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45 Senate Republicans Vote To Dismiss Trump’s Impeachment Trial!

Senate rejects Republican motion to dismiss Trump impeachment trial

Republican Senator Rand Paul Introduced the Motion to Stop the Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump

Dear Commons Community,

Senate Republicans rallied yesterday against trying former President Donald J. Trump for “incitement of insurrection” at the Capitol, with only five members of his party joining Democrats in a vote to go forward with his impeachment trial.  As reported by the New York Times and other media.

By a vote of 55-to-45, the Senate killed a Republican effort to dismiss the proceeding as unconstitutional because Mr. Trump is no longer in office. But the numbers showed that loyal Republicans were again poised to spare him from conviction, this time despite his role in stirring up a mob that violently targeted lawmakers and the vice president on Jan. 6 as Congress met to finalize the election.

“I think it’s pretty obvious from the vote today that it is extraordinarily unlikely that the president will be convicted,” said Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the five Republicans who voted to proceed to trial. “Just do the math.”

It would take two-thirds of senators — 67 votes — to attain a conviction, meaning 17 Republicans would have to cross party lines to side with Democrats in finding Mr. Trump guilty. If they did, an additional vote to disqualify him from ever holding office again would take a simple majority.

Only five Republicans voted with every Democrat to table Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s effort to stop the trial before it even got started. The GOP senator argued that holding such a trial of a former president was not constitutional, even though there is precedent for the Senate trying former government officials. 

The Senate ultimately rejected Paul’s motion by a vote of 55-45. The trial is formally scheduled to begin on Feb. 9 when House impeachment managers will present their arguments before the upper chamber. 

Paul said Tuesday’s vote was indicative of the lack of support among Republicans for Trump’s conviction, calling that effort “dead on arrival.” Conviction requires the backing of two-thirds of the Senate, an unlikely scenario at this point. 

“If you voted that it was unconstitutional, then how in the world would you ever vote to convict somebody for this?” Paul said to reporters afterward.

However, some GOP senators said they viewed Paul’s motion as separate from a decision on whether to convict the former president. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who recently announced that he won’t be seeking another term in 2022, called the two issues “totally different.”

“I have the same position Mitch McConnell has,” Portman said of Paul’s motion, echoing concerns about constitutionality.

McConnell previously said that Trump “provoked” the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, which led to the deaths of five people. And he let it be known to his members that he was open to voting to convict Trump, pledging to “listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”

But in the days since the attack, rank-and-file GOP opposition to Trump’s impeachment trial seems to have hardened. Republicans invited in a law professor to their weekly caucus lunch on Tuesday, prior to the vote on Paul’s motion, to discuss why he believed holding an impeachment trial for a former president was unconstitutional. 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), one of the five Republicans who voted with Democrats against Paul’s motion, wasn’t swayed.

“My review of it has led me to conclude it is constitutional in recognizing impeachment is not solely about removing a president. It is also a matter of political consequence,” Murkowski told HuffPost.

GOP Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania also voted against Paul’s motion.

The dismissal vote took place just three weeks after a violent mob ransacked the Capitol and rummaged through the desks of the very same senators who were seated in the chamber and sworn in as impeachment trial jurors on Tuesday. 

Democrats pledged to hold a timely but fair trial in which Trump would have his chance to present a defense.

“Former President Trump committed in the view of many, including myself, the gravest offense ever committed by a president of the United States. The Senate will conduct a trial of the former president, and senators will render judgment on his conduct,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor.

The impeachment trial will be great political theater even though we know the outcome.

Tony

Rudy Giuliani Sued by Dominion Voting Systems Over False Election Claims!

Dominion Voting Systems Sues Rudy Giuliani Over Election Claims - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Dear Commons Community,

Dominion Voting Systems Inc. filed a lawsuit yesterday against former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of defamation for making false claims of fraud about the November 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Dominion earlier filed lawsuits against the Trump campaign and former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, whom the company also accused of spreading false conspiracy theories about the election that Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. As reported by the New York Times.

“The 107-page lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court in Washington, accuses Mr. Giuliani of carrying out “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion” made up of “demonstrably false” allegations, in part to enrich himself through legal fees and his podcast.

The suit seeks damages of more than $1.3 billion and is based on more than 50 statements Mr. Giuliani made at legislative hearings, on Twitter, on his podcast and in the conservative news media, where he spun a fictitious narrative of a plot by one of the biggest voting machine manufacturers in the country to flip votes to President Biden.

