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Scott Hall is the first person to plead guilty in the 19 defendant case.

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Trump was already dumb, but he's getting worse — yet MAGA doesn't care. The press should cover his decline anyway

Donald Trump is skipping another GOP primary debate this week and the theories abound as to why. Some paint it as a smart strategy, setting his opponents to take each other apart while he sails into the presidential nomination. Others, including the right-wing editorial board at the Wall Street Journal, have accused Trump of being afraid to debate. But watching clips of some recent Trump speeches, I have a different theory: His team is worried Trump will start talking about how he bested Teddy Roosevelt in a bear-hunting competition, before trouncing the 26th president in the 1904 presidential election.

To be sure, Trump was never playing with a full deck. Never forget when he recommended bleach injections for "cleaning" COVID-19 from lungs. Lately, however, his brain functioning, as impossible as it may be to believe, seems even worse. He appears to believe he's won every presidential election in the last two decades, instead of that one electoral college-based win against Hillary Clinton in 2016. During a campaign stop in South Carolina, Trump spun out a whole story about defeating a famous military leader named "Bush."

"When I came here, everyone thought Bush was going to win," he rambled, saying it was "because Bush supposedly was a military person." Then he added, "He got us into the, uh, he got us into the Middle East. How did that work out, right?"

Trump did prevail over Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida in the 2016 GOP primary. But he appears to believe he defeated President George W. Bush, Jeb's older brother, who is actually the guy who "got us into the Middle East," when he invaded Iraq.

Before bragging about besting two-term winner George W. Bush, Trump gave another speech boasting about his imaginary win against another two-termer, President Barack Obama. "With Obama, we won an election that everyone said couldn't be won," he prattled on in a speech in Washington, D.C. last week. In the same speech, he confused Obama with President Joe Biden, and warned that, if he didn't win in 2024, we would enter "World War II," which famously ended the year before Trump himself was born.

While Trump, who likes to call Biden "cognitively impaired," got widely mocked on social media for this, the audience he's speaking to doesn't seem to notice their god is brain-farting. That's because Trump fans, as I've written about before, don't actually listen when Dear Leader is talking. Instead, they wait for him to say buzzwords they can cheer, like "lock her up," but otherwise they tune him out. After all, MAGA is an authoritarian movement based on tribalist politics. Merit-based systems allow women and people of color to rise up, which is intolerable to the GOP base. What Trump says is not imporant. What they like about him is he's rich, white, male and a bully.

There's no way to know from afar what's going on with Trump. On one hand, he's 77 years old, and his own father died of Alzheimer's. On the other hand, Trump's narcissism has long fueled a willingness to lie shamelessly about his own supposed accomplishments, from making up golf scores even pros can't achieve to pretending he had a chance with women who hated him to falsifying charitable donations to claiming his inauguration drew crowds it didn't.

But claiming to have won elections he didn't run in would be next-level lying, even by Trump standards. Plus, it doesn't explain really his confusing Biden with Obama, or confusing the two Bush brothers. The likelier explanation is he's confusing his fantasies with memories. Nor does it explain how his social media presence, which was always ungrammatical and silly, has become even more unhinged and incoherent. Perhaps we've all become numb to it, but stepping back, it's really remarkable that he regularly issues violent threats on Truth Social that get ignored mainly because they're as incomprehensible as they are terrible.

That the press understands Trump isn't doing well is evident in the way they all politely ignore him screaming for the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, much like one would smile patiently at a dementia patient yelling invective about long-dead relatives. But of course, this is unbelievably unfair, because the very same press is in an endless hype cycle about "concerns" that Biden, who does not issue grammar-challenged murder threats regularly, is slowing down from age.

"Biden is old" is swiftly turning into one of those self-perpetuating B.S. media cycles that only end up seeming to smear Democrats unfairly, such as "Hillary Clinton's emails." First, the press runs a million pieces on this non-story, creating the illusion of controversy where none exists. Then voters start to parrot the "concerns" back in polls, concerns they only have because they're being told by a 24/7 news cycle to worry about this. Then those polls are used to justify even more coverage of a non-controversy, making sure a candidate is defined by something that was never a real problem.

