Trump feeds Anti-Asian violence

Powerful words of hate

POWER DAILY – The logic of a racist president

The explosion of anti-Asian racism was predictable.

Bloodshed has broken out. Elderly people have been harassed, assaulted, and even killed. The mass murders of Asian-American people at several Atlanta massage parlors are like flares warning us: the situation is out of control, violence is spiraling, and we need to take action.

But what can we do? Our society has been morally wounded by the Trump presidency. Racist behaviors that had been consigned to a dark corner of society are being paraded in the town square without shame.

Last week, Senator Ron Johnson proved this case when he mused on a radio show that had the Black Lives Matter protestors invaded the Capitol, instead of Trump’s White “patriot” army, he would have been scared.

Here’s a U.S. senator validating naked racism – if the person is not White, they are inherently scary, dangerous.

For four years we watched with increasing horror as Donald Trump stomped not just on norms and laws, but also on the most cherished American values – real patriotism, hope for the future, and real community.

Trump made sure that the decades-long, collective effort of most Americans to escape society’s racist roots by embracing understanding and diversity was crushed.

He replaced that American consensus with a lie: America’s problems are caused by “Them.”

Who? Urban hoodlums (Black and brown people), immigrants from anywhere except Northern Europe, LGBTQ+ people, powerful women, “globalists” (this is an anti-Semitic trope), NATO allies, and anyone else who is not “Us” as defined by Trump.

The wave of savage attacks on Asian people is a logical continuation of that mindset. Trump pushed the “China virus” moniker relentlessly. He called Covid the “Kungflu.” He blamed the pandemic on some kind of Chinese attack - and is still using that incendiary language:

Trump effectively updated the “yellow peril” racism of 1941, the same systemic hatred and fear that led to the incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent in concentration camps at the beginning of World War II.

The relationship between words (such as “Kungflu”) and violence is well understood by scholars of genocide. Research proves that the systemic abuse of a minority group starts with dehumanizing language seeking to cleave the population – turning formerly accepted members of the community into a problem for the majority with existential impact that must be resolved. At all costs - including violence.

Trump knew what he was doing in feeding this anti-Asian racism monster. He sought to conceal his titanic malfeasance in dealing with the virus by creating a straw man – China. And anything he could to distract his followers from his own responsibility for the disaster was and is a tactic worth pursuing.

We are now left to deal with the totally predictable outcome of Trump’s hate campaign. Fortunately, we have a normal president who will stand up for real American values.

Let’s hope that it’s not too late for America and for Biden – that he can still heal this deep moral wound, heal the nation.

POWER READ 1: Ron Johnson falsely claims there was 'no violence' on Senate side of US Capitol on January 6 (CNN)

“Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson falsely claimed there was no violence on the Senate side of the US Capitol during the January 6 insurrection, the latest in his continued attempts to downplay the severity of the attack.

“Johnson described the events of January 6 to a group of conservative Wisconsin residents at a local political event on Saturday and falsely stated the rioters were more active on the House side of the Capitol than the Senate side. Johnson also repeated he did not feel threatened that day, even after learning rioters had breached the Capitol building.

"One of the reasons I'm being attacked is because I very honestly said I didn't feel threatened on January 6. I didn't," Johnson said. "There was much more violence on the House side. There was no violence on the Senate side, in terms of the chamber."

POWER READ 2: ‘No end in sight’: Inside the Biden administration’s failure to contain the border surge (The Washington Post)

“Shortly before Christmas last year, Susan Rice and Jake Sullivan, two top advisers to President-elect Joe Biden, sat for an interview with EFE, a Spanish wire service, to issue a stark warning to migrants considering journeying north to the nation’s southern border: Don’t come now — but help is on the way.

“The next day, Biden was similarly pointed, saying his administration — while eager to roll back Donald Trump’s immigration policies — first needed to implement “guardrails” to avoid winding up with “2 million people on our border.”

“Less than a month later, the new president began tearing down some of the guardrails himself. He issued five immigration executive orders on Inauguration Day alone and promised an immigration policy far more humane and welcoming than that of his predecessor. His administration also began allowing unaccompanied minors into the country, a marked departure from the Trump administration’s approach.”

