Hillary Clinton Discusses Paul Pelosi Attack, Upcoming Midterms On MSNBC’s ReidOut Show

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on MSNBC’s ReidOut show(11/01/22) to discuss among other things, the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, the 82 year old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at their San Francisco home. As host Joy Reid correctly pointed out, Hillary Clinton, like Nancy Pelosi, is a high-flying female political figure, who has also been the subject of numerous threats of violence from rightwingers, so she was the perfect guest to opine on this topic.

Asked how the attack on Paul Pelosi personally struck her, and whether this spoke to a larger general animus in America towards powerful women, Hillary Clinton responded(3:30): “There’s always been a streak of violence, of racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism…but I think what we’re seeing today, and it has certainly been thrown into very high relief by the horrific attack on Paul Pelosi, is not just an aberration where one or two people, or a small group engage in that kind of violent rhetoric, and urge people to take action against political figures like her, like me, like others, we’re seeing a whole political party, and those who support it, those who enable it, those who run under its banner, engaging in behavior that is so dangerous, and I find frankly, disqualifying for people who are running for office.”

Clinton then slammed Republicans, a lot of who are running on a “tough on crime” message this midterm election cycle, saying, “They don’t seem to be too bothered” by an 82 year old man being attacked in his own home by an intruder, because “that person is married to the Speaker of the House who’s of a different political party.”

Clinton then went all the way there, telling host Joy Reid that the kind of violent rhetoric we are currently witnessing from Republicans, is what leads to authoritarian regimes. She specifically said(4:54): “I just want your viewers, and really, I would like every American just to stop and think about that. This is the kind of violent rhetoric that leads to violent action, that props up authoritarians, and that’s unfortunately what we see the Republican Party today supporting.” She went on to single out Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene’s violent rhetoric directed at Speaker Pelosi as one example, adding(8:39), “This is a real threat to the heart of our democracy.”

The interview then shifted to the upcoming midterm elections, where Hillary Clinton urged voters to believe Republicans when they say they will gut social security and other entitlement programs. She specifically said(10:43): “Sometimes when I tell people that, they say. ‘Oh, they would never do that.’ Well, they told us for 50 years they were going to get rid of Roe v Wade, and turn abortion over to the states, where state legislators, local political officials could decide what your healthcare would be, why won’t you believe them, that they are going to go after social security and Medicare? I believe them, I take them at their word.”

A very interesting part of the interview came when host Joy Reid showed an old picture of then Senator Clinton with the late Senator John McCain(R-AZ), Senator Susan Collins(R-ME) and Senator Lindsey Graham(R-SC) during a foreign trip they had taken related to climate change. Host Joy Reid asked Clinton to compare and contrast the Lindsey Graham she knew back then, with the full blown Trumper he has since become.

Clinton said when they took the trip, Sen Graham was a believer in climate change, and that he continued to believe in it up until Senator McCain’s sad death. After that, he totally changed. Clinton(15:58): “There was no doubt that everybody, including Senator Graham, understood and believed in climate change, and while John McCain was still alive, he seemed to believe that. After Senator McCain’s very sad passing, Lindsey was unmoored, I don’t know how else to say it. In 2016 he was still somewhat of himself…and then when Trump ended up getting elected, Senator Graham threw his lot in with him…I find it bewildering that somebody who was always on the conservative side, don’t get me wrong, has so thrown his lot in with the cult that goes along with the big lie, and seems to be moving us in a direction that I think anyone with half a sense of American history knows, is going to hurt us.”

Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of State, was then asked to opine on the current volatile situation in Brazil after President Jair Bolsonaro, dubbed the “Brazilian Trump”, lost his quest for reelection. Clinton said(23:48): “I think what he did today sends a quite positive message…I think that he basically couldn’t bring himself to say that he lost, and so it wasn’t a formal concession, but he said he would follow the constitution, and he apparently gave the okay to his team to say they would start the transition. So we didn’t hear ‘big steal’, we didn’t hear, you know, ‘it was rigged’, ‘I didn’t really lose’, we didn’t hear any of that from him, like we heard from, and still hear today, from Trump, so I’m cautiously optimistic that Brazil will make this transition. I think it’s going to be quite difficult for Lula because the election was so close…but he has made it clear, again something we didn’t hear from Trump at his inauguration…he wants to be the president for all Brazilians, those who voted for him, those who did not vote for him, so as I said, I’m cautiously optimistic that he will be able to govern the  country effectively and begin to deal with some of the very big problems that face Brazil.”

Asked about the Russia-Ukraine war, Clinton spoke very highly of President Zelensky and his “very impressive” administration, saying they are holding up very well under the circumstances, and that Ukraine will ultimately prevail if the West continues providing them with military assistance. She added(26:55): “I personally view their fight as our fight. They are fighting for democracy, they are fighting for freedom, they are fighting for their rights to make their own futures, and not be subjected to Putin’s whims and his imaginary history that they’ve never existed…”

Asked at the very end of the interview, about the return of Bibi Netanyahu as Israel’s Prime Minister, and specifically, how Iran’s cooperation with Putin as he attacks Ukraine, might affect his relationship with Putin(they seemed to get along fine while he was PM and Trump President), Clinton said(27:46): “Netanyahu is a very experienced politician, and he certainly has always paid attention to the threat from Iran. I hope he pays attention to it now because this partnership that Iran has with Russia should be of deep concern to Israel.”