Mr. Giuliani, one of Mr. Trump’s closest advisers and confidants, has faced continuing fallout for his highly visible efforts to reverse the election outcome. This month, the chairman of the New York State Senate’s judiciary committee formally requested that the state court system strip Mr. Giuliani of his law license.

In a statement released by text message late yesterday morning, Mr. Giuliani said that the lawsuit amounted to intimidation and that he was contemplating a countersuit.

“Dominion’s defamation lawsuit for $1.3B will allow me to investigate their history, finances, and practices fully and completely,” Mr. Giuliani said. “The amount being asked for is, quite obviously, intended to frighten people of faint heart. It is another act of intimidation by the hate-filled left-wing to wipe out and censor the exercise of free speech, as well as the ability of lawyers to defend their clients vigorously. As such, we will investigate a countersuit against them for violating these Constitutional rights.”

“We’ll have a nice fight, a real fight, and by fight, I don’t mean, don’t mean any words of violence,” Mr. Giuliani said. “I fight in the courtroom, you know? That’s what I always mean when I talk about fight. We fight in the courtroom. We fight in the debate hall. I got a pretty good record in court. And I’m a damn good investigator.”

Taken together with a lawsuit the company filed this month against Sidney Powell, another lawyer who was allied with Mr. Trump, the suit represents a point-by-point rebuke of one of the more outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding last year’s election. The president’s allies had contended that the voting machine company — which was also used in states during Mr. Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, has been tested by government agencies, and was used in states Mr. Trump carried in 2020 — was somehow involved in a rigged election, partly as a result of ties to a long-deceased Venezuelan dictator.

“Dominion was not founded in Venezuela to fix elections for Hugo Chávez,” the suit says. “It was founded in 2002 in John Poulos’s basement in Toronto to help blind people vote on paper ballots.” The suit later adds that the headquarters for the company’s United States subsidiary is in Denver.

Laying out a timeline of Mr. Giuliani’s comments about Dominion on Twitter, his podcast and Fox News, the company notes that Mr. Giuliani avoided mentioning Dominion in court, where he could have faced legal ramifications for falsehoods. “Notably, not a single one of the three complaints signed and filed by Giuliani and other attorneys for the Trump Campaign in the Pennsylvania action contained any allegations about Dominion,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also links Mr. Giuliani’s false statements about Dominion to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, noting that he mentioned the company in his speech at a rally for Mr. Trump before the attack, as well as numerous times on social media as the Capitol was breached.

“Having been deceived by Giuliani and his allies into thinking that they were not criminals — but patriots ‘Defend[ing] the Republic’ from Dominion and its co-conspirators — they then bragged about their involvement in the crime on social media,” the suit states.

Thomas A. Clare, a lawyer representing Dominion, said that the riot had not factored into the decision to sue Mr. Giuliani, but that it did show just how seriously Mr. Trump’s followers had taken the falsehoods told about the election.”

Dominion deserves every penny it can get in their lawsuits.

I wish it success!

Tony

Video: CNN’s Brianna Keilar Skewers Dr. Deborah Birx’s ‘Apology Tour’

Dear Commons Community,

CNN’s Brianna Keilar blasted Dr. Deborah Birx’s excuses yesterday for the tsunami of dangerous COVID-19 lies that poured from the White House when she was coordinator of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response.

“Birx is a cautionary tale about letting politics and power warp science until it is no longer science,” Keilar said on “Roll the Tape” yesterday.

Despite Birx’s recent attempts to distance herself from the Trump administration, Keilar was dismissive of what she called the doctor’s “apology tour.” She played a news clip of Birx gushing that Trump was “so attentive to scientific literature” and facts early on in the pandemic.

On “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Birx shrugged off responsibility for misinformation from the White House about the pandemic and said the president was receiving a “parallel stream” of misleading data that overshadowed the accurate information Birx said she was providing.

When Trump appallingly suggested during a nationally televised news conference last year that people might consider an “injection” of disinfectant to battle the coronavirus, Birx appeared to grimace and not say anything. She insisted on CBS, however, that she uttered the words “no treatment” at the time — not particularly definitive, dismissive or instructive in any case. Days later, Birx said that Trump was only expressing “musings.”

“Her milquetoast answers gave life to really bad advice from Trump,” Keilar stated. “And keep in mind, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] had to put out a warning on ingesting disinfectants after a spike in calls to poison centers.”