POWER READ 3: Miami Beach declares a state of emergency and curfew as spring break crowds spark safety concerns (CNN)

“Miami Beach Police fired pepper balls into crowds of partiers and arrested at least a dozen people as the city took extraordinary measures to crack down on spring breakers who officials have said are out of control.

“Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber declared a state of emergency and set an 8 p.m. curfew Saturday, saying the crowds that have descended on the city recently are "more than we can handle."

"Too many are coming, really, without the intention of following the rules, and the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure," Gelber told CNN's Ana Cabrera.

“Police in Miami Beach said early Sunday that they arrested "at least a dozen" people following the start of the curfew.

"Officers began dispersing crowds at 8 p.m. and ultimately achieved a satisfactory level of compliance," police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez told CNN.”

POWER READ 4: Man arrested after he allegedly pepper-sprayed and hurled racist insults at Asian gas station owner (ABC News)

“A man has been arrested after he allegedly hurled racist insults and pepper-sprayed an Asian gas station owner in Oakland, California.

“On Thursday morning the suspect was caught on surveillance footage at a gas station appearing to spray a substance in the station's owner's face.

“The gas station's owner Cwell, who did not release his last name, told local San Francisco ABC station KGO that the incident started when the suspect got into a disagreement with the cashier because he wanted to pay for his gas in all coins.

“When Cwell stepped in to diffuse the situation, the man launched his racist harangue, he said.”

POWER READ 5: How ‘Owning the Libs’ Became the GOP’s Core Belief (Politico)

“For a political party whose membership skews older, it might be surprising that the spirit that most animates Republican politics today is best described with a phrase from the world of video games: “Owning the libs.”

“Gamers borrowed the term from the nascent world of 1990s computer hacking, using it to describe their conquered opponents: “owned.” To “own the libs” does not require victory so much as a commitment to infuriating, flummoxing or otherwise distressing liberals with one’s awesomely uncompromising conservatism. And its pop-cultural roots and clipped snarkiness are perfectly aligned with a party that sees pouring fuel on the culture wars’ fire as its best shot at surviving an era of Democratic control.

“In just the past month, Sen. Ted Cruz self-consciously joked at the Conservative Political Action Conference about his ill-timed jaunt to Cancun, decried mask-wearing as pro-statist virtue signaling, and closed his speech by screaming “Freedom,” a la William Wallace; House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted a video of himself reading a Dr. Seuss book in protest of the supposed censorship of the children’s author (whose estate decided to stop publishing six titles on account of stereotypes in their illustrations); Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene erected a sign outside her congressional office in Washington declaring “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE” across the hallway from the office of Democratic Rep. Marie Newman, whose daughter is transgender; even Rush Limbaugh, the late talk radio giant and progenitor of liberal “ownage,” got in one last braggadocious slap from beyond the grave: the occupation listed on his death certificate is “greatest radio host of all time.”

POWER VIDEO: It’s often said that if you pitched the Donald Trump presidency as a movie, it would be rejected as being too outlandish. Like this scene would be totally over the top in a movie, but is in fact oh so real:

POWER TWEET:

POWER QUOTE – A little Monday inspiration:

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” - Marie Curie

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Biden delivers: 100 million vaccines and real hope

Competence is refreshing

POWER DAILY – Finally, real hope

Elections have consequences – like beating Covid.

Back in the Medieval Ages, Donald Trump told us the virus would disappear like a miracle. Just you see. And then he bullied reporters for wearing masks during a press conference. And then he told us to inject Clorox to “clean out” the virus. Why not?

Good times.

As of yesterday, President Biden met his campaign promise of 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days. He’s been in office for only 57 days.

Biden is not a magician. He is simply competent. He sees the virus as an American public health problem, not a political issue. Not a Red vs. Blue battle.

A scientific problem to be solved through science.

Our world view became distorted under Trump – there were days back in 2020 when I thought we’d have a pandemic forever. That Trump’s single minded focus on screwing up the response to Covid would succeed.

And let’s not be cheap with our credit – Trump managed to get over 500,000 Americans killed. Millions more unemployed. Schools shut and people in pain throughout the land.

And it was all a Democratic hoax, you know.

