THE HISTORY OF NAZIS HOLDING RALLIES . . .

Aug 29, 2020 on Twitter:

The history of Nazis holding rallies in left-wing areas of Weimar Germany, instigating street fights, and then telling the press that only they could save Germany from the “violent communists” seems like an important thing for people to be studying right now.

Lee Jin Carter (born June 2, 1987) is an American politician who has represented the 50th district in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2018. He defeated Jackson Miller, the Republican House Majority Whip, to win the seat. Born in North Carolina, Carter is a member of the Democratic Party, an IT specialist, and a former Marine. Wikipedia

“Kids Who Die” (1938) by Langston Hughes

This is for the kids who die,
Black and white,

For kids will die certainly.
The old and rich will live on awhile,
As always,
Eating blood and gold,
Letting kids die.

Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi
Organizing sharecroppers
Kids will die in the streets of Chicago
Organizing workers
Kids will die in the orange groves of California
Telling others to get together
Whites and Filipinos,
Negroes and Mexicans,
All kinds of kids will die
Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment
And a lousy peace.


Of course, the wise and the learned
Who pen editorials in the papers,
And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names
White and black,
Who make surveys and write books
Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die,

And the sleazy courts,
And the bribe-reaching police,

And the blood-loving generals,
And the money-loving preachers
Will all raise their hands against the kids who die,
Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets
To frighten the people—
For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people—
And the old and rich don’t want the people
To taste the iron of the kids who die,
Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power,
To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together

Listen, kids who die—
Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you
Except in our hearts
Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field,
Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht
But the day will come—
Your are sure yourselves that it is coming—
When the marching feet of the masses
Will raise for you a living monument of love,
And joy, and laughter,
And black hands and white hands clasped as one,
And a song that reaches the sky—
The song of the life triumphant
Through the kids who die.

Milton Friedman on Guaranteed Income / Negative Income Tax / Basic Income

Matt Orfalea Why Milton Friedman Supported Guaranteed Income | 5 Reasons Milton Friedman supported a guaranteed minimum income with a Negative Income Tax (NIT). While NIT and Universal Basic Income (UBI) are both guaranteed minimum incomes, the difference is a UBI goes to everyone automatically, while a NIT is distributed based on income. That’s why I made sure to refer to Friedman’s NIT as a guaranteed income rather than UBI. Even though they are very similar and the arguments for universal basic income and negative income tax are nearly the same. Transcript: https://medium.com/basic-income/why-m… “Suppose one accepts, as I do, this line of reasoning as justifying governmental action to alleviate poverty; to set, as it were, a floor under the standard of life of every person in the community.” – Milton Friedman “Poverty: A Direct Approach” (1964) https://miltonfriedman.hoover.org/fri… Matt Orfalea ▶https://twitter.com/0rfhttps://medium.com/@0rfhttps://www.minds.com/MattOrfhttps://www.facebook.com/MattOrfVids Subscribe ▶https://www.youtube.com/orf Support my work ▶https://www.patreon.com/Orf

Alex Morse Was Accused, Condemned and Then Vindicated. Will His Experience Change Anything?

Vague allegations against the Massachusetts congressional candidate offer a case study in how progressives navigate issues of sex and power in politics when judgment is often swift and unforgiving.

Alex Morse, the 31-year-old, gay mayor of Holyoke, Mass., says the allegations have only helped his campaign to unseat a Democratic incumbent in Congress.
Alex Morse, the 31-year-old, gay mayor of Holyoke, Mass., says the allegations have only helped his campaign to unseat a Democratic incumbent in Congress.Credit…Tony Luong for The New York Times
Jeremy W. Peters

By Jeremy W. Peters

  • Aug. 23, 2020 (NYTimes.com)

Political careers usually don’t survive allegations like these. And for about a week, it seemed as if Alex Morse’s might not either.

On Aug. 7, the student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst reported that the state chapter of the College Democrats had disinvited Mr. Morse, a congressional candidate and former guest lecturer at the university, from its future events, claiming “numerous incidents” of unwanted and inappropriate advances toward students.

Mr. Morse is a 31-year-old, gay, small-city mayor and a rising star in national progressive politics. It wasn’t just his job on the line, but also the hopes of an entire movement: His primary challenge against one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress is being closely watched as an indicator of the strength of the Democratic Party’s insurgent left wing.

He quickly apologized to anyone he made uncomfortable with his behavior, while also acknowledging some consensual sexual relationships with college students over the years. He said none were with anyone he taught or supervised.

