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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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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Is Locking Out MTG From The 2022 Ballot A Template For Locking Out Trump In 2024?

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Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene on the Tucker Carlson Show(04/18/22)

A rattled Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene(R-GA) appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show(04/18/22) where she lashed out at liberals for what she characterized as an effort to rip her name off the ballot, and steal her district’s ability to reelect her to Congress. What Rep Greene(aka MTG) is referring to, is a lawsuit filed by liberals, that seeks to bar her from running for reelection because she aided and abetted the January 6th insurrection. Her rattled appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show is explainable because it not only appears that the lawsuit may be headed for success, but also because establishment GOP is not offering her a helping hand. Simply put, MTG has reason to be worried about her future in Congress, even before a single vote is cast.

An elephant in the room question that has arisen from the MTG challenge, is the effect if any, it may have on others who aided and abetted the insurrectionists? The biggest question of course, is whether successfully locking out MTG from the ballot could be a template for locking out…idk…some guy in Palm Beach Florida, out of the GOP presidential contest?

Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically told host Tucker Carlson(video at 0:38):“These people[liberals]hate the people in my district so much, they look down on them because they voted for me and sent me to Washington to fight for the things that most Americans care about, like secure borders, stopping abortion, protecting our second amendment, stopping the out of control spending in Washington, and stop funding never-ending foreign wars, and all the insanity that takes place in Washington. Well, I went there and I have been fighting it and now the Progressives, the people that donate to dark money groups, you know, the 501(c)(3)s and the foundations, they’ve hired up some attorneys from New York who hate the people in my district, and don’t believe that they should have the right to elect who they want to send to Washington, which is me. I have overwhelming support in my district and I’m so thankful for all of them. Well now they’ve filed a lawsuit, because they’re trying to rip my name off of the ballot, and steal my district’s ability to reelect me and send me back to Congress.”

Asked by host Tucker Carlson whether she was getting any help from the GOP establishment, Rep Greene responded, “Not yet. I’m on my own to defend myself…I have to protect myself. I have to go to court on Friday and actually be questioned about something[January6th]I’ve never been charged with, and something I was completely against.”

There’s no other way to interpret Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene’s remarks on Tucker Carlson’s show other than, she is completely rattled by the lawsuit, which she’s finally realizing, presents a real threat to her future in Congress. She’s also clearly surprised(not sure why), that no one from the GOP establishment is rushing to her aid.

Bottom line folks, the outcome of this MTG challenge may have far reaching implications, chief among them, whether former President Trump can be similarly locked out of the 2024 ballot. Hmm, we’ll see what happens.

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New Jan 6th Video Shows Officers Being Attacked With Crutches, Flagpoles And Fists

The Justice Department has released a new troubling body cam video from the January 6th DC insurrection, which shows former President Trump’s supporters verbally assaulting, and attacking Capitol Police officers with crutches, flagpoles and fists. The video, which was aired on CNN’s OutFront with Erin Burnett (7/09/2021), yet again flies in the face of arguments by Republican politicians and their allies on Fox News, downplaying the January 6th incident as some form of made-up liberal myth, aimed at destroying Trump politically.

In the newly released video, the violent Trump supporters can be heard hurling verbal assaults like “f*ck you” and “f*cking traitor”, at the Capitol Police officers. According to host Erin Burnett, the officers had gone into the crowd to save the life of one of Trump’s supporters who had been trampled. The violent Trump thugs then turned on the officers, assaulting them with crutches, flag poles and fists. One of the officers, whose face appears on the video (with a Sheriff vest), sustained very serious injuries from the incident and according to Erin Burnett, “was hospitalized after the attack, needing staples in his head to stop the bleeding.”

Bottom line folks, these and other gruesome details from the January 6th incident, must be used to push back against the counter narrative currently being conjured up by congressional Republicans and their allies on Fox News, that January 6th was “no big deal”. More importantly, gruesome videos like these must be used by congressional Democrats to demand a complete and thorough investigation into the January 6th insurrection, so that all responsible parties, especially the behind-the-scene planners, are held to account. We owe this to the families of the Capitol Police officers, who will have to live with the trauma of January 6th for the rest of their lives. It’s the least we can do for them.

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Trump-Tied Dark Money Group Brags About Drafting Voter Suppression Laws

Heritage Action’s Executive Director Jessica Anderson addressing a group meeting

A leaked video obtained by Mother Jones, shows the shocking extent to which a Trump-tied dark money group, Heritage Action For America, is secretly engineering the recent spate of voter suppression laws in Republican-led states. This bombshell revelation, even though not quite surprising, should be a call to action for voting rights activists nationwide, and a reminder to Congressional Democrats, of the dire need for passage of HR1-For The People Act.

In the leaked video, Jessica Anderson, a former Trump administration official and now Executive Director of Heritage Action For America, can be heard talking to a group of donors in Tucson Arizona in late April, and admitting to conduct that leaves absolutely no doubt to any reasonable person, that her group is engineering the voter suppression laws currently springing up in Republican states across the country. She is essentially bragging to the donors about how Heritage Action is drafting voter suppression laws currently being enacted by Republican-led state legislatures.

She can be heard telling the donors, “Iowa is the first state we[Heritage Action] got to work in, and we did it quickly, and we did it quietly. Honestly, nobody noticed.”(see video at 1:05). No reasonable person presented with Jessica Anderson’s “nobody noticed” remarks, can ever conclude that Heritage Action went into Iowa with a mission other than sneaking through a voter suppression law.