When Birx was asked on CBS why she didn’t speak up to correct misinformation like infectious disease expert and task force scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci did, she said she wasn’t given the opportunity as often as he was to speak at news conferences. But she often spoke at news conferences and was relentlessly cheery. Fauci, on the other hand, said he was proud of his reputation as the “skunk at the picnic” who constantly sounded a note of caution about the pandemic.

Keilar called Birx’s behavior a disturbing lesson for other scientists.

“If they don’t stand up for science when it counts, when lives are on the line, their reputation can be wiped away,” she concluded. In Birx’s case, she said, all it took was “a little bleach.”

Keilar is one-hundred percent correct in her assessment of Birx!

Tony

President Biden overturns ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military!

Ongoing LGBT Evolution in the U.S. Military • Giampolo Law Group

Dear Commons Community,

President Joe Biden on Monday overturned a ban by Donald Trump on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military, a move that fulfills a campaign promise and will be cheered by LGBTQ advocates.

Former Democratic President Barack Obama in 2016 allowed trans people to serve openly and receive medical care to transition genders, but Republican President Donald Trump froze their recruitment while allowing serving personnel to remain. As reported by Reuters.

“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity,” the White House said in a statement.

“Allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform is better for the military and better for the country because an inclusive force is a more effective force. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do and is in our national interest,” it said.

When Trump announced the ban in 2017 on Twitter, he said the military needed to focus on “decisive and overwhelming victory” without being burdened by the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of having transgender personnel.

A November 2020 report by the LGBT-rights think tank the Palm Center co-written by former military Surgeons General said the transgender ban had hurt military readiness.

While advocates applaud Biden’s move, the fact that any president can decide whether transgender people can serve in the military is problematic, they say. Any American who is fit and able should have the right to serve, they say.

During his confirmation hearing, Biden’s pick to lead the Pentagon, Retired Army General Lloyd Austin, said he supported overturning the ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump transgender policy of 2019 could stand while it faces separate lawsuits in lower courts.

About 1.3 million active personnel serve in the U.S. military, Department of Defense data shows. There are no official figures on the number of trans members but the Rand Corp, a U.S. policy research institute, estimated in 2016 about 2,450 active service members were transgender.

Welcome LGBTQ community back to the military.

Tony

Solidarity with Colleagues at the Kansas State University System Facing Retrenchment of Tenured Faculty!

Dear Commons Community,

Last Friday on January 22nd, I posted the  decision on the part of the Kansas Board of Regents to make it easier  to retrench tenured faculty in the Kansas State University System – see:  https://apicciano.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2021/01/22/kansas-regents-moves-to-make-it-easier-to-dismiss-tenured-professors/

The Kansas University faculty and staff are mounting a campaign demanding that the Chancellor not implement  the Regents’ new policy.  Please take a moment to sign their petition at:  https://www.onekufaculty.com/

In solidarity!

Tony

Ross Douthat: Joe Biden’s Catholic Moment!

 

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president with the Bible that has been in his family since 1893.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Dear Commons Community,

The images on inauguration day of President Joe Biden’s American Catholicism were well on display and elevated.  Biden started the day with attendance at mass with all who wished to join him. A Jesuit delivered the invocation, the president quoted St. Augustine and paused for a moment of silent prayer just long enough for a quick Hail Mary, and the justices and celebrities represented various ethnic-Catholic inheritances — Irish for John Roberts, Italian for Lady Gaga and Nancy Pelosi, Latina for Jennifer Lopez and Sonia Sotomayor.  In his column yesterday entitled, Ross Douthat reviews the religious views of recent presidents and situates Joe Biden’s as in a “Catholic Moment.” I am not sure if I agree with him, but it is clear that Biden wears his religion openly.  How this plays out for Catholicism is a difficult question.  Douthat concludes:

“…the liberal Catholic worldview is constantly in danger of simply being subsumed into political liberalism, with all religious distinctives shorn away — as Joe Biden’s past pro-life positions have now been entirely subsumed, for instance, by his party’s orthodoxy on abortion. Or alternatively, it’s in danger of being effectively taken over from within by rival forms of faith, like the new progressive orthodoxies that are likely to set our Catholic president’s agenda on the social questions of the day.

This is a challenge for any form of faith that aspires to supply a new religious center to our divided society — how to find a place to stand that’s actually outside partisanship, that’s clearly religious first and liberal or conservative second.

