It’s a measure of the Republican Party’s current depravity that I think of the period when Marco Rubio was besmirching Donald Trump’s genitalia as the good old days.
It was early 2016, Trump hadn’t yet locked down the Republican presidential nomination and Rubio, smarting from Trump’s nickname for him (“Little Marco’) and cracks about his overactive sweat glands, began pointing voters toward Trump’s private parts.
“He’s, like, 6-2, which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who’s 5-2,” Rubio told voters at a campaign rally in late February that year. “Have you seen his hands? And you know what they say about men with small hands.”
In that age of innocence, we were talking and even laughing about the nether regions of Republican anatomy. Five years later, we’re talking and most certainly not laughing about the nether regions of Republican morality, which Rubio plumbs as shamelessly as his more exposed Senate colleagues Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton do.
All four seem to have dreams of 2024 and don’t want to run afoul of Trump and his base, no matter how thoroughly that debases them. They’re vain weather vanes of his hold on the party, the strength and stubbornness of which are evident in the populous crowd of Trump-smooching presidential aspirants (these four, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, etc.) versus the sparse crew of Trump-spanking ones (Larry Hogan, Ben Sasse and that’s about it).
As Trump’s impeachment trial looms, everything that these young or youngish senators say and do can be seen as an audition for his mantle, which Hawley and Cruz reached for with special cynicism when they joined six other senators in voting not to certify Joe Biden’s election. Rubio and Cotton didn’t go quite that far, but I’m sure Rubio was tempted. Ever since, he has mustered extra energy for showing what a fierce Trump loyalist he can be.
On Fox News recently, he dismissed Trump’s upcoming Senate trial as “stupid,” seemingly daring Hawley, Cruz and Cotton to top his disdain and his adjective. He paired that exalted commentary with an inadequately punctuated, inelegantly worded and ineptly reasoned tweet:
Waste of time impeachment isn’t about accountability
It’s about demands from vengeance from the radical left
And a new “show” for the “Political Entertainment Industry”
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 26, 2021
Five people died when a Trump-loving mob, whipped into a violent frenzy by his and his Republican enablers’ lies about election fraud, stormed and trashed the Capitol. But sure, Senator Rubio, Democrats’ upset is purely theatrical. Absolutely, the lesson here is the bloodthirst of “the radical left.”
That’s no garden-variety misdirection. That’s pure derangement.
Marco Rubio greeted Ivanka Trump at the Capitol in 2017.
It also smacks of desperation. “Little Marco,” you see, may have big trouble. It’s blond, it’s relentless, it has a new address in Florida and it’s spelled I-V-A-N-K-A. The shiniest Trump and her smug husband, pariahs now in New York City, have moved on, and there’s some speculation that their relocation presages a Senate candidacy for her in 2022, when Rubio is up for re-election.
She’d potentially challenge him in the Florida Republican primary. Now there’s a reason to sweat. Rubio confronts what Republican lawmakers all over the country do, the prospect of being ousted, en route to their general elections, by rivals who are even Trumpier than they are. Only there’s no out-Trumping an actual Trump. And there’s no defaming this Trump progeny without inflaming the Trump patriarch.
Ivanka would be Rubio’s worst nightmare. She’d also be his perfect comeuppance. He would have done all that shape-shifting, summoned all that sycophancy and sold out for naught.
Maybe Ivanka would take pity on him and take a pass.
Yes, that was a joke.
As, at this point, is Marco Rubio.
I can remember back to 2013, when, as a member of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” in the Senate, he helped to draft legislation for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for millions of people in this country illegally. He was then styling himself as a pragmatist determined to broaden the Republican Party’s tent.
Now he rails against “amnesty.” He’s a Trump-style populist, content with a clownish part in the Republican Party’s circus.
I remember how his parents’ flight to the United States from Cuba was the supposed cornerstone of his political convictions, the prompt for a hawkish foreign policy with no tolerance for autocrats at odds with our democratic values.
But he just spent four years blowing kisses at an American president more autocratic and more contemptuous of those values than any in his lifetime.