With Biden, the rejoinder is "but he actually is old!" But of course, so is Trump. Worse, Trump, who is only 3 years younger, is clearly feeling his age a lot more than Biden, who does not forget what elections he ran in or how many world wars there were. Crucially, Biden isn't displaying the loss of impulse control we see with Trump, whose baseline of self-control was not good to begin with. Trump struggles to get through interviews without confessing to his crimes. Good for prosecutors, but also a reminder that a man who can't be a passable steward of his own freedom has no business running the country.

As Salon's Heather "Digby" Parton pointed out on Twitter, the press actually knows they're treating Biden and Trump very differently, even though the latter is way worse.

A lot of the double standard is driven by perceptions of what the two voting bases care about. Mainstream journalists believe, with good reason, that Democratic voters care about qualities like intelligence, competence, and mental fitness. They also believe, with good reason, that Republican voters don't care if their candidates are babbling morons, so long as they a rich, white men. Indeed, being seen as "too" smart can hurt you with the GOP base, which suspiciously eyes intelligence as a gateway drug to rationality. So the Beltway press, in an attempt to be "objective," ends up covering candidates through these perceived partisan biases. A Democrat saying something wrong or off is "news" because his own party members won't like it, even if the mistake is inconsequential. Meanwhile, flat-out dumbassery or overt bigotry from Republicans is shrugged off, because of the belief that their base voters don't care anyway.

And it's true enough that most Democratic voters care about competence and most Republican voters do not. But that doesn't excuse the press's wild double standard on this. For one thing, it's basic journalistic ethics to report the truth without worrying whether their most loyal voters care. But also, it's foolish to think that giving audiences greater context doesn't matter. There are a lot of swing voters, independents, and people who haven't decided if they're going to vote yet. Those folks can actually have their opinion shaped by the information they're taking in. If the media focuses on Biden's age while ignoring that Trump is worse, a lot of those fairweather citizens may vote in ways they come to regret — or not vote at all.

That's bad news in any environment, but especially bad considering how much of a threat Trump is to our democracy and the nation's future. He was bad enough in his first term where he, as much as the media might often forget, attempted a coup. If, as all public signs indicate, his already fragile mental state is getting more disjointed and reckless, that's terrifying. What may be more dangerous than Trump's idiocy is that, while he's always been sociopathically impulsive and evil, he seems to be getting worse in his late 70s. If he gets power again, there's little that could contain him.

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House Republicans are claiming President Biden benefited from foreign business deals by his son, Hunter, but they have not yet shown direct evidence of that.

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President Biden's latest speech on democracy comes the day after the Republican debate, as a government shutdown looms and as House Republicans hold an impeachment inquiry hearing.

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House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer said the hearing will examine the value of an impeachment inquiry and evidence against President Biden.

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Donald Trump has been on a prolific Truth Social tear, calling for the execution of a top US military general, vowing revenge on NBC Networks and demanding that Republican leaders take action against automatic voter registration to protect him from once again losing the popular vote. All of that was over the weekend. On Monday, the former picked up apace with attacks on New York Attorney General Letitia James.

"I have been unfairly sued by the Trump Hating Democrat Attorney General of New York State, Letitia James," he cried on his social media site.

James' office has claimed that Trump has represented his worth as being $2.2 billion greater than it really is. Trump called that a "false fact."

He then called the judge in the case a "Trump Hater" and cried out for help.

"It is very unfair, and I call for help from the highest Courts in New York State, or the Federal System, to intercede."

I am not even allowed a Jury!"

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The court’s decision is in line with its June ruling in the same case that reaffirmed key protections for minority voters.

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A New York judge has found Donald Trump and his adult sons liable for fraud, saying the Trumps provided false financial statements for roughly a decade.

Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling came days before the civil case involving the New York attorney general’s office and the former president was set to go to trial.

Engoron granted Attorney General Letitia James’ motion for summary judgment, finding Trump, his sons, and others “to be liable as a matter of law for persistent violations” of New York state law. He found the financial statements the Trumps provided to lenders and insurers for about a decade to be false and said they repeatedly engaged in fraud.

