Let's Fix This Country
law

Bill Barr and His DOJ: More Corrupt Than We Knew

Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr has been appearing on Fox News lately, apparently trying to repair his reputation by speaking out against Trump. "I think the whole idea of a special master is a bit of a red herring," Barr told hosts Sandra Smith and John Roberts. "I think it's a waste of time."

He has talked back to those outraged by the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago with, "People say this [raid] was unprecedented, but it's also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club". He scoffed at Trump's claim that he had


exorcised the classification of all the documents no matter their secrecy. Barr told the House January 6 committee Trump’s claims about election fraud were “bulls*t,” “nonsense” and “idiotic”, worrying that Trump had become “detached from reality” about voting machines designed to rig the election.

It's been quite a turnabout. Before the 2020 election, Barr had gone along with Trump's imagining that forged ballots would come in from other countries, that the election would be rigged, but he didn't sign on after the election to the Big Lie. Barr had taken stock and realized that the claim of a stolen election was simply Trump trying to stay in power. On December 1 he told the Associated Press that no significant fraud had been found, earning Trump's enmity, and three weeks later resigned to be quit of Trump's chicanery after almost two years supporting all of it.

Barr had been a Trump loyalist, grounded in his outspoken advocacy of a "unitary executive theory", which holds that the original intent of…

policy

Here’s a More Equitable Way to Lighten the Student Debt Load

President Biden's plan to waive $10,000 to $20,000 at an estimated cost of $300 billion across 10 years has expectedly drawn hosannas from Democrats and harangues from Republicans.

The view from the left is that the debt load of $1.6 trillion is a crushing burden weighing down one generation going on two that cries out for relief. With 7.65% in payroll taxes already taken from their paychecks (double that for the self-employed), another $400 or so drained from their bank accounts every month to repay their loans, former students are economically crippled well into adulthood.
Because interest accrues faster than ability to pay, the average 35-year-old borrower owes $42,600, says Education Data Initiative. Young people forestall marriage, postpone having children, can afford only used cars, can't get a mortgage to buy a house. As well as stunting lives, student debt is a serious drag on the nation's economy.

Beyond alarm at yet another huge addition to the national debt transferred to taxpayers, the conservative position is that, however ill-conceived is the government program of handing out money indiscriminately to youths to spend at colleges of questionable quality, however misguided are students for taking out loans in tens of thousands of dollars for dead-end courses, debt is nevertheless a grown-up obligation that students must face up to.

Still, debt forgiveness that benefits only those who currently owe raises profound issues of inequity, an unavoidable argument. Canceling…

l'etat, c'est moi


america

The Disintegration of the United States

Conservatives were handed the long-sought grail of shrinking the federal government's power and moving it to the states when the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June. Trigger laws that ban abortion awaited in thirteen states, eight other states enacted immediate bans, and still more plan to outlaw the procedure in varying degrees. Together they aggregate to almost half the country, setting off a
scramble for patients, medical workers, lawyers, and state officials to deal with the seismic change. The cover of the conservative National Review magazine proclaims without irony "A More Perfect Union" with artwork showing the patchwork quilt of abortion laws splintering the states into anything but a union.

The transfer of power to the states — “to the people’s elected representatives” in Justice Alito's words in his Roe opinion — would be a return to the years before the Civil War when southern Democrats argued that the federal government had no right to interfere with state matters. In his concurring opinion, Justice Thomas voiced his opinion that the Fourteenth Amendment doesn't provide a basis for creating new rights. That set off alarms that other rights also anchored to the amendment — the right to use contraceptives, the privacy of sexual acts, same-sex marriage — are on the conservatives' checklist for reversal. If not banned outright, they too would be left to the states to pick and choose.

Politicians joined in. Marriage should be "left to the states," said Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Obergefell v. Hodges, the ruling that allowed same-sex marriage, was wrong, he said. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley said that he had never supported that 2015 Supreme Court decision. Marriage is nowhere in the Constitution,

"and I think the states — traditionally that has been — because the definition of marriage…the states have defined it one way or another and I think that that's the right difference".

