a free and fair election. With Trump’s conviction within the legal system, his supporters are more determined than ever to destroy the rules that block them from imposing their will on the rest of us.

Today the Federalist Society, which is now aligned with Victor Orbán’s Hungary, flew an upside- down U.S. flag as a signal of national distress. Their actions were in keeping with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s statement that Trump is being persecuted “for political reasons” and that the cases show “the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy.”

Ryan J. Reilly of NBC News reported today on a spike in violent rhetoric on social media targeting New York judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw Trump’s Manhattan election interference trial, and District Attorney Bragg. Users of a fringe internet message board also shared what they claimed were the addresses of jurors. “Dox the Jurors. Dox them now,” one user wrote. Another wrote, “1,000,000 men (armed) need to go to washington and hang everyone. That’s the only solution.”

This attack on our democracy was the central message of a crucially important story from yesterday that got buried under the news of Trump’s conviction. In The New Republic, Ken Silverstein reported on a private WhatsApp group started last December by military contractor Erik Prince—founder of Blackwater and brother of Trump’s secretary of education, Betsy DeVos—and including about 650 wealthy and well-connected “right-wing government officials, intelligence operatives, arms traffickers, and journalists,” including Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT), who served as Trump’s secretary of the interior.

Called “Off Leash,” the group discussed, as Silverstein wrote, “the shortcomings of democracy that invariably resulted from extending the franchise to ordinary citizens, who are easily manipulated by Marxists and populists,” collapsing Gaza into a “fiery hell pit,” wiping out Iran, how Africa was a “sh*thole of a continent,” and ways to dominate the globe. Mostly, though, they discussed the danger of letting everyone vote. “There is only one path forward,” Zinke wrote. “Elect Trump.” Another member answered, “It’s Trump or Revolution” “You mean Trump AND Revolution,” wrote another.

And yet the frantic MAGA spin on the verdict reveals that there is another way to interpret it. Americans who had lost faith that the justice system could ever hold a powerful man accountable as Trump’s lawyers managed to put off his many indictments see the verdict as a welcome sign that the system still works.

“The American principle that no one is above the law was reaffirmed,” Biden said today. “Donald Trump was given every opportunity to defend himself. It was a state case, not a federal case. And it was heard by a jury of 12 citizens, 12 Americans, 12 people like you. Like millions of Americans who served on juries, this jury is chosen the same way every jury in America is chosen. It was a process that Donald Trump’s attorney was part of. The jury heard five weeks of evidence…. After careful deliberation, the jury reached a unanimous verdict. They found Donald Trump guilty on all 34 felony counts. Now he’ll be given the opportunity as he should to appeal that decision just like everyone else has that opportunity. That’s how the American system of justice works. And it’s reckless, it’s dangerous, and it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict. Our justice system has endured for nearly 250 years and it literally is the cornerstone of America…. The justice system should be respected, and we should never allow anyone to tear it down. It’s as simple as that. That’s America. That’s who we are. And that’s who we will always be, God willing.”

Today the publisher of Dinesh D’Souza’s book and film 2000 Mules, which alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election, said it was pulling both the book and film from distribution and issued an apology to a Georgia man who sued for defamation after 2000 Mules accused him of voting illegally.

MAGA Republicans confidently predicted yesterday that the stock market would crash if the jury found Trump guilty. Today the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained almost 600 points.


Celebrate 4Th Of July GIF by Onyx Collective


Wow. That’s a new low, even for them. The authors of the Federalist Papers would be horrified. We really need a progressive version of the Federalist Society. There’s the American Constitution Society, but that’s not really the same thing.


Is there some one more reliable I can lean on though?


Oh, cool. They resigned. Both Kansas and Wisconsin are swing states with the potential to appoint or elect Dem replacements. Let’s get that started!


Always projection with this crowd. When you tear something apart because you can’t get what you want out of it, that doesn’t mean the thing you’ve destroyed is what tore things apart by failing to be what you wanted. I just don’t even want people who aren’t mentally mature enough to get this in power anymore ANYWHERE really.


