Hillary Clinton has to be tired of waiting 4 years for the country to realize she was right

Hillary Clinton called it four years ago when she pointed out then-Republican nominee Donald Trump’s propensity to cry system rigging when he happened to face an undesired result. "You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him," she said during the final presidential debate of 2016. "He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering; he claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn't get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him. This, this is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks, and it's funny. But it's also really troubling."

Most of us are seeing the “really troubling” part now amid Trump’s effort and Republican leaders’ collective blind eye to discrediting Trump’s election loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Former national security advisor John Bolton said Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Trump isn’t exactly acting out of character, so it’s time for other Republicans to start setting a better example. “It's critical for other Republican leaders to stand up and explain what actually happened: Donald Trump lost what, by any evidence we have so far, was a free and fair election,” Bolton said.

#MarchForTrump #TrumpConcede #MillionMAGAMarch She warned us. Just sayin pic.twitter.com/kbeX7O9L1r

— sketchy_Jeff (@sketchy_jeff) November 14, 2020

I remember with great detail when the former secretary of state had to concede the 2016 election to a reality TV star. I can't imagine the humility that took, but she did it. Trump at least gets to concede to a former vice president, but he’s making no such concession by his account. He’s instead taken to his usual name-calling and alleging that the election was “rigged” against him. 

Rudy will be interviewed by @MariaBartiromo at 10:00 A.M. NOW! https://t.co/ExPIgqtIAV

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020

“John Bolton was one of the dumbest people in government that I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ to work with,” the president tweeted Sunday. “A sullen, dull and quiet guy, he added nothing to National Security except, ‘Gee, let’s go to war.’ Also, illegally released much Classified Information. A real dope!”

NEW: Former National Security Adviser John Bolton urges GOP leadership to "explain to our voters... that in fact Trump has lost the election and that these claims of election fraud are baseless." https://t.co/z6SZ06zbP3 pic.twitter.com/GyXya7xYAv

— ABC News (@ABC) November 15, 2020

That “dope” has been through five presidential transitions, Bolton pointed out on Twitter. “...and every day that he delays under the pretense that he's simply asking for his legal remedies ultimately is to the country's disadvantage,” Bolton said of the president.

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Bolton also negated the previously floated theory that accepting the election results would cost Republican leaders too high a political price. "Well, I have trust in the Republican voters. I believe that if their leaders explain to them that Trump lost fair and square, and that the facts do not support his claims that the election was stolen, that they will come to accept it,” Bolton said. “But if they only hear from Donald Trump it’s not unnatural for them to think, ‘since nobody else on our side of the aisle is disagreeing that what he’s saying is accurate,’ and I think that lays the basis for real distrust in the system, casting doubt on the integrity of our electoral system, the constitutional process.”

Fmr. US national security adviser John Bolton says history will remember Donald Trump "as a failed President." "He missed a huge... range of opportunities internationally for the United States because he couldn't focus his attention long enough to develop coherent policies." pic.twitter.com/dVEHaLloXk

— CNN (@CNN) November 15, 2020

Bolton’s not wrong, a bit hypocritical considering he wasn’t exactly willing to take a step outside of party lines to divulge details that could’ve been useful during Trump’s impeachment hearings. Then, he was perfectly content solely dangling knowledge of the president’s alleged quid pro quo to promote sales of his book, but now he’s calling on the same Republicans he mimicked in cowardice to risk themselves to acknowledge the truth. Something in me says it just doesn’t work that way, but I’ll admit it would be nice. "We need Republicans to tell the truth too,” Bolton said. “It's not that hard." Apparently, it is. 

RELATED: Trump's lawsuit against John Bolton is pointless, incompetent, and weak

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Oath Keepers as travesty: ‘Patriot’ group’s Trump-loving authoritarianism may affect election

It’s an ironclad rule of right-wing-extremist political movements and organizations: The longer they remain in operation and pursue their underlying agendas, the more they become travesties of the causes they originally claimed to address. No American far-right group currently manifests that truism like the Oath Keepers, the hyper-paranoid “Patriot” outfit that feeds on conspiracism and paramilitary while tailoring its appeal to the ranks of law-enforcement officers and veterans.

Mike Giglio of The Atlantic recently took a deep look at the Oath Keepers and the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes—particularly examining the likelihood that its armed members will engage in acts of intimidation and perhaps violence around the coming election. The portrait he creates is illuminating, especially the contrast between Rhodes’ anti-government rhetoric when he was creating the group in 2009-10, and the group’s current fervent authoritarianism in the service of Donald Trump.

Giglio remarks on how fungible the Oath Keepers’ devotion to Americans’ civil rights not only have become, but in reality always were—reflected in Rhodes’ recent declaration of “civil war,” for which he was booted from Twitter:

Rhodes had been talking about civil war since he founded the Oath Keepers, in 2009. But now more people were listening. And whereas Rhodes had once cast himself as a revolutionary in waiting, he now saw his role as defending the president. He had put out a call for his followers to protect the country against what he was calling an “insurrection.” The unrest, he told me, was the latest attempt to undermine Donald Trump.

The piece goes on to explore the multitude of ways that the Oath Keepers and Rhodes have systematically ignored the Trump administration’s multifarious attacks on civil rights, including the use of federal Homeland Security contractors in unmarked vehicles to abduct and arrest protesters on the streets of Portland—a policy that would have had Rhodes setting his hair on fire under the Obama administration, but which he now ardently approves under Trump.

The Oath Keepers’ alignment with Trump came early and often in his tenure, and in typically paranoiac ways: The group was among the more prominent promoters of far-right conspiracy theories—which later metastasized into the current mainstream-right narrative depicting antifa and leftists as violent Marxists intent on destroying America—claiming that “Marxist coups” against Trump were in the offing: first, during Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, and a few months later, in November 2017, amid the aftermath of the white-nationalist violence involving antifa at Charlottesville, Virginia, two months before.

At Trump events, Oath Keepers began showing up to provide “security” intended to deal with protesters and “antifa.” When Trump tweeted out the suggestion that America was on the brink of a civil war should he be removed from office via impeachment, Rhodes responded enthusiastically: “We ARE on the verge of a HOT civil war. Like in 1859. That’s where we are.”