From The Wall Street Journal:

“In recent days, the U.S. has been administering over 2 million doses a day. The shot made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE has been administered most frequently in the U.S., with over 50.9 million doses given so far, according to data from the CDC, while Moderna Inc.’s vaccine has been given over 49.1 million times. The single-dose shot made by Johnson & Johnson has been administered over 870,000 times.

“Mr. Biden announced plans this week to secure an additional 100 million doses of the J&J vaccine, doubling the company’s commitment. The administration has contracts with Pfizer and Moderna to provide 600 million doses of their two-shot vaccines.”

President Biden built a powerful team of experts to lead this campaign. And he utilized the full power of the Presidency to encourage fierce competitors like J&J and Merck to work together. From CNBC:

“Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky discussed Tuesday the company’s unprecedented partnership with rival Merck to boost production of its Covid-19 vaccine.

“Extraordinary times take extraordinary efforts,” Gorsky told CNBC’s Jim Cramer in a “Mad Money” interview.

“What this means is that Americans are going to get shots in the arm faster, and we’re very excited about the potential impact that this can have overall on the situation,” Gorsky said. “I think it’s another ... testament to the potential that this vaccine truly has.”

Of course, Biden did not invent these powers over American companies. Trump could have marshaled all of American industry to produce more PPE and vaccines. He didn’t.

It’s impossible to fix a problem if you don’t admit it exists.

In fact, Trump had no plan to vaccinate people. Trump wanted to wash his hands of the responsibility and pushed off execution to the states. From US News and World Report:

“Vaccination programs lagged far behind the Trump administration's target of 20 million Americans inoculated by the end of 2020.

"We've seen this factor all over the country where millions of doses have been distributed, but only about half have been given out," Klain said.”

Predictably, 50 different state governments and their myriad agencies and localities were not coordinated. It was chaos and uncertainty in the midst of a national emergency.

It was a failure of leadership with no parallel in the American experience.

After the dust settles, and we can look at the full impact of this Black Swan event, it’s likely that history will decide that Donald Trump failed like no other president before.

Luckily for us, the election came just at the right moment to save us. And millions of Americans decided that they had had enough of the mobster from 5th Avenue.

VERDICT – We’re not out of the dark tunnel yet. But the light we can see is hope for a post-Covid future. We can celebrate that fact even as we mourn the fallen.

POWER VIDEO: Republicans can’t help being racist?

POWER TWEET – The Biden Administration is making good on its promise – America is back on the international stage.

POWER READ 1 – Looking at the post Trump political environment as we head into next year’s midterm-elections. In The Cook Political Report:

What Will Turnout Look Like Without Trump?

“Trying to model the make-up of a midterm electorate is always a challenge. Figuring out which voters will be engaged, which ones will 'drop-off', and which ones will be newly added is critical to effective campaigning.

“From 1978 to 2010, midterm turnout was fairly static, ranging between 45.5 and 51.9 percent. For example, according to US Census data, 49.4 percent of the voting-age population turned out to vote in 1986. By 1990, turnout had dropped one-tenth of a percent to 49.3 percent.

“In the last six years, however, mid-term turnout has been anything but steady. Turnout in the 2014 midterm hit a 70 year low (41.9 percent). Four years later, voter turnout in the 2018 midterms hit 53.4 percent—the highest in 100 years and an 11 point jump from 2014.”

POWER READ 2 – Oh God, just when you thought the Trump Insurrectionists could not be any worse, one guy is linked to murderous dictators. In Vice:

Trump Official Charged In Capitol Riot Has Family Ties to Argentina’s Military Junta

“A Trump administration official who’s been charged with playing a major role in the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol had a history of praising a military dictatorship that seized power in a coup—and close family ties to that junta.

“Federico “Freddie” Klein, a former mid-level political appointee at the State Department who sits in jail awaiting a trial for his role in the riots, repeatedly praised the Argentinian military junta of the late 1970s and early 1980s while working at the State Department, according to three former colleagues.

“He had warm feelings about the Argentine junta. His father’s Argentine, and he expressed some frustration about how history remembers that brutal dictatorship,” one former State Department official who’d heard Klein praise the junta told VICE News.”

