May 25, 2023

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Pending Criminal and Civil Cases Against Donald Trump.


“That is like calling a person of color the n-word, which should never happen. Calling me a white supremacist is equal to that.” — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) taking “great offense” to being called a white supremacist.

“I mean, he couldn’t build a border wall in 4 years. So, you know, there is a gap between promises and delivery.” — Tucker Carlson, when asked if he believes Donald Trump’s claim he would end the war in Ukraine in 24 hours.

“I am a soldier in the army of the Lord … The 2024 election will be a fight between light and dark…a struggle between good and evil…an epic fight between the godly and the godless.” — Roger Stone who has been preaching the gospel of Trumpism to the former president’s most fervent religious supporters.

“We’re gonna get to a point where McCarthy has to decide whether he’s willing to proceed to default.” — Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), on the debt ceiling talks.
REPORTER: "Today's hearing is about how the FBI is politicized, but do you think it's appropriate for some of these whistleblowers to be paid by (Kash Patel) one of Trump's former advisers?"

REP. JIM JORDAN: "They got a family! How are they supposed to feed their family?"
“For 8 years they lied and slandered Trump in a way to get people to not voting for him and when that still didn’t work they unleashed COVID to in order to steal an election and to stop him because he was going to stop the  the push for globalism.” — Kari Lake, who is still claiming to be the duly elected governor of Arizona in exile.

“You look at the polling, and right now Donald Trump is 7 points ahead of Joe Biden and trending upward, Joe Biden’s trending downward. And I believe that the media is looking around, scratching their head, and they’re realizing that the American people are keeping up with our investigation.” — Rep. James Comer (R-KY) inadvertantly implying that House Republicans’ high-profile investigation into President Joe Biden’s family members and their finances is actually all about helping Donald Trump win the presidency in 2024.

“The drama, the drama, the drama.”— House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) when asked whether the so-called “motion to vacate” the speaker’s chair is on the table for conservatives if they don’t like the final deal.

“I left a prescription at a pharmacy once. I went to get birth control, and I was there at the counter and went to pay for it, and the price was very, very high… I said, ‘It’s cheaper to have a kid.’ And I left it there, and now I have my third son.” — Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), explaining why she quit birth control.

“Put on the full armor of God… and don’t ever, ever back down.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking at the National Religious Broadcasters Conference.

“The issue here is principle: If you accept the idea that you can, in essence, be held to blackmail with the debt ceiling, it will be done again and again. Not to be crass, but it’s essentially negotiating with terrorists who have taken hostages.” — Dean Baker, an economist at the Center for Economic Policy and Research.

“You have to think of him not as a former president or even as a presidential candidate so much as a cult leader… He has a hold on a significant portion of the Republican Party.” — Hillary Clinton.

Trump's comments about the debt ceiling:
“I say to the Republicans out there — congressmen, senators — if they don’t give you massive cuts, you’re going to have to do a default.”

"Republicans should not make a deal on the debt ceiling unless they get everything they want (including the kitchen sink).”


Mark Fiore: SCOTUS Gift Cards.

MTG explains why she filed Articles of Impeachment on 5 people this week.
CNN's Elle Reeve: "It seems like you think there’s some high-level, coordinated effort to make more children trans and gay.
Moms for Liberty: "Yep."
Reeve: Who's doing that?
MFL: Teachers unions, Biden, money.
Reeve: "Why would they want more children to be gay and trans?”
MFL: “It breaks down the family unit, which breaks down traditional conservative values……”
“Brittney Griner’s return to the court is an inspiration to our nation – and is a testament to her strength and courage.” — Vice President Kamala Harris.

"Striking how Putin is adopting Trump's perceived enemies as his own. The new Russian sanctions list includes people Trump considers adversaries like Letitia James, Brad Raffensperger and the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt even though none has anything to do with Russia policy." — Peter Baker.





Andy Borowitz: DeSantis Caught Sneaking Into Matinée of “Little Mermaid”

Governor Ron DeSantis was caught sneaking into an advance screening of the latest Disney release, “The Little Mermaid.”

The governor had gone undetected until a key scene in the film, in which the sea witch Ursula dupes the mermaid Ariel into giving away her voice.

“Don’t do it, Ariel!” a man was heard bellowing in the back row.