Giglio describes how the “Boogaloo” movement—predicated on the idea that American civil war is on the very near horizon—arose in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the summer-long Black Lives Matter protests around the nation, creating a situation in which Rhodes apparently felt compelled to take a leading role in the oncoming “civil war”:

The moment lacked the clarity of the era in which Rhodes had gained prominence, when Patriot groups positioned themselves against Obama and the federal government. Some “boog bois” were white supremacists. Yet when police tried to separate the protesters into opposing sides, some of the young men in aloha shirts insisted on standing with Black Lives Matter. There were alleged shootings by white supremacists and also by people who’d come out to protest against police brutality. Patriot groups became obsessed with a new Black militia called the Not Fucking Around Coalition; the two sides confronted each other at a march honoring Breonna Taylor, and police had to intervene. Sales of guns and ammo were surging.

As Giglio mentions, the Oath Keepers’ servile authoritarianism on Trump’s behalf starkly contrasts with Rhodes’ rhetoric during the Obama administration. Go back to 2009, and you can find him pledging to “prevent a dictatorhship in the United States” to a sympathetic Las Vegas Review-Journal:

"The whole point of Oath Keepers is to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here," Rhodes said. "My focus is on the guys with the guns, because they can’t do it without them.

"We say if the American people decide it’s time for a revolution, we’ll fight with you."

Rhodes also insisted he wanted nothing to do with white supremacists and distanced himself from the militia concept: "We’re not a militia," he said. "And we’re not part and parcel of the white supremacist movement. I loathe white supremacists."

In reality, the Oath Keepers brand has been associated with violent, threatening extremists from the very outset, and he later proved very tolerant indeed of white supremacists. One of the first prominent members of the group was a man named Charles Dyer, whose online nom de plume was July4Patriot, and who represented the Oath Keepers at early tea party events in 2009, when he wasn’t producing ominous videos urging his fellow “Patriots” to prepare themselves for armed civil war and violent resistance to the newly elected Obama administration.

About a year later, Dyer was arrested for raping his daughter and eventually convicted. Police found a missile launcher in his personal armory. Stewart Rhodes and the Oath Keepers claimed he actually was never really a member and distanced themselves from Dyer as fast they could.

Rhodes has always attempted to present Oath Keepers as a mainstream organization, but the façade was thoroughly exposed in 2009 by Justine Sharrock at Mother Jones, whose in-depth report revealed a cadre of armed and angry extremists with paranoid ideas and unstable dispositions behind the claims of normalcy and civic-mindedness, with the patina of authority that having military and law-enforcement veterans on your membership rolls can provide.

The Oath Keepers played a prominent role in the 2014 Bundy ranch armed standoff in Nevada. A significant number of Oath Keepers responded to Cliven Bundy’s initial plea for support that April in his conflict with the Bureau of Land Management, and so the organization wound up playing a key role both in organizing the armed resistance to federal officers in mid-April, as well as in the nearly lethal mess into which the scene devolved later that month, in the weeks after the initial standoff.

The Oath Keepers were also present at some of the earliest far-right rallies on the West Coast in 2017, notably the ultraviolent riots in Berkeley, California, in April, as well as the large Patriot Prayer rally in Portland, Oregon, that followed the murder of two commuters on a MAX train by a far-right extremist. At the Berkeley event, Rhodes spoke to the crowd in front of an alt-right “Kekistan” banner, and he was followed on the dais by notorious white nationalist Brittany Pettibone. That protest was organized by the Proud Boys, and featured the open participation of a number of white-nationalist groups, including Identity Evropa and the Rise Above Movement.

Subsequently, Rhodes’ reputation among his far-right cohorts has waxed and waned, particularly as the Oath Keepers have increasingly backed out of participation in various events. They failed to appear, for instance, at a protest against Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters that they themselves had organized. At the most recent Proud Boys march in Portland on Aug. 17, Rhodes raised hackles by loudly announcing he was pulling Oath Keepers out of the event because of the likely presence of racist bigots among the Proud Boys and their allies, notably the American Guard.  

“We do not, and cannot, knowingly associate with known or suspected white nationalists,” he claimed then; apparently his April 2017 Berkeley appearance fell into a different category.

Rhodes’ vision for the Oath Keepers appears to be to attempt to legitimize their paranoid vision not just by distancing them from overt racism, but also by becoming increasingly associated with the Trump campaign. After all, it has been in service as a kind of ad hoc security force to counter antifa ever since Trump’s inauguration in 2017.

The endpoint of this vision is for Oath Keepers to become an unofficial adjunct paramilitary force that could be deployed by President Trump at his own discretion—say, if he were to be impeached. Rhodes was explicit about this when he announced plans to provide a kind of specialized “Spartan” training program to prepare Oath Keepers for combat with “antifa” and whatever evil leftists might be lurking out there.

We’re going to have our most experienced law enforcement and military veterans, as well as firefighters, EMTs, Search and Rescue — guys that we’ve vetted that are qualified to teach, to go and train average Americans in how to organize their own neighborhood watch, their own security teams, their own event security, and walk them up the ladder in proficiency, so that they are available for the sheriff as a posse, under a Constitutional governor to be a state militia, or if it was called out by the President of the United States to serve as a militia of the United States to secure the schools, protect our borders, or whatever else he asks them to do to execute our laws, repel invasions, and to suppress insurrections, which we’re seeing from the left right now.

So we want to see a militia, basically, reestablished in this country and trained up. So we’re calling them training groups, we’re not calling them militia, because we believe that we want them to be a pool of people that can be utilized by the governor, by the sheriff, or by the president of the United States.

The danger that groups like the Oath Keepers—along with their affiliated street-brawling gangs like the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer—is the rising likelihood, as Giglio explores, that they will bring their tactics of weaponized intimidation into play on Trump’s behalf during the coming election, as well as its aftermath. Many of them, it seems, are gearing up for violence regardless of the outcome, including a 29-year-old ex-Marine named Joe Klemm:

“It’s going to change in November,” Klemm continued. “I follow the Constitution. We demand that the rest of you do the same. We demand that our police officers do the same. We’re going to make these people fear us again. We should have been shooting a long time ago instead of standing off to the side.”