In the order, the judge rejected Trump’s deposition testimony in which the former president said that the financial statements were not fraudulent because they contained disclaimers. Trump said the statements contained a “worthless clause” in them warning lenders and others that they shouldn’t be relied on.

Tuesday, the judge said that “the defendants’ reliance on these ‘worthless’ disclaimers is worthless.”

James has alleged that Trump, three of his children, his companies and his business executives defrauded lenders, insurers and other entities.

In the lawsuit, James claims that Trump reaped a “substantial” financial benefit by putting forward faulty information in his financial statements, including $150 million in the form of favorable interest rates he obtained from the banks that the attorney general said his team misled.

Engoron said the remaining issues for trial are determining liability on other claims in the lawsuit, as well as how much Trump and the other defendants should pay.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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On a damp and windy day, members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) picketed outside a sprawling Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, burning logs in barrels for warmth.

The plant makes the Ford Bronco, and workers there were among the first to strike when union contract negotiations between the UAW and the car companies collapsed earlier this month.

Strikers wearing red shirts and carrying signs chanted: “What do we want? Contract! When do we want it? Now!” and “No pay no parts,” as drivers passing by on the busy highway blared their horns in support.

The UAW strike has pushed into its third week, and unlike many strikes, it has managed to stay in the news – not least because on Tuesday, Joe Biden became the first US president to join strikers on a picket line in what feels like the unofficial kick-off to the 2024 campaign season.

“Stick with it. You deserve a significant raise,” Biden told the crowd in a minute-long speech. “We saved them [the car companies]. It’s about time they step up for us.”

The speech may have been short and sweet but the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

Walking the picket line, Larry Hearn, a 61-year-old UAW committee member, said: “We’re out here on the frontline taking the brunt for everybody, losing money. The support feels good. We don’t need him to get in our business and secure us a contract, but his support is enough. It hits home with people.”

The Donald Trump campaign called Biden’s visit to the picket line a “cheap photo op”, but at least some workers disagree with that assessment.

“It’s about time a president stood up for workers instead of the billionaire class and donor class,” said Quintin Tucker, 57, who works in the plant’s final assembly department.

Trump will visit a non-union auto shop tomorrow, a fact that was not lost on those outside the Wayne plant.

“That’s where his loyalties lie,” Walter Robinson, a 57-year-old quality inspector, said. “If he wants to be with working people who are struggling, then he would be here. I don’t know who he is playing for – is he playing for working people, or corporations?”

“He has to go to a non-union plant because if he came here, we wouldn’t let him in,” added Hearn. “If he pulled up in his motherfuckin’ motorcade right now, we would not let him in.”

But it’s too early to count Trump out, said Robinson. The former US president did beat Hillary Clinton in the state in the 2016 election and still has his fans.

Trump gets a lot of support among union members because of “guns, gays and taxes”, Robinson said, and inflation has not helped Biden.

“That resonates with a certain sector of people,” he added, estimating that there is about a 60-40 split at the plant in support for Biden and Trump respectively.

Hearn said he is a Democrat and that most union members will say they are, but added, “You never know what someone is going to do when they get behind the booth.”

Frank Wells, a 27-year plant veteran, is a Democrat who is not impressed by Trump, especially because he is visiting a non-union shop.

“Let’s be real. He doesn’t support what we’re doing. He’s corporate. He’s a billionaire, a businessman, but we’re out here fighting for our lives,” Wells said.

Tucker estimates support for Biden and Trump in the plant is closer to 50-50, and that Trump draws support for his “cult of personality” and effective use of social wedge issues.

Trump does not really support the UAW, Tucker said, because “he is from the billionaire class and it’s against his interest”. Still, he added: “People vote against their economic interest in favor of cultural issues.”

He scoffed at Trump’s planned visit to a non-union shop. “The anger that we’re feeling right now - he doesn’t want that to rub off on him so he went somewhere safe, where they don’t have any skin in the game.”