Audience members turned around and discovered DeSantis, reportedly disguised in women’s clothing and hair extensions.

Unmasked, DeSantis fled the theatre on foot, shedding a white boot in the process.

GOP Ratchets Up Debt Ceiling Demands

Congressional Republicans have not only rejected a new White House offer to essentially freeze domestic spending at FY2023 levels, they’re now demanding work requirements for SNAP recipients that are more rigid than those they originally proposed. They’re also insisting on adding new immigration provisions from the GOP’s recently passed border bill — which, mind you, Republicans didn’t include in their own debt ceiling bill.

The GOP’s dug-in position comes at the end of a week when both President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy acknowledged that a budget deal would have to be bipartisan. Vote-counters on the Hill believe that any eventual deal will need the backing of about 100 House Democrats since a number of conservatives will never support a compromise. Yet given what Republican negotiators are now countering, they’re far from that number.

Poll: 60% say debt ceiling increase should come with spending cuts

Majority support for raising the debt ceiling in some fashion cuts across party lines, but most Republicans (79%) and independents (58%) say the limit should only be raised if spending cuts are enacted at the same time, while Democrats are split between supporting a debt ceiling increase no matter what (46%) and raising it only alongside spending cuts (45%).

Fox News Stoked Outrage Over Migrants Displacing Homeless Vets. It Was a Hoax

The story had all the hallmarks of fueling the maximum amount of right-wing outrage. With migrants being bused into New York City amid an immigration surge at the southern border, upstate New York hotels had supposedly kicked out homeless veterans in order to make room for the influx of asylum seekers.

After right-wing tabloid The New York Post published the sensational report last Friday, Fox News and Newsmax ran wild with it, devoting dozens of segments (and countless online articles) to the indignation of “people who served our country and need a little boost” getting displaced by “illegals,” all while “these hotels are selling their soul for a check.”

Turns out, however, the whole story was made up.

A Florida School Banned the Poem Read at Biden’s Inauguration

A Florida school has banned “The Hill We Climb,” the poem read at Joe Biden’s inauguration after a parent complained it contained “indirect hate messages,” part of a disturbing state-wide trend of blocking discussions about race and gender.

Florida is increasingly restricting what can be taught in schools at all levels. DeSantis has declared war on “wokeism” and recently signed into law a measure defunding diversity, equity, and inclusion programs on college campuses. He backed the Stop Woke Act, which restricts teaching about race in colleges, announced plans to mandate Western civilization courses, and supported the expansion of “Don’t Say Gay.” His administration was also in close contact with the College Board as it gutted the A.P. African American Studies course.

D.C. police lieutenant indicted on charge of tipping off Proud Boy Enrique Tarrio about arrest

Shane Lamond, a Metropolitan Police Department lieutenant who supervised the intelligence branch of the Washington, D.C. police, was indicted this week, charged with tipping off former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio about a pending warrant for his arrest just ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Between July 2019 and January 2021, Tarrio and Lamond communicated "at least 500 times using cloud-based messaging services, including Google Voice, Apple iMessages, and Telegram, an encrypted messaging application," the indictment said. They sent approximately 145 messages using a secret chat function on Telegram that causes messages to disappear, the indictment charged, adding “at least 101 of these messages were destroyed.

Bill to Force Texas Public Schools to Display Ten Commandments Fails

A push to inject religion into public schools across Texas faltered on Tuesday after the State House failed to pass a contentious bill that would have required the Ten Commandments to be displayed prominently in every classroom.

Nevada’s GOP governor vetoes three gun restriction bills

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) vetoed three pieces of legislation that would have placed additional restrictions on gun ownership and purchasing in the state.

Before-and-after images of the destroyed Ukrainian city of Bakhmut

One year ago, the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, home to some 70,000 people, was known locally for its salt mines and sparkling wine. Today, it is a symbol of Russia’s brutal and relentless war.

G.O.P. Witnesses, Paid by Trump Ally, Embraced Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theories

House Republicans have spent months promising to use their majority to uncover an insidious bias against conservatives on the part of the federal government, vowing to produce a roster of brave whistle-blowers who would come forward to provide damning evidence of abuses aimed at the right.