I remember how, for much of 2016, he pledged that he would not-not-not run for re-election to the Senate, framing that resolve as a point of honor. He said that it was an impotent institution and that lawmakers needed to limit their time in Congress, lest they become hacks. He expressed indignation at any suggestion that he would change his mind, tweeting: “I have only said like 10000 times I will be a private citizen in January.”
That was in mid-May of that year. Little more than a month later, he announced his re-election bid. So much for private citizenry.
Rubio says whatever he feels that the moment demands, whatever keeps the wind in his sails, because he’s unfazed by the fact that he once said something completely different, by the possibility that he’ll contradict himself down the line or by the bald selectiveness of his self-righteousness.
He’s a creature of Republican vogues, so he’s polishing his anti-elitist riffs, like a tweet with which he slammed the emerging Biden administration:
Biden’s cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools,have strong resumes,attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline
I support American greatness
And I have no interest in returning to the “normal” that left us dependent on China
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 24, 2020
Politeness! Order! The horror! But that’s not the best part. Biden stands out from his five immediate predecessors in the White House, including Trump, for not having the Ivy League degrees that they did. Where there’s fancy education aplenty is in Rubio’s ranks: Hawley has degrees from Stanford and Yale, Cruz from Princeton and Harvard and Cotton from Harvard two times over.
Maybe Rubio was slyly knocking those potential 2024 competitors, too, and previewing a line of 2024 attack. His own degrees are from the University of Florida, the University of Miami and the School of Unchecked Opportunism.
To his anti-elitism he has added overwrought, indiscriminate media bashing, as when he responded to the coronavirus’s rampage through America with a tweet last March that accused journalists of “glee & delight in reporting that the U.S. has more #CoronaVirus cases than #China” and called it “grotesque.”
I don’t recall such glee. I’ll tell you what’s grotesque: training more of your fury about the pandemic’s devastation at the unelected people covering it than at the elected one minimizing and mismanaging it.
He was preening for Trump. He was parroting him. He still is, and he’s proving that while Trump may be gone from the White House, he remains deeply present in Washington, because it’s lousy with minions who remade themselves in his image.
Rubio’s fate was to become what Trump once called him, not just exuberantly but prophetically: a little man, at least by the yardstick of integrity, which is the only endowment that matters.
Axios has published a massive 3,000-word-plus report detailing what it describes as "the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency."
The meeting revolves around conspiracy-spewing attorney Sidney Powell, along with former national security adviser Mike Flynn and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, storming into the Oval Office and trying to convince former President Donald Trump to command federal law enforcement officials to seize Dominion voting machines.
The report is filled with moments of slapstick comedy that highlight the ineptitude of the former president's allies. Here are the five funniest parts.
1. Sidney Powell gets called out for claiming Dominion flipped a county that Trump won.
During the meeting, Powell told Trump that she could prove that Dominion voting machines flipped votes to President Joe Biden in a Georgia county.
White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann, however, immediately spotted a flaw in Powell's claims: Namely, Trump had actually won the county in question.
"So your theory is that Dominion intentionally flipped the votes so we could win that county?" he asked her incredulously.
2. Former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne gets utterly humiliated after trash talking Trump's staff members.
Byrne, who had never before met the president in person, nonetheless didn't hesitate to throw his weight around and accuse his staff members of being disloyal for not doing enough to help him overturn the results of the 2020 election.
"You're a quitter," Byrne told Herschmann.
"Do you even know who the f*ck I am, you idiot?" Herschmann asked him.
"Yeah, you're Patrick Cipollone," Byrne said.
"Wrong!" Herschmann shouted. "Wrong, you idiot!"
3. Sidney Powell gets lambasted for making embarrassing spelling mistakes in her legal filings.
White House staff secretary Derek Lyons quickly ran out of patience with Powell, whose "kraken" lawsuits infamously crashed and burned when brought before courts.
"You've brought 60 cases," Lyons told Powell. "And you've lost every case you've had!"
Lyons not only ripped into Powell's legal arguments, but her sloppy spelling and grammar.
"You somehow managed to misspell the word 'District' three different ways in your suits," he told her.
