Rep Veronica Escobar Slams Gov Abbott For Creating “Wild West” Environment That Enabled Uvalde Shooting

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Rep Veronica Escobar(D-TX) appeared on MSNBC Reports w/Andrea Mitchell (07/18/22) to discuss the recently released report by the Texas Senate on the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Rep Escobar made a very important point on the show, telling host Andrea Mitchell that the deadly “wild west” environment created by Texas elected officials, beginning with Governor Greg Abbott, is partly to blame for the horrific shooting in Uvalde.

This point is largely missed by the mainstream media when reporting about the mass shooting in Uvalde, but it cannot be restated enough.

Rep Escobar(video at 1:00):“I think the report is important, but I also think we need to zoom out a little bit because the leadership void goes far beyond law enforcement. And what the report did not touch on[are]2 things, (1) the Governor, who is the highest ranking elected official, the chief elected official of the state and (2) the state legislature that makes open carry the law of the land in Texas so that anyone can get access to a gun without any training and really a loosening of gun laws that was historic. It is so important that these reports and that this analysis look at what happened on the ground that day, but we also have to look at the context in Texas, the environment that has been created by Republicans, who want to create a wild west sort of environment  in a state, that has led us to be…one of the most deadliest states for mass shootings.”

Rep Escobar went on to specifically address Gov Abbott’s failures:“He’s been pretty silent. He’s very eager to point the finger at others, really on any situation including Uvalde and he, as the highest-ranking elected official in the state of Texas, I have yet to hear the Governor accept any responsibility, or bring forward any ideas for meaningful change. He is literally someone who has only used his position to make Texas less safe for its citizens and uses our resources for political stunts.”

She went on to add that the political stunt Gov Abbott is pulling at the southern border aka “Operation Lone Star” has siphoned much needed funds away from mental health services and public schools, both of which are still poorly funded in Texas compared to other states.

Bottom line folks, Texas is, and has been a solid red state for quite some time now. It is important however for people who don’t live in the Lone Star state, or keep up with its politics, to know that none of Governor Abbott’s Republican predecessors created the deadly gun violence environment in the state like Gov Abbott and his allies have. Rep Escobar is absolutely spot on, that any meaningful discussion of gun violence in the Lone Star state has to take into account the “wild west” environment created by Gov Abbott and his Texas Republican allies.

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Senator Collins Slams Justices Kavanaugh & Gorsuch Over “Inconsistent” Roe v Wade Decision

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An interesting segment on Fox News’ The Story w/Martha MacCallum(06/24/22) delved into the feud brewing between Senator Susan Collins(R-Maine) and conservative Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch over the decision by the high court to overturn Roe v Wade, a 1973 precedent that legalized abortion in the United States. According to Fox News Congressional Correspondent Aishah Hasni, Senator Collins is not just upset because she was misled during the Senate confirmation hearings on questions about respecting precedents, but also because this bombshell decision comes at a time of great division in the country, and she fears the decision will only widen the divisions.

Senator Collins issued a statement saying:“This ill-considered action will further divide the country at a moment when, more than ever in modern times, we need the Court to show more consistency and restraint. Throwing out a precedent overnight that the country has relied upon for half a century is not conservative. It is a sudden and radical jolt to the country that will lead to chaos, anger, and a further loss of confidence in our government.”

Senators Collins and Lisa Murkowski(R-Alaska) have apparently introduced a bill which aims to codify Roe v Wade, so we’ll see how far that goes.

Bottom line folks, Republicans routinely dismiss criticisms of the out-of-touch Roberts Supreme Court as simply “rantings of the radical left.” it will be interesting to see how they deal with the very sharp criticisms leveled at the high court by moderate Republican Susan Collins, and especially, her written assertion–not AOC’s or The Squad’s–that what the court engaged in re Roe v wade was “not conservative” but rather, “a sudden and radical jolt to the country that will lead to chaos, anger, and a further loss of confidence in our government”, which essentially translates to an extremist court.