“Are you willing to lose your lives?” he asked. “Are you willing to lose the lives of your loved ones—maybe see one of your loved ones ripped apart right next to you?”

Your blow-by-blow recap of the 10th Democratic debate, with a little help from Twitter

The 10th Democratic presidential primary debate kicked off in Charleston, South Carolina, ahead of that state’s primary on Saturday. Norah O’Donnell, anchor of “CBS Evening News,” and Gayle King, co-host of “CBS This Morning,” were the main moderators, but were joined mid-debate by “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan, “60 Minutes”’ Bill Whitaker, and CBS News chief Washington, D.C. correspondent Major Garrett. 

With Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders the current frontrunner after three strong finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire, and particularly in Nevada, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg buying his way into every market, and former Vice President banking on South Carolina to keep his campaign alive, there is a LOT at stake in the Palmetto State, which will is the first of the early states with a significant black voting population.

Let’s dig right in—but be warned: The tension was high and the candidates have stopped being polite, and started getting real. Yes, that’s a MTV’s Real World  reference, but it really was quite hectic on that stage.

can someone get these dingdongs some jeopardy buzzers or something

— Mike Case (@MikeACase) February 26, 2020


Sanders got the first question, which positively framed the current economy and asked the Vermont senator how he thought he “can do better” than Donald Trump. Sanders was quick to note that the current economy only benefits people like Bloomberg, before listing several realities that millions of Americans currently face.

YouTube Video

Bloomberg got the rebuttal and deflected the economy talk to bring up recent intelligence that indicates Russia aims to support Sanders’ candidacy. The audience erupted in “oohs” reminiscent of the “Jerry Springer Show.” Sanders, clearly disgusted by Bloomberg’s statement, alluded to the billionaire’s relationship with China and vowed to shut down Putin as president. 

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren chimed in, asserting that progressive ideals are clearly popular now, and that while she and Sanders agree on a lot of issues, she’s got the plans to actually get it done—with a side note about the attacks she’s been fielding from the Sanders campaign.

Buttigieg was next, and said that Russia wants chaos. He then asked people to imagine a campaign that pitted Sanders vs. Trump, and what that political climate might do to our country between now and November. He then acknowledged the progressive wing of the party before demanding that a different tone was needed.

The other billionaire on the stage, Tom Steyer, asserted that he agrees with Sanders’ analysis of, but not his solutions to current issues. He then vowed to end corporate control of the government, while still keeping a robust private sector in place. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden brought up Sanders’ gun voting record against the Brady Bill in particular, implying that it enabled Dylann Roof’s deadly 2015 attack at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. church near the debate venue; he also brought up recent oppo research that revealed Sanders once considered primarying Barack Obama in 2012. 

�I�m not saying he�s responsible for the nine dead.,� says Biden, the nicest thing anyone has said about Bernie so far.

� Dan Froomkin/PressWatchers.org (@froomkin) February 26, 2020

Sanders noted that Buttigieg has accepted billionaire donations. Buttigieg used it as an opportunity to entice grassroots voters to donate via his website.

Biden was asked why his support was dropping in South Carolina. He voiced his long relationship with the state before stating that he intended to win the state on Tuesday. King asked him if he’d drop out if he didn’t—and Biden repeated that he would win.


Bloomberg was then asked what exactly he’s apologizing for when he apologizes for Stop and Frisk. He repeated the false talking point that he stopped using it by 95% when he “realized” it was a bad practice, before attempting to segue into a different topic.

Bloomberg did not �cut back� stop and frisk. He continues to lie about this, and it�s disturbing. A judge ruled stop and frisk unconstitutional. Bloomberg fought for *years* defending the policy, and only reversed course when he decided to run for president.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 26, 2020

King pushed back on the topic—though not the facts—and Bloomberg asserted that people are only talking about Stop and Frisk because it benefits their campaigns, before rattling off several of his other accomplishments as mayor of New York City, including another lie—that he supported teachers.

So - Bloomberg was in an all out war with the teachers union in NYC for years. If you call them as Bloomberg suggested you will get quite an earful.

— Eliza Shapiro (@elizashapiro) February 26, 2020

When asked, “mayor to mayor,” if Stop and Frisk was racist, Buttigieg agreed that it was, quoting Bloomberg’s comment that “white people were being stopped too often.” Stopping just short of owning his own controversy with black people and the police in South Bend, the former mayor noted that it was weird to be talking about racial justice as one of seven white people on the stage, listing a bunch of racist and harsh experiences that people of color have.

Pete's outreach to black voters getting a little desperate pic.twitter.com/DefnSKYwou

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) February 26, 2020

Bloomberg then piped in with the newsflash that his life would have been harder if he’d been black, and vowed to do more than “just demagogue” about it. Klobuchar was asked about race next; after quoting MLK, she vowed to protect voter rights nationwide.

Warren was asked about her characterization of Bloomberg as the “riskiest” Democratic primary candidate. She confirmed she still feels that way before pointing out all key races he’s thrown his money and voice into, including his support of her own opponent and Sen. Lindsey Graham, and said no Democrats would accept him as the nominee.

YouTube Video

Bloomberg said he’s been training for the presidency since 9/11; Warren shared her oft-repeated story of workplace discrimination while pregnant before invoking the “Kill it!” allegation against Bloomberg—to boos from his supporters.

�Mike Bloomberg has on repeated occasions faced and fought allegations that he directed crude and sexist comments to women in his office, including a claim in the 1990s that he told an employee who had just announced she was pregnant to "kill it."� https://t.co/MVc30HsNjp pic.twitter.com/w9kwzvbBcG

— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) December 16, 2019

Bloomberg denied the allegation before noting that Warren wouldn’t have been fired for being pregnant in today’s New York City. Warren then repeated her call for the billionaire to release his former employees from their NDAs. He was then asked if he was wrong to make “jokes,” or if the women just took them wrong. Yes, that was an actual question.