“saying they would no longer pass legislation, fund the government, or vote to confirm the administration’s appointees”

so funny. like they’ve been governing at all lately, or ever. this is their whole schtick. “don’t make me do what i was already going to do.” cry babies



June 1, 2024 (Saturday)

Today, as MAGA Republicans attack the rule of law and promise to prosecute their political enemies if they get back into power, it’s easy to forget that once upon a time, certain Republican politicians championed reason and compromise and took a stand against MAGAs’ predecessors. On June 1, 1950, Senator Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican from Maine, stood up against Republican Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin and his supporters, who were undermining American democracy in a crusade against “communism.”

Margaret Chase was born in Skowhegan in 1897, the oldest child of a barber and a waitress, and became a teacher and a reporter before she got into politics through her husband, Clyde Smith, who was a state legislator and newspaperman. Soon after they married in 1930, she was elected to the Maine Republican State Committee and served until 1936, when Maine voters elected Clyde to Congress.

Once in Washington, Margaret worked as her husband’s researcher, speechwriter, and press secretary. When Clyde died of a heart attack in April 1940, voters elected Margaret to finish his term, then reelected her to Congress in her own right. They did so three more times, always with more than sixty percent of the vote. In 1948, they elected her to the Senate with a 71% majority.

When she was elected to Congress, the U.S. was still getting used to the New Deal government that Democratic president Franklin Delano Roosevelt had ushered in first to combat the Great Depression and then to fight for victory in World War II. Smith’s party was divided between those who thought the new system was a proper adjustment to the modern world and those determined to destroy that new government.

Those who wanted to slash the government back to the form it had taken in the 1920s, when businessmen ran it, had a problem. American voters liked the business regulation, basic social safety net, and infrastructure construction of the new system. To combat that popularity, the anti–New Deal Republicans insisted that the U.S. government was sliding toward communism. With the success of the People’s Liberation Army and the declaration of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949, Americans were willing to entertain the idea that communism was spreading across the globe and would soon take over the U.S.

Republican politicians eager to reclaim control of the government for the first time since 1933 fanned the flames of that fear. On February 9, 1950, during a speech to a group gathered in Wheeling, West Virginia, to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, an undistinguished senator from Wisconsin named Joe McCarthy claimed that he had a list of 205 communists working for the State Department and that the Democrats refused to investigate these “traitors in the government.”

The anti–New Deal faction of the party jumped on board. Sympathetic newspapers trumpeted McCarthy’s charges—which kept changing, and for which he never offered proof—and his colleagues cheered him on, while congress members from the Republican faction that had signed onto the liberal consensus kept their heads down to avoid becoming the target of his attacks.

All but one of them did, that is. Senator Smith recognized the damage McCarthy and his ilk were doing to the nation. She had seen the effects of his behavior up close in Maine, where the faction of the Republican Party that supported McCarthy had supported the state’s Ku Klux Klan. Clyde and Margaret Chase Smith had taken a stand against them.

On June 1, 1950, only four months after McCarthy made his infamous speech in Wheeling, Smith stood up in the Senate to make a short speech.

She began: “I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear…. I speak as a Republican, I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States senator. I speak as an American.”

Referring to Senator McCarthy, who was sitting two rows behind her, Senator Smith condemned the leaders in her party who were destroying lives with wild accusations. “Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism,” she pointed out. Americans have the right to criticize, to hold unpopular beliefs, to protest, and to think for themselves. But attacks that cost people their reputations and jobs were stifling these basic American principles. “Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America,” Senator Smith said. “It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others.”

Senator Smith wanted a Republican victory in the upcoming elections, she explained, but to replace President Harry Truman’s Democratic administration—for which she had plenty of harsh words—with a Republican regime “that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty would prove equally disastrous to this nation.”

“I do not want to see the Republican party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny—Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.”

“I doubt if the Republican party could do so,” she added, “simply because I do not believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest. Surely we Republicans are not that desperate for victory.”

“I do not want to see the Republican party win that way,” she said. “While it might be a fleeting victory for the Republican party, it would be a more lasting defeat for the American people. Surely it would ultimately be suicide for the Republican party and the two-party system that has protected our American liberties from the dictatorship of a one-party system.”