Other alarming statements by Jessica Anderson to the GOP donors include;

“At the end of the day, the bill that Governor[Brian] Kemp signed, and the Georgia legislature marshalled through had eight key provisions that Heritage recommended.” (see video at 1:11)

“We are working with these state legislators to make sure they have all of the information they need to draft the bills. In some cases we actually draft them for them, or we have a sentinel on our behalf, give them the model legislation so it has that grassroots, from the bottom up, type of vibe.” (see video at 1:32). This is by far, the most damning part of Jessica Anderson’s presentation. She basically admits that Heritage Action is writing voter suppression laws for the states, and faking their grassroots appeal.

It also bears pointing out that this same Trump-tied dark money group, is also in the forefront of lobbying Congressional Republicans into blocking the HR1-For The People Act, currently being pushed by Congressional Democrats, which among other things, seeks to vastly expand voting rights for all Americans.

Bottom line folks, it appears Heritage Action is the vehicle Trump Republicans are using to push their voter suppression laws targeting minority voters. Voting rights activists in Texas and other emerging purple states, where the voting rights battle is already red hot, must come up with effective strategies to confront Heritage Action and other such right wing anti-democracy groups. Yours Truly is not an attorney, but is reasonable enough to know that some of the statements Jessica Anderson made to the GOP donors, can be very useful in federal lawsuits against these Republican voter suppression laws.

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Laura Ingraham Is Upset That Defense Secretary Austin Wants To Rid Military Of Racists & Extremists

The unfortunate events of January 6, 2021, dubbed “DCInsurrection”, where a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building interrupting a joint session of Congress convened to formally confirm the election of President Joe Biden, have raised a lot of questions about violent extremism and racism in the United States, and specifically, the extent to which such extremism and racism have infected the military ranks.

During the insurrection, a lot of Americans witnessed on live TV and social media, images of many of the rioters in military regalia, engaging in formations that left absolutely no doubt that they were either active duty military officers, or veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Media reports have since confirmed that quite a number of the DC insurrectionists were indeed either active duty military officers or veterans, a disturbing development indeed, and proof positive sign that there is radicalization/extremism within our armed forces. Sadly, there were also images at the DC insurrection of people displaying flags and other symbols of groups with long and documented histories of espousing White supremacist views. So the problem at DC insurrection was not just violent extremism, but violent extremism plus racism.

Naturally, as a result of these troubling media reports, there have been calls from the public and members of Congress, for the department of defense to investigate this apparent radicalization in the military, with the goal of ridding the revered American institution of racists and extremists–something all reasonable people will conclude is a very noble and justified goal. It was therefore quite interesting on Thursday’s(2/4/2021) edition of her show, to see Fox News host Laura Ingraham express reservations, even outrage, at the fact that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has put in motion efforts to do just that–rid the U.S. military of racists and extremists.

In the editorial section of her show titled “The Ingraham Angle“, Ingraham lashed out at Defense Secretary Austin saying his efforts to get racists and extremists out of the military was a veiled attempt at purging Conservatives and Trump supporters from the military. Laura played a clip of Defense Secretary Austin’s remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing where Secretary Austin said, “I will fight hard to stump out sexual assault, and to rid our ranks of racists and extremists. The job of the department of defense is to keep America safe from our enemies, but we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.” She then strangely lashed out at these perfectly normal sentiments by Secretary Austin saying, “Of course what he [Secretary Austin] really meant then, and what he would like to do now, is rid the military of all strong Conservatives and of course, Trump supporters.”

Laura Ingraham’s take on Secretary Austin’s remarks at his confirmation hearings are not only troubling because she unreasonably casts negative aspersions at the Secretary’s motives, but also because she appears to be troubled that efforts are underway to rid the military of racists and extremists. Reasonable people would welcome such a move because it is not only good for the military, but also for the country to have a military that does not harbor racists and extremists. By unreasonably suggesting that the aim here is to rid the military of “strong Conservatives” and “Trump supporters”, is Laura Ingraham tacitly admitting that Conservatives and Trumpers are indeed racists and extremists? Are racists and extremists a voting block that is now being actively courted by the modern Republican party? These and others, are interesting questions one hopes the mainstream media will pose to Ingraham and company, regarding her seeming reluctance to have the military remove racists and extremists from it’s ranks.

It also bears pointing out that Ingraham’s reservations about getting rid of racists and extremists from the military is a prevalent view among many prominent Republicans. You’ll remember that after the January 6th incident, many people started expressing concern about a similar insurrection happening two weeks later, at the January 20th presidential inauguration event. Among the steps taken to prevent a repeat of January 6th, was a beefing up of security in and around Washington DC, by bringing in National Guard troops from the various states. The troops brought in to secure the inauguration event were vetted to ensure they had no ties to the same extremists groups that participated in the January 6th insurrection. Strangely, and much like we witnessed with Laura Ingraham, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and Florida’s Ron DeSantis, were also very upset that the troops were vetted for extremism ties, something most reasonable people would consider prudent given the circumstances.

Bottom line folks, Yours Truly has repeatedly stated that among the most underreported stories during the four years of the Trump administration, is the extent to which he politicized and abused the military to achieve his political interests. These unreasonable protestations by Trumpers like Laura Ingraham, Governors Abbott, DeSantis, et al, towards ridding the military of racists and extremists, only add on to my suspicions. Are they afraid that a vetting will uncover something they are already aware of, but would rather hide from the public? Hmm

Obviously the jury is still out on the finer details of the politicization and abuse of the military during the four years of the Trump administration, and hopefully details will soon start coming out under the Biden administration. One hopes that the mainstream media will keep us fully apprised on the findings of DOD Inspector General’s investigations in this regard, especially in states like Texas and Florida with super Trumper Governors.

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