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Independent Evan McMullin Slams GOP Senator Mike Lee As A Fake Constitutional Conservative

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The Independent challenger for the Utah U.S. Senate seat, Evan McMullin, appeared on NewsNation’s Cuomo show(10/18/22) to discuss his surprising campaign, which has left incumbent Republican Senator Mike Lee’s campaign in a state of total panic. In his appearance on NewsNation, McMullin essentially called Senator Lee a fake constitutional conservative, given his efforts to overturn the 2020 elections.

Prior to 2022, political observers on both sides of the aisle considered Senator Lee’s seat a “safe” seat, which Republicans would easily retain. Current polls however, have led Lee’s campaign to rethink that stance, with the Senator making regular appearances on Fox News begging for money, and even an endorsement from fellow Republican Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Not a good look.

The problems Senator Lee appears to be running up against, and which his challenger Evan McMullin has brilliantly exploited, are his well documented efforts in assisting former President Donald Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections, and especially as they relate to the fake elector scheme. McMullin recently confronted Senator Lee with the charge at their televised debate, a charge which seriously upset the incumbent Senator, prompting him to demand an apology from McMullin for supposedly lying about him.

Asked about the debate incident by NewsNation host Chris Cuomo, McMullin doubled down saying(video at 2:15): “The public record is what it is…nobody has to take my word for it, in fact I encourage everyone not to take my word for it. Go ahead and google Senator Mike Lee, or Mike Lee’s text messages to Mark Meadows, and you can find them, and you can read them, and you can see that Senator Lee urged the White House to find fake electors to overturn the election. He thought that offered the greatest opportunity for success for that goal. He urged the President to keep fighting, those were his words, despite having lost the election. He urged the White House to make time for Sydney Powell, the legal quack who was advising the President on a bunch of conspiracy theories intended to overturn the election. Senator Lee then went and spent hours and hours by his own account, 14 hours a day, calling into swing states, trying to unravel the election for President Trump, and that’s a matter of public record. Anyone can read those texts, and I encourage everyone to do that, and then to ask yourself the question: Is this someone who sounds like he is committed to defending the constitution?”

McMullin went on to tell host Cuomo that despite Senator Lee’s known habit of carrying around with the U.S. Constitution in his pocket as a sign of his commitment to upholding it, “You can’t be a constitutional conservative if you betray the constitution, and that’s what Senator Lee did in trying to find fake electors to overturn the election. He betrayed his oath to the constitution, and betrayed even I think, the idea of America. It’s a very dangerous thing, and he needs to be held accountable for it.”

Bottom line folks, it appears that whether or not Senator Lee/Republicans get to retain the U.S. Senate seat in Utah this November, rests on one simple question, and that is, how the good folks of Utah feel about Lee’s efforts to assist Trump in overturning the 2020 election results. If I was in Team Mike Lee, I would be very worried about (1) the very fact that this safe seat is somehow in play this season, and (2) the reluctance by fellow Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney to endorse Lee. Reasonable political pundits will agree that given these two factors, an upset win by Independent candidate McMullin is quite plausible, and some polls even have him ahead already. Nobody has to guess who Yours Truly is rooting for in this hitherto unforeseen blockbuster Senate race.

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Rep Liz Cheney Discusses Primary Loss, Future Plans On ABC’s This Week Show

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Rep Liz Cheney(R-WY) sat down for an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, three days after her landslide primary loss to Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman, to discuss her future political plans. The interview aired on ABC’s This Week show (08/21/22) and as many expected, Cheney’s lopsided loss was in no way shape or form, an end to her political career, but rather, a beginning of a new political chapter.

Rep Cheney said this moments after her loss to Hagenan on 08/16/22: “We must be very clear-eyed about the threat we face, and about what is required to defeat it. I have said since January 6th, that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office, and I mean that.”

Asked whether she regretted the fact that her staunch opposition to former President Trump had cost her a leadership position in the House and eventually her seat, Rep Cheney responded (2:51): “No regrets. You know, I feel sad about where my party is, I feel sad about the way that too many of my colleagues have responded to what I think is a great moral test and challenge of our time, a great moment to determine whether or not people are going to stand up on behalf of the democracy, and on behalf of our republic.” Rep Cheney added that she has heard from several prominent leaders after her primary loss, thanking her for putting the country over her party. One such call, she said, came from President Biden.

Asked what Trump’s continuing grip on the GOP says about the party, Rep Cheney said the party, both at the state and national level, “is very sick.” She specifically said(4:11):“I think one, it says that people continue to believe the lie, they continue to believe what he’s saying, which is very dangerous. I think it also tells you that large portions of our party, including the leadership of our party, both at the state level in Wyoming, as well as on a national level with RNC, is very sick, and that we really have got to decide whether or not we are going to be a party based on substance and policy, or whether we are going to remain as so many of our party are today, in the grips of a dangerous former president.”