After saying he did not recall the jokes, Bloomberg noted that since the Nevada debate, he’d released three women from their NDAs and his company would no longer use them, saying that, for Warren, “enough is never enough.”

Still thinking about Bloomberg saying about Warren, �The trouble is with this senator, enough is never enough.� Which basically is the equivalent of �Nevertheless she persisted.� ������

— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) February 26, 2020

Instead of stopping there, Bloomberg then said that he’d changed the world and corporations everywhere by banning the NDAs. Warren was then asked what her basis was for the “serious” allegation, and she cited the woman’s “own words.” Bloomberg insisted again that he never said “Kill it” to a pregnant employee.


O’Donnell asked Sanders about the math on his proposals, saying he can only pay for “about half” of his proposals. Naming recent research from the Lancet, which endorsed the financial and human impact of Medicare for All, he started to list potential revenue streams to fund it—starting with a payroll tax. He was cut off by Klobuchar, who cited different data and Sanders’ own recent “60 Minutes” interview. Calling his plans “a bunch of broken promises on a bumper sticker,” she touted her own proposals.

All hell broke loose right about then, as Sanders tried to respond, Buttigieg started shouting soundbites over him, and Steyer entered the fray for the first time. 

Out of control! WTH #DemDebate

— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) February 26, 2020

Sanders was given the chance to respond. He said that Buttigieg’s program was more expensive both financially and with regards to human impact. More chaos ensued before Steyer declared that Democrats are on the cusp of either choosing a “democratic socialist or a lifetime Republican,” and thus handing Trump the win. Bringing up economic, racial, and climate justice, the philanthropist fought for his last seconds on the clock when the moderators tried to silence him.

Buttigieg promised that with Sanders as the nominee, we were facing four more years with Trump, Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, and the continued GOP control of the Senate; he then entreated candidates to pay attention to who was behind the Blue Wave of 2018. 

Biden came in hot, noting that the majority of those Blue Wave folks were supporting him for president, and calling out Sanders for few accomplishments in his lifelong tenure in Congress, and Steyer for owning private prisons that he knew were toxic, citing harmful policies in both South Carolina and Georgia. When Steyer angrily protested his innocence, Biden shut him down.

Joe Biden ate his Wheaties this morning. #DemDebate

— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) February 26, 2020

The shouting resumed; Steyer insisted that he didn’t know about his prisons’ atrocities and sold them as soon as he learned of them. He then declared his commitment to racial justice. Klobuchar got the floor by shouting over the fray. She then explained that she’s far more effective when it comes to legislation than Warren or Sanders, before noting that many promises have been broken to the African American community by our society.

Bloomberg than noted that he helped fund half of the Blue Wave Democrats, to an audible grunt from Buttigieg. 

wait, did Bloomberg just refer to the new House Democratic majority by saying **�I bought that?�**

— Amanda Fischer (@amandalfischer) February 26, 2020

The former mayor then echoed the same story about Sanders vs. Trump that the other moderates told, namely that he’ll lose and commit the nation to four more years of the madman in the White House. Sanders was greeted by boos when he said only billionaires supported Bloomberg before highlighting his diverse coalition as a counter to the former New York mayor’s prediction that moderates will never vote for him. Warren then asserted that she too has popular progressive plans that will unite moderates, stressing that she knows how to pay for them all.

Then, 38 minutes in, it was time for our first glorious break!


The new moderators joined O’Donnell and King, who circled back to Biden, who had been the first to bring up the Mother Emanuel A.M.E church massacre of 2015. She asked why anyone should believe he can finally get meaningful gun reform through Congress. Calling out Sanders’ gun stances, while listing his gun control accomplishments going back to the 90s, Biden asserted that he was the only one on the stage who’d gotten gun legislation through in the past, end promised gun manufacturers that “I’m coming for you.”

Warren used the topic as an opportunity to voice her support to end the filibuster in order to push through gun reform.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren talks about her plan for passing gun safety legislation as President. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/MaJD0XBAc3

— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 26, 2020

Sanders was then asked why, out of all the industries he’s gone after, gun manufacturers get a pass. Sanders admitted his vote to shield gun manufacturers from wrongful death lawsuits was “a bad vote,” careful to point out Biden has a few bad votes in his history. He then touted his D- rating with the NRA.

Bloomberg then cited his funding of the gun reform groups Moms Demand Action and Everytown before Klobuchar noted that she wrote the bill that closes the “boyfriend” loophole. She then invoked her ability to win Midwestern voters, again citing her dear “Uncle Dick in the deer stand.”

Noting Sanders’ refusal to support the ending of the filibuster, Buttigieg explained that he was in high school for Columbine and waited for the government to fix things so it never happened again. They never did. Buttigieg next invoked his military experience as giving him an understanding of what guns can do. 

Sanders again invoked his D- NRA rating before Steyer brought up popular polling for gun reform and the Senate’s endless blocking of it. He segued his support of term limits as a way to get McConnell, Ted Cruz, and Graham out. 


Whitaker brought up the education gap among white and black students in South Carolina. Citing Bloomberg’s heavy-handed expansion of charter schools in New York, he asked if he’d expand them nationwide. Bloomberg claimed that New York’s charter schools are some of the top in the nation, but he couldn’t speak to whether or not such expansion would work nationwide.

Warren boldly stated that her Secretary of Education would be a former public school teacher, who would eliminate high-stakes testing and keep public funds in public schools. She also noted that “education is not free,” and that an investment in education was necessary.

YouTube Video

Sanders went further, by naming several of the policies that they agree upon, including universal pre-K and free college tuition. He cited his funding plan—taxing “Wall Street speculation”—clearly in a preemptive strike against criticism of his lack of funding plans.

Noting that he was married to a public school teacher, Buttigieg brought up the fact that teachers are expected to defend their classrooms from gun violence. Warren tried to keep the education discussion going, but Garrett jumped in with the first Twitter-sourced question of the day.