Florida Senator Marco Rubio agreed with Hawley. Tennessee Senator…

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taxes

An Armed I.R.S. Is Coming for Us, Republicans Warn

In 2016, an analysis by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that the "tax gap" – the amount of taxes Americans owed but failed to pay – reached almost half a trillion dollars a year for the years 2008 through 2010, an average annual loss of $458 billion. By so reporting, the IRS was presumably angling for increased funds so it could go after tax cheats.

But Republicans in Congress, saw opportunity to go on the warpath, naming the closing week of April "IRS Week", and devising half a
dozen measures to penalize the tax agency for doing so poor a job of tax collecting. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said the IRS must "get smarter about guaranteeing tax compliance". California's Kevin McCarthy, now House Minority Leader, called the agency "a picture of government corruption and incompetence". House Speaker at the time, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, even faulted the agency for enforcing "a tax code that no one can understand", a tax code that his Congress itself had created, not the IRS.

But now that Democrats have passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provides the IRS with $80 billion across 10 years, shouldn't we expect Republicans, after all that vitriol in 2016, to rejoice that the IRS can finally afford to go after "wealthy tax cheats"? Of course not. Those on the right howled in protest.

“Stop Biden’s shadow army of 87,000 IRS. agents,” intoned Senator Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican, falsely amplifying what had only been a Treasury Department proposal from 2021 contemplating what the IRS could do with additional funding. Whatever the undecided number, it will be offset by 50,000 due to retire over the next five years.

Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake, who… Read More »

insurrection

The Jan. 6 Case Against Donald Trump: Part 3.

Parts 1 and 2 are below on our front page

As the zero hour of January 6th approached, Trump lieutenants booked a suite of rooms at the luxurious Willard Hotel a block from the White House to make final plans for disrupting the certification of Joe Biden
as the nation's 46th president. Led by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, once celebrated as "America's mayor" after 9/11, they called it their "command center". A number of principals in the scheme either stayed at the hotel or formed a steady stream of visitors.

Steve Bannon, formerly Trump's chief strategist in the White House, came and went, serving as the group's political adviser. Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner who was found to have accepted gifts from companies doing business with the city, did four years in federal prison, and was pardoned by Trump, had advanced $55,000 for the rooms. Of note, given the purpose of the rooms, was that no less than the Republican National Committee reimbursed him.

Also hunkered down was senior campaign aide and former White House special assistant Boris Epshteyn, and One America… Read More »

insurrection

The Scheme to Steal the Election.
Part 2.

Part 1 is at the base of the front page

After the 2020 election, Donald Trump won the media's attention with incendiary claims that the election had been stolen, ultimately rousing his base to riot when Congress met to certify that Joe Biden was to be the new president. We covered that route to January 6th in Part One.

Occurring in parallel, surfacing only later, primarily from the work of
House Select Committee investigating the happenings of Jan. 6, 2021

the House Select Committee investigating everything related to January 6th, did it become apparent that Trump allies were hatching a scheme to overturn the election by disrupting the proceedings in Congress. Had the plot succeeded, it would have been an actual stolen election, this time by Trump.

THE BEST LAID PLANS…?

In the two-month span from November 3rd to January 6th, text messages, email, and tweets showed how widespread was the Republican push to keep Donald Trump in the White House.

Everyone turned to Mark Meadows as chief of staff. Energy… Read More »

insurrection

Could Trump Really Be Prosecuted for Jan. 6? Part 1.

That Donald Trump and the circle around him plotted to abort the constitutional transfer of power to steal the election from Joe Biden and give Trump another term as president is indisputable. Less certain is to what extent indictments photo of trump
will be brought against the many involved in the conspiracy — a larger contingent than previously realized ranging from Trump's inner circle and hangers-on to members of Congress — or whether against Trump himself. The congressional select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, riots and Capitol break-in and attempted overthrow of government has interviewed over 800 witnesses to bring to light the full story of that day and the months preceding, and it has concluded that there is enough evidence to bring criminal charges against the former president.

the believers

Two streams of activity converged on January 6 and the congressional committee has explored Trump's culpability in both.

One traces what Trump's followers did in reaction to the election. When the results showed Biden as the winner, Trump's people,… Read More »

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