Nevertheless, within hours after the story broke, Mr. Morse went from role model to pariah. Progressive groups said they would stop campaigning for him. The university called the news “deeply concerning” and opened an investigation.

Mr. Morse said he even considered dropping out, despite his suspicions about the motives of his accusers and the vagueness of the charges. “This was no accident that it was happening three weeks before the primary,” he said in an interview.

But then the story flipped, with a cascade of head-spinning revelations. Messages between some of the students that were published by The Intercept showed they had discussed how they might damage Mr. Morse’s campaign, with one suggesting it might help his career prospects with Mr. Morse’s opponent, Representative Richard E. Neal, the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

There was more. The Massachusetts Democratic Party acknowledged that it had provided legal advice to the College Democrats about the letter, leading Mr. Morse to accuse Mr. Neal and his allies in the state’s Democratic leadership of having a hand in a homophobic plot to smear him. Mr. Neal has denied any involvement.

Today, Mr. Morse is still in the race and says the allegations have only helped his campaign. Since the initial story appeared, he has raised more than $410,000, and 800 volunteers have reached out offering to help.

Though the university is still investigating, the activists who distanced themselves from him at first are now back on board. The students involved in writing the letter have mostly gone underground, and the state Democratic Party has opened an independent investigation to determine if anyone acted improperly.

Representative Richard E. Neal, the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, was first elected in 1988.
Representative Richard E. Neal, the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, was first elected in 1988.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Behind the drama and plot twists — imagine scenes from “Veep” spliced into an episode of “House of Cards” — is a case study of how first impressions can be misleading when someone is accused of having improper sexual relationships, and what happens when those charges are leveled against a popular progressive politician in the social media-turbocharged culture of swift retribution.

News of the complaints against Mr. Morse first surfaced in an article in The Daily Collegian, the student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts. The paper reported that the state chapter of the College Democrats had sent a letter to Mr. Morse claiming that he had “routinely” made “sexual or romantic advances” toward students.

But there were no specific episodes of misconduct cited, no named victims or sources and no indication of how many students had complained, beyond the assertion that the group had heard “countless” reports of Mr. Morse adding students as his friends on Instagram and sending them messages “in a way that makes these students feel pressured to respond due to his status.”

The reaction was swift. As the news rocketed across social media, several groups suspended their support for Mr. Morse, including the Sunrise Movement, an environmental organization made up mostly of young people.

“We are a youth movement and most of our members are students,” said Evan Weber, the group’s political director. “We felt a really deep accountability to listen to and take allegations from young people and students seriously. And we really wanted this guy in office.”

The group reinstated its support once The Intercept’s reporting came to light, and Mr. Weber said he now believes the allegations were a cynical attempt to manipulate the powerful emotions surrounding sexual misconduct and assault.

“They exploited young people, our generation’s very good inclination to listen to people who are speaking out about harm,” he said.

But other groups questioned the veracity of the accusations from the beginning, leading to a schism inside the coalition of progressive activists and politicians backing his candidacy.

Rumors about Mr. Morse’s dating life had circulated anonymously for months, and his campaign said it received several queries from reporters looking into them. His supporters were warned about them. The Victory Fund, a group that has endorsed Mr. Morse and works to elect lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender candidates, heard through an intermediary in June about a vague and unsourced complaint that the candidate had a checkered dating past.

But the timing of that warning was suspicious, coming just after the organization voted to formally endorse Mr. Morse but before word had been put out publicly, said Elliot Imse, the Victory Fund’s communications director.

The group looked into the allegations, spoke with Mr. Morse and was satisfied there appeared to be nothing there. And shortly after The Daily Collegian published its article, the Victory Fund was one of the few to publicly declare it still supported him.

“It’s really important for us that attacks on a candidate’s sex life and sexuality backfire,” Mr. Imse said. “We do not want this to go down as a successful tactic to use with L.G.B.T.Q. candidates.”

Mr. Morse’s defenders said that whatever the motives of the students were — in a follow-up statement the president of the College Democrats insisted that the group’s intent was always “to hold the mayor accountable for his actions, and to protect our members” — they clearly understood how little benefit of the doubt the accused often get in these situations, and how damaging the charges would be.

“This is the concern around a trigger-happy cancel culture, as it gives undue credence to the initial allegation without due diligence,” said Julian Cyr, a state senator in Massachusetts who argued shortly after the accusations surfaced that withdrawing support from Mr. Morse would set a bad precedent for progressive candidates, especially gay ones.