Klobuchar got the first chance to respond: How will she help minimum wage workers with housing and education equity. Klobuchar focused on affordable housing in urban and rural areas. Warren cut her off, pointing out that race-neutral housing policies don’t acknowledge redlining, with a quick jab at Bloomberg for blaming its end for the 2008 crash. 

�We can no longer pretend that everything is race neutral� @ewarren nails it!!! I�m tired of this �I don�t see race BS�.... #WokeAF #DemDebate2020 if your plans don�t incorporate people of color throw them TF out! Period.

— DanielleMoodie-Mills (@DeeTwoCents) February 26, 2020

Bloomberg denied that he supported redlining, despite that not being the question, before pausing for a failed joke about winning the last debate. He then segued awkwardly to his early support of marriage equality.


— Rob Flaherty (@Rob_Flaherty) February 26, 2020

Biden was then asked why black voters should believe he can change centuries of inequality. The former vice president focused on supporting black entrepreneurship and first time homeowners, as well as a pushback against gentrification and the institutionalized devaluing of homes in communities of color. While talking about dismantling institutional racism, he was cut off by moderators. Biden then openly declared that his signature politeness about time limits was a thing of the past in this debate.

Sen. @AmyKlobuchar (D-MN) reacts as former Vice President @JoeBiden and @TomSteyer get into it during the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary debate #DemDebate2020 �: @WinMc pic.twitter.com/HL92lONWFH

— Getty Images News (@GettyImagesNews) February 26, 2020

Steyer explained his banking approach to affordable housing, then asserted that he’s the only candidate open to establishing on commission on reparations, but moderators squashed all other attempts to discuss it—O’Donnell even demanded that candidates “respect the rules of the debate.”

Sigh. I like Tom Steyer. I think he could be so useful. Just not on this stage.

— Tiffany Cross (@TiffanyDCross) February 26, 2020

She then lobbed a question at Klobuchar, about health care access in rural areas. Klobuchar spoke about making it easier for better and more doctors to get their education, and for immigrant doctors to come to the U.S.

Buttigieg was next, saying that there was no difference between life expectancies along rural and urban Americans when he was born, but there is now. He then cited his Douglass Plan’s voting rights act before Sanders brought up the tenets of his Medicare for All plan that support rural health care. 

Bloomberg admitted that what works in New York won’t work everywhere (via a Naked Cowboy joke) before he asserted the value of science, and noting that his policies shaped the nation’s policies. He specifically cited the city’s indoor smoking bans as an example, conveniently omitting the fact that California banned smoking in public places in 1995, while New York City got there eight years later. He also pointed out the crisis at the CDC that Trump’s created.

Biden explained his plan to expand the National Institutes of Health, insisting that it would have bipartisan support, before Klobuchar was asked if it marijuana conviction expunging was realistic; after citing the importance of process, she agreed that it could be done. Bloomberg was less eager to legalize cannabis. saying that while he would not take legal weed away from states who had passed it, it was too soon to move on legalizing marijuana without doing the scientific due diligence about its effects, particularly on young minds.

Sanders then clarified the differences between narcotics and opiates versus marijuana and vowed to effectively legalize it, expunge convictions, and support people of color as they enter the legal-cannabis industry.  Biden began to assert that he wrote the “drug court” bill before it was time for yet another break!

Once again, shocking that a dem debate goes this far and does NOT mention Trump post impeachment purge, attacks on independent justice and intelligence, and just today Supreme Court justices...

— Susan Glasser (@sbg1) February 26, 2020


Back from commercial, O’Donnell asked Warren about how bringing combat troops back from the Middle East will impact national security. Citing a need to use “all the tools in the toolbox,” Warren contrasted her multi-faceted foreign policy against Trump’s. Bloomberg was asked if he’d pull all combat troops, and he made a jab at George W. Bush and the Iraq War looking good on paper. 

As the only combat veteran on the stage, Buttigieg noted that he first visited South Carolina as a member of the military, just before he headed to the Middle East. He also focused on his own multi-pronged ideas, starting with restoring American credibility. 

Klobuchar was asked about the coronavirus: Should we close the border to those who have been exposed? Klobuchar didn’t answer, instead zooming in on the need to treat and quarantine those who are sick, agreeing with Bloomberg’s earlier assertion of Trump’s failure to properly support the work of the CDC. She then plugged the CDC website, noting that she could have given the one of her campaign instead. 

Biden was then asked what he would do. He invoked his work containing the Ebola virus during the Obama administration, including supporting and funding the CDC and NIH, also noting that he had the relationships with world leaders to get them to better cooperate.

After a Trump joke, Sanders essentially agreed with Biden. Bloomberg was then asked about his statements about working with Chinese president Xi Jinping, and asked if Chinese firms should be permitted to help build critical U.S. infrastructure. He vehemently asserted that he did not, but that he also planned to negotiate with Xi as president. Biden got the same question and also answered “No,” before noting that he had a relationship with him. Warren got the same question and, noting that Bloomberg had long relationships with China, brought up the billionaire’s tax returns, which have not been released, before saying that she would not work with China on infrastructure. 

Bloomberg, as in the last debate, said the tax returns were on their way, but fellow billionaire Steyer dismissed his excuse, saying he’d already released a decade of his own. He then brought up his commitment to combating climate change. Sanders got into a small bicker with the audience after noting that the communist Chinese had made great strides in education before saying that he wouldn’t work with authoritarians—all referencing former president Barack Obama, who once noted that authoritarian governments are bad thing but still could manage to do good things. Buttigieg took that as an opportunity to allude to the recent Sanders-Castro scandal, and offered general disdain for nostalgia for the mid- to late-1900s, but Sanders was not having it. 

Pete pretends to be intelligent, but pretending that the coups from the 1950s and 1960s don't have a bearing on today's foreign policy just shows that you're dumb as an effing rock. #DemDebate

— Jonathan "Boo and Vote" Cohn (@JonathanCohn) February 26, 2020

As the audience exploded, Klobuchar got in there to say that the whole conversation was the worst nightmare of a moderate, particularly in Super Tuesday states. Sanders responded by reminding her that he’s got the highest favorability scores among anyone on the stage.