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Donald Trump said Comcast, the owner of NBC and MSNBC, “should be investigated for its ‘Country Threatening Treason’” and promised to do so should he be re-elected president next year.

In response, one progressive group said the former US president and current overwhelming frontrunner in the Republican 2024 presidential nomination race had “gone full fascist”.

The Biden White House said Trump threatened “an outrageous attack on our democracy and the rule of law”.

The US media was “almost all dishonest and corrupt”, Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform on Sunday, “but Comcast, with its one-side and vicious coverage by NBC News, and in particular MSNBC … should be investigated for its ‘Country Threatening Treason’.”

Listing familiar complaints about coverage of his presidency – during which he regularly threatened NBC, MSNBC and Comcast – Trump added: “I say up front, openly, and proudly, that when I win the presidency of the United States, they and others of the lamestream media will be thoroughly scrutinized for their knowingly dishonest and corrupt coverage of people, things, and events.”

Trump also used familiar terms of abuse for the press: “the enemy of the people” and “the fake news media”.

Observers reacted to Trump’s threat to NBC, MSNBC and Comcast with a mixture of familiarity and alarm.

In a statement, Andrew Bates, White House deputy press secretary, said: “President Biden swore an oath to uphold our constitution and protect American democracy. Freedom of the press is a fundamental constitutional right.

“To abuse presidential power and violate the constitutional rights of reporters would be an outrageous attack on our democracy and the rule of law. Presidents must always defend Americans’ freedoms – never trample on them for selfish, small and dangerous political purposes.”

Elsewhere, Paul Farhi, media reporter for the Washington Post, pointed to Trump’s symbiotic relationship with outlets he professes to hate, given that only last week Trump was “the featured interview guest last week on Meet the Press, the signature Sunday morning news program on … NBC”.

Others noted that on Monday night, the former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, a key witness for the House committee that investigated the January 6 attack on Congress, which Trump incited, was due to be interviewed on MSNBC.

“Female political or media antagonists really cause blood to come pouring out of Trump’s eyes,” wrote Howard Fineman, a columnist and commentator.

Sounding a louder alarm, Occupy Democrats, a progressive advocacy group, said Trump had gone “full fascist” with an “unhinged Sunday-night rant”.

“There you have it, folks,” it said. “While Trump and his Republican enablers love to falsely accuse Democrats of ‘weaponizing’ the government against Trump, Trump himself is now openly threaten[ing] to weaponize the presidency to completely remove entire news channels from the airwaves simply because they expose his rampant criminality.”

Juliette Kayyem, a Kennedy School professor and CNN national security analyst, pointed to a previous warning: “To view each of Trump’s calls to violence in isolation – ‘he attacked Milley’ or ‘he attacked NBC’ or ‘he attacked the jury, the prosecutor, the judge’ – is to miss his overall plan to ‘introduce violence as a natural extension of our democratic disagreement’.”

Trump’s rantings were also coupled with threats to Gen Mark Milley, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff whose attempts to cope with Trump were detailed in an Atlantic profile last week.

They come after a Washington Post poll gave Trump a 10-point lead over Joe Biden, who beat him in 2020, in a notional 2024 general election matchup.

The Post said the poll was an “outlier” but Trump dominates the Republican nomination race and generally polls close to Biden despite facing 91 criminal charges – for election subversion, retention of classified information and hush-money payments – and civil threats including a defamation trial arising from an allegation of rape a judge said was “substantially true”.

Another new poll, from NBC, showed Trump and Biden tied at 46% but Trump up 39%-36% if a third-party candidate was added. A “person familiar with White House discussions” about the prospect of a candidacy from No Labels, a centrist group, said it was “concerning”, NBC said. Biden, the report added, was “worried”.