On this count it’s fair to say that religious conservatives of every tradition have often failed or fallen short.

But it’s equally fair to doubt that liberal Catholicism, brought back from what had seemed its twilight years to this unexpected apotheosis, is prepared to pass the test.”

Douthat’s entire column is below.

Keep the faith!

Tony


New York Times

By Ross Douthat

Opinion Columnist

Jan. 23, 2021

The inauguration of our second Catholic president was, in its way, a very American-Catholic spectacle. A Jesuit delivered the invocation, the president quoted St. Augustine and paused for a moment of silent prayer just long enough for a quick Hail Mary, and the justices and celebrities represented various ethnic-Catholic inheritances — Irish for John Roberts, Italian for Lady Gaga and Nancy Pelosi, Latina for Jennifer Lopez and Sonia Sotomayor. (It was left to Garth Brooks, singing “Amazing Grace,” to represent Protestant culture.) As America Magazine’s James Keane noted, even Biden’s proposed cabinet is stuffed with Catholic Democrats, with few white male Protestants in sight.

It’s normal for American presidents to hew close to the country’s religious center. For a long time this meant almost every president belonged to one of the Protestant denominations called Mainline: Between 1881 and 1961, for instance, there were 13 Mainline-affiliated presidents (plus one Quaker and one Unitarian). The last of the 13, Dwight Eisenhower, proved the Mainline’s influence by being baptized into Presbyterianism early in his presidency, like a 16th-century prince accepting the state religion to claim a vacant throne.

The subsequent decline of the Protestant establishment, the most important fact in American religious life since the 1960s, has altered this dynamic. Instead of being connected to a clear religious center, the presidency has been passed among different religious tendencies that aspire, so far mostly unsuccessfully, to the status of the old Mainline.

Thus George W. Bush represented the cultural alliance between his own evangelicalism and conservative Catholicism, which envisioned itself as a new religious establishment — and then faded amid the Catholic sex-abuse crisis and a new wave of secularization.

Next, Barack Obama embodied an uneasy fusion between an attenuated liberal Protestantism and the African-American church — before the emergence of a more zealous, ‘woke’ progressivism, in his second term and after, left Obama’s more detached religious style behind.

Then Donald Trump, a Norman Vincent Peale “power of positive thinking” Christian without the actual belief, became an avatar for prosperity theology and Christian nationalism — a style of religiosity too fundamentally right-wing to lay claim to the religious center.

Now we have Biden. Many emergent forces are changing liberalism’s relationship to religion — wokeness, secularization, even paganism. But the new president personally embodies none of them. Instead he has elevated his own liberal Catholicism to the center of our national life.

The Interpreter: Original insights, commentary and discussions on the major news stories of the week.

Calling a form of religion “liberal” can mean two different things: On the one hand, a theological liberalism, which seeks an evolution in doctrine to adapt to modern needs; on the other, support for policies and parties of the center-left. In practice, though, the two tend to be conjoined: The American Catholic Church as an institution is caught between the two political coalitions, but most prominent Catholic Democrats are liberals in theology and politics alike.

But more than a set of ideas, liberal Catholicism is a culture, recognizable in its institutions and tropes, its iconography and allusions — to Pope John XXIII and Jesuit universities, to the “seamless garment” of Catholic teaching and the “spirit” of the Second Vatican Council, to the works of Thomas Merton and hymns like “On Eagle’s Wings” (which Biden quoted in his victory speech).

And, of course, invocations of Pope Francis. A decade ago it was a commonplace to regard liberal Catholicism as a tradition in decline. Its period of maximal influence, the late 1960s and 1970s, had been an era of institutional crisis for the church, which gave way to the conservative pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Conservative Catholics felt that liberal ideas had been tried and failed, liberal Catholics felt that they had been suppressed.

But then Francis gave the liberal tendency new life, reopening controversies that conservatives assumed were closed and tilting the Vatican toward cooperation with the liberal establishment and away from associations with conservatism.

The papacy does not issue political endorsements, but there seems little doubt that many figures in Francis’ inner circle welcome a Biden presidency. When the American bishops’ statement on his inauguration included a stern critique of his position on abortion, there was apparent pushback from the Vatican and explicit pushback from the most Francis-aligned of the American cardinals. So the conservative Catholics who spent the election year arguing that Biden isn’t a Catholic in good standing find themselves (not for the first time) in tacit conflict with their pope.