Asked about the argument by former President Trump and others, that her landslide primary loss is proof that the principles she is fighting for are not shared by the GOP, Rep Cheney responded (5:03): “Well, doesn’t that tell you something? What I’m fighting for is the Constitution. What I’m fighting for is the perpetuation of the republic, what I’m fighting for is the fact that elections have to matter, and that when the election is over and the courts have ruled, and the electoral college has met, that the president of the United States has to respect the results of the election, and if Donald Trump’s spokesman says that those are principles that are inconsistent with Donald Trump’s views, and inconsistent with the Republican Party’s views, I think that ought to give every American pause about who Donald Trump is, and about what the Republican Party stands for today.”

Asked about what her new political organization is going to focus on, Rep Cheney said one of her primary objectives will be to campaign against “election deniers”.

Asked about her views on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and specifically, whether he should become Speaker if the GOP takes over the House, Rep Cheney said (6:22): “My views about Kevin McCarthy are very clear. The Speaker of the House is the second in line for the presidency. It requires somebody who understands and recognizes their duty, their oath, their obligation, and he’s been completely unfaithful to the constitution, and demonstrated a total lack of understanding of the significance and importance of the role of Speaker, so I don’t believe he should be Speaker of the House, and I think that’s been very clear.”

Asked whether she would support Trump’s acolytes like Senator Ted Cruz(R-TX) or Josh Hawley(R-MO) if one of them secured the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, Rep Cheney responded (9:50): “It would be very difficult when you look at somebody like Josh Hawley, or somebody like Ted Cruz, both of whom know better, both of whom know exactly what the role of Congress is in terms of our constitutional obligations with respect to presidential elections, and yet both of whom took steps that fundamentally threatened the constitutional order and structure in the aftermath of the last election, so in my view, they both have made themselves unfit for future office.”

Asked about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who many view as the number two contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination after Trump, Rep Cheney said(10:28): “DeSantis is somebody who is right now campaigning for election deniers, and I think that is something that people have to have real pause about. Either you fundamentally believe in and will support our constitutional structure, or you don’t.”

Asked whether if she runs for president in 2024, it will be out of a genuine desire to win, or simply sending a pro-democracy message, Rep Cheney responded in relevant part(10:59):“Any decision that I make about doing something that significant and that serious, would be with the intention of winning, and because I think I would be the best candidate.” She punted when asked whether running as an Independent remained an option for her saying(11:19), “I’m not going to go down that path anymore in terms of speculating.”

Bottom line folks, Rep Liz Cheney is not going anywhere. Her primary loss will free her from the bondage that is Trump’s GOP, and allow her to pursue loftier goals–the fight for democracy. She said one of her primary goals will be to defeat “election deniers”, which Yours Truly hopes includes one Senator Ted Cruz, who is up for reelection in 2024. We’re going to need you Liz, in the Lone Star state.

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Senator Bernie Sanders Slams Manchin, Sinema For Intentionally Sabotaging Biden’s Agenda

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Senator Bernie Sanders(I-VT) appeared on ABC’s This Week show(07/17/22) to discuss President Biden’s controversial trip to Saudi Arabia. Unsurprisingly, Senator Sanders, who has been very consistent about his displeasure with Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, was opposed to President Biden’s trip to the Kingdom, which he said, was tantamount to rewarding the Saudis.

The interesting part of the interview however came when host Martha Raddatz asked Sen Sanders about Senator Joe Manchin(D-WV) “abruptly” pulling out of negotiations on a climate change proposal that was key to President Biden’s agenda. Sen Sanders swiftly interjected saying, Manchin “didn’t abruptly pull out of anything”, and then proceeded to slam the Senator from West Virginia for intentionally sabotaging President Biden’s agenda. Whoa!!

Host Martha Raddatz(video at 3:20):“Senator Joe Manchin…abruptly pulled the plug on the Democrats’ plan to pass…”

Sen Sanders:“No Martha…he didn’t abruptly do anything…If you check the record, six months ago I made it clear, that you have people like Manchin, Sinema to a lesser degree, who are intentionally sabotaging the President’s agenda, what the American people want, what a majority of us in the Democratic caucus want. Nothing is new about this, and the problem was that we continued to talk to Manchin like he was serious. He was not. This is a guy who is a major recipient of fossil fuel money, a guy who received campaign contributions from 25 Republican billionaires.”

When host Raddatz tried to play devil’s advocate, saying Senator Manchin is concerned about record inflation, and is simply doing what’s best for West Virginians, Sen Manchin retorted:“Same nonsense that Manchin has been talking about for a year. West Virginia is a beautiful state…great people. It is one of the poorest states in this country. You ask the people of West Virginia whether they want to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and eye glasses…whether we should demand that the wealthiest people and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes…whether or not all people should have healthcare as a human right like every other country on earth, that’s what they will say. In my humble opinion, Manchin represents the wealthiest people in this country, not the working families of West Virginia, or America.”

Bottom line folks, what Sen Sanders said on ABC’s This Week show, cannot be restated enough. There was a lot of hope and enthusiasm among Democrats, and a sizable chunk of Independents who voted for the Biden-Harris ticket in 2020, that the Biden-Harris administration would embark on big projects re infrastructure, climate, immigration, etc to set the country up nicely for the future. You even heard famous historians likening Biden to FDR and LBJ–both of whom are remembered for the big projects their administrations embarked, on and delivered.