“There is a very sad, well-documented history of the dating lives of L.G.B.T.Q. people being used against them,” said Mr. Cyr, who is gay. “And there are potential L.G.B.T.Q. candidates who look at what Alex Morse has gone through and decided there is a price, a risk that they don’t want to put themselves through.”

The allegations came weeks before Mr. Morse and Mr. Neal face off in the Democratic primary on Sept. 1.
The allegations came weeks before Mr. Morse and Mr. Neal face off in the Democratic primary on Sept. 1.Credit…Don Treeger/The Republican, via Associated Press

The students involved in writing the letter and discussing how they could harm Mr. Morse’s career — including a suggestion to find him on dating apps and bait him into saying something incriminating, according to the messages reviewed by The Intercept — have mostly gone quiet since the episode started receiving widespread attention online. Several of them did not respond to requests asking for elaboration on the claims in the letter or declined to comment.

For left-leaning groups that work with the Democratic Party like the Victory Fund, supporting Mr. Morse was no small matter because they were going up against one of the most powerful Democrats in the House. Mr. Neal, in his 16th term, runs the committee that oversees the tax code, Social Security and other government functions dealing with funding.

Mr. Neal’s clout, combined with the legal advice the state party provided the College Democrats, has led Mr. Morse and his supporters to conclude that bigger players and egos were at work. The state party, which has a policy of not involving itself in primaries, has commissioned an independent investigation into whether any rules were broken.

But the lawyer who reviewed the letter, James Roosevelt Jr., said the party’s involvement had been overstated. As the party’s counsel, he offered the same help he would to any affiliated organization, which in this case involved advising the students to change “two or three words” that he said were “too inflammatory or accusatory” in the draft.

He said he also advised the group not to make the letter public, as it told him it planned to do.

“In a case of libel and slander, truth is a defense,” Mr. Roosevelt said he advised them, adding: “I don’t know what the truth is and you don’t either. So make it a private letter.” The students sent the letter to Mr. Morse privately, but soon The Daily Collegian had a copy and published its article.

Experts who study questions of sex and power in politics said that Mr. Morse would most likely not be the last L.G.B.T.Q. politician thrown on the defensive about his sex life, and that we have most likely only seen the beginning of those attacks as more people who are open about their sexual orientation and gender identity run for office.

Even though the presidential candidacy of Pete Buttigieg broke barriers, his sexual history was never much of an issue because he came out relatively late in adulthood and has been with his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, for much of that time.

But for younger, single men like Mr. Morse, their dating history is often subject to a troubling level of scrutiny, said Joseph Fischel, who teaches a class at Yale University called “Theory and Politics of Sexual Consent” and has written extensively on the subject of sex and power dynamics.

“Americans are OK with gay politicians as long as they’re sexless,” Mr. Fischel said. That thinking, combined with the quick judgment people often make about political sex scandals, he added, could be especially dangerous for L.G.B.T.Q. candidates.

“There are other things we can fabricate or make up that would sink someone’s career. But suggestions of sexual impropriety take on a life of their own and so often lead to quick and sloppy thought,” Mr. Fischel added.

Mr. Morse said the situation left him deeply conflicted — as someone who was wrongly accused but who believes victims should not feel intimidated to speak out, and as a gay man worried about enduring homophobia in American society.

“The expectation shouldn’t be that we have to be in monogamous, heteronormative relationships before we enter public life,” he said.

As he watched the condemnation of him from complete strangers spread across social media, Mr. Morse said he was devastated.

“I have often been an observer of this but never at the center of it,” he said. “But what I don’t want this to lead to is a diminishment of people’s very real experiences and trauma.”

“It’s a difficult line to walk,” he added.

Book: “Break ’em Up”

Break 'em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money

Break ’em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money

by Zephyr Teachout 

“[We need] a grassroots, bottom-up movement that understands the challenge in front of us, and then organizes against monopoly power in communities across this country. This book is a blueprint for that organizing. In these pages, you will learn how monopolies and oligopolies have taken over almost every aspect of American life, and you will also learn about what can be done to stop that trend before it is too late.”
—From the foreword by Bernie Sanders.

A passionate attack on the monopolies that are throttling American democracy.

Every facet of American life is being overtaken by big platform monopolists like Facebook, Google, and Bayer (which has merged with the former agricultural giant Monsanto), resulting in a greater concentration of wealth and power than we’ve seen since the Gilded Age. They are evolving into political entities that often have more influence than the actual government, bending state and federal legislatures to their will and even creating arbitration courts that circumvent the US justice system. How can we recover our freedom from these giants? Anti-corruption scholar and activist Zephyr Teachout has the answer: Break ‘Em Up.