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NY Governor Kathy Hochul Slams SCOTUS Decision Knocking Down Her State’s Gun Law

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In a fiery speech delivered minutes after the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision knocking down her state’s concealed gun law, New York Governor kathy Hochul slammed the decision, calling the high court, “a politicized Supreme Court.”

Governor Hochul specifically said:“We are not powerless in this situation. We are not going to cede our rights that easily, despite the best efforts of the politicized Supreme Court of the United States of America…Apparently, the Supreme Court has now decided, with this far-reaching decision, that the two step standard that had been in place since Heller vs McDonald, where they analyze the 2nd amendment where it combines history…but also means and scrutiny–does the means of the restriction justify the infringement, and most people would say, yes we have a right to protect people from gun violence…They[Supreme Court]have now said, that the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. That’s it. No longer can we strike the balance.”

Gov Hochul then read directly from the text of the Supreme Court decision:“Only if a firearm regulation is consistent with this nation’s historical tradition, may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the 2nd amendment’s unqualified command”, to which she responded, “Shocking, absolutely shocking, that they have taken away our right to have reasonable restrictions. We can have restrictions on speech, you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater, but somehow there is no restrictions allowed on the 2nd amendment? This is New York, we don’t back down, we fight back…I’m sorry this dark day has come. We are supposed to go back to what was in place since 1788 when the constitution of the United States of America was ratified. And I would like to point out to Supreme Court Justices that the only weapons at that time were muskets. I’m prepared to go back to muskets. I don’t think they envisioned the high-capacity assault weapon magazines intended for battlefields, as being covered. I guess we’re just going to have to disagree.”

Governor Hochul has since convened an extraordinary session of the New York legislature to address issues raised by this Supreme Court decision–leadership matters, folks!!

Bottom line folks, given the recent horrific mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, it’s not hard to understand Governor Hochul’s frustration with this Supreme Court decision, which reasonable people will agree, curtails efforts by states to institute common sense gun control measures.

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Trump Lashes Out At AG Barr For Not Going After Hunter Biden

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Former President Donald Trump called into Fox News’ Sean Hannity show(04/13/22) where he among other things, lamented the weaponization of law enforcement for political purposes. Trump joked that in the last five years, he has gone through “more investigations than Al Capone, Jesse James and Billy the kid put together.” Yours Truly found this quite interesting because even though weaponization of the criminal justice system for political purposes is a legitimate topic of concern, Trump’s DOJ was brazenly political, especially under Attorney General William Barr. As a matter of fact, Trump admitted to host Sean Hannity that he was frustrated with AG Barr’s refusal to prosecute President Biden’s son Hunter, during the 2020 campaign season.

Trump specifically told Hannity(video at 32:00 onwards): “I’ve gone through in five years, more investigations than Al Capone, Jesse James and Billy the kid put together…They’ve weaponized law enforcement essentially, they’ve weaponized the AGs in the states..and district attorneys…I mean, it’s such a horrible thing that they are doing, and I just don’t think the people of the country are going to take it. but I just, based on past, I think probably nothing will happen[to Hunter Biden]. Look, we also had a chance, but Bill Barr, the Attorney General, didn’t want to be impeached, they[Democrats] were vicious with him…How do you not get impeached? You just sit back and relax and wait out for your term to end, and that’s what he did, and it was a sad thing and a sad day for this country, then he writes his crummy book, which was so false…He was so afraid of being impeached, that he refused to do his job.”

There’s no other way to interpret Trump’s remarks on Hannity other than, he was infuriated by his own AG Bill Barr, for not prosecuting Hunter Biden during the runup to the 2020 presidential elections, a move that Trump knew would give him political advantage over his opponent Joe Biden. This, needless to say, would have been the quintessential weaponization of the criminal justice system. Put another way, Trump is not concerned about the legitimate problem surrounding the weaponization of the criminal justice system, he is just mad that his own AG refused to go along with it when it came to Hunter Biden.