“As an American, I condemn a Republican Fascist just as much as I condemn a Democrat Communist,” she said. “They are equally dangerous to you and me and to our country. As an American, I want to see our nation recapture the strength and unity it once had when we fought the enemy instead of ourselves.”

Smith presented a “Declaration of Conscience,” listing five principles she hoped her party would adopt. It ended with a warning: “It is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques—techniques that, if continued here unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life.”

Six other Republican senators signed onto Senator Smith’s declaration.

There were two reactions to the speech within the party. McCarthy sneered at “Snow White and the Six Dwarves.” Other Republicans quietly applauded Smith’s courage but refused to show similar courage themselves with public support. In the short term, Senator Smith’s voice was largely ignored in the public arena and then, when the Korean War broke out, forgotten.

But she was right. Four years later, the Senate condemned McCarthy. And while Senator Smith was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, McCarthy has gone down in history as a disgrace to the Senate and to the United States of America.


It’s not random that some of the MAGA crowd like to say that McCarthy was right.


June 2, 2024 (Sunday)

Today is the one-hundredth anniversary of the Indian Citizenship Act, which declared that “all non-citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided, That the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property.”

That declaration had been a long time coming. The Constitution, ratified in 1789, excluded “Indians not taxed” from the population on which officials would calculate representation in the House of Representatives. In the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, the Supreme Court reiterated that Indigenous tribes were independent nations. It called Indigenous peoples equivalent to “the subjects of any other foreign Government.” They could be naturalized, thereby becoming citizens of a state and of the United States. And at that point, they “would be entitled to all the rights and privileges which would belong to an emigrant from any other foreign people.”

The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, established that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” But it continued to exclude “Indians not taxed” from the population used to calculate representation in the House of Representatives.

In 1880, John Elk, a member of the Winnebago tribe, tried to register to vote, saying he had been living off the reservation and had renounced the tribal affiliation under which he was born. In 1884, in Elk v. Wilkins, the Supreme Court affirmed that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution did not cover Indigenous Americans who were living under the jurisdiction of a tribe when they were born. In 1887 the Dawes Act provided that any Indigenous American who accepted an individual land grant could become a citizen, but those who did not remained noncitizens.

As Interior Secretary Deb Haaland pointed out today in an article in Native News Online, Elk v. Wilkins meant that when Olympians Louis Tewanima and Jim Thorpe represented the United States in the 1912 Olympic games in Stockholm, Sweden, they were not legally American citizens. A member of the Hopi Tribe, Tewanima won the silver medal for the 10,000 meter run.

Thorpe was a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, and in 1912 he won two Olympic gold medals, in Classic pentathlon—sprint hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put, and middle distance run—and in decathlon, which added five more track and field events to the Classic pentathlon. The Associated Press later voted Thorpe “The Greatest Athlete of the First Half of the Century” as he played both professional football and professional baseball, but it was his wins at the 1912 Olympics that made him a legend. Congratulating him on his win, Sweden’s King Gustav V allegedly said, “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.”

Still, it was World War I that forced lawmakers to confront the contradiction of noncitizen Indigenous Americans. According to the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, more than 11,000 American Indians served in World War I: nearly 5,000 enlisted and about 6,500 were drafted, making up a total of about 25% of Indigenous men despite the fact that most Indigenous men were not citizens.

It was during World War I that members of the Choctaw and Cherokee Nations began to transmit messages for the American forces in a code based in their own languages, the inspiration for the Code Talkers of World War II. In 1919, in recognition of “the American Indian as a soldier of our army, fighting on foreign fields for liberty and justice,” as General John Pershing put it, Congress passed a law to grant citizenship to Indigenous American veterans of World War I.

That citizenship law raised the question of citizenship for those Indigenous Americans who had neither assimilated nor served in the military. The non-Native community was divided on the question; so was the Native community. Some thought citizenship would protect their rights, while others worried that it would strip them of the rights they held under treaties negotiated with them as separate and sovereign nations and was a way to force them to assimilate.