But the first three witnesses to testify privately before the new Republican-led House committee investigating the “weaponization” of the federal government have offered little firsthand knowledge of any wrongdoing or violation of the law, according to Democrats on the panel who have listened to their accounts. Instead, the trio appears to be a group of aggrieved former F.B.I. officials who have trafficked in right-wing conspiracy theories, including about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, and received financial support from a top ally of former President Donald Trump.

The roster of witnesses, whose interviews and statements are detailed in a 316-page report compiled by Democrats suggests that Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the panel, has so far relied on people who do not meet the definition of a whistle-blower and who have engaged in partisan conduct that calls into question their credibility. And it raises questions about whether Republicans, who have said that investigating the Biden administration is a top goal, will be able to deliver on their ambitious plans to uncover misdeeds at the highest levels.

Each endorses an alarming series of conspiracy theories related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, the Covid vaccine, and the validity of the 2020 election,” Democrats wrote in the heavily footnoted report, which cites scores of statements made by the witnesses. “One has called repeatedly for the dismantling of the F.B.I. Another suggested that it would be better for Americans to die than to have any kind of domestic intelligence program.

Disney Pulls Plug on $1 Billion Development in Florida

In March, Disney called Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida “anti-business” for his scorched-earth attempt to tighten oversight of the company’s theme park resort near Orlando. Last month, when Disney sued the governor and his allies for what it called “a targeted campaign of government retaliation,” the company made clear that $17 billion in planned investment in Walt Disney World was on the line.

“Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes, or not?” Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, said on an earnings-related conference call with analysts last week.

On Thursday, Mr. Iger and Josh D’Amaro, Disney’s theme park and consumer products chairman, showed that they were not bluffing, pulling the plug on a nearly $1 billion office complex that was scheduled for construction in Orlando. It would have brought more than 2,000 jobs to the region, with $120,000 as the average salary, according to an estimate from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Florida Democrats think the unthinkable: We’re in play

Florida Democrats, long under the thumb of Ron DeSantis, are giddy the mayoral victory in Jacksonville could be the end to a long, long losing streak.

Former TV anchor Donna Deegan’s win Tuesday night in the state’s biggest city is giving the party — which doesn’t hold a single statewide office — a glimmer of hope heading into 2024, when there’s a good chance that the GOP challenger to President Joe Biden will come from Florida. Democrats say Deegan’s win is both a repudiation of DeSantis and a sign that all is not lost for them in the Sunshine state.

Even before Tuesday, Biden signaled that in his eyes, Florida, which hasn’t gone for a Democrat in a presidential election since 2012, remains a competitive battleground state despite the Republicans’ huge voter registration and cash advantage. The president’s campaign recently aired television ads in Tampa and Orlando. And in February, Biden visited Florida during a post-State of the Union swing and sent surrogates to Florida this month.

“This solidifies we are not off the map,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried. “Everybody is really excited. They feel that this is a great signal and that there is something to invest in Florida.”

That Gen Z midterm boost for Democrats might be real

Democrats avoided an electoral wipeout in the 2022 midterms. One way they did so was by reassembling a history-defying coalition of young voters who turned out at rates more commonly seen in presidential elections, according to a new study of voter-file data according to a new study of voter file data.

The Democratic data firm Catalist found that these voters bested 2018 turnout levels in states with the most competitive races for governor or Senate — and they overwhelmingly favored Democratic candidates, even if the overall political environment swung to the right.

DeSantis signs slew of anti-transgender rights measures into law, affecting bathrooms, healthcare, and pronouns

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed four bills into law Wednesday that will deeply disrupt the lives of transgender people in the state, whether it be over access to healthcare, bathroom use, lessons about LGBTQ+ topics, or pronouns in schools.

Musk moves in on Murdock

Elon Musk has displaced Rupert Murdoch and Fox News as the king of conservative media in recent weeks.

Fox News used to be the place where conservatives went to break news. But the right-wing ecosystem has turned on the network, leaving Twitter as the center of media gravity for the Republican Party just as the 2024 election heats up.

Senate Democrats ask Biden to ready 14th Amendment, bypass GOP on debt limit

As top aides to President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continued negotiating directly over the debt ceiling and the federal budget Wednesday, but Democrats in both chambers of Congress started pushing for unilateral options that could head off a catastrophic default without the need for talks with Republicans, a sign of growing anxiety among liberal lawmakers over the contours of a possible deal.