That conflict belongs to the internal drama of Catholicism. In the internal drama of America, though, liberal Catholicism is an interesting candidate to claim the religious center, to fill the Mainline’s vanished role.

If you wanted to make a case for its prospects and potential influence, you would emphasize three distinctive liberal-Catholic qualities: an abiding institutionalism, in contrast to the pure dissolving individualism of so much American religion; an increasingly multiethnic character, which matches our increasingly diverse republic; and a fervent inclusivity, an anxiety that nobody should feel discriminated against or turned away.

This inclusivity means that liberal Catholicism sometimes seems to capture the universalist aspirations of the church better than its conservative and traditionalist subcultures. The latter are supposed to be for everybody, but at the moment they tend to appeal to distinctive personality types (he said, looking in the mirror) while remaining somewhat alien to the normal run of Americans — with “normal” lately meaning not just anyone who doubts certain of the church’s harder teachings but anyone who doubts the wisdom of a vote for Donald Trump.

On the other hand, liberal Catholicism sometimes achieves its feeling of universality by simply claiming for itself the whole Catholic-influenced world — sure, he’s no longer a practicing Catholic, but did you know that Dr. Anthony Fauci was educated by Jesuits? — without regard to whether that influence actually amounts to much more than a vague spirituality, a generic humanitarianism.

Which means that the liberal Catholic worldview is constantly in danger of simply being subsumed into political liberalism, with all religious distinctives shorn away — as Joe Biden’s past pro-life positions have now been entirely subsumed, for instance, by his party’s orthodoxy on abortion. Or alternatively, it’s in danger of being effectively taken over from within by rival forms of faith, like the new progressive orthodoxies that are likely to set our Catholic president’s agenda on the social questions of the day.

This is a challenge for any form of faith that aspires to supply a new religious center to our divided society — how to find a place to stand that’s actually outside partisanship, that’s clearly religious first and liberal or conservative second.

On this count it’s fair to say that religious conservatives of every tradition have often failed or fallen short.

But it’s equally fair to doubt that liberal Catholicism, brought back from what had seemed its twilight years to this unexpected apotheosis, is prepared to pass the test.

 

Arizona Republican Party Censures Jeff Flake, Doug Ducey, and Cindy McCain for Criticizing Donald Trump!

Ducey, Flake, Cindy McCain: Arizona GOP plans to censure leading  Republicans | 12news.com

Jeff Flake, Doug Ducey and Cindy McCain

Dear Commons Community,

Over the weekend, Arizona Republicans issued rebukes to three of the party’s most prominent figures  and approved resolutions to censure former Senator Jeff Flake, Gov. Doug Ducey, and Cindy McCain, the widow of former Senator John McCain.

Though largely symbolic, the censuring during a meeting of the state G.O.P. on Saturday underscored a widening rift in Arizona between party officials who have made clear that their loyalty lies with former President Donald J. Trump and those in the party who refused to support him or his effort to overturn the election results in Arizona, which President Joseph R. Biden Jr. won.

The party cited Ms. McCain’s and Mr. Flake’s criticisms of Mr. Trump and Mr. Ducey’s use of emergency orders related to the pandemic, which gave him broad control to enact policies without the legislature’s approval such as closing “nonessential” businesses in the spring.

Both Mr. Flake and Ms. McCain endorsed Mr. Biden leading up to the November election. Though Mr. Ducey continually made it clear that he backed Mr. Trump, he drew ire from some Republicans by defending the state’s election process, rather than supporting efforts to challenge the November results in court.

Mr. McCain himself was censured by the state party in 2015 over his voting record, which some Republican officials there perceived as not sufficiently conservative.  As reported in the New York Times.

“The censures came at the end of a raucous seven-hour meeting. Kelli Ward, the state party chair who has long been a Trump loyalist and a polarizing figure in Arizona politics, was re-elected on Saturday after playing a recorded phone call of Mr. Trump enthusiastically endorsing her.

A few Republicans speaking out in support of Mr. Ducey were roundly booed, and nobody spoke in favor of Ms. McCain. All three resolutions were approved by a wide margin.

“These resolutions are of no consequence whatsoever, and the people behind them have lost whatever little moral authority they may have once had,” Sara Mueller, Mr. Ducey’s political director, wrote in a statement issued minutes after the vote.

The party also approved resolutions staking out hard-right positions such as calls for revoking birthright citizenship, ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, ceasing to provide translations for official government services to non-English speakers and one that “stands firm on the principles of only two genders.”