Biden was then asked if he’d launch cyberattacks in retaliation if it was proven that Russia intervered in the 2020 election. Biden asserted that it’s already been proven they are interfering, it was proven they interfered in 2016, and that sanctions should be imposed now. Steyer then asked where Trump was in the face of the “hostile” acts of cyberwarfare, noting that Trump has sided with a hostile foreign power—getting the biggest applause of the night.

Sanders then was asked about being Jewish, and about Jews who might believe he is unsupportive of Israel; he was also asked if he’d move the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv. After calling out Benjamin Netayanhu for his corruption and evil deeds, Sanders voiced that he wouldn’t make any action as president without considering the Palestinians. Bloomberg, as the other Jew on the stage, vowed to leave the embassy where it was, and was cut off as he began to explain his own two-state solution.

American Jews overwhelmingly vote Democratic & are not single-issue voters who favor whatever is in the Israeli government's best interest. Acting like this isn't reality is deeply problematic

— Stephen Wolf (@PoliticsWolf) February 26, 2020

Warren agreed with Sanders that a two-state solution was essential, but that it’s not up to the United States, as allies, to decide what that looks like: It’s up to Israelis and Palestinians. She refused to answer further when pressed about moving the embassy. 

Klobuchar was then asked if she, like Trump, would meet with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. She said that she would, but not like Trump has, instead working with allies and having required deliverables. Biden said he would not work with any dictator; noting that Trump has given Jong Un, whom he called a “thug,” legitimacy. Despite his feisty promise to go over time, Biden stopped talking when moderators asked, noting that it must be his “Catholic school training” that made him do it.

The next Twitter question, which centered on the chaos in Idlib, Syria, which is facing violence at the hands of the Syrian regime and Russia, came to Buttigieg first; he cited military action, while Warren voiced a desire for anything but.

It was then time for the final break; King promised the final question would be a personal one, letting candidates share their “words to live by.”


King asked the final question, a two-parter: What’s the biggest misconception about you, and what’s motto that describes you?

Steyer noted that he draws a cross on his hand every day, as a reminder “to tell the truth and do what’s right no matter what.” He said it’s untrue that he’s defined by his business success and money.

Tom Steyer doesn't want to be defined by his billions even though he's only on stage because of his billions. #DemDebate

— Secular Talk (@KyleKulinski) February 26, 2020

Klobuchar asserted that she is not boring before quoting Paul Wellstone; “Politics is about improving people’s lives.”

Biden didn’t offer a motto; rather he named several mottos about resilience and representation before vowing to put a black woman on the Supreme Court, to huge cheers. He also noted his loyalty. Biggest misconception? “I have more hair than I think I do.”

Sanders declared that “the ideas I’m talking about tonight are not radical,” he said. He quoted Nelson Mandela as his motto: “Everything is impossible until it happens.” 

Warren joked that she eats all the time as a joke; but the real misconception was that she’s always thought she was supposed to be president. She returned to Matthew 25 for her motto: “In as much as ye hath done int unto one these, the least of thy brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Buttigieg said that the biggest misconception was that he’s not passionate, since he’s “kinda level”; his motto? “Of you would be a leader you should first be a servant.”

Bloomberg joked that people mistakenly believe that he’s six feet tall; his motto was his own word: “I’ve trained for this job for a long time, and when I get it, I’m going to do something, not just talk about it.”

"What is your motto?" BIDEN: Stay loyal WARREN: Be true to yourself BLOOMBERG: [mouth opens and money shoots out]

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) February 26, 2020

O’Donnell then attempted to end the night—but King said there was time for more debate after the break … yet when they came back, O’Donnell then actually ended the debate.

Wait, did CBS seriously delay the conclusion of the debate to get in another commercial block? Truly insulting to viewers

— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) February 26, 2020

Once all was said and done, it was hard to declare a clear “winner”; but talking time was a pretty evenly distributed, according to CNN, as long as you look past Sanders and Steyer, that is.

At the end of the #DemDebate, Sen. Bernie Sanders had a clear lead in speaking time with nearly 16 minutes, followed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, all at more than 13 minutes. https://t.co/nSKHArYd3p pic.twitter.com/OSVt6Pc8NA

— CNN (@CNN) February 26, 2020

Trump’s helping Moscow muck with our elections fits the strict constitutional definition of treason

Throughout the history of the Republic, traitorous and treasonous have held a broader, more generic meaning for treason than the one found in the U.S. Constitution. The rebellious founders, having themselves been traitors to the British Crown—and being fully familiar with how English treason laws had been extended and abused in what was then the not-very-distant past—the drafters wisely kept to the narrowest of definitions in the first paragraph of Article III, Section 3:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Thus, while many Americans have been harassed or imprisoned on suspicions of disloyalty, something wrongly but popularly equated with treason, trials have been rare, convictions rarer, and none has included a president. Not even, as it turns out, the president of the Confederate States of America who conspired with others to initiate the bloodiest war ever fought on U.S. territory. Andrew Johnson made sure neither Jefferson Davis nor the top generals nor other prominent rebels ever would be prosecuted when he granted amnesty to all Confederates before leaving the presidency in 1869. That leniency factored in spurring these obvious traitors into becoming iconic heroes. Statues of some of the worst aren’t just rampant in town squares across the South, they are also still displayed like heroes in the nation’s Capitol. 

Since even the leaders of the slavocrats’ rebellion were given a pass a century and a half ago—with at least 900,000 people moldering in the ground from the slaughter they started—how could I possibly suggest that the man who now sits in the big chair in the Oval Office should be treated more harshly than they? And, besides, how does anything Donald J. Trump is doing qualify for the justifiably and thankfully narrow constitutional definition?

On the first point, I would argue that failing to try the leading Confederates and deconstructing Reconstruction were mistakes that have paid horrible dividends to the African American population ever since. It was meant to reunite, to reconcile. But reconciliation without truth paves the way for future evil. Our nation’s political and social dynamic today is still profoundly affected by that decision.