Some Senate Democrats were circulating a letter urging Biden to prepare to invoke the 14th Amendment to resolve the debt ceiling standoff without involving Congress.

Meanwhile, House Democrats start to collect signatures for a discharge petition to move legislation that would raise the debt ceiling without any other policy changes, a long-shot procedural move aimed at bypassing the chamber’s Republican leaders.

Former Employees Sue Twitter, Elon Musk Over Breached Contracts, Merger Agreement 

Six former employees have sued Elon Musk and Twitter over broken severance promises in a lawsuit that also shines a light on the allegedly dysfunctional inner workings of the social media company in the aftermath of Musk's acquisition.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in a Delaware district court and obtained by Rolling Stone, accuses Musk, Twitter, and parent company X Corp. of fraud, wage theft, breach of contract, and more after the six employees "were fired or constructively discharged" from Twitter despite a pre-acquisition merger agreement.

Texts tie DeSantis closely to Trump insider Lev Parnas in 2018 race

Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas and his business partner were arrested in 2019, accused by the U.S. government of funneling a Russian oligarch’s money into American political campaigns.

One recipient of Parnas’ donations — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — has said he was barely an acquaintance.

But DeSantis and Parnas worked more closely together than the Republican governor has disclosed, according to a detailed account of their relationship Parnas provided to Reuters and 63 previously unreported text messages from DeSantis to Parnas between May and October 2018, as DeSantis campaigned for governor.

Inside Biden’s Plan to Win Back Latino Voters

President Biden will enter 2024 determined to reverse Democrats’ sliding support among Latino voters, in part by building on the playbook the party used with surprising success in key states during last year’s midterms.

To Democrats, it's never been more crucial. For a decade they've been losing ground to Republicans among Latinos, the nation's youngest and fastest-growing demographic, with millions more expected to be new voters in 2024.

As they did in 2022, Democrats will focus particularly on growing Latino populations in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania — politically divided states where a strong Latino turnout can be a difference-maker, especially in the presidential race. Georgia and North Carolina also will be targets.

CNN getting more Republicans on-air as it seeks political diversity

CNN is getting more Republicans on the air as it seeks political diversity, the chief executive of parent company Warner Bros Discovery said on Thursday, adding he and CNN chief Chris Licht have told Republicans “they’re not going to get one more vote on Fox News.

Feinstein Suffered More Complications From Illness Than Were Publicly Disclosed

When she arrived at the Capitol last week after a more than two-month absence recovering from shingles, Senator Dianne Feinstein, 89, appeared shockingly diminished.

Ms. Feinstein’s frail appearance was a result of several complications after she was hospitalized for shingles in February, some of which she has not publicly disclosed. The shingles spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance impairments and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The virus also brought on a previously unreported case of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating complication of shingles that a spokesman confirmed on Thursday after The New York Times first revealed it, saying that the condition had “resolved itself” in March.

Characterized by swelling of the brain, post-shingles encephalitis can leave patients with lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulties walking. Older patients tend to have the most trouble recovering. And even before this latest illness, Ms. Feinstein had already suffered substantial memory issues that had raised questions about her mental capacity.

Trust in Supreme Court Falls to Lowest in 50 Years

Confidence in the Supreme Court sank to its lowest point in at least 50 years in 2022 in the wake of the Dobbs decision that led to state bans and other restrictions on abortion.

How Much Did Election Denial Hurt Republicans in the Midterms?

Denying the results of the 2020 election and casting doubts about the nation’s voting system cost statewide Republican candidates 2.3 to 3.7 percentage points in the midterms last year, according to a new study from States United Action, a nonpartisan group that promotes fair elections.

Mike Lindell’s $5 million contest winner takes him to federal court

A Nevada computer scientist has gone to federal court to pursue the $5 million prize he is owed by MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell following a ruling by private arbitrators last month.

The arbitrators found that Robert Zeidman deserved the money because he had successfully challenged data related to Lindell’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen — and had thus won a contest Lindell had dubbed: "Prove Mike Wrong.”

More GOP Presidential Candidates?

Chris Sununu is accelerating plans to run for president, with close allies saying the New Hampshire governor wants to seek the Republican nomination and is exploring avenues for mounting a viable 2024 campaign.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) rolled out a campaign-style video appearing to cast him as the successor to President Ronald Reagan — despite his pledge to focus entirely on this year’s Virginia legislative races.