4. Patrick Byrne claims that he gave Hillary Clinton an $18 million bribe as part of an FBI sting.
In one of the more nonsensical portions of the meeting, Byrne repeatedly claimed that he knew the FBI to be corrupt because they used him to catch Hillary Clinton taking bribes but somehow never arrested her.
"I know how this works," he said. "I bribed Hillary Clinton $18 million on behalf of the FBI for a sting operation."
Herschmann was incredulous and demanded to know what Byrne was talking about. The former Overstock CEO never elaborated, and yet still stood by his claim that he had successfully bribed the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
5. Mark Meadows and other staffers scrambled to stop Trump from appointing Powell as special counsel to investigate voter fraud.
Powell tried to convince Trump that he needed to appoint her as special counsel to probe voter fraud allegations, which is something Trump did not have the authority to do.
Former chief of staff Mark Meadows could not believe that such a proposal was being contemplated and quickly tried to throw cold water on it to dissuade the president from trying to make it happen.
"Meadows indicated that he was trying to wrap his mind around what exactly Powell's role would entail," reports Axios. "He told Powell she would have to fill out the SF-86 questionnaire before starting as special counsel. This was seen as a delaying tactic. The sense in the room was that Trump might actually greenlight this extraordinary proposal."
Then-President Donald Trump enjoyed watching his supporters ransack the US Capitol, former aides to the ex-president told CNN.
The January 6 riot, which followed a Trump speech falsely claiming he won the 2020 election, resulted in five deaths, including the killing of a US Capitol Police officer.
As the violence unfolded last month, Republicans and Democrats alike pleaded with Trump to intervene — to call on his supporters to stop. For hours, however, he remained silent, ensconced at the White House and consuming cable news.
There, a former senior Trump official told CNN, the president was enjoying what he saw on the screen: people — some in MAGA hats and with Trump flags — breaking into a co-equal branch of government.
Trump was "loving watching the Capitol mob," a former official said to CNN.
Last month, The Washington Post previously reported that Trump was slow to act on calling for an end to the mob — which he did hours after it began in a video posted to Twitter where he called the rioters "special" — because he was watching it live on television.
"He was hard to reach, and you know why? Because it was live TV," a then Trump advisor told The Post. "If it's TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it's live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold."
The Democratic-controlled House impeached Trump soon after, charging him with inciting an insurrection. His second impeachment trial in the Senate begins Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - The Trump administration deliberately harnessed racism and class animosity to push policies that caused hundreds of thousands of US deaths, according to a scathing new report in the British medical journal The Lancet.
After undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the health and environment impacts of Donald Trump's presidency, the 33 scientists who co-authored the article estimated that rollbacks of environmental and workplace protections led to 22,000 excess deaths in 2019 alone.
They also blamed Trump for eschewing the advice of public health agencies and politicising common sense responses to the Covid-19 pandemic like mask-wearing.
The findings rely on comparisons with previous US norms and those in other countries to make statistical assumptions about what mortality rates might have been if Trump had not swerved away from the global scientific consensus.
Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at Boston College who was one of the report's co-authors, argued that it was fair to make the linkage.
"Basically, the Trump administration stopped enforcing Clean Air Act," Landrigan said, referring to the landmark legislation signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970 and used by President Barack Obama to regulate carbon emissions.
Under the aegis of ending the "war on coal", Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed the Obama administration's emissions rule and stopped trying to control fine particulate matter air pollution.
As a result, the Lancet report said, concentrations of such pollution have increased after having declined steadily for decades before he took office.
Fine particulate pollution is closely linked to all sorts of lethal diseases, including childhood asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, and diabetes among adults.
"We see trend lines for deaths from environmental and occupational exposure start going up in 2017, reversing 50 years of decline," Landrigan concluded. "It is hard to walk away from cause and effect."
Trump's last EPA Administrator, Scott Wheeler, repeatedly cited cost benefit analysis as a rationale for regulatory changes that undermined Obama-era attempts to curb pollution.
On the campaign trail last year, the former president pledged to ensure that the United States had the "cleanest air and water in the planet", even as his administration reversed policies created to achieve those goals.
The Lancet's willingness to wade into the politics behind health policy is highly unusual among scientific journals.
Richard Horton, the journal's editor, is no stranger to controversy, however.
