Who Are These People
Earlier this week, as the challenge by congressional Republicans of the choice of electors by six states loomed ahead of us, I shared with my spouse how miserably dispirited I had become as an American citizen. The realization weighed heavily on me that I have nothing in common with nearly half the electorate in this country: not my social values and attitudes; not my political beliefs and allegiances; not the value that my ethical sensibilities place on rationality, cooperation and the common good; not even my fundamental moral principles.
I cannot relate to these others, nor do I want to. I already know what they represent, and what they represent, I despise. I feel alienated from them. They make me feel that I am a stranger in my own homeland. I suppose the alienation felt is mutual between us. But I cannot reach out to them. Like addicts, they need to recognize and claim their own demons and crawl away from them. Neither I nor anybody else can do that for them. This may be a harsh and uncharitable comparison. But I would be dishonest with myself to think and to say otherwise.;
Steven Pokorny, Urbandale
Senate Republicans Are Bathed In Shame
Theres no impartial justice, just protection of Trump at all costs.
By Frank Bruni
The impeachment trial of Donald John Trump began on Thursday when John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, directed all of the senators to stand and raise their right hands. Ever since I cant get two questions out of my head.
The first: How in Gods name and it was in Gods name can the Republicans who have already decided to acquit President Trump take a solemn oath to administer impartial justice? Theyre partial to the core, unabashedly so, as their united march toward a foregone conclusion shows. A mind-meld this ironclad isnt a reflection of facts. Its a triumph of factionalism.
The majority of the partys senators have said outright or clearly signaled that they have no intention of finding the president guilty and removing him from office. Yapping lap dogs like Lindsey Graham and obedient manservants like Mitch McConnell have gone further, mocking the whole impeachment process.
So the oath they took: How does that work? Did they cross the fingers on their left hands? Do they reason that American politics has reached a nadir of such fundamental hypocrisy and overweening partisanship that no one regards that pledge as anything but window dressing?
If there were nothing to this, why would Trump stonewall Congress to the extent that he has? Thats not how the innocent act.
A pathological liar, Cruz called Trump.
What To Watch For
It is highly unlikely Cruz or Hawley will resign or be forced out, but their political prospects both within and outside the senate appeared to have dimmed. In addition to alienating possible donors, one anonymous Republican senator told Politico the caucus would face a reckoning over Hawley and Cruz.
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Think Republicans Are Disconnected From Reality It’s Even Worse Among Liberals
A new survey found Democrats live with less political diversity despite being more tolerant of it with startling results
In a surprising new national survey, members of each major American political party were asked what they imagined to be the beliefs held by members of the other. The survey asked Democrats: How many Republicans believe that racism is still a problem in America today? Democrats guessed 50%. Its actually 79%. The survey asked Republicans how many Democrats believe most police are bad people. Republicans estimated half; its really 15%.
The survey, published by the thinktank More in Common as part of its Hidden Tribes of America project, was based on a sample of more than 2,000 people. One of the studys findings: the wilder a persons guess as to what the other party is thinking, the more likely they are to also personally disparage members of the opposite party as mean, selfish or bad. Not only do the two parties diverge on a great many issues, they also disagree on what they disagree on.
This effect, the report says, is so strong that Democrats without a high school diploma are three times more accurate than those with a postgraduate degree. And the more politically engaged a person is, the greater the distortion.
Should the US participate in the Paris climate accord and reduce greenhouse gas emissions regardless of what other countries do? A majority of voters in both parties said yes.
Our Very Right To Vote Under Fire
The foundation of the American democracy is the absolute right of the people to choose their own leaders through the ballot box. Historians label this the sovereignty of the people. We are our own authority, in the decision-making process of the state and in the maintenance of order.
This absolute right of the people is under severe attack. Many of our fellow citizens believe that votes legitimately cast and counted are illegitimate. I do not know how or even if we will return to a culture of trust in the sovereignty of the people, and if we cannot go back, how will American democracy survive?
;Karen Merrick, Guttenberg
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Hes Destroyed Conservatism: The Republican Case Against Trumps Gop
Stuart Stevens was a winning GOP operative. Now he feels terrible about what hes done to the country.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
Michael Grunwald is a senior staff writer for;Politico Magazine.
Stuart Stevens spent four decades helping Republicansa lot of Republicanswin. Hes one of the most successful political operatives of his generation, crafting ads and devising strategies for President George W. Bush, Republican presidential nominees Mitt Romney and Bob Dole, and dozens of GOP governors, senators and congressmen. He didnt win every race, but he thinks he had the best won-lost record in Republican campaign world.
And now he feels terrible about it.