Sen. Tim Scott, one of the country’s most prominent Black Republicans, kicked off his presidential campaign here Monday, highlighting his biography and Christian faith, while also attacking President Biden in a speech that set him apart from some rivals in tone and content.

Chris Christie seems prepared to be the one to test the theory, common in Trump-critic circles, that Republicans need to actually go at Trump if they’re to have any chance of defeating him. The problem with that, similar to the GOP’s approach to Trump for years, is that nobody wants to be the one to leap and make that case. Better to let someone else torpedo themselves in the process. And then nobody does. While Never Trumpers love Liz Cheney, and Asa Hutchinson and Chris Sununu appear ready to make such a case, Christie actually has a track record here that suggests it could matter.


Yesterday, @RepClayHiggins defended me as a radical socialist attempted to disrupt me during a press conference. Thank you, Clay! — Rep. Lauren Boebert


Pushing an activist for asking tough questions is supposed to be normal?

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said Thursday that she will introduce articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden. The Georgia Republican said the articles would deal with Biden’s handling of border security, accusing him of an “absolute failure … to protect the states.”


View from the White House: “Is there a bigger example of a shameless sideshow political stunt than a trolling impeachment attack by one of the most extreme MAGA members in Congress over ‘national security’ while she actively demands to defund the FBI and even said she ‘would’ve been armed’ and ‘would have won’ the January 6 insurrection if only she’d been in charge of it?" said White House spokesperson Ian Sams in a statement.

A little update on a story we brought you this week about homeless vets being displaced from hotels so illegals can move in, turns out the group behind the claim made it up. We have no clue why anyone would do such a thing. -- Fox's Laura Ingraham.


We have no idea why the lies we incessantly repeated were made up, says the network that paid over three-quarters of a billion dollars for incessantly repeating lies. — George Conway

Susan B. Glasser: “Debt-Limit Terror” Is No Way to Run a Superpower

What can you say about a week in American politics when the major breakthrough was that the two parties agreed to stop talking about talking, in order to actually start talking? In Washington, where, for months, President Biden and congressional Republicans have been hurtling toward a confrontation over the G.O.P.’s refusal to raise the debt ceiling without major concessions from Democrats on federal spending and the beginning of formal negotiations aimed at averting a disastrous government default counted as big news. For the rest of the world, it was merely a sign of the capital’s extreme dysfunction, and a reminder that America’s messed-up politics constitutes a geopolitical crisis as well as a domestic one.

One of the problems is that we’ve been here before, in 2011 and 2013, when, just like today, a Democrat was in the White House and Republicans controlled the House. The script is all too familiar: there were dire warnings, talks about talking, and then frantic last-minute negotiations. Each time, a default was averted, but only barely. (In 2011, a deal was reached two days before the predicted date of default, after financial markets went crazy and Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time in history.) Few observers believe a default will happen this time, either. Which makes the present crisis a very artificial one indeed, manufactured by Republicans who now see a ritual act of economic self-sabotage as a surefire way to extract concessions that they could not otherwise secure.

The unravelling of a superpower’s credibility does not happen in an instant but over time and as a result of repeated crises. That the crises plaguing Washington are often self-inflicted has not made them any less damaging. Biden is right to fly back to his embattled capital. The greatest threat to the international order is right here.

Luke Broadwater and Adam Goldman: G.O.P. Witnesses, Paid by Trump Ally, Embraced Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theories

House Republicans have spent months promising to use their majority to uncover an insidious bias against conservatives on the part of the federal government, vowing to produce a roster of brave whistle-blowers who would come forward to provide damning evidence of abuses aimed at the right.

But the first three witnesses to testify privately before the new Republican-led House committee investigating the “weaponization” of the federal government have offered little firsthand knowledge of any wrongdoing or violation of the law, according to Democrats on the panel who have listened to their accounts. Instead, the trio appears to be a group of aggrieved former F.B.I. officials who have trafficked in right-wing conspiracy theories, including about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, and received financial support from a top ally of former President Donald J. Trump.