On June 2, 1924, Congress passed the measure, its supporters largely hoping that Indigenous citizenship would help to clean up the corruption in the Department of Indian Affairs. The new law applied to about 125,000 people out of an Indigenous population of about 300,000.

But in that era, citizenship did not confer civil rights. In 1941, shortly after Elizabeth Peratrovich and her husband, Roy, both members of the Tlingit Nation, moved from Klawok, Alaska, to the city of Juneau, they found a sign on a nearby inn saying, “No Natives Allowed.” This, they felt, contrasted dramatically with the American uniforms Indigenous Americans were wearing overseas, and they said as much in a letter to Alaska’s governor, Ernest H. Gruening. The sign was “an outrage,” they wrote. “The proprietor of Douglas Inn does not seem to realize that our Native boys are just as willing as the white boys to lay down their lives to protect the freedom that he enjoys."

With the support of the governor, Elizabeth started a campaign to get an antidiscrimination bill through the legislature. It failed in 1943, but passed the House in 1945 as a packed gallery looked on. The measure had the votes to pass in the Senate, but one opponent demanded: “Who are these people, barely out of savagery, who want to associate with us whites with 5,000 years of recorded civilization behind us?”

Elizabeth Peratrovich had been quietly knitting in the gallery, but during the public comment period, she said she would like to be heard. She crossed the chamber to stand by the Senate president. “I would not have expected,” she said, “that I, who am barely out of savagery, would have to remind gentlemen with five thousand years of recorded civilization behind them of our Bill of Rights.” She detailed the ways in which discrimination daily hampered the lives of herself, her husband, and her children. She finished to wild applause, and the Senate passed the nation’s first antidiscrimination act by a vote of 11 to 5.

Indigenous veterans came home from World War II to discover they still could not vote. In Arizona, Maricopa county recorder Roger G. Laveen refused to register returning veterans of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, including Frank Harrison, to vote. He cited an earlier court decision saying Indigenous Americans were “persons under guardianship.” They sued, and the Arizona Supreme Court agreed that the phrase only applied to judicial guardianship.

In New Mexico, Miguel Trujillo, a schoolteacher from Isleta Pueblo who had served as a Marine in World War II, sued the county registrar who refused to enroll him as a voter. In 1948, in Trujillo v. Garley, a state court agreed that the clause in the New Mexico constitution prohibiting “Indians not taxed” from voting violated the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments by placing a unique requirement on Indigenous Americans. It was not until 1957 that Utah removed its restrictions on Indigenous voting, the last of the states to do so.

The 1965 Voting Rights Act protected Native American voting rights along with the voting rights of all Americans, and they, like all Americans, are affected by the Supreme Court’s hollowing out of the law and the wave of voter suppression laws state legislators who have bought into Trump’s Big Lie have passed since 2021. Voter ID laws that require street addresses cut out many people who live on reservations, and lack of access to polling places cuts out others.

Katie Friel and Emil Mella Pablo of the Brennan Center noted in 2022 that, for example, people who live on Nevada’s Duckwater reservation have to travel 140 miles each way to get to the closest elections office. “As the first and original peoples of this land, we have had only a century of recognized citizenship, and we continue to face systematic barriers when exercising the fundamental and hard-fought-for right to vote,” Democratic National Committee Native Caucus chair Clara Pratte said in a press release from the Democratic Party.

As part of the commemoration of the Indian Citizenship Act, the Democratic National Committee is distributing voter engagement and protection information in Apache, Ho-Chunk, Hopi, Navajo, Paiute, Shoshone, and Zuni.


June 3, 2024 (Monday)

The fallout from the New York jury’s conviction of Donald Trump on 34 felony counts last Thursday, May 30, continues. Trump’s team continues to insist that the guilty verdict will help him, but that’s nonsensical on its face: if guilty verdicts are so helpful, why has he moved heaven and earth to keep the many other cases against him from going to trial? And why are he and House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the convictions?

As political consultant Stuart Stevens put it: “I worked in five presidential races and helped elect Republican governors or Senators in over half the country. I have never heard anything more transparently desperate than a party trying to spin that there is some non-MAGA pool of voters who can’t wait to vote for a convicted felon.”