Stevens now believes the Republican Party is, not to put too fine a point on it, a malign force jeopardizing the survival of American democracy. Hes written a searing apologia of a book called It Was All a Lie that compares his lifelong party to the Mafia, to Bernie Madoffs fraud scheme, to the segregationist movement, even to the Nazis. Hes pretty disillusioned.
It Was All a Lie is really about the party that spawned Trump and now marches in near-lockstep behind himthe party to which 67-year-old Stevens has devoted his career. The GOPs abject surrender to its unorthodox and unconservative leader was a surprise to Stevens, but he has concluded that he shouldnt have been surprised.
Aboard Mitt Romney’s campaign plane in Sept. 2012, senior adviser Stuart Stevens speaks to the press. | AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Hart Is Doing The Right Thing
I know Rita Hart personally and in my experience, she is the kind of person who is always trying to do the right thing, even if its difficult and an uphill battle.
Hart would likely win if just the uncounted 22 ballots were counted, but she is going a step further to ensure everyone can be confident in the election outcome by asking for a full recount. In a situation like this, a bipartisan commission in the U.S. House will likely ask the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to conduct the recount so we can trust that politics will not interfere with the review of the election.
It is commendable that Hart is fighting to protect our sacred right to vote and the trustworthiness of our elections. Every vote must be counted to ensure Iowans continue to have confidence in their election system. Count every vote
;Maria Dickmann, Davenport
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Executive Action Is A Slippery Slope
The rationale given by the editorial board Jan. 3 to have Joe Biden issue executive orders to undo Donald Trumps executive orders is that some issues are too important to just wait for Congress. ;
Im sure this was the belief of Barack Obama when he issued his orders and the belief of Trump when he issued his orders. In other words, this rationale could be employed by any president at any time and it poses a real danger to the separation of legislative power and executive power provided by the U.S. Constitution. ;
Do the board members really want to combine these powers in the office of the presidency ?
Lonny Wilson,;West Des Moines
Democrats Werent Violent But Chose A Different Dishonorable Path
I agree with the Jan. 7 letter Shame, shame, with the closing statement, This is one of the saddest days in our history.
And yes, when Trump won in 2016 there was no mob violence by Democrats. There was just four years of disbelief by the Democrats that Trump won and four years of trying to impeach him.
William D. Blohm, Carroll
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Why Some Republicans Are Feeling Shame
Back in the fall, when Donald Trump dubbed Jeb Bush low-energy, Carlos Gimenez grew a little concerned. By last month, when Marco Rubio and Trump engaged in childish name-calling, the Republican mayor of Miami-Dade County thought the GOP presidential race had gotten out of hand. Now, after a tawdry week that has focused on the wives of Trump and Ted Cruz, Gimenez is certain that the race has moved totally out of bounds.
Politics is a contact sport, Gimenez said, but there should be contact in other ways.
Gimenez is watching with disgust, as are many Republicans across the country, as his partys presidential race turns into a tabloid talk show. After a winter that featured anatomical insults, violent clashes at rallies, and fierce accusations of lying and dirty tricks, Republicans say the past week has been particularly dispiriting.
At a moment when the party had hoped to turn its attention to;a general-election matchup against Hillary Clinton, Republicans were instead caught in;an;uncomfortable back-and-forth over allegations of adultery and jabs at the physical appearance of the wives of Trump and Cruz.
That dispute took on renewed vigor Sunday, when the two candidates went at it again on the morning shows.
Dont forget, I call him Lying Ted. I call him that because nobody that Ive known Ive known a lot tougher people over the years in business, but Ive never known anybody that lied like Ted Cruz, Trump said.
Republicans Said President Obama Would Raise Taxes Sky High
It never happened. Income taxes for over 95% of Americans remained the same or lower than they were before Obama was elected. The only people whose income taxes increased were those who make more than $400,000 per year, and their taxes rose only 3%. For most Americans, taxes are still lower now than they were under Reagan.
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Conflict Over Health Vs The Economy
Masks are also linked to the broader debate about the disease threat from the coronavirus versus and the devastating impact that social distancing has had on our economy. This controversy again has fallen out on political lines, with the right placing a relatively greater emphasis than the left on the need to restart the economy.
Within this debate, some may see masks as playing up the disease side of this balancing act, while those who don’t wear masks might be seen as prioritizing a swift return to normalcy over concerns about health and safety.
Why Republican Voters Say Theres No Way In Hell Trump Lost
By Brad Brooks, Nathan Layne, Tim Reid
12 Min Read
SUNDOWN, Texas – Brett Fryar is a middle-class Republican. A 50-year-old chiropractor in this west Texas town, he owns a small business. He has two undergraduate degrees and a masters degree, in organic chemistry. He attends Southcrest Baptist Church in nearby Lubbock.