The roster of witnesses, whose interviews and statements are detailed in a 316-page report compiled by Democrats that was obtained by The New York Times, suggests that Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the panel, has so far relied on people who do not meet the definition of a whistle-blower and who have engaged in partisan conduct that calls into question their credibility. And it raises questions about whether Republicans, who have said that investigating the Biden administration is a top goal, will be able to deliver on their ambitious plans to uncover misdeeds at the highest levels.

“Each endorses an alarming series of conspiracy theories related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, the Covid vaccine, and the validity of the 2020 election,” Democrats wrote in the heavily footnoted report, which cites scores of statements made by the witnesses. “One has called repeatedly for the dismantling of the F.B.I. Another suggested that it would be better for Americans to die than to have any kind of domestic intelligence program.”

Dennis Aftergut: Why Trump Wants U.S. to Default on Debt

You don’t need to be a stable genius to know that a bad economy typically hurts the incumbent in a presidential race. And Trump is desperate to get the immunity from prosecution that being elected president would provide him. He’s terrified of what’s coming from Special Counsel Jack Smith. So he’ll apparently nuke the world economy to protect himself.

His MAGA minions in the House of Representatives also understand that voters’ first instinct for an economic crisis is to blame the incumbent president. But just in case that point was missed by the few GOP representatives who still worry a bit about what’s best for the country, Trump’s Truth Social post on Friday was sending them a message. He might as well have written, “I’ll come after you if you vote to raise the debt ceiling.”

Ezra Klein: Liberals Are Persuading Themselves of a Debt Ceiling Plan That Won’t Work

If the administration declares the debt ceiling unconstitutional, only to have the Supreme Court declare the maneuver unconstitutional, then Biden owns the market chaos that would follow. Who will voters blame in that scenario? Republicans, who say they just wanted to negotiate over the budget, as is tradition? Or Biden, who did something no other president had done and failed?

Right now, at last, the positions are clear. The White House is open to budget negotiations but opposed to debt ceiling brinkmanship. Republicans are the ones threatening default if their demands are not met. They are pulling the pin on this grenade, in full view of the American people. Biden should think carefully before taking the risk of snatching it out of their hands and holding it himself.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: The poor are being held hostage in the debt ceiling standoff

The moment negotiations over the debt ceiling with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy started, it was obvious President Biden would have to give in to Republican demands for some spending cuts. The question now is how big they’ll be and how long they’ll last.

Here’s what must not happen: Our country’s least advantaged citizens should not be forced to pay the largest price to prevent an economic catastrophe. Making the poor poorer should never happen; it certainly shouldn’t happen on a Democratic president’s watch.

That issue is at the heart of this needless and destructive battle. House Republicans decided to hold the economy hostage to slash assistance for low-income Americans while protecting tax cuts for the wealthy.

That’s a factual statement, not a partisan complaint.

McCarthy (R-Calif.) is not only refusing to put any of the Trump-era tax cuts for the best-off and corporations on the table; he also wants to make them permanent, adding $3.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade. So much for “deficit reduction” as the central purpose of this exercise.

Meanwhile, the GOP’s desire to concentrate cuts on what is blandly called “domestic discretionary spending” would force the heaviest reductions on programs that help the least well-off, such as Head Start and assistance for food, child care and housing. Republicans mercifully say they want to protect veterans’ programs, but that only forces deeper reductions elsewhere.

A revealing example: The House appropriations bill for agriculture released last week guts the 2021 pandemic-era increase to benefits for fruits and vegetables under the Women, Infants and Children program, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) reported affect “nearly 1.5 million pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding participants and roughly 3.5 million children aged 1 through 4.”

Robert Reich: The Republican Party becomes the Christian Nationalist Party

An important aspect of the anti-democracy movement in America deserves attention. The wall separating church and state is getting hit with a Republican battering ram.

Idaho and Kentucky have signed into law measures allowing teachers and public school employees to pray in front of and with students while on duty.

Meanwhile, Republican state lawmakers are falling over themselves to pass book bans, abortion prohibitions, and anti-trans laws — and justify them with scripture.

“Put on the full armor of God. Stand firm against the left’s schemes,” Florida governor (and soon-to-be-announced Republican presidential candidate) Ron DeSantis said at the Christian Hillsdale College — substituting “left’s schemes” for the “devil’s schemes” of Ephesians 6:11.

Amy Davidson Sorkin: Guns, Trump, and the G.O.P.