On Friday, Morning Consult conducted a poll to gauge how voters were reacting to the guilty verdict. It showed that 54% of registered voters approved of it, while only 34% disapproved. Perhaps worse for Trump was that 49% of Independents and 15% of Republicans thought he should end his campaign. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 10% of registered Republican voters and 25% of Independents said that his conviction made it less likely that they would vote for him for president.

Then, on Saturday, there was what Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times called a plot twist. It turns out the state of Washington has a law on the books that prevents felons from running for office. But because a candidate has to be certified to be on a ballot before they can be challenged, the issue can’t be resolved until Trump officially becomes the Republican Party’s presidential nominee at the July convention. Westneat asked, “Republicans: You sure you want to go down this road?”

On Sunday, Trump appeared on Fox and Friends for his first interview since his conviction. The interview was heavily edited, suggesting his comments were problematic in some way, but what was there was still bad enough. He repeated his plans to fire generals who refuse to do his bidding and to deport immigrants by using local police to round them up. Notably, considering his own looming sentencing, he claimed he never said “lock her up” about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a claim that reporters on social media promptly shredded with video clips of him doing exactly that.

Media figures are puncturing Trump’s image. The verdict buried a story by The Apprentice producer Bill Pruitt, who is now free of a nondisclosure agreement, explaining how he and others created an illusion that Trump was a successful businessman and alleging that Trump used the n-word on set. On Saturday, an image circulated on social media of Trump leaving Trump Tower and waving as if to a crowd, but there was no one there.

Also on Saturday, top sports talk host Colin Cowherd pushed back on the idea that the trial was rigged, telling his listeners: “If everybody in your circle is a felon, maybe it’s not rigged. Maybe the world isn’t against you.” “Donald Trump is now a felon,” Cowherd said. “His campaign chairman was a felon. So is his deputy campaign manager, his personal lawyer, his chief strategist, his National Security Adviser, his Trade Advisor, his Foreign Policy Adviser, his campaign fixer, and his company CFO. They’re all felons. Judged by the company you keep. It’s a cabal of convicts.”

Cowherd went on: “[Trump’s] trying to sell me an America that doesn’t exist.” “Stop trying to sell me on ‘everything’s rigged, the country’s falling into the sea, the economy’s terrible,’” he continued. “The America that I live in is imperfect. But compared to the rest of the world, I think we’re doing okay.”

This morning, Robert Faturechi, Justin Elliott, and Alex Mierjeski of ProPublica reported that Trump’s businesses and campaign committees have funneled significant financial benefits to at least nine witnesses in the criminal campaigns against Trump, often at crucial moments in the legal proceedings. The pay of one campaign aide doubled; another got a $2 million severance package that barred him from cooperating with law enforcement. The daughter of one of the campaign’s top officials was hired onto the staff and is now the fourth-highest-paid employee, with a salary of $222,000. Payments to the companies of certain witnesses dramatically increased.

Faturechi, Elliott, and Mierjeski note that it is not uncommon for bosses to find themselves defendants, complicating their relationship with employees who might have witnessed alleged crimes. In such cases, lawyers advise the defendant not to provide any unusual benefits or penalties, to avoid the appearance of witness tampering.

Trump’s attorney, David Warrington, sent ProPublica a cease-and-desist letter saying that if the outlet and its reporters “continue their reckless campaign of defamation, President Trump will evaluate all legal remedies.” He demanded that ProPublica kill the article, keeping it from publication.

And then, this afternoon, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams, along with the U.S. Department of Labor and the State Department, unsealed an indictment charging Weidong Guan, also known as Bill Guan, the chief financial officer of the global news outlet The Epoch Times, with using the outlet to launder at least $67 million. The Epoch Times is affiliated with the ultraconservative Chinese anticommunist religious group Falun Gong and supports Donald Trump and other right-wing U.S. politicians with both press and cash. It was a major promoter of Dinesh D’Souza’s film 2000 Mules that claimed the 2020 presidential election was stolen. A voter depicted in that film sued for defamation, and just last week the distributor settled with the plaintiff, issued an apology, and stopped distributing the film.