However, somewhere in some Republican smoke-filled rooms, panic set in over the prospect of a transformational FDR-type Biden-Harris administration, and an elaborate plan was laid out to sabotage Biden’s presidency. Sen Sanders is absolutely right that Senators Manchin and Sinema have been willing participants in the grand GOP scheme to sabotage the Biden presidency, and they must be called out for it!!

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Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s Interview On Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Show

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Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show (06/30/22)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro sat down with visiting Fox News host Tucker Carlson (06/30/22) for a wide ranging, and quite interesting interview, that covered issues such as his upcoming reelection fight, China’s expansion into Latin America, COVID, Christianity, the media, LGBTQ rights, and even a pitch by Tucker Carlson to Bolsonaro to allow Fox News in Brazil (yeah, he really did that, I promise).

President Bolsonaro and Hungary’s President Viktor Orban, are two notable world leaders who have struck a resonance with Trump’s wing of the Republican Party, which appears to be on a path towards Christian Nationalism. Yours Truly was therefore very interested to hear what President Bolsonaro had to say regarding a whole host of issues, and so should you.

The first topic of discussion was Bolsonaro’s very interesting, even miraculous rise to the presidency. Here’s how he described it (video at 5:22): “My election itself was almost a miracle. I had nothing going for me to be elected. I was just an isolated member of Congress, known as the lower segment of national Congress in Brazil. I conducted my campaign anchored on a Biblical passage John 3:33–‘Thou shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ The media never gave me any visibility or space, much to the contrary, they attacked me all the time throughout the campaign. On 09/06/2018, on the eve of the election, I suffered an attempted assassination. Doctors said my survival was a miracle. The same is true for my election, and a very important factor which you may perhaps not be aware of, is the fact that Brazil is a country that upon taking office as the President, the incumbent President surrenders strategic positions in the cabinet and political parties, including the cabinet ministries, state banks, state companies. I did not do that.”

Bolsonaro then went on to attack his left wing opponent, Lula da Silva, using strikingly similar attacks you hear Republicans in the United States leveling against Democrats. Bolsonaro, for example insinuated that the left was planning to rig the upcoming elections, that they are using the pandemic to bring down his administration, and importantly, that if the left defeats him, they will never lose any election again after that–an argument strikingly similar to the one used by former President Trump during his 2020 reelection campaign, and after his loss to Joe Biden. Bolsonaro then went on to list a long laundry list of Republican-like attacks against Lula/the left wing; that they want unfettered abortions, they are soft on crime, that the left is anti-freedom, that the left wants to disarm the public (Brazil’s “second amendment”, I guess), that the left wants amnesty, that the left is manufacturing opinion polls which show him losing, so as to suppress his vote. Very interesting indeed.

Asked how he plans to win reelection despite what Tucker Carlson characterized as “the entire Brazilian media” against him, Bolsonaro responded (11:25): “Yes, there is the weight of the media against me. True, but social media has been doing a great job in Brazil. My social media channels are the most interactive in the world. I believe that today we have 40% of the population who has not yet expressed their voting intentions. Most of the voters we believe, will vote for me in the elections.”

Tucker then pulled the quintessential “shameless plug” and pitched Fox News to President Bolsonaro (11:49): “Why is there no Fox News in Brazil? CNN is here, you got over 50 million votes in the last elections, CNN’s a political player here, so is Globo, but there’s no TV channel for your voter?” Bolsonaro responded to Tucker Carlson’s pitch saying (12:00): “Well if I could launch an appeal for you, I can only say that you will be the most welcome in Brazil. You will be an excellent counterpart to the other vehicles or outlets. There are very few media outlets that are really unbiased in Brazil.” Hmm, again sounds awfully similar to what Republicans say in the U.S.

Asked how he felt about opposition to him, not only inside Brazil, but also from virtually all the neighboring countries, Bolsonaro gave this interesting answer (12:50): “Brazil is an economic powerhouse in South America. The 10 countries with which we have political, geopolitical, physical borders are not that economically strong as compared to Brazil. We are what you might describe as a cherry on the cake. If Brazil goes down or collapses, the whole of South America will go down, and be colored red(bloodshed) if you understand…”

The interview then moved to the topic that shot President Bolsonaro into the international spotlight, and that is, his opposition/refusal to take the COVID vaccine at a time when COVID cases were sky high in Brazil. This move endeared him to anti-vaxxer movements worldwide, but alienated him from Western governments who were at that time (height of the pandemic), desperately trying to get sufficient numbers of their populations vaccinated.

Asked why he refused to take the COVID vaccine, here’s how he responded (22:05 ): “As I said before, maybe I was the only head of state in the world who did not accept restrictive measures, or was against restrictive measures, and perhaps one of the few heads of state in the world who did not take the vaccine because I had already contracted the virus. The left was so worried about taking me out of office that they wanted me to take the vaccine, and I said well, ‘let me die, just let me die then and choose my policy.’ In South America we are the one country that best addressed the issue involving the need for vaccines, and we very properly and adequately equipped our hospitals with equipment and medications, and I believe we have pretty much turned the page there.”