This book is a clarion call for liberals and leftists looking to find a common cause. Teachout makes a compelling case that monopolies are the root cause of many of the issues that today’s progressives care about; they drive economic inequality, harm the planet, limit the political power of average citizens, and historically-disenfranchised groups bear the brunt of their shameful and irresponsible business practices. In order to build a better future, we must eradicate monopolies from the private sector and create new safeguards that prevent new ones from seizing power.

Through her expert analysis of monopolies in several sectors and their impact on courts, journalism, inequality, and politics, Teachout offers a concrete path toward thwarting these enemies of working Americans and reclaiming our democracy before it’s too late.

(Goodreads.com)

Five Reasons to Care About the Trump-Putin Attack on Democracy

BY STEVEN HARPER | AUGUST 24, 2020 (billmoyers.com)

A Note from Bill

The evidence is spread across nearly 1,000 pages, proving that Russia, with top Trump henchmen playing right along, sought to spread confusion and distrust among American voters, influence the outcome of the election, and undermine the legitimacy of our democracy. Vladimir Putin, according to the report – the same Putin before whom Trump groveled long before he became president – even ordered the hacking of Democratic organizations.

And the Russians are up to some of the same tricks in the 2020 election now underway.  

The report is indeed long and detailed.  Its implications are potent.

A bombshell explodes in our midst and few people seem to notice or care.

It sinks out of sight, and an embattled democracy misses yet another wake-up call.

This time it was a stunning report from the Senate Intelligence Committee.  A Republican – yes, Republican — majority controls the committee, but by a 14-1 bi-partisan vote the Senators agreed that Donald Trump and his allies worked with Russian spies in 2016 in an effort to help Trump win the presidency.

To help you grasp the essentials, we asked the able Steven Harper to prepare a “brief” highlighting key elements of it.

The Senate Intelligence Committee just released the fifth and final volume in its three-and-a-half year investigation into Russian election interference. Over 940 pages, it proves that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin joined forces in the 2016 US presidential election to attack our democracy. From now through Election Day, the Report’s  bipartisan findings should dominate headlines throughout the country.

Because it’s happening again. In fact, it never stopped.

#1: Trump’s Campaign Manager was a “Grave Counterintelligence Threat”

Putin has the leading role in the story. His supporting cast for this first episode included:

Oleg Deripaska: Russian oligarch, a top Putin confidant, and Paul Manafort’s former business partner

Paul Manafort: Joined the Trump campaign in March 2016, served as campaign chairman from May to August 2016, and remained in contact with Trump representatives thereafter

Konstantin Kilimnik: Deripaska’s associate and Manafort’s business partner

This chain of influence from Putin to Trump was:

Putin→Deripaska→Kilimnik→Manafort→Trump

While Paul Manafort was managing Trump’s campaign, he was in constant contact with his long-time business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, the manager of his political consulting business in Ukraine:

“Kilimnik is a Russian intelligence officer.” (Report, p. iv)

Kilimnik was also Manafort’s primary liaison to Oleg Deripaska, Manafort’s former business partner to whom he owed millions of dollars. As one of Putin’s top oligarchs and close confidants, Deripaska conducts political influence operations, frequently in foreign countries where he does business:

  • “The Russian government coordinates with and directs Deripaska on many of his influence operations.” (Report, p. vi)
  • “From approximately 2004 to 2009, Manafort implemented these influence operations on behalf of Deripaska, including a broad, multi-million dollar political influence campaign directed at numerous countries of interest to Deripaska and the Russian government.” (Report, p. vi)
  • Manafort “shared sensitive internal polling data” and “campaign strategy” with Kilimnik, including information about the “‘battleground’ states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.” (Report, pp. vi, 80)

All of that and more led the Senate Intelligence Committee to this remarkable finding:

  • “Taken as a whole, Manafort’s high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat.” (Report, p. vii, 30)

The Committee also found information suggesting that Kilimnik may have been connected to Russia’s “hack-and-leak operation targeting the 2016 US election,” but that section of the Report is redacted. So is the section raising the “possibility of Manafort’s potential connection to the hack-and-leak operations.” (Report, pp. 29, 89-91)

Which takes us to the next bombshell.