The allegation that The Epoch Times is a money-laundering operation comes on top of yesterday’s story by Joseph Menn in the Washington Post, reporting that the editor of another media site that pushes disinformation from both the far right and the far left, The Grayzone, has worked for Russia’s Sputnik as well as taken money from Iranian government-owned media. One of the people who retweets Grayzone stories is Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).

In the middle of all this bad news for MAGA Republicans, it felt like desperation today when the House Oversight Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic tried to resurrect Covid conspiracy theories against Dr. Anthony Fauci. Fauci was director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) from 1984 to 2022, serving under seven presidents. President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S., for his work on combating the global AIDS epidemic.

Fauci’s position as NIAID director put him at the center of U.S. attempts to grapple with Covid-19, and for his work on developing a vaccine, Trump awarded him a presidential commendation. But first QAnon and then MAGA Republicans centered him as a villain who either started or covered up the pandemic, or forced people to mask or to get vaccines they told their supporters were unnecessary or even dangerous. QAnon conspiracy theorist Ivan Raiklin and convicted January 6 rioter Brandon Fellows were seated behind Fauci today; Fellows made pouty faces when Fauci was describing the death threats he, his wife, and his daughters have endured.

Video creator and political commentator Michael McWhorter noted that Raiklin has made dramatic threats of violence against those he considers members of “the Deep State” and that he should have been nowhere near Fauci. McWhorter also noted that the two men were likely invited to the hearing and that it would be useful to know who invited them.

Committee member Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has skipped seven of the last ten hearings and who has expressed sympathy for QAnon in the past, attacked Fauci by saying he should be prosecuted: “You know what this committee should be doing? We should be writing a criminal referral because you should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity,” she said. “You belong in prison, Mr. Fauci.” For all the nastiness, the hearing turned up nothing.

Later, Greene told Manu Raju of CNN that Speaker Johnson should shut down the government over the Trump verdict and prosecutions. “We’re literally a banana republic. So what does it matter funding the government? The American people don’t give a sh*t.”

While MAGA Republicans are insisting that a Manhattan jury’s conviction of Trump means that President Joe Biden has weaponized the Department of Justice and that they must take revenge, the trial of Biden’s son Hunter on federal gun charges, brought by a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney whom Biden kept on, started today. Former top Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann noted that Biden is “living the rule of law…in the most personal way. He is not telling DOJ to stand down…. He is not pardoning his son…. He is living what it means to have a rule of law in this country…. If you want to know if he believes it, you can actually see what is happening with his own son.”


sorry in advance for the twitter link. i think it’s the original, and i wasn’t able to find an alternative – x.com

edit: a tiktok copy


June 4, 2024 (Tuesday)

The Gettysburg Address it wasn’t.

Seventy-seven years ago, on June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall, who had been a five-star general in World War II, gave a commencement speech at Harvard University.

Rather than stirring, the speech was bland. Its long sentences were hard to follow. It was vague. And yet, in just under eleven minutes on a sunny afternoon, Marshall laid out a plan that would shape the modern world.

“The truth of the matter is that Europe’s requirements for the next three or four years of foreign food and other essential products—principally from America—are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character,” he said. “It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist.”

In his short speech, Marshall outlined the principles of what came to be known as the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe in the wake of the devastation of World War II. The speech challenged European governments to work together to make a plan for recovery and suggested that the U.S. would provide the money. European countries did so, forming the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) in 1948. From 1948 to 1952, the U.S. would donate about $17 billion to European countries to rebuild, promote economic cooperation, and modernize economies. By the end of the four-year program, economic output in each of the countries participating in the Marshall Plan had increased by at least 35%.

This investment helped to avoid another depression like the one that had hit the world in the 1930s, enabling Europe to afford goods from the U.S. and keeping low the tariff walls that had helped to choke trade in the crisis years of that decade. Marshall later recalled that his primary motivation was economic recovery, that he had been shocked by the devastation he saw in Europe and felt that “[i]f Europe was to be salvaged, economic aid was essential.”

But there was more to the Marshall Plan than money.

The economic rubble after the war had sparked political chaos that fed the communist movement. No one wanted to go back to the prewar years of the depression, and in the wake of fascism, communism looked attractive to many Europeans.