Some visions of how to live well in America are inextricably linked to owning a gun. Donald Trump certainly took that view recently, in a CNN town hall at Saint Anselm College, in New Hampshire, before an audience of Republicans and independents. Indeed, he presented guns as necessary for survival in a dark and violent landscape. “Remember, we have seven hundred million guns—seven hundred million. Many people, if they don’t have a gun, they’re not going to be very safe,” he said. “Many of them would not be alive today.” He condemned Chicago and New York for having tight gun restrictions, praised Brazil for loosening its laws, and called for arming teachers, many of whom, he claimed, are “soldiers, ex-soldiers, ex-policemen” who “really understand weapons.”

The internal dynamics of the G.O.P. appear to be pushing Presidential contenders to increasingly extreme positions. Not that most of them need much prodding on guns: former Vice-President Mike Pence, who has indicated that he is considering running, has long been something of a Second Amendment fundamentalist. Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and a declared candidate, recently said that focussing on guns as a means to reduce gun violence was “lazy.” And, as the town hall demonstrated, even Trump is not exempt from the pressure. The Bruen decision is part of his legacy—he appointed three of the six Justices who signed the majority opinion. From the perspective of Republican activists, expanding on that victory is now his task, or that of whoever else wants to be President.

Bess Levin: Rudy Giuliani Accused of Being a Rapist, Racist, and Really Bad Lawyer

Of all the people who have worked for Donald Trump over the past several years, the one most commonly viewed as a complete joke is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. That designation probably has to do with, among other things, the fact that he accidentally wed his second cousin (and was married to her for 14 years); showed up in a scene from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan with his hand down his pants; mistakenly held a press conference outside of Four Seasons Total Landscaping instead of the Four Seasons hotel; held a press conference with what appeared to be hair dye dripping down his face; had his law license suspended in New York and DC for election-fraud lies; made the decision to shave in the middle of an airport restaurant; and did a stint on The Masked Singer. But according to the allegations in a new lawsuit, he’s also a horrifying monster who regularly raped one of his employees, among other disgusting behavior.

In a 70-page complaint filed in New York state court late Monday, Noelle Dunphy, who worked for Giuliani as his director of business development, accused the mayor turned Trump attorney of a shocking number of unspeakable acts, all of which she laid out in graphic, stomach-churning detail. One of them was allegedly nonstop sexual abuse, including rape. According to the complaint, “Giuliani began abusing Ms. Dunphy almost immediately after she started working” for him and “made clear that satisfying his sexual demands—which came virtually anytime, anywhere—was an absolute requirement of her employment and of his legal representation.”

Taken together, Dunphy has accused the former mayor of, among other things, rape, “crimes of violence” and “crimes of violence motivated by gender,” battery, assault, gender discrimination, sexual assault, retaliatory discharge, and wage theft

Eliot A. Cohen: It’s Not Enough for Ukraine to Win. Russia Has to Lose

Russia’s theories of victory in Ukraine have collapsed one by one. Putin began by believing that the country would fall in a week; then that it would succumb to a month or two of hard fighting; then that Europe would abandon it during a cold winter without Russian gas; then that Ukraine could be bludgeoned into submission by attacking its cities. The final theory of victory—that the West does not have the heart to pour vast resources into Ukraine indefinitely—needs to be disproved as well, because there is nothing beyond that.

To that end, with the utmost urgency, the West should give everything that Ukraine could possibly use, including long-range missiles to break for good the 11-mile Kerch bridge between the mainland and Crimea, and cluster munitions to devastate Russian fighting vehicles and infantry. Breaking the Russian army, as we have, by spending only a small fraction of our defense budget and none of our blood is an astounding strategic bargain.

Russians must, moreover, conclude that Ukraine—formerly, in their view, a pseudo-state containing “cousins” or “little brothers”—is gone forever. That means speedy accession to the EU and NATO, but also a deep Western commitment to rebuilding Ukraine economically and, most important, arming it to the teeth for years to come.

The key to this strategy is courage. We must conquer our fears of Russian threats and escalation, of its nuclear bravado, and even of Russian collapse. We must be strategic and shrewd, but nothing can be accomplished without courage. In the words of John Paul II—the unarmed, lone old man who did so much to bring Soviet communism to its knees—“Never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”

Ramesh Ponnuru: Ron DeSantis can’t rely on an electability argument to win

The critique that DeSantis is making of Trump — that he would lose in November 2024 — might be popular among the governor’s supporters, but it would probably fall flat among the Republican voters he needs to persuade to win.