#2: Trump Lied to Mueller

Again with Putin in the leading role, his supporting players in this episode were:

Russia’s Military Intelligence Unit (GRU): The GRU is Russia’s military intelligence service. Before entering politics, Putin was a senior officer in the Soviet KGB, another Soviet intelligence agency.

Wikileaks: An international organization that publishes news leaks and classified information, often from anonymous sources

Julian Assange: The founder of Wikileaks

Roger Stone: Trump’s long-time adviser and confidant who has known Trump for 40 years and began urging him to run for President in 1988. During the 1980s, Stone and Paul Manafort were business partners and worked for Trump on various matters.

This chain of influence from Putin to Trump was:

Putin→Russian Military Intelligence (GRU)→Wikileaks/Assange→Stone→Trump

In Putin’s hack-and-leak operation, Russian military intelligence (GRU) penetrated the computer systems of both the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Wikileaks then disseminated the stolen emails at the direction of its founder, Julian Assange, who was in contact with Trump’s long-time confidant Roger Stone. One key question in the Trump-Russia story has always been whether Stone communicated directly with Trump about Wikileaks’ planned dissemination of those emails. In response to special counsel Robert Mueller’s written questions on that subject, Trump answered:

  • “I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with [Stone], nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign.” Trump further claimed that he had “no recollection of the specifics of any conversations I had with Mr. Stone between June 1, 2016 and November 8, 2016.” (Report, p. 245)

Relying on detailed records and testimony, the Senate Intelligence Committee didn’t buy it:

  • “Despite Trump’s recollection, the Committee assesses that Trump did, in fact, speak with Stone about WikiLeaks and with members of his Campaign about Stone’s access to WikiLeaks on multiple occasions.” (Report, p. 245)

In November 2019, Stone was convicted of lying to Congress in connection with the Trump-Russia investigation, but Trump commuted his sentence.

#3: During Trump’s Impeachment, Congressional Republicans Knew the Truth and Didn’t Care

In December 2019, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He was accused of withholding crucial military aid from Ukraine as it defended its struggling democracy against Putin’s attacks. In exchange for aid that Congress had already appropriated and that the Defense Department had approved, Trump wanted Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to pursue investigations into former Vice President Joseph Biden’s son, Hunter, and into the false conspiracy theory — promoted by Russia — that Ukraine, rather than Russia, had interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

For this episode, the chain of influence seeking to shift blame for Russian election interference went from Putin all the way to congressional Republicans and others defending Trump:

Putin→Trump→GOP

When Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee sat through Trump’s impeachment proceedings, they heard evidence that had a familiar ring.

They knew that when Trump had asked Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelensky to pursue groundless claims that Ukraine — rather than Russia — had meddled in the 2016 US election, Trump was promoting Russian propaganda that Putin, Deripaska, Kilimnik, and Manafort had pushed into public discourse years earlier:

  • “From late 2016 until at least January 2020,” one of Russia’s foreign political influence operations “sought to discredit investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 US elections and spread false information about the events of 2016.” (Report, p. 106)
  • “Manafort, Kilimnik, Deripaska, and others associated with Deripaska participated in these influence operations. As part of these efforts, Manafort and Kilimnik both sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 US election.” (Report, p. 106)
  • “These influence efforts took place in the larger context of existing Russian information operations targeting Ukraine and the United States.” (Report, p. 107)
  • “Manafort embraced and promoted the narrative of Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 elections. For example, in a February 2017 meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Manafort discussed how Ukraine, not Russia had meddled in the election.” (Report, p. 112)

As Trump’s impeachment proceeded, Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee knew that their congressional colleagues and Trump’s lawyers were parroting that Russian propaganda in the House hearings and at the Senate trial.

They knew that the Ukraine scandal of 2020 was a sequel to the 2016 election interference story.

They knew what Trump had done, knowingly, in 2016.

They knew that this time he was abusing the awesome powers of the presidency. Trump had put the quid pro quo bluntly: “I’d like you to do us a favor though….”

And they voted to acquit him.

#4: The Cover-up Continues

The final chain of influence is still running — from Putin through Trump and Senate Republicans to the general public:

Putin→Trump→GOP→American voters

There was already plenty of other news dominating the media when, on the second day of the Democratic National Convention, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its 940-page volume of findings. With the ongoing convention, pandemic, post office crisis, economic recession, and widespread racial unrest, the Report did not receive the wide and deep coverage that it deserved. Within hours, a handful of the Committee’s findings became brief filler material for cable news programs. Within days, the story was hardly mentioned at all.