Secondly, U.S. intelligence services have concluded and explained to selected members of Congress that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election. There’s a difference of opinion over whether or not they said the Russians are specifically working to help Sen. Bernie Sanders get the Democratic nomination as a means of getting Donald Trump reelected. Whatever the Russians’ specific strategy, what matters is that they are meddling. 

The public hasn’t yet learned the classified specifics of exactly how the interference is happening. But if it is like 2016 plus the honing and polishing of the four years since, we can assume that in addition to the deluge of disinformation, the fake news, and the whole social media assault, the Russians will be hacking into pieces of our insecure electronic election infrastructure. Perhaps this will be to alter results or simply to create chaos by persuading people they can’t trust their vote to be tallied correctly, so why bother to show up? 

Cyberwarfare is war. Kremlin attacks on U.S. elections in hopes of advancing the interests of Vladimir Putin and other Russian oligarchs by weakening America are clearly as much a threat to national security as would be, say, an attack on the software of a few chemical plants or the electrical grid—potentially lethal acts achieved without firing a shot. Attacks on our elections and on the election apparatus that Senate Republicans won’t allow to be made secure can have lethal impacts on what is becoming an increasingly fragile democracy. One of the many faces of 21st century conflict. Sun Tzu would recognize its value immediately: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”

Donald Trump has chosen to abet Moscow's attack on U.S. national security via election meddling. By purging the veteran intelligence experts who have done their job and by appointing a right-wing toady without a shred of relevant experience to oversee 17 intelligence entities—plus calling the assessment that Russia is at it again a “hoax”—the man in the White House has adhered to, if not an American enemy, certainly an adversary. He is giving Russian meddlers the comfort of knowing that he’s doing all he can to smooth the way for them to meet whatever meddling quotas they are assigned, and he aids them by making it obvious that anybody who reports the meddling is happening will be fired.

What Trump has done, what he is now doing, meets the strict definition of treason in the Constitution. No doubt the lawyers will tell me I am full of it. That including cyberwarfare as the same as a declared war is bogus, even though we’ve had plenty of wars but none declared since 1942. They’ll also remind me what just happened with the impeachment vote in the Senate.

No way will Trump ever be tried for treason, of course, so why bother to bring it up? Because Trump is a traitor. Because he’s thrown open the door to bad actors, not sneakily the way he has done so many things, but in broad daylight. This isn’t speculation about something that will happen someday down the road. It’s happening right damn now.

Trump knows the Republican He-Did-It-So-What? Caucus will never convict him for treason or anything else. If it got as far as another impeachment, Alan Dershowitz would argue that Trump can order the strafing of an entire U.S. Army division on Fifth Avenue and not be liable for prosecution. The GOP would have no trouble if Trump made a deal for Russia to write software for swing state voting machines and made a fat commission off it.

Trump’s protectors will shield him no matter what and he will do whatever. The word for that in these circumstances isn’t supporters, it’s accomplices. If the constitutional machinery of the Republic is inadequate to oust this traitor, if he can’t be defeated at the polls or won’t leave office if he is defeated, then “street politics” will be all that remains. That’s far from a happy prospect.

Russia is interfering in the 2020 election, and Republicans are moving to protect … the interference

The story has come out in pieces over the last two days, but those pieces are slotting into place with sickening clarity: Last week, a member of the intelligence community testified before the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to support Donald Trump. Republican representatives rushed to the White House in concern, not about the interference, but about the fact that Democrats knew about it. And Trump then responded by  purging the intelligence community of anyone who was trying to combat the interference.

The result is that not only is Russia known to be interfering in support of Trump, but Republicans are openly acting to support that interference. And the intelligence community is being flipped from an instrument meant to protect the nation into one that exists entirely to support Trump.

Hundreds of times, maybe thousands, Republicans, and even some Democrats, have sounded the same refrain when Trump removed some adviser, ambassador, official, U. S. attorney, or general. “Donald Trump deserves someone he can trust as his ...“ … whatever. In fact, Donald Trump Jr. made exactly that statement about incoming director of national intelligence Richard Grenell on Wednesday evening, after Trump had exiled the current acting DNI, Joseph Maguire, for the crime of telling Congress what it is legally required to know.

That formula, the one that starts with “Trump deserves …,” is a recipe for disaster. And that disaster has already arrived.

Within weeks of occupying the White House, Trump put those people he “deserved” in charge of the EPA and the Interior Department, in charge of Energy and ICE. Trump got exactly what he needed to please the crowds at his rallies. The nation got national monuments destroyed, public lands given away, and environmental protections slashed. It also got parents being taken away in front of their kids, an ugly and useless wall being erected along the border, the destruction of the immigration policies that have defined America, and children in cages. That is what it means when Trump gets what he “deserves” and America doesn’t.

It took Trump longer to overcome the judiciary. From the moment he sat down in the Oval Office, the justice system has been a thorn in his side. Whether it was judges ruling against his travel ban, U.S. attorneys stubbornly continuing to investigate crimes committed by Trump’s company and friends, or even Trump loyalist Jeff Sessions stepping aside from the Russia investigation, the whole judiciary seemed to represent a limit on his authority. Then Trump got the attorney general he deserved. And the hundreds of new federal judges he deserved. And America got laws that protected Trump from charges, or investigation, or even mention in any criminal affair. 

There should have been a roadblock at the legislature, but despite all the efforts made in the House, the narrow Republican majority in the Senate had already made it abundantly clear that it was the Senate he deserves. Trump got a big tax cut—not just for “billionaires” in the abstract, but a huge reward for himself of tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars. Trump got the judges he deserves, the Cabinet officers he deserves, the support for bombing and murder that he deserves, the voter suppression he deserves. And of course he got the impeachment trial strangled in its crib, just as he deserves.

Fresh off that endorsement of everything he deserves, Trump launched into full-on purge mode, clearing out the remaining members of every agency that thought they were there for something other than what Trump deserves. The State Department and the NSA, a second pass through the DOJ … giving Trump what he deserves.

Now he’s got what he deserves. He’s got an attorney general willing to set aside the law for Trump. He’s got a Republican Congress that is protecting him even if that means openly acting against the nation. He’s got an incoming DNI who knows nothing about intelligence … but knows that he is exactly what Trump deserves.