To be clear, Bolsonaro’s argument was that he did not need a COVID vaccine because he had already contracted the virus. He therefore sought medications instead (including in Africa), that were being advertised at the time as cures for COVID. He says even though he was personally against the vaccines, he did make them readily available to the Brazilian public. He also said that part of his reluctance to take the vaccines, was the fine print from the vaccine manufacturers, which said they were not responsible for any side effects from their vaccines.

The interview then moved on to religion, and specifically, Christianity. Asked how he thought his opponent Lula and the left viewed Christianity, Bolsonaro responded (35:27): “The left wing, I mean the vast majority of them are atheists. They do not respect anything. They criticize priests and pastors and Lula himself has said that he will, if elected, he will place priests and pastors and the military in their rightful place, or in the right place in society. For instance, when the U.S. Supreme Court recently changed its understanding and ruling on abortion, the left wing in Brazil did not like that. We did like the new stance taken by the U.S. Supreme Court because we defend life from its very conception, but not so among the left wing people and Lula. Lula and the left wing, they often say that abortion is a matter of public health, and it is the woman that should decide. We believe that the life that has been given to a woman does not belong to the woman, and that is a stance espoused by our religion.” Hmm, interesting. Is this the TrumpGOP stance on abortion, too?

Asked about racism in Brazil, Bolsonaro, much like Republicans in the United States, blamed it on weaponized identity politics pushed by the left. He specifically said this about identity politics (38:17) :“It is a way to divide and conquer. Even before Lula took office in 2003, the left wing would already preach that, I mean, the division of people along identity lines such as Blacks and Whites, and employers and employees, and people from northeastern Brazil vis-a-vis southern Brazil. They have gained followers as a result of that approach, and the major divisionary split today is between employers and employees…and they say that, ‘hey you are not doing well today because of your employer’, and that divide approach or policy… has gained them at least one-fourth of the Brazil population. They have always been supported by at least one-fourth of the Brazilian population. My father-in-Law is…a Black man, and I am a blue-eyed White man. Racism is there in Brazil, yes, but not as it is often described. Most of our main football (soccer) players are, you know, people of African descent, no worries.”

The topic then shifted to gun control, where he was asked why he chose to make it easier for Brazilians to acquire firearms. He responded (39:25) :”I was unable to actually change the Brazilian law, but by means of a presidential decree, and also through ministerial orders, we interpreted the existing legislation as best as possible, and there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who legally own firearms in Brazil, and the consequences you see in the Brazilian media, is a drop in the number of people who are killed by firearms in Brazil. We understand that once people get armed, the crooks, the thieves will think twice before they break into other people’s property. If of course the number had gone up, I would be blamed, but just the opposite is going on today, and if reelected, if everything goes well, we will have a substantial support in Congress, and we’ll be able to pass laws on firearms, very much along the same lines as in the U.S.”

The topic then shifted to the Amazon rain forest, and specifically, whether it was being destroyed (deforestation) at an alarming rate causing global climate problems. Climate activists blame Bolsonaro’s administration for the deforestation. Here’s what Bolsonaro said when asked whether the Amazon was being destroyed at the high rates claimed by the news media (46:25): “No, that is not true. Two-thirds of the Brazilian territory are currently preserved, and remain pristine, just as they were back in the 1500s when this country was discovered by the Portuguese. The criminal acts that do happen, we will not deny that, are ultimately given too much visibility because there is a huge interest in making our sovereignty over the Amazonian region a relative fact, or perceived in a relative light. I met with President Putin and thanked him because on two occasions when this issue was discussed with other countries, he stated that the Amazon region belongs to the Brazilian people, not to anyone else. The Amazon region is as vast as eastern Europe. It’s huge, it’s wonderful, it’s just not possible to, you know, take care of every square meter in the Amazon region. There is illegal deforestation, yes, there are fire outbreaks, yes, but not at the rate that is announced out there. California itself always you know, catches fire, and it’s not given that much visibility, French Guyana likewise, I mean, you can’t possibly set a rain forest to fire, but there is illegal deforestation, yes, and we are working to tackle that.”

Asked about criticism regarding the Amazon, by celebrities-turned-climate activists, like Mark Ruffalo, Bolsonaro said (49:30):”These are people who do not understand anything about Brazil. I think these people have never been to the Amazon region, and I would actually invite them to come to the Amazon region, and overfly the region…They talk about the Amazon region because it’s trendy, it’s a fad. I mean, in Europe, if someone says that the Amazon region is not being devastated, they are politically doomed to fiasco. So, it’s politically good for them, you know, the criticism yields power, yields media visibility, yields votes, and that’s what celebrities feed on. They are not at all familiar with the Amazon region. They are not at all knowledgeable about the region, and the difficulty of investing in it. They just criticize it because it’s a fad.”

Asked whether he has enjoyed being President of Brazil, Bolsonaro said (50:30): “I must admit, you know, I first launched myself as a candidate, of course I intended to become the President, but I was all too aware of the challenges and the difficulties, and the experiences we have undergone, or I have undergone, I could never ever have imagined what it would look like, but I am comforted by the fact that the other candidate, the Workers Party candidate, Haddad, if he had won, Brazil would certainly be what Venezuela is today. So that’s a source of comfort to me, and that encourages me to say to the population that God is the one who has placed me where I am today…A message to the Americans–God, the homeland, family and freedom.”

The final topic of discussion was China, which Tucker Carlson said, was the primary reason for his visit to Brazil. Carlson contends that China is on a quest to colonize Africa and S. America–basically invest heavily in these regions and then take them over as colonies.

Tucker Carlson(58:50): “Given your natural resources, are you worried about the level of Chinese investment in Brazil.”

Bolsonaro:”I would very much like the Americans to also take part in more investments in Brazil. We of course have trade flows with China, and they have of course at least at first shown interest in ensuring their food security.”

Bottom line folks, I came out with the impression that President Bolsonaro is trying very hard to identify himself with the Republican Party in the United States, and specifically,, Trump’s wing of the party. His campaign message appears to be:“If you want Brazil to be God-fearing, rich, prosperous, and free, like the United States, vote for me. If Lula wins, Brazil will become a socialist nation and descend into bloodshed. I am the only one standing between Brazil and socialism/bloodshed, so vote wisely.” Will this campaign pitch be enough to earn Bolsonaro a reelection victory? Hmm, we’ll see what happens.

***Updated to include the fact that on 08/04/2022, Hungary’s President Viktor Orban addressed the CPAC Conference in Dallas, Texas. Orban and Bolsonaro appear to be playing from the same playbook re American conservatives–Christian Nationalism ***

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AOC Slams SCOTUS After Roe v Wade Decision Saying The High Court Has A “Crisis Of Legitimacy”

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Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press(06/26/22) to discuss this week’s bombshell Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision, which made abortion legal in the United States. During her interview, Rep Ocasio-Cortez slammed the recently appointed Supreme Court justices behind the 6-3 decision, essentially accusing them of lying to Senators during their confirmation hearings and thus causing a “crisis of legitimacy” within the high court. She also tied longstanding Justice Clarence Thomas to the “crisis of legitimacy” charge, saying Justice Thomas violated the law by not disclosing his income from political organizations.

Rep Ocasio-Cortez said(video at 2:47): “What I believe that the president and the Democatic Party needs to come to terms with, is that this is not just a crisis of Roe, this is a crisis of our democracy. The Supreme Court has dramatically overreached its authority. We had two conservative senators in the United States Senate–Senator Manchin and Senator Collins–come out with a very explosive allegation that several Supreme Court justices misled them during their confirmation hearings and in the lead up to their confirmation. This is a crisis of legitimacy. We have a Supreme Court justice whose wife participated in January 6th, and who used his seat to vote against providing documents that potentially led to evidence of such to investigators in Congress. This is a crisis of legitimacy, and President Biden must address that.”

Asked whether the House Judiciary Committee should begin an investigation into whether Supreme Court justices lied under oath during their confirmation hearings, Rep Ocasio-Cortez responded: “If we allow Supreme Court nominees to lie under oath and secure lifetime appointments to the highest court of the land, and then issue without basis…rulings that deeply undermine the human and civil rights of the majority of Americans, we must see that through. There must be consequences for such a deeply destabilizing action and hostile takeover of our democratic institutions. To allow that to stand, is to allow it to happen, and what makes it particularly dangerous, is that it sends a blaring signal to all future nominees that they can now lie to duly elected members of the United States Senate in order to secure Supreme Court confirmations…”

Asked whether she believed lying during confirmation hearings is an impeachable offense, she responded: “I believe so. I believe lying under oath is an impeachable offense. I believe that violating federal law in not disclosing income from political organizations, as [Justice] Clarence Thomas did years ago, is also potentially an impeachable offense. I believe that not recusing from cases that one clearly has family members involved in, with very deep violations of conflict of interest, are also impeachable offenses, and I believe that this is something that should be very seriously considered, including by Senators like Joe Manchin and Susan Collins.”

There’s no other way to interpret Rep Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks on Meet The Press(I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course) other than, she’s calling on fellow House Democrats to pursue impeachment proceedings against sitting Supreme Court justices for among other things, lying under oath during their confirmation hearings. It will be interesting to see whether her fellow Democrats will take her up on the impeachment suggestion.

Bottom line folks, public confidence in the Roberts Supreme Court was already waning even before the bombshell decision striking down Roe v Wade. There is no question however, that the global condemnation that has followed the Roe decision, will renew calls for the high court’s restructuring/expansion. Even impeachment calls like the one by Rep Ocasio-Cortez, which would have previously been ignored, or dismissed out of hand, will now be taken seriously. Simply put, there’s a growing perception among the public, that the Roberts Supreme Court, does not resemble previous high courts, which were generally deemed to be above the political fray. Chief Justice Roberts would be best advised to step in, and address these concerns, hopefully via a public address to the nation. Ignoring these problems, will not make them go away.

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Is It Time To Go To Non-Partisan Primaries To Address Growing Polarization?

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A segment on MSNBC’s 11th Hour w/ Stephanie Ruhle(06/22/22) delved into the very interesting discussion as to whether, given the staggering levels of polarization in the country, we should change adopt a non-partisan primary voting system. Ruhle’s guest Nick Troiano, Executive Director of Unite America, says this change, which is already in place in several states, notably Alaska, would incentivize candidates to look for support beyond their party affiliation thus making them more likely to seek bipartisan solutions to problems. Unite America is a national organization trying to bridge the growing partisan divide by supporting political reforms and candidates who put people over party.

Troiano told 11th Hour host Ruhle(video at 1:22):“I think we spend a lot of time focused on who we elect, not enough time focusing on how we elect, because it’s the systems of our elections that are really pushing our parties further and further apart, and I think our politicians, as a result, are much more polarized than we the people. We’re not seeing the types of solutions and bipartisan policy making in Congress as the American people want and deserve, and the core reason of that is because of our system of partisan primaries. In the last election, it was only 10% of Americans who elected 83% of Congress, because the vast majority of our elections are decided not in the general election in November, but in the primary election, and that problem is getting even worse this election cycle after the latest round of redistricting. We’re going to have the least competitive elections of our lifetime. It’s going to lead to the least accountable Congress of our lifetime. So if we want different outcomes out of Congress, we have to change the process, and fortunately, there’s a growing movement to do that at the state level all across the country.”

Below are some of United America‘s suggested reforms

Troiano singled out the primary system in Alaska as the “best example” of what should be emulated nationwide, if we are going to address the growing polarization problem. He said: “Senator[Lisa]Murkowski was one of the 14 Republicans who voted to advance the bipartisan gun legislation. She’s the only Republican up for election this year, and what’s notable is that this is the first time where the Senator doesn’t face a partisan primary. She’s standing for election in front of all Alaskan voters because in 2020, Alaskans adopted a ballot measure that replaced both parties primaries with a single non-partisan primary. So all the candidates compete in one election, all the voters get to participate on that ballot, the top four finishers go to the general election and through an instant runoff, whomever wins the majority of support gets elected, and so it gives voters more voice and choice in elections, and it incentivizes candidates and leaders to campaign and be responsive to the whole constituency, not just the 10% who may vote in a partisan primary. Now imagine if additional states were to adopt this reform, we can have dozens of our elected leaders in Congress finally being able to be responsive to the majority of Americans and not the political extremes.”

Troiano also said non-partisan primaries would encourage more people to throw their hats into the political ring without fear of being labeled “spoilers”, something he acknowledged, keeps a lot of otherwise good candidates from both parties, on the sidelines.

Bottom line folks, non-partisan primaries is a very interesting suggestion indeed, which Yours Truly hopes, will be given serious consideration given the crippling levels of polarization in our politics today. Simply put, when the likes of Boebert(CO) and MTG(GA) start showing up in Congress, then reasonable people will agree, that the selection system is surely broken!!

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Fox News’ Brit Hume: Republicans Are Hoping Trump Will Be “Gone” After 1/6 Committee’s Findings

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Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume confirmed on Monday(06/13/22) what many have suspected all along, and that is, establishment Republicans are secretly hoping the January 6th Committee’s findings will expose so much about former President Trump’s conduct leading up to and including the day of the insurrection, that he will effectively be “gone” for 2024 presidential election purposes. Hume added that many GOP insiders are afraid to say so publicly for fear of Trump’s thuggish supporters, but the consensus was that a Trump presidential nomination in 2024 will cause the GOP to lose the White House again to Democrats. WHOA!!

Britt Hume: “If they[January 6th Committee]succeed either by damaging him or staining him such that he is either unable for legal or political reasons to run again, they might end up finding out that they’ve done the Republican Party a a great service because I think a great many Republicans think they can’t win with Trump at the head of the ticket again. They are afraid of his supporters, [they]don’t want to come out against him directly, but they would like him to go away. If the effect of this committee is to make his possible candidacy go away, I think a great many Republicans would privately be very glad.”

There’s no other way to interpret Brit Hume’s analysis on Fox News other than, establishment Republicans are secretly rooting for the January 6th Committee, hoping that Rep Liz Cheney & Co. will deliver the GOP’s ultimate wish–finally getting rid of Trump and his hold on the Republican Party. They desperately want him gone, but cannot say that publicly, for fear of his thuggish fans–a sad state of affairs indeed for a party that constantly brags about “manhood” and its associated traits.

Bottom line folks, it has been clear to any reasonable observer, that ever since the January 6th insurrection, many serious Republicans considered Trump dead for presidential election purposes. The only reason they haven’t said this publicly, is as Brit correctly pointed out–fear of Trump’s thuggish fans. There is no question that many of them, including his supposed mouthpieces at Fox News, are secretly hoping that the January 6th Committee will finally deliver a fatal blow to his political aspirations, keeping him “gone”. This of course opens up another nightmare scenario for Republicans–a breakaway MAGA third party, which will almost certainly lead to Dems retaining the White House in 2024. Trump in jail will prevent a breakaway MAGA party scenario. All in all, folks, brace yourselves for some very interesting political months leading up to 2024.

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Kurt Bardella: 2022 Midterms Might Be The Last Free And Fair Elections We Have. WHOA!!

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MSNBC’s Katie Phang show(05/21/22) did a segment on WaPo’s bombshell revelation that Ginni Thomas’ involvement in the effort to overturn the 2020 election results was much more than has been previously reported. The conversation then turned into how ruthlessly Republicans would have dealt with a similarly situated liberal justice. Guest Kurt Bardella slammed the perennial weakness by congressional Democrats, who he said always played defense as opposed to the attack-minded Republicans. Bardella then made a startling assertion, telling host Katie Phang that if the January 6th Select Committee doesn’t go on the offense by making top Trump officials testify in public like Republicans did Hillary Clinton during Benghazi, then “this[2022 midterms]might be the last free and fair elections we have.”

MSNBC host Katie Phang(video at 5:11): “Kurt I saw you tweeting about how you were surprised that Democrats didn’t immediately start investigations into the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic as soon as they got into power. Now we see the January 6th Committee is apparently fine with not even getting him to testify…What will it take for the Dems to go on the offensive?”

Kurt Burdella: “I just think back to the Benghazi Select Committee, when Republicans didn’t blink to bring up Hillary Clinton to testify for more than 11 hours and face that type of grilling. I don’t know how you can have a system that has Secretary Clinton at the time having to do that, but you let Donald Trump, and people like Mike Pence, and Ginni Thomas, and Rudy Giuliani, and Steve Bannon, and Mark Meadows avoid that type of public setting. It’s such a parity and I’m telling you, we’re seeing right now, at this very second, Republicans campaign for the midterms on the idea that they are going to do this to the Biden administration. That they are not going to hesitate to use the reins of power to go after the president’s son…to try to impeach the president, to try to impeach the DHS secretary…Democrats are about to get a lesson on how to wield power, whether they like it or not, if they don’t step up right now because they are the last line of defense of stopping Republicans from hijacking democracy. It’s not about 2024 Katie, it’s about 2022 because I promise you, if Republicans are allowed to regain a congressional majority, they will not certify a Democrat win in 2024…This check and balance that we are about to see with the January 6th Select Committee is perhaps the last guardian of defense that we have of our democracy and our process, and if we don’t get answers from everybody who was involved, especially at the very top, this might be the last free and fair elections we have.”

As outlandish as Kurt Bardella’s assertion sounds, rank and file Democrats know it is absolutely true. A lot of the crazy things we’ve witnessed from Trump Republicans are rooted in their belief that Democrats will never muster enough courage to hold them accountable in any meaningful way–all bark no bite. Let’s hope the January 6th Select Committee breaks this expectation of weakness by Republicans, by holding them accountable through lengthy public testimonies, under oath. If the January 6th Select Committee fails to hold Trump and his top lieutenants accountable, then as Bardella correctly points out, democracy as we know it, will be dead this year, not in 2024, and Dem weakness will be partly to blame. This of course, also apples to President Biden’s Department of Justice.

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Former AG Holder: Americans Should Prepare For An “Ideologically Driven” Supreme Court Not Tethered To Precedent

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Former AG Holder on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports show(05/12/22)

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports show (05/12/22) to discuss his new book “Our Unfinished March”. During his interview, he was asked about the controversy caused by the leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion dealing with abortion, to which he gave a very interesting response. He said while the leak itself was a serious issue, the bigger problem Americans need prepare themselves for, is an “ideologically driven” Supreme Court, that will have little regard to precedent–an issue Democrats need to focus on as we approach the midterm elections.

Former AG Holder(video at 0:35):“I think the leak is unprecedented both in its breadth, its scope, and its completeness. We’ve heard rumors before about where the court is going to go, how the justices perhaps were aligned, but never actually seen a draft opinion, and that’s serious. That’s something that needs to be addressed. But what we really need to focus on is what’s contained in that leaked opinion, and where the court appears to be lining up. Looks like they are going to overturn Roe v Wade, inconsistent with the notion that you adhere to precedent that people have relied on over the course of the last 50 years. It’s an attack on the right to privacy, and so the question has to be asked, is it only going to be abortion that is going to be at risk, or is same sex marriage going to be at risk? The regulation of contraception, is that going to be at risk? Even interacial marriage. All of these things are based on the right to privacy, which this opinion in its form as we saw it, really goes after that right to privacy.”

Holder added that people need to get prepared for an “ideologically driven” Supreme Court, that is “not going to adhere to the extent that they should, to precedent.” This is of course very troubling given the weighty issues the high court is getting ready to deal with–affirmative action, gun cases, voting rights, etc. Democrats can capitalize on this Supreme Court issue, but only if they present it in AG Holder’s terms–an untethered high court that threatens many of the legal precedents we have come to rely on. This approach will likely drive more people to the polls this Fall, as opposed to only presenting it as an abortion/reproductive rights issue.

Bottom line folks, Dems sucking at messaging is nothing new. “Leakgate” presents them with an opportunity to drive Dem voters afraid of an untethered Supreme Court, to the polls in record numbers, and bucking the midterm election trend which typically favors the party out of power(GOP). Hopefully Dems will get their Supreme Court messaging right this time around by railing against the MAGA Supreme Court as an affront to all the legal precedents we have come to rely on for decades.

It’s also worth noting that former AG Holder, a self-described “institutionalist”, said that after initially being opposed to a criminal prosecution of former President Trump, he now believes, given the revelations about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, that he needs to be held accountable. Surely, current AG Garland has to take this seriously, coming from a former prosecutor, who recently held his position.

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