POWER READ 3 – Trump should also be credited for unleashing a wave of anti-Asian racism.  In ABC News:

Trump's 'Chinese Virus' tweet helped lead to rise in racist anti-Asian Twitter content: Study

“A new study suggests that former President Donald Trump's inflammatory rhetoric around the coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in China, helped spark anti-Asian Twitter content and "likely perpetuated racist attitudes."

The Asian American community has experienced a striking rise in incidents of hate since the onset of COVID-19, according to officials and advocates, and critics say the former president's repeated use of "China Virus" and other terms helped fuel an environment of hatred.

"Anti-Asian sentiment depicted in the tweets containing the term 'Chinese Virus' likely perpetuated racist attitudes and parallels the anti-Asian hate crimes that have occurred since," said Dr. Yulin Hswen, an assistant professor of epidemiology at UC, San Francisco and the study's lead author.”

POWER QUOTE – Competence in government is often illusive. But under Trump, it was impossible.

“The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare.” -  Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Republican hate campaign is successful: racist violence is out of control

The logic of prejudice

POWER DAILY – Dark times

Republicans need an explosion of hatred if they’re going to recapture control of Congress next year. That’s cold, I know, but it is also real. The GOP is down to reckless division of Americans as a viable electoral strategy.

Sure, the GOP could evolve its political platform. They could do what successful political parties do all over the world: understand the crossover between fundamental party ideology and where the voters are going. They could map out a set of positions to command majority support. You know, like in a democracy.

Instead, this party is careening into political insolvency and will do what Donald Trump taught them – foment racial hatred. They target White folks who can be motivated to support the GOP because of manufactured existential fear.

When GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his crew visited the border this week, it was not a classic Congressional fact finding mission. Rather, it was the opening salvo in what will be a very dark, ugly new Republican push.

McCarthy was signaling. Hey White people, we’re going to stop the Hispanic Invasion.

Fear in the streets is not some sideshow, it is the main spectacle that they want to create.

Of course, this dynamic is not exactly new. Years before Donald Trump glided down his tacky escalator to accuse Mexican immigrants of being criminals, the Republican Party had embraced racial resentment as a core value.

Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” was nothing more than a racialized realignment in the South, from Democrats who now supported Civil Rights to Republicans who embraced racial hate. Remember Ronald Reagan’s screed about “Welfare Queens”? That wasn’t a dog whistle as much as a bull horn - lazy Black people are taking your money!

When Mitch McConnell announced that his main focus was to make President Obama a one term president, he was not just discussing a political strategy. He was confirming the subtext of Republican opposition to Obama – that a Black man cannot be a legitimate president.

And while McConnell did not mention the Birther Conspiracy that Trump was pumping on Twitter at the same time, he did not have to. It was obvious that the driver for McConnell and his supporters was the return to “normalcy” – a White man in the White House.

So here we are, once again seeing a vast movement of people to the Southern border and Republicans cannot help themselves. They will exploit this human suffering for political benefit. They will make believe that Americans were in a coma over the last four years when Donald Trump separated children from their mothers.

Trump advisor and evil muse Stephen Miller designed a punishment regime against migrants – make life hell for these people, literaly kidnap their children, and maybe they will stay home.

Stephen Miller is not some outlier in the Republican Party. He is actually the ambassador between mainstream Republicans (to the extent that right wing lunacy is now mainstream in the GOP) and the racist advocacy groups that emerged as prominent players in the Trump era.

Miller translates the dark obsessions of these people – uncontrolled migration will kill good White people, destroy the real America – into policy. And even now, as he is widely credited for being the evil genius behind stealing babies from their mothers, he is front and center.

Miller is now advising one of the most radical members of Congress, Mo Brooks, to position himself for a Senate run. And to be clear, Brooks in not exactly hiding Miller’s participation:

The tragic mass shooting of Asian women in Atlanta this week must be understood in its proper context. There’s been an explosion of hate crimes over the last few years. According to the FBI’s latest numbers from 2019, most of those crimes are connected to racial bias:

And while it’s hard to trace a direct line between violence and the proclamations of Donald Trump – China virus! – it does seem to point to an ugly reality. Trump and his Republican Party are willing to generate as much violence as necessary to win and keep power.

VERDICT – The GOP is a menace to democracy. Their desperation for power will drive ever more radical positions and the emergence of dangerous candidates. Americans have to face this reality: we don’t have a functioning two-party system anymore.