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The USA continues to increase efforts on countering China's intelligence activities in America. So, on August 14, US Department of Justice published a statement on detention of two US Navy sailors of Chinese origin. According to the press announcement, machinist's mate P. Wei served at Naval Base San Diego, California, which is the home of the Pacific Fleet. He was accused of alleged sharing data on the location of ships and technical documentation with a Chinese intelligence officer. The other sailor T. Zhao was accused of transmitting information on multilateral exercises in Asia-Pacific Region, radio detection and ranging equipment in Japan. Conspicuous is the fact that, according to materials published in the media, a few days earlier Assistant Secretary of Defense Ely Ratner spoke with PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs Director-General Yang Tao. The subject of the conversation was presented extremely concisely. Thus, the parties allegedly discussed relations in the field of defense and regional security. Ratner emphasized the importance of maintaining communication channels between the military of the two countries. Surely the above-mentioned detentions were also touched upon. Besides, the US House of Representatives Oversight Committee chaired by Rep. J. Comer has recently opened an investigation into an attack on email accounts of a group of senior US officials in May. The heads of the State and Commerce departments were asked for staff briefings on this matter. We see that the pressure from Washington on Beijing is but intensifying on all fronts. China's government as always provides no comments over the incidents the US gave coverage to. America's top officials, in turn, pull no punches and give China public charges. It is also important to note that the US is increasingly discovering China's 'spies' on its territory. The more so for the cybersphere where after each specific incident China is directly pointed by the US as the main initiator of the hacking operations. It can be assumed that the number of discovered China's 'spies' will keep growing in the future, Beijing still remaining silent.

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Mark Meadows burned so many papers in his office fireplace as Donald Trump’s presidency came to its chaotic end that the then White House chief of staff’s wife complained about the cost of dry-cleaning his suits to remove the “bonfire” smell, Cassidy Hutchinson writes in her eagerly awaited memoir.

The New York Times reported the passage about Meadows burning documents, before MSNBC confirmed it.

Hutchinson, a senior aide to Meadows, emerged as a key witness before the House January 6 committee, which investigated the deadly attack on Congress Trump incited in an attempt to stay in power.

Hutchinson’s book, Enough, will be published on Tuesday. Last week, the Guardian first reported Hutchinson’s description of being groped by Rudy Giuliani backstage on January 6. Giuliani denied it.

For the Times, Robert Draper wrote: “It was, by [Hutchinson’s] telling, an administration awash in paranoia, with Mr Meadows and others refusing to dispose of daily litter in ‘burn bags’ for fear that someone from the ‘deep state’ might intercept the contents.

“Instead, she writes, Mr Meadows burned so many documents in his fireplace in the final days of the Trump presidency that his wife complained to Ms Hutchinson about how expensive it had become to dry-clean the ‘bonfire’ aroma from his suits.”

Meadows’ habit of burning documents was previously known. In May last year, the New York Times and Politico reported that Hutchinson had in testimony described Meadows burning papers. Politico said he did so after meeting Scott Perry, a hard-right Pennsylvania Republican congressman involved in attempts to overturn Trump’s defeat by Joe Biden.

Later, transcripts released by the committee showed Hutchinson saying she saw Meadows burn documents around a dozen times between December 2020 and January 2021.

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Various nuggets of interest in this survey of Gen Z and millennials

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cross-posted from: https://hexbear.net/post/703642

cross-posted from: https://hexbear.net/post/703641

cross-posted from: https://hexbear.net/post/703640

cross-posted from: https://hexbear.net/post/703638


Thanks to the generous contributions of dozens of folks, we were able to raise the funds for our Construction projects on the Pine Ridge Reservation. We will be building a distribution center on the newly acquired land!

However, a small setback has popped up, and we Need your help Urgently! With the guidance of the traditional Headsman of the Oceti Sakowin, some of the Construction funds were used last night to save the life of a Native person. They had been bitten by a Black Widow spider and needed to immediately be transportation to be tested and administered Anti-Venom.

This leaves us about $300 short of the funds for a project to provide housing for a Native family. We need to replace those funds Urgently to get this done while we have our representative there. We know this may be frustrating to those who contributed, but well-being of The People must always be our overriding priority. We refuse to put a price on a Native life, and we support the decision made by our agent on the ground.

Please share and contribute if you can to this time sensitive need to help the community! Thank you so much for your time and attention.

Cashapp: $ZitkatosTinCan Venmo: @Zitkato

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