“Marshall was acutely aware that this was a plan to stabilize Western Europe politically because the administration was worried about the impact of communism, especially on labor unions,” historian Charles Maier told Colleen Walsh of the Harvard Gazette in 2017. “In effect, it was a plan designed to keep Western Europe safely in the liberal Western camp.” It worked. American investment in Europe helped to turn European nations away from communism as well as the nationalism that had fed World War II, creating a cooperative and stable Europe.

The Marshall Plan also helped Europe and the U.S. to articulate a powerful set of shared values. The U.S. invited not just Europe but also the Soviet Union to participate in the plan, but Soviet leaders refused, recognizing that accepting such aid would weaken the idea that communism was a superior form of government and give the U.S. influence. They blocked satellite countries from participating, as well. Forcing the USSR either to join Europe or to divide the allies of World War II put Soviet leaders in a difficult position and at a psychological disadvantage.

With a clear ideological line dividing the USSR and Europe, Europeans, Americans, and their allies coalesced around a concept of government based on equality before the law, secularism, civil rights, economic and political freedom, and a market economy: the tenets of liberal democracy. As Otto Zausmer, who had worked for the U.S. Office of War Information to swing Americans behind the war, put it in 1955: “America’s gift to the world is not money, but the Democratic idea, democracy.”

In the years after the Marshall Plan, European countries expanded their cooperative organizations. The OEEC became the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1961 and still operates with 37 member countries that account for three fifths of world trade. And the U.S. abandoned its prewar isolationism to engage with the rest of the world. The Marshall Plan helped to create a liberal international order, based on the rule of law, that lasted for decades.

In his commencement speech on June 5, 1947, Marshall apologized that “I’ve been forced by the necessities of the case to enter into rather technical discussions.” But on the ten-year anniversary of the speech, the Norwegian foreign minister had a longer perspective, saying: “[T]his initiative taken by Marshall and by the American Government marked the beginning of a new epoch in western Europe, an epoch of wider, and above all more binding, cooperation between the countries than ever before.”

Not bad for an eleven-minute speech.


June 5, 2024 (Wednesday)

Today the S&P 500, which tracks the stock performance of 500 of the biggest companies on U.S. stock exchanges, closed at a new record high of 5,354. The Nasdaq Composite, which is weighted toward the information technology sector, also closed at a record high of 17,187. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also up, but not to a new record. It closed at 38,807.

That notable economic news got very little attention, likely in part because there is so much else going on.

Most dramatically, House speaker Mike Johnson elevated Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and Scott Perry (R-PA) to the House Intelligence Committee, giving them oversight of the entire U.S. intelligence community and access to the nation’s most sensitive foreign intelligence. The Intelligence community includes intelligence from the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Space Force, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Department, the State Department, the Department of Energy (which oversees information about nuclear weapons), the Treasury Department, and the Department of Homeland Security.

It also oversees the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and that oversight is likely a key reason Johnson put Jackson and Perry on the committee.

A former Navy admiral, Jackson was Trump’s White House physician. Trump liked him enough to try unsuccessfully to promote him into the cabinet and within the U.S. Navy, and then to back him successfully for Congress after he retired from the Navy in 2019. In 2022 the U.S. Navy demoted him from admiral to captain after a 2021 report by the inspector general of the Defense Department showed he had “disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated” his staff and abused alcohol on at least two occasions when he was supposed to be providing medical care to government officials.

Perry is more problematic than Jackson. Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol that Perry played an important role in the plan to keep Trump in office after he lost the 2020 presidential election. She told podcast host Scott Lamar in October 2023 that Perry was “central to the planning of January 6,” and she has said repeatedly that Perry asked Trump for a pardon before he left office.

Federal authorities from the FBI seized Perry’s cell phone in 2022 as part of their investigation into the effort to seize the presidency; he is the only member of Congress whose cell phone was seized. Like Trump, who has attacked the FBI since then-director James Comey refused to drop the investigation into the connections between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian operatives, Perry has complained bitterly about the FBI’s investigation of him.