Fryar didnt much like Donald Trump at first, during the U.S. presidents 2016 campaign. He voted for Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries.
Now, Fryar says he would go to war for Trump. He has joined the newly formed South Plains Patriots, a group of a few hundred members that includes a reactionary force of about three dozen – including Fryar and his son, Caleb – who conduct firearms training.
Nothing will convince Fryar and many others here in Sundown – including the towns mayor, another Patriots member – that Democrat Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 presidential election fairly. They believe Trumps stream of election-fraud allegations and say theyre preparing for the possibility of a civil war with the American political left.
If President Trump comes out and says: Guys, I have irrefutable proof of fraud, the courts wont listen, and Im now calling on Americans to take up arms, we would go, said Fryar, wearing a button-down shirt, pressed slacks and a paisley tie during a recent interview at his office.
This is dystopian, Light said. America could fracture.
THERES JUST NO WAY
NO WAY IN HELL
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Republicans Said Waterboarding And Other Forms Of Enhanced Interrogation Are Not Torture And Are Necessary In Fighting Islamic Extremism
In reality, waterboarding and other forms of enhanced interrogation that inflict pain, suffering, or fear of death are outlawed by US law, the US Constitution, and international treaties. Japanese soldiers after World War II were prosecuted by the United States for war crimes because of their use of waterboarding on American POWs.
Professional interrogators have known for decades that torture is the most ineffective and unreliable method of getting accurate information. People being tortured say anything to get the torture to end but will not likely tell the truth.
An FBI interrogator named Ali Soufan was able to get al Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah to reveal crucial information without the use of torture. When CIA interrogators started using waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation methods, Zubaydah stopped cooperating and gave his interrogators false information.
Far from being necessary in the fight against terrorism, torture is completely unreliable and counter-productive in obtaining useful information.
Shame Can Last A Lifetime If We Let It
Shame is one of the hardest emotions to talk about. It can also be the hardest emotion to recognize in ourselves, and it can feel the most painful. So, what is shame and how do we know if were feeling it?
Shame is often confused with embarrassment or guilt. Embarrassment arises when the way we want people to see us isnt the way they do. We want people to think were cool, but then we walk out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to our shoe. The feeling usually doesnt last long. Guilt arises when we think weve broken societys or our own moral code. We feel guilty when we lie, for example. Guilt can last a long time, but we usually know that well feel better when we come clean.
Shame can last a lifetime if we let it. It isnt caused by a single event, but an amassing of wounds to our self-worth. We feel guilty when we think weve done something wrong and embarrassed or humiliated when weve erred in public. But we feel shame when we think we are wrong. We may feel powerless to change whatever it is that makes us feel it, which then leads us to feel even more of it. Shame can feel unfixable, because it binds to all emotions. So even when we feel good, we can feel shamelike we dont deserve it.
Its never too late. Love yourself and forgive yourself. Begin today.
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Senator Grassley Was It Worth It
Dear Senator Grassley:
It was impossible to not see the events of Jan. 6 as inevitable.;Some in your Republican Party are assigning blame to the president, acknowledging the role he played. ;
The blame for the;insurrection, loss of life, and the tenuous state of our democracy lies elsewhere.;Truth be known, anyone paying attention knew who Mr. Donald Trump was, and remains: a lawless, narcissistic, racist, immoral, and corrupt human being.;More could be said. ;
Perhaps it is time for you to accept responsibility for the indisputable role you played in empowering this despot.;The examples of his malfeasance in office are legion. ;
You had a chance to put an end to;Trump’s tyranny when you cast your senatorial vote after House impeachment.;The evidence of his offense could not have been clearer,;ignored by you and everyone in your party,;save for Sen. Mitt Romney, your own former presidential nominee. ;
Repercussions of your cowardice, including the treatment of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a whistle-blower, which you made a career off pretending to protect, are too numerous to count.;Your tepid statements supporting other whistle-blowers who were also subjected to vicious attacks, and the rarity of public admonitions of these and other wrongdoings, are a disgrace to your office. ;;
Nevertheless, you certainly have achieved what must have been foremost in your agenda.;You personally helped to pack the Supreme Court, and countless other lifetime appointments have been confirmed. ;
Republicans Claim That Raising The Minimum Wage Would Kill Jobs And Hurt The Economy
There is far more evidence to the contrary. Cities and states that have higher minimum wages tend to have better rates of job creation and economic growth.
Detailed analyses show that job losses due to increases in the minimum wage are almost negligible compared to the economic benefits of higher wages. Previous increases in the minimum wage have never resulted in the dire consequences that Republicans have predicted.
Republicans have accused President Obama of “cutting defense spending to the bone”. This chart of 2014 discretionary spending firmly disproves that argument.
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