Under his leadership, the magazine has come under fire for one-sided critiques of Israel, for assigning greatly inflated death figures to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and for publishing a now widely discredited study linking vaccinations to autism.
In April, the Lancet criticised Trump for pulling out of the World Health Organisation, calling his decision a "crime against humanity".
But the fact that so many scientists were willing to break from their traditional political neutrality to put their names on this assessment is "a signal of a changing time", according to Gretchen Goldman, a research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
While the Lancet has been more outspoken than others, she said, it is not alone among science magazines in publicly criticising Trump.
Scientific American shocked many when it broke 175 years of tradition and gave its first ever presidential endorsement to Joe Biden, largely because it argued that Trump was such an awful alternative.
"If you told me four years ago that scientific journals would be speaking out against Trump, I wouldn't have believed you," Goldman said. "But since then, there has been quite a shift, reflecting both the severity of what Trump did as well as the changing willingness of the scientific community to engage in policy conversations."
This report has its roots in the spring of 2017, when the Lancet formed a commission of experts with backgrounds in a wide range of topics such as clinical medicine, public health, and epidemiology to track the public health effects of the Trump administration.
On environmental policy, the report noted that Trump rolled back 84 vital regulations covering everything from toxins in water to the way scientific research gets used by the federal government, with 20 more rule changes still in progress by the end of his term.
The resulting increase in airborne particulate matter was the primary cause of the excess deaths, the authors concluded. But they also proposed that Trump's climate change denialism would be the most enduring stain on his environmental legacy.
While the commission excoriated Trump, it also acknowledged that deep-seated problem in America's health system predated him by decades.
The authors note, for example, that American life expectancy rates have been declining compared to other high-income nations since the 1980s.
But instead of moving to solve this decline, the report argues that the former president specifically exploited low- and middle-income White people's anger over their deteriorating prospects to mobilise the racial animus and xenophobia that propelled his political success.
The people who supported Trump were in fact among the worst affected by his policies, the commission found.
The 22,000 additional 2019 deaths occurred largely in states that voted for Trump, while Democratic states such as California and New York had their own laws that acted as a safety net.
The report also emphasises the racial disparities in health that grew under Trump, including the fact that most of the 2.3 million Americans who lost health insurance while he was in office were minorities.
It also underscored the fact that Covid-19 has much more heavily impacted Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people.
Mary Bassett, a former health commissioner for New York City and a member of the Lancet's expert panel, wrote in a statement released with the report: "The disastrous, bungled response to the pandemic made clear how existing, longstanding racial inequities simply have not been addressed."
As Trump's businesses struggle, his single most profitable asset is at risk
While Trump undergoes a second impeachment trial in Washington, he is also confronting a potent
threat to the crown jewel of his real estate holdings, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The threat, involving a highly profitable real estate partnership that generates significant cash for
the Trump Organization, is ratcheting up pressure on the former president as his real estate and
hospitality operations struggle under hefty debt and vastly reduced revenues, largely a result of
the coronavirus pandemic.
So tell me, what were the Dems doing about Antifa riots and the destruction of businesses and lives over a fourteen month national embarrassment?
Just denying it all was happening on their watch?
While it is difficult to assess with fidelity the identity or ideology of many of the looters, my conversations with law enforcement and intelligence officials in multiple U.S. cities suggest that Antifa played a minor role in violence. The vast majority of looting appeared to come from local opportunists with no affiliation and no political objectives. Most were common criminals.
The threat from Antifa and other far-left networks is relatively small in the United States. The far-left includes a decentralized mix of actors. Anarchists, for example, are fundamentally opposed to the government and capitalism, and they have organized plots and attacks against government, capitalist, and globalization targets. Environmental and animal rights groups, such as the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, have conducted small-scale attacks against businesses they perceive as exploiting the environment. Antifa followers have committed a tiny number of plots and attacks.
so why is this character even bringing it up?
Q1: Who are Antifa?
A1: Antifa is a contraction of the phrase “anti-fascist.” It refers to a decentralized network of far-left militants that oppose what they believe are fascist, racist, or otherwise right-wing extremists.
In the USA, the antifa movement is nowhere near as dangerous as the armed right-wing militias.