For one thing, Trump has defied such predictions before. He was written off as a joke candidate in the Republican primaries when he entered the presidential race in 2015. When he won the nomination, it was assumed that Hillary Clinton would handily defeat him. (I’m among those who said he wouldn’t win either time.) Then he won against her, too.

To convince Republican voters that Trump is a loser would thus require getting them to believe that the same argument everyone made back then and saw blow up in their faces is right this time. For many conservatives, Trump’s 2016 victory reinforced the idea that ‘electability’ is a ploy used by the media and squishy Republicans to discredit candidates who are willing to fight for them.

Julia Azari: Trump’s Dominance in the GOP Isn’t What It Seems

As he embarks on a third presidential bid Trump is focused on grievance, not policy. His main vow is to impose vengeance on his — and by extension the MAGA movement’s — enemies. This approach violates much of what political scientists have come to expect from politicians: that they’ll seek to build broad coalitions in pursuit of electoral advantage. Turning away from that strategy is one of the most striking features of Trump-style Republicanism.

Movements, like parties, have historically had a complicated relationship with presidents. They can be useful sources of political support and energy. Republicans, in particular, have relied on the groups associated with the Christian conservative movement for four decades. At the same time, politicians sometimes prefer to keep a safe distance from the most extreme elements of a social movement. Reagan avoided directly addressing the March for Life in person in 1981, at the advice of aides who were concerned that too much emphasis on social issues would be divisive. On the left, politicians have endeavored to ally with environmentalists and civil rights activists without endorsing all of their tactics and messages.

More than other Republican politicians, Trump has encouraged relationships with violent far-right forces like the Proud Boys (“Stand back and stand by”), alongside more traditional activists like evangelicals and gun owners. Some of these groups are important to the Republican Party, providing them with campaign resources, communicating the party message and rallying the faithful — sometimes literally. But they’re not the party, exactly. And this helps to explain why Trump’s influence in the GOP has been so strong, yet has consistently put elected leaders in the position of having to defend and explain things they don’t want to defend and explain, from Charlottesville to Jan. 6.

Jonathan Cowan, Rahna Epting and Patrick Gaspard: This plan for a third-party presidential bid in 2024 is dangerous

Our country is staring down a series of once-in-a-generation threats that strike at the heart of American democracy — corruption on our nation’s highest court, fundamental rights tested at the ballot box and, of course, the Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt. Yet instead of responding to these attacks with clear-eyed determination to protect our country, the organization known as No Labels is spearheading an effort to put a third-party ticket on the ballot in every state.

No Labels is offering an illusion, not a choice. At a time when our nation is being tested, this organization could help defeat a mainstream president and elect or reelect a radical and vindictive MAGA Republican. For the sake of our country, leaders across the political spectrum should call on No Labels to stand down.

Jennifer Rubin: Ron DeSantis’s big idea: Make Florida students ignorant

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who earned two Ivy League degrees, has apparently decided that making Florida schools and universities the laughingstock of the country is good politics. The Republican already went after public school teachers with his “don’t say gay” bill, championed an effort to prevent instruction about history that might upset students (make that White students), and banned Advanced Placement classes in African American studies. Now, he has decided to shred the curriculums of Florida’s public universities, inviting students interested in unapproved subjects to go to California (!) or other states that don’t control what can and cannot be taught.

This week, he signed a bill banning state spending on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in public universities. The Post reported: “These programs often assist colleges in increasing student and faculty diversity, which can apply to race and ethnicity, as well as sexual orientation, religion and socioeconomic status.”

Worse: “The law also forbids public colleges from offering general education courses — which are part of the required curriculum for all college students — that ‘distort significant historical events,’ teach ‘identity politics’ or are ‘based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, or privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, or economic inequities.’”

Who decides what “distorts”? How can the state prohibit instruction about, say, the consequences of Jim Crow in a U.S. history survey class? Well, that’s up to the regime DeSantis has installed. We now see the full extent of the governor’s authoritarian impulse to control independent sources of information and to eviscerate professional standards that provide the basis for challenging state action and abuse of power.