One more visit with Masha Gessen:

Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system; the judiciary collapsed unnoticed. The capture of institutions in Turkey has been carried out even faster, by a man once celebrated as the democrat to lead Turkey into the EU. Poland has in less than a year undone half of a quarter century’s accomplishments in building a constitutional democracy.

Of course, the United States has much stronger institutions than Germany did in the 1930s, or Russia does today. Both Clinton and Obama in their speeches stressed the importance and strength of these institutions. The problem, however, is that many of these institutions are enshrined in political culture rather than in law, and all of them—including the ones enshrined in law—depend on the good faith of all actors to fulfill their purpose and uphold the Constitution.

Elections are also an institution. Their free and fair execution is just as dependent on the “good faith of all actors,” and not on Donald Trump getting what he “deserves.”

Trump replaced intelligence director after election security briefing caused Republican panic

By any measure, outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire did Donald Trump a huge favor. Confronted by a report from the intelligence community inspector general that a whistleblower had raised an urgent concern, according to regulations, Maguire had no choice but to take that information to Congress. He didn’t. Instead, Maguire took the whistleblower report to the White House and the Department of Justice, where he was promptly told that it was of no concern, please stay quiet, that’s all, thank you. 

But despite his contribution to burying the issue that led to Trump’s impeachment, Maguire isn’t going to get the chance to remove the “acting” from his title and be nominated for the post of DNI. Instead, he’s getting ready to head out the door, and will be replaced by the worst, least qualified, and most poorly suited candidate imaginable. And it seems that Maguire was on track to be the new DNI until only a week ago, when a single briefing turned the intelligence community upside down.

The whole decision to replace Maguire with the spectacularly awful and in no way qualified Richard Grenell seems to be based on something that’s just as bad as the incoming DNI … but also strangely interesting.

According to The Washington Post, everything pivoted around a classified briefing given to the House Intelligence Committee last Thursday. A briefing on the topic of election security. Specifically, the subject of the meeting was “election security and foreign interference in the run-up to the 2020 election.” The meeting was not exclusive to Democrats. Unlike some recent hearings where Republicans have put on a show of being absent, they were in the room for this closed-door briefing—including Devin Nunes. 

At that briefing, intelligence official Shelby Pierson said … something. Something that made Republicans on the committee run back to report to Trump. Whatever that something was, it apparently made Trump hugely angry that this information had reached House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, because, according to the Post, “the information would be helpful to Democrats if it were released publicly, the people familiar with the matter said.”

Trump was so angry that he dragged in Maguire and confronted him over what Pierson had said. After that, Trump dismissed Maguire, replacing him as acting DNI with belligerent neo-fascist Grenell. Even though Trump has been busy cleaning house of officials in the NSA, DOJ, Pentagon, and State Department that don’t have Trump’s logo tattooed on their foreheads, Maguire was definitely on the inside of Trump’s circle … until that briefing. 

To recap: An intelligence official gave a briefing on threats to election security and of foreign interference going into the 2020 election. Whatever was in that briefing, it frightened Republicans enough that they ran to tell Trump that Democrats had seen it. The information is considered so “damaging” if it were to reach the public that Trump replaced the DNI with a far-right troll who has no experience in or connections to intelligence, and whose specialty is attacking opponents while defending neo-fascist leaders around the world.

Let the speculation begin.

Cages installed outside Iowa caucus sites remind public to not look away from anti-immigrant abuses

Iowans on their way to caucus in Des Moines on Monday may encounter a reminder from a leading immigrant and refugee rights advocacy group: in the midst of the Republican Senate’s sham impeachment trial, threats of war with Iran, and other imperial presidency horrors, abuses at our southern border and in detention facilities across the U.S. continue. 

“We put up a dozen chain-link cages in the city, placing them outside caucus sites, media offices, and other prominent places in the city, like city hall,” RAICES said in a statement received by Daily Kos. “These cages have fake children inside covered with mylar blankets, symbolizing the children jailed in detention along the border and throughout the country. Each cage includes a #DontLookAway sign and plays an actual recording from a child who was kept in detention.”

RAICES, which in 2018 donated millions to assist in the reunification of families separated by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, seeks to keep a focus on anti-immigrant policies that, in just a few examples, have jailed record numbers of people in inhumane Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities (and in direct defiance of congressional limits), contributed to the in-custody deaths of a number of children and other vulnerable populations, and blocked the U.S. and international rights of asylum-seekers.

“We’re doing this as the administration has broken records in immigration detention by keeping up to 55,000 people jailed at once, and has sent back more than 60,000 people to Mexico to await their asylum hearings in conditions that are utterly depraved, as we have been documenting for months,” RAICES continued in the statement. “We’re doing this as the Trump administration has quadrupled workplace raids that target people holding a job and paying taxes in this country.”




This isn’t the first time RAICES has used installations to call attention to the rights of immigrants and refugees. At the 2019 South by Southwest Convention, the group recreated the notorious “ice boxes” where migrants are initially held by Border Patrol, and then later that year installed cages across New York City. “We’re replicating the action in Des Moines at the height of the most anticipated caucus in modern history,” RAICES said. “We’re doing this because almost no politicians in this country are laser-focused on immigration. While some do far better than others, the horror at our border still goes ignored far too often, absent from the policy debates and statements from elected officials.”

But our nation’s immigration system doesn’t have to be this way. The group points to its Migrant Justice Platform, which pushes for major changes to our current and unjust system, including “a full moratorium on deportations, an end to immigrant detention, citizenship for all 11 million undocumented people in the country, demilitarization of the border, the dismantling of ICE and CBP, and the formation of truth and reconciliation committees examining the human rights abuses committed against immigrants by past administrations,” the group said.

“The horrors at our border and throughout our immigration system are too often ignored by the public and politicians,” chief advocacy officer Erika Andiola said in the statement. “We’re asking people in Iowa and across the country: Don’t look away from the terrors enacted in your name. Don’t look away from the kids in cages, the asylum-seekers turned back at our border, the deportation raids destroying communities across the country. This anti-immigrant crackdown has to end.”