POWER VIDEO: Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of DHS, says the situation at the border is worrisome, but not a crisis.

POWER TWEET – Sometimes you get the sense that Republicans can only lie – they’ve rejected truth and logic and empirical evidence. It’s lies all the way down.

POWER READ 1 – Republicans have lost their minds. In The Washington Post:

12 Republicans opposed Congressional Gold Medals for police who protected them on Jan. 6

“A dozen House Republicans voted against a resolution to award three Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police, the D.C. police and the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of those who protected the U.S. Capitol when it was attacked by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6.

“The GOP lawmakers, who said they objected to the use of the term “insurrectionists” in the resolution, are: Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Andy Harris (Md.), Lance Gooden (Tex.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Tex.), Michael Cloud (Tex.), Andrew S. Clyde (Ga.), Greg Steube (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.) and John Rose (Tenn.).

“We had to combine it with these editorial comments about the January 6 sequence of events, and then we had to logroll it with this exhibit at the Smithsonian, and … that was a little much for me,” Gaetz said after the vote.

“Massie also objected to the use of the word “temple,” saying it was “a little too sacrilegious for me.”

POWER READ 2 – Terrible tragedy in Atlanta – racism suspected. In CNN:

Fetishized, sexualized and marginalized, Asian women are uniquely vulnerable to violence

Of the eight people who were killed when a White man attacked three metro Atlanta spas, six were Asian women.

“Investigators said it was too early to say whether the crime was racially motivated, and instead pointed to the suspect's claim of a potential sex addiction.

“But experts and activists argue it's no coincidence that six of the eight victims were Asian women. And the suspect's remarks, they say, are rooted in a history of misogyny and stereotypes that are all too familiar for Asian and Asian American women.

“They're fetishized and hypersexualized. They're seen as docile and submissive. On top of that, they're often working in the service sector and are subject to the same racism that affects Asian Americans more broadly.”

POWER READ 3 – Mounting legal woes for Trump – will he end up in prison? In The Washington Post:

Trump faces an onslaught of legal problems, as investigations and dozens of lawsuits trail him from Washington to Florida

‘The district attorney is sifting through millions of pages of his tax records. The state attorney general has subpoenaed his lawyers, his bankers, his chief financial officer — even one of his sons.

“And that’s just in New York. Former president Donald Trump is also facing criminal investigations in Georgia and the District of Columbia related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And Trump must defend himself against a growing raft of lawsuits: 29 are pending at last count, including some seeking damages from Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, when he encouraged a march to the Capitol that ended in a mob storming the building.

“No charges have been filed against Trump in any of these investigations. The outcome of these lawsuits is uncertain. Trump has raised more than $31 million for his post-presidential political action committee, which he could tap to pay legal fees.”

POWER QUOTE – What did Stephen Miller’s parents teach him?

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love for love comes more naturally to human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

Putin's little helper: Trump weaponized Russian lies during election

Russia's big role is revealed

POWER DAILY – Partners in crime

Now we (officially) know - Putin intervened in the 2020 election to help re-elect Trump. Obviously, he could not overcome Trump’s deep unpopularity, but Putin sure tried.

In the latest revelations published by the National Intelligence Council, it is now clear that Russia once again attacked America with the seeming connivance of Trump and his retainers.

And yes, this is possibly the least surprising news ever. But it is part of the ongoing story – what does Vladimir Putin have on Donald Trump? What is the true nature of their close relationship?

From NBC News:

“A newly declassified U.S. intelligence assessment found that Putin authorized "influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the U.S."

Ever since Trump visited Moscow during Soviet times, he has seemingly been fascinated with Russia. Maybe it’s the onion domes, or perhaps, the beautiful models he is purported to have cavorted with on his visits.

But it’s probably something much deeper and sinister. Surely, money is involved as with all things Putin and Trump. And maybe one day we will actually find out.

Until then, it’s clear that the Russian dictator desperately wanted four more years of Donald Trump. And why not?

During the very long, long Trump era, Russia got a free hand in the world.

Intervene forcefully in Syria to support Putin’s puppet dictator? Check. Continue to intimidate Ukraine, including seizing part of their Black Sea fleet? Check. Intervene in the Urals