Now, Perry will be on the committee that oversees the FBI. In a statement, he said: “I look forward to providing not only a fresh perspective, but conducting actual oversight—not blind obedience to some facets of our Intel Community that all too often abuse their powers, resources, and authority to spy on the American People.”

Former director of the CIA General Michael Hayden wrote: “That’s unbelievable. Both of them. Intelligence Committee? God help us.”

There is other news about the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election: yesterday Wisconsin attorney general Josh Kaul filed felony forgery charges against attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who planned the use of fake electors; former judge James Troupis, who managed Trump’s 2020 campaign in Wisconsin; and Michael Roman, a political operative who allegedly delivered the paperwork for Wisconsin’s fake electors to a congressional staffer to try to get them to Vice President Mike Pence.

On January 6, 2021, after the document was delivered, Troupis texted to Chesebro: “Excellent. Tomorrow let’s talk about SCOTUS strategy going forward. Enjoy the history you have made possible today.”

In Georgia, a court of appeals paused the case against Trump and his co-conspirators from proceeding until it rules on Trump’s appeal to disqualify Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis. It has tentatively set a hearing date for October 4, meaning that voters will not get to learn the outcome of the trial until after the election. If Trump is reelected, the trial will almost certainly not go forward.

The federal criminal case against Trump for retaining classified documents is also stalled. Judge Aileen Cannon not only has put off hearings, she has added a hearing on June 21 to consider whether Special Counsel Jack Smith was properly appointed in the first place. She is revisiting a decision already decided in the affirmative in 2019 by the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals. She has also taken the highly unusual step of inviting three people not involved in the case to argue in that hearing: two will argue that the appointment is invalid, one will argue that it was done properly.

Meanwhile, there were signs over the past few days of the deeply different party principles at the heart of the 2024 election. At an event to reach Black voters in what Julia Terruso and Sean Collins Walsh of the Philadelphia Inquirer described as “one of the whitest and most conservative parts of Philly,” Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL), who is Black, illustrated the grip of a fantasy idyllic past on MAGA Republicans.

Donalds praised the Jim Crow era of American history—which was literally named for a vicious caricature of African Americans that helped to justify the lynching that characterized the period—because “during Jim Crow the Black family was together.” He blamed the Great Society programs of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, including civil rights and social welfare programs, for eroding family values.

On the House floor, Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) urged Donalds to “check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Democratic National Committee chair Jamie Harrison was less poetic but more succinct. He wrote: “These fools have lost their damn minds….”

In the Senate, Democrats forced Republicans to vote on advancing a bill to protect access to contraception. Republicans threatened a filibuster, meaning it would take 60 votes to bring the bill forward. And so the measure failed by a vote of 51 in favor to 39 against (Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer of New York voted no so he could bring the measure up again). Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted in favor of the measure. All the other Republicans either voted no or did not vote.

All the Republicans running for reelection this year voted no: John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

Some of them said they voted no because there was no danger that Republicans would attack contraception, claiming that Democrats were just “fear-mongering.” But in 2022, House Republicans overwhelmingly voted against protecting contraceptive rights, and in an interview last month, Trump said he was looking at restrictions on contraceptives before his campaign walked the statement back. Yesterday, in a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on “How Abortion Bans Have Created a Health Care Nightmare Across America,” a Republican witness, Dr. Christina Francis, chief executive officer of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) took the position that IUDs and Plan B emergency contraception constitute abortion and should be banned. In the Senate itself, Jodi Ernst (R-IA) has already proposed getting rid of Plan B.

A February 2024 poll showed that 80% of American voters said that protecting access to birth control was “deeply important” to them.

For all their rhetoric about “America First,” MAGA Republicans are out of step with actual Americans. The Trump loyalists now in charge of the Republican National Committee also appear to be remarkably ill-informed about the country itself. Sam Brody, political reporter for the Boston Globe, noted yesterday that on their website promoting the Republican National Convention to be held in July in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Republicans used a photograph not of Milwaukee, but of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.


Meanwhile the WSJ is more focused on Biden-bashing:

The mainstream media flailing to cover anything that distracts from the critical issues HCR described above is really enraging.