The vote to censure comes two and a half months after Mr. Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Arizona in more than two decades, and only the second Democrat in 50 years. For decades, Republicans controlled both U.S. Senate seats, but they lost the first in 2018 and the second last year. Mr. Ducey, who was easily re-elected in 2018, is the most prominent Republican still in office who has won statewide.

Ms. McCain, Mr. Flake and Mr. Ducey each attended Mr. Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday and Ms. McCain served on the president’s transition advisory board. She has responded to the threat of censure with a sense of both annoyance and amusement, joking that she was in “good company” with her husband.

The censure resolution against Ms. McCain cited her support for “leftist causes such as gay marriage and growth of the administrative state,” and her endorsement of Mr. Biden, which was described as “in direct opposition to Republican values, the interests of the American people and the Constitution of the United States.”

On Twitter, Ms. McCain replied: “It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well…and who, like my late husband John, have been censured by the AZGOP. I’ll wear this as a badge of honor.”

And in an earlier interview with The Arizona Republic, Ms. McCain blasted the state party chair, Ms. Ward, for pushing for the rebukes.

She said that as the chairman of the party, Ms. Ward, “managed to turn Arizona blue in November for the first time since 1996.” She added: “Maybe she should be reminded that my husband never lost an Arizona election since his first win in 1982.”

Ms. Ward’s spokesperson declined to respond to a request for comment.

The party’s resolution against Mr. Flake said that he “once was a true Conservative, who supported freedom, Republican values, Republican candidates, and Americanism” but has since “abandoned true Republican values by professing support for progressive and globalist politicians.”

Mr. Flake wrote on Twitter that he, too, was unconcerned with the censure.

“If condoning the president’s behavior is required to stay in the party’s good graces, I’m just fine being on the outs,” he wrote.

Mr. Ducey, in an interview on Friday, said that he has given “little to no time to think” about the vote.

“I think we’re better and stronger as a party when we’re adding people rather than the alternative,” he said.

None of the three Republicans plan to formally object to the censure.

Many moderate Republican officials have dismissed the resolutions as a distraction, saying they will largely serve to alienate other moderates in a state where independent voters make up nearly a third of the electorate.

Like other Republicans who voted against the censures, Trey Terry, a state committeeman, laid the blame with Ms. Ward.

“She has set the party up for failure,” Mr. Terry said. “It’s her circus now, and the clowns have come out.”

The test of the Arizona Republican Party’s strength in the post-Trump era is not far-off — a U.S. Senate seat and all statewide offices will be up for grabs in 2022.”

Ms. Ward and her followers are indicative of a major problem in the Republican Party.  Too many of its leaders put the party before the country!

Tony

Pro-Navalny Protests Sweep Russia Challenging Putin!

The police in Russia arrested thousands of people during a nationwide protest against the jailing of opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny.
Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Dear Commons Community,

News media from around the world are reporting on the unrest and pro-Aleksei Navalny protests in Russia that erupted the past two days. Here is an excerpt from a New York Times article.

“From the frozen streets of Russia’s Far East and Siberia to the grand plazas of Moscow and St. Petersburg, tens of thousands of Russians rallied in support of the jailed opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny on Saturday in the biggest nationwide showdown in years between the Kremlin and its opponents.

The demonstrations did not immediately pose a dire threat to President Vladimir V. Putin’s grip on power. But their broad scope, and the remarkable defiance displayed by many of the protesters, signaled widespread fatigue with the stagnant, corruption-plagued political order that Mr. Putin has presided over for two decades.

The protests began to unfold in the eastern regions of Russia, a country of 11 time zones, and they moved like a wave across the nation despite a heavy police presence and a drumbeat of menacing warnings on state media to stay away.

 

On the island of Sakhalin, just north of Japan, hundreds gathered in front of the regional government building and chanted, “Putin is a thief!” The protests spread to the sub-Arctic city of Yakutsk, where it was minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and to rallies attended by thousands in cities across Siberia. Hours later, as night fell in Moscow, people pelted the police with snowballs and kicked at a car belonging to the domestic intelligence agency.

By late evening in Moscow, more than 3,000 people had been arrested in at least 109 cities, according to OVD-Info, an activist group that tracks arrests at protests.

Mr. Navalny’s supporters claimed success and promised more protests next weekend — even though many directors of his regional offices had been arrested.