Republicans were hoping that no one would read the Report. Now Trump and his minions have a week of Republican National Convention coverage to keep the truth buried as they reassert Trump’s Big Lie that the whole Trump-Russia investigation was a “hoax.” It wasn’t.

Among other things, the Senate Intelligence Committee found, just as special counsel Robert Mueller had:

  • “The Committee found that the Russian government engaged in an aggressive, multi-faceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.” (Report, p. v)

It found that Putin wanted Trump to win and worked to achieve that objective. It found that Manafort was a “grave intelligence threat.” It found that despite Trump’s claimed lack of recollection in sworn answers to Mueller, he had communicated with Roger Stone about Wikileaks document dumps targeting Hillary Clinton during the campaign. It found voluminous evidence of other episodes that together painted a damning picture of Trump-Russia cooperation during the 2016 campaign. And it described the obstacles that Trump and his defenders erected in obtaining additional evidence that the Committee sought.

But according to the “Additional Views” of five Democrats on the Committee, the Report did not seek “to draw overarching conclusions about its investigation, opting instead to let the reader determine the significance of these events.” (Report, p. 943) Perhaps that approach facilitated near unanimity among the Committee members, all but one of whom voted in favor of the Report. But it created an opening for all Republicans to distort it.

Only Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) voted against the Report. He also joined five of the eight Republicans on the Committee who voted for it — Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AK), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) — in appending a set of GOP talking points under the guise of “Additional Views.” Those talking points are at odds with the facts in the Report itself. The six Republican senators opened with this line:

“[T]he Committee found no evidence that then-candidate Donald Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government in its efforts to meddle in the election…”

And they closed with this refrain:

“After more than three years of investigation by this Committee, we can now say with no doubt, there was no collusion.” (Emphasis in original) (Report, pp. 941-942)

They know better. They know collusion when they see it. They just refuse to see it.

They know that Russia wanted Trump to win in 2016 and that his campaign welcomed the help.

They know that campaign manager Paul Manafort made himself a “grave counterintelligence threat” by working with a Russian intelligence officer and a Putin oligarch to secure Trump’s election victory.

They know that Trump and 18 of his associates had at least 140 contacts with Russian nationals and Wikileaks or their intermediaries during the campaign and presidential transition.

They know that Trump and others on his behalf obstructed the investigation into the campaign’s interactions with Russia.

They know that there is no fact-based narrative of innocence for Trump.

They know that their misleading new talking points perpetuate public confusion and a coverup that continues to this day.

#5: It’s Happening Again

Perhaps most important of all, based on warnings from Trump’s own intelligence community, they know that Russia is pursuing the same objective in 2020 — to help Trump win again:

“We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment.’… For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption… to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”

Senate Republicans know that Trump himself has declared publicly his desire for any assistance he can get.

They have known all of this while repeatedly blocking the implementation of a key recommendation in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report that would send every campaign a simple message: If you see something, say something. In June 2020, Senate Republicans forced removal of a provision from the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act that would have required that all presidential campaign officials report to the FBI any contacts with foreign nationals trying to make campaign donations or coordinate with a campaign. The reporting provision died in the Senate that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) controls.

And they know that what happened before is happening again in Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) Biden-Ukraine investigation. He is scrutinizing a Ukrainian gas company’s hiring of Hunter Biden ontoits board and the activities of a lobbying firm it hired in Washington. Even then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) warned Johnson privately in December that he could be aiding Russian efforts to sow public distrust in the US political system.

Undeterred by the prospect of becoming a megaphone for Russian disinformation, Johnson hopes to issue his report by mid-September — just before early voting begins in many states.

So now that we all know what those Senate Republicans have known for months, what are we going to do about it? If Trump and Republicans have their way, Trump’s ongoing chaos will smother the story.

That can’t happen. From now until all of the votes in the 2020 election are counted, the truth deserves banner headlines, a trending internet hashtag, and what producers call the “A” block on news programs. Democracy in America cannot go gentle into Trump’s good night.

STEVEN HARPER

Steven J. Harper launched his acclaimed Trump-Russia Timeline on BillMoyers.com and it now appears regularly on Dan Rather’s News & Guts and Just Security, where it first appeared in December 2018. Harper is a lawyer who teaches at Northwestern University Law School, and the author of several books, including The Lawyer Bubble — A Profession in Crisis and Crossing Hoffa — A Teamster’s Story (a Chicago Tribune “Best Book of the Year”). Follow him at stevenjharper1