Bottom line folks, as we have seen with many other issues involving former President Trump, projection is always a major theme. As Trump is now complaining about weaponization of the criminal justice system, it must not be left unsaid that his own DOJ was notorious for that. Trump’s remarks also raise serious questions about the Hunter Biden criminal investigation. If Bill Barr was against the investigation while he was AG, why is he now saying on cable TV that Hunter should be investigated?

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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Slams Case Against Her Staffers As “Flimsy, Unsubstantiated”

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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo appeared on Houston’s ABC13 TV station (04/14/22), where she slammed the recent criminal indictments of three of her top staffers for corruption. The allegation which led to the indictments, is that Judge Hidalgo’s office funneled an $11 million COVID contract to her pal, despite other more qualified bidders. She totally denies these allegations, and dismissed the subsequent indictments of her top staffers, telling ABC13’s Steve Campion that this was a “flimsy, unsubstantiated case”.

You’ll remember Yours Truly recently wondered aloud as to why the criminal prosecution of these three senior Hidalgo staffers was playing out during the thick and thin of her reelection campaign? It’s a troubling question that at some point, will need to be addressed.

Judge Hidalgo specifically told ABC13’s Steve Campion: “I think it’s a very flimsy unsubstantiated case…At best this is going forward with a fundamental misunderstanding of the facts and at worst, it’s the weaponization of the criminal justice system for political purposes, so I’m not going to play into that. My staffers are hardworking people. They work day and night for the people of Harris County.”

Asked whether she’s worried about being indicted, Judge Hidalgo responded, “No. I mean look, I don’t know how far this is going to go, and it’s very easy if you present one side of facts to a grand jury, everybody knows a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if that’s all they see, right?..I’m not scared, I’m not losing any sleep over this. Whatever happens I’m ready for it. I’m tough, I’m battle-tested, this is just politics, and you know we’ll face it, we’ll keep working, but I think it’s clear the community sees through this, and I’ve got work to do.”

There’s no other way to interpret Judge Hidalgo’s remarks on ABC13 other than, she considers the corruption allegations not only meritless, but also more importantly, part of a well orchestrated political attack masquerading as a criminal prosecution. Her “weaponization of the criminal justice system for political purposes” statement says it all.

Bottom line folks, Judge Hidalgo is absolutely correct. It is impossible to ignore the deep political undertones, given the close proximity of this “criminal prosecution” to the date she is scheduled to face voters at the polls(November). I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the Harris County District Attorney is a Democrat.

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OathKeepers Indictment Raises Serious Questions About Higher Up Involvement

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The bombshell seditious conspiracy indictment of 11 members of the militia group OathKeepers following their involvement in the January 6th insurrection, is raising serious questions as to how far up the law enforcement, military, and intelligence food chain, the conspiracy went. Specifically, given the level of tactical military sophistication they displayed on January 6th, there are valid questions as to whether Trump-allied senior members of U.S. law enforcement, military, and intelligence apparatus, gave material support, or even worse, are still members of this dangerous militia group that attempted to violently overthrow the government. A segment on CNN’s Outfront with Erin Burnett(01/13/22) delved into this very topic.

The full Outfront segment is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Host Erin Burnett said in relevant part: “Prior planning, coordination, sedition, weapons. The 11 people charged today, were[in a]conspiracy, and they are not small fish, like many of the more than 700 people already charged, some of who may have been wrapped up in the moment. Not the case with these individuals. This group had a level of combat training, they were prepared to use force, they had a stash of weapons that they brought for that specific intent, and the question tonight is…now you’ve got a conspiracy, you’ve got planning, you’ve got it all laid out. How much higher does that go?”

Any reasonable person presented with the OathKeepers indictment would reasonably conclude, as host Erin Burnett did, that given the sophistication of their January 6th operation, people higher up in the law enforcement, military, intelligence and even political food chain, were providing material support to the OathKeepers. Providing material support to this dangerous militia group would also necessarily imply that they are members of the group–a scary thought indeed.

CNN’s Sara Sidner followed up with an in depth look at OathKeepers leader Stewart Rhodes in an appearance on New Day (01/14/22), where she dropped a bombshell that further bolsters the troubling prospect that the OathKeepers may have enjoyed material support from insiders within our law enforcement, military and intelligence ranks.

Sara Sidner said: “One of the things the OathKeepers do, is they try and recruit either current or former military, current or former members of law enforcement, current or former people who have been part of the intelligence apparatus in the United States, whether it be the FBI , CIA, anybody that they can get and bring into the organization, and when you think about that, it means that they have tactical training to do something like this[January 6th], and to plan something like this.”

This raises serious questions including but not limited to, what kind of arms and illegally acquired intelligence the OathKeepers currently have, whether in light of this indictment, it’s still okay to have active members of our law enforcement, military, and intelligence apparatus being active members of this violent militia group, etc.

Bottom line folks, Erin Burnett’s question as to how high up this conspiracy goes, is a very serious one, that needs to be seriously addressed by Congress, especially the January 6th Committee, and the mainstream media. For the record, this question has been raised before by concerned members of the public, including Yours Truly, but always treated as one requiring a voluntary answer from our law enforcement, military and intelligence brass. Given the seriousness of this OathKeepers indictment, this question should no longer be one that requires a voluntary answer. The mainstream media and Congress, preferably the January 6th Committee, must demand an answer from leaders in our law enforcement, military and intelligence agencies, as to how much the OathKeepers have infiltrated their ranks. This is a serious national security problem, and it should be treated as such. A major part of the January 6th Committee’s mission is to prevent another January 6th-type insurrection. Reasonable people will agree that rooting out extremism within our law enforcement, military, and intelligence ranks will go a long way in fulfilling that mission.

Specific emphasis should be placed on Trumper states like Texas, which has a heavy OathKeepers presence, and was involved all the way to the top(AG Paxton and other political leaders) in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. What other nefarious activities are the OathKeepers enlisted for in such states? Did the Texas political establishment provide material support to the OathKeepers, for their January 6th operation?

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Fox News Sunday Host Grills Texas AG Ken Paxton About His Felony Indictments

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At his appearance on Fox News Sunday(11/14/21), Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was confronted with a question about his felony indictments, which his 2022 Republican primary challenger George P. Bush(Jeb’s son) argues, renders Paxton unfit for public office. A-G Paxton’s rattled and incoherent response to host Chris Wallace’s direct question shows that he did not expect such a question from Fox News.

A-G Paxton’s full interview on Fox News Sunday is available here, but the relevant clip is below.

Host Chris Wallace: “You face your own legal problems…You are under indictment on an allegation of securities fraud and you are also the subject of an FBI investigation because some former top officials in your own office accused you of bribery. George P. Bush, the son of Jeb Bush is running against you next year…Here’s what he says:’Our top lawyer needs to be above reproach. There shouldn’t even be a question of one’s character and competence for this important role.’ How big a problem do you think these allegations against you will be in your effort to win reelection?”

AG Paxton: “Look, I’ve been dealing with this kind of fight. When you go out and do the type of things that I’ve done, you are going to be challenged, you are going to have issues like this pop up. This happened 7 years ago, almost 7 years ago, I was reelected when it happened, and I think we’ve done a great job defending the state of Texas. That’s what I’m going to talk about…I’m going to continue doing my job.”

A-G Paxton’s rattled and incoherent response to this valid question basically boils down to (1) his felony indictments are the result of some vast left wing conspiracy, and (2) the fact that he got reelected even with the indictments means he’s innocent–both of which are bogus. In the eyes of the Texas public, it is A-G Paxton who’s the beneficiary of political favors. Simply put, no regular Texan would still be waiting for a criminal trial stemming from 7 year old indictments. Unless and until A-G Paxton’s indictments are resolved, either by being quashed, or by Paxton beating them at trial, he is simply not fit to continue serving as Texas’ top lawyer.

Bottom line folks, there was a time not very long ago, when public officials would swiftly resign if their character had been credibly called into question. Nothing credibly calls one’s character into question more than felony indictments. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton should save the Lone Star State from any further embarrassment by either stepping down now, or scrapping his reelection plans. There are many capable indictment-free Texans who can serve as Attorney General.

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Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Defends State’s Controversial Abortion Law

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick(R-TX) appeared on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle show(09/02/2021) to defend the controversial Texas abortion bill(SB8), which the U.S. Supreme Court recently allowed to stand. Lt. Gov Patrick told fill-in host Jason Chaffetz that SB8 is simply meant to punish doctors in Texas who perform abortions after detecting a heartbeat.

Lt. Governor Patrick specifically said: “The Supreme Court said in Roe v Wade…that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of life, and that’s what SB8 does. When we pass this bill, we want to give that little Texan in the womb, who has a heartbeat, a chance to see their full potential. And so everyone who is speaking against this bill, obviously for whatever their reason, [is] very comfortable with taking the life of a little Texan who has a heartbeat. Our bill, which has everyone apoplectic on the left, simply says that any doctor who performs an abortion once that doctor detects a heartbeat, can be sued by any citizen in Texas, for up to $10,000, and anecdotally…what we hear now, our Planned Parenthood abortion centers around the state, have stopped doing abortions on little Texans with a heartbeat. That’s the purpose of SB8.”

Abortion has been, and continues to be, a very charged topic in U.S. politics. Yours Truly, the consummate “gentleman and scholar”, believes that it is in the public’s best interests, that the contours of the SB8 debate be clearly defined–that people know exactly what each side is arguing. It is very clear, that according to Lt. Governor Patrick, SB8 is meant to punish doctors in Texas, who perform an abortion, even after detecting a heartbeat. Whether one agrees or disagrees with that point of view is not the issue here. The important thing is that the public is very clear as to the Republican stance re SB8 versus the Dem/liberal stance. Everybody benefits from an informed debate.

It will be interesting to see how the fight over SB8 will play out in the months and years to come, and whether the conservative U.S. Supreme Court will ever entertain a challenge to SB8 on the merits. Until then, as Trump famously says, “We’ll see what happens.”

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Texas Surcharge Program, A Modern Day Slavery

You have heard many stories about how the Republican party both nationally and at the state level has over the years embarked on policies that consistently hurt the poor while benefiting the rich, or as they call it on Twitter the #WarOnPoverty. The GOP’s attack on the poor has taken several forms for example reducing funding for food stamps, opposing hikes to minimum wage, etc.

All these affronts on the poor by the GOP have received a lot of national media attention and deservedly so. However there are other egregious GOP attacks on the poor that never get the national media attention they deserve, but have serious negative consequences on the daily lives of the working poor. One such attack is the notorious Texas Surcharge Program, an out and out modern day slavery.

The Republican-controlled Texas Legislature introduced the program in 2003 with an aim to raise money to fund the very expensive Texas trauma centers.

The idea was that imposing additional fines to traffic tickets would deter people from breaking traffic rules and as a result improve overall public safety while at the same time providing the much needed funding for the trauma centers. The result however has been the total opposite–a total nightmare for Texas drivers.

Millions of Texas Drivers are driving around with driver licences that they don’t even know have been long suspended thanks to the surcharges. You have Texas parents dropping their kids to school and then going to work only to have to call their family from county jail saying they were arrested for driving with a suspended license that they had no idea about. This of course means these families then have to redirect their already meager financial resources to paying a bail bonding company, towing charges etc or in many instances just letting their loved one sit in jail, losing their jobs and digging them deeper into poverty–the aforementioned modern day slavery.

You also have to consider the tremendous burden that lack of a valid driver’s license imposes on working families. This for some people means giving up a good job offer simply because it will require them to drive daily with their suspended license putting them at risk of arrest, or not being able to take out a rental car during the holidays, and so on, all because of the Texas Surcharge program.

As you can see from this Texas Tribune piece, it has been very difficult to put an end to this program even though there is irrefutable evidence of the disastrous effects it is having on Texas working families. As the article correctly points out, the Texas Surcharge Program is a cash cow that Texas politicians(including some Democrats) have found impossible to resist. Much of the Texas media is also resigned to this sad reality—that we are forever stuck with the Texas surcharge cash cow, its harmful consequences on working families be damned!!

Excerpt from an 08/18/2014 Texas Tribune piece by Gilad Edelman

Yours Truly totally rejects this notion that we are somehow stuck with the modern day slavery that is the Texas surcharge program, and intends to marshal support for a grassroots campaign to finally put an end to the misery this program continues to impose on working families. Simply put Yours Truly intends to finally free Texas working families from the shackles of the Texas surcharge program.

The original plan was to muster enough grassroots pressure to force the Texas legislature to finally scrap this program but it appears there’s already an alternative and equally effective route available. Turns out Equal Justice Under Law, a Washington DC based non-profit has already filed a federal lawsuit against Texas DPS arguing that the Texas Surcharge program is unconstitutional.

In a December 5 2018 KUT News piece, the Executive Director of the DC non-profit, Phil Telfeyan said regarding the Texas surcharge program, “What Texas is doing is punishing people for being poor.” The lawsuit by this DC non-profit makes our efforts at scrapping the Texas surcharge program much easier because a ruling by a federal court that the program is unconstitutional frees us all from its shackles.

Bottom line folks, we cannot just sit idly by and expect to be miraculously emancipated from this modern day slavery. We must fully support the great efforts of Phil Telfeyan and his non-profit group to finally put an end to the Texas surcharge program. It all begins by giving our full support, material and otherwise to the good folks at Equal Justice Under Law as they pursue their lawsuit against Texas DPS. Yours Truly highly recommends that you follow them on Twitter so as to keep up with their federal lawsuit.

It also cannot be left unsaid that if Democrats want to make inroads in Texas they must capitalize on highly unpopular GOP-inspired initiatives like the Texas surcharge program that elicit bipartisan loathing. The winning message for Texas Democrats can be very simple, “If you are sick driving scared because of GOP’s surcharge program, vote for Democrats.”

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Kavanaugh’s Alma Mater Yale Law Wants FBI Involved

Some 50 Yale Law students and faculty have made a formal request in the form of a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging the Senators to have the FBI look into the serious allegations raised by Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey Ford. Kavanaugh attended Yale Law so it is a very big deal that his own Alma Mater wants the FBI to look into Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations. Here are some of the excerpts from the Yale Law letter:

“As the Senate Judiciary Committee debates Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, we write as faculty members of Yale Law School, from which Judge Kavanaugh graduated, to urge that the Senate conduct a fair and deliberate confirmation process,”

“With so much at stake for the Supreme Court and the nation, we are concerned about a rush to judgment that threatens both the integrity of the process and the public’s confidence in the Court.”



Bottom line folks its one thing when Senate Democrats or even #TheResistance libs clamor for an immediate pause to Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a result of Ms Ford’s serious allegations. However when Kavanaugh’s own alma mater, the highly prestigious Yale Law is calling for the same thing, there is no choice but to pause Kavanaugh’s confirmation process until such a time as the FBI has probed Ms Ford’s serious allegations. As the Yale Law students and faculty correctly put it, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation process “must always be conducted, and appointments made, in a manner that gives Americans reason to trust the court.” What Sen Chuck Grassley and his fellow GOP Senators are doing in regards to Kavanaugh only makes Americans mistruct the U.S. Supreme Court–a sad state of affairs indeed.

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