“If Putin thinks the most frightening things are behind him, he is very sorely and naïvely mistaken,” Leonid Volkov, a top aide to Mr. Navalny, said on a live broadcast to YouTube from an undisclosed location outside Russia.

The protests came six days after Mr. Navalny, a 44-year-old anti-corruption activist, was arrested upon his arrival in Moscow on a flight from Germany, where he had spent months recovering from poisoning by a military-grade nerve agent. Western officials and Mr. Navalny have described the poisoning, which took place in Siberia in August, as an assassination attempt by the Russian state. The Kremlin denies this.

Mr. Navalny, who now faces a years-long prison term, called on his supporters across the country to take to the streets this weekend, even though officials did not authorize protests. Russians responded with the most widespread demonstrations that the nation has seen since at least 2017 — numbering in the tens of thousands in Moscow and St. Petersburg and in the thousands in each of several cities to the east, including Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Omsk and the Pacific port of Vladivostok.”

I hope this turns out okay for Navalny but I am skeptical!

Tony

Videos: Jen Psaki – New White House Press Secretary – She Can Stand the Truth!

Dear Commons Community,

This past week I happened to see parts of Jen Psaki’s White House press conferences.  She is a refreshing voice from the likes of Sean Spicer, Sara Sanders Huckabee, and Kayleigh McEnany. Psaki appears honest, pleasant and will say “I don’t know but I will get back to you” rather than lie about something as was typical with Donald Trump’s deceiving trio of alternate fact secretaries.  The video above serves as a brief introduction to Psaki and compares her to Sean Spicer.

The video below is a thirty-minute clip of her first press conference.

Tony

 

Pfizer to supply COVID-19 shots for poor countries!

 

COVID-19: Poor left behind as rich nations 'hoarding vaccines' | Coronavirus  pandemic News | Al Jazeera

Dear Commons Community,

We have been obsessed since December over when will our states and communities get their COVID-19 vaccine doses. Many of us will be waiting weeks and months before we can get the shots.  However, people in poorer countries have no idea when the doses will be available to them. Pfizer yesterday committed to supply up to 40 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine this year to a World Health Organization-backed effort to get affordable shots to poor and middle-income countries.

“The deal is a boost to the global program known as COVAX, as wealthy nations have snapped up most of the millions of coming shots.   As reported by the Associated Press.

The commitment, announced at a virtual press conference held by the Geneva-based WHO, is seen as important because Pfizer and its partner BioNTech last month won the first vaccine emergency authorizations from WHO and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Earlier this week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized drug makers for seeking profits from the pandemic and mostly supplying wealthy countries.

Pfizer’s 40 million doses — for a vaccine requiring two doses — are a tiny sliver of what’s needed for COVAX, which aims to vaccinate billions of people in 92 low- and middle-income countries.

During yesterday’s news conference, Tedros said Pfizer’s commitment and about 150 million doses of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University could enable COVAX to begin delivering doses in February, pending finalization of a supply agreement with Pfizer and emergency use approval for AstraZeneca’s vaccine. He said the global program is on track to deliver by year’s end 2 billion doses of vaccines previously pledged by AstraZeneca and other vaccine producers.

New York-based Pfizer Inc. had not previously committed to providing its COVID-19 vaccine to poor countries without making a profit during the pandemic, as a couple rivals have.

However, Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech said they would provide their vaccine to COVAX at an undisclosed “not-for-profit price.” The companies still must execute a supply agreement covering distribution, but the doses are to be delivered throughout 2021, starting in February.

“Today, we are proud to have this opportunity to provide doses that will support COVAX efforts toward vaccinating healthcare workers at high risk of exposure in developing countries and other vulnerable … populations,” Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said.

Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, which is leading procurement and delivery of vaccines for COVAX, called the deal “a major step forward for equitable access to vaccines.”

Pfizer and BioNTech said they would also help health systems handle the vaccine, which requires ultracold storage.

Many public health officials have expressed skepticism that the Pfizer vaccine could be successfully kept so cold across the globe. Pfizer has been shipping the shots in special containers with dry ice, but even in the U.S. some doses have been thrown out because they weren’t kept at the proper temperature.

Pfizer has said it’s been ramping up production and expects to be able to make 2 billion doses in 2021, up from its earlier forecast of 1.3 billion doses. That long-term goal comes with a short-term cost: The company is slowing production at its Belgium factory while it makes changes needed to boost production.

Good for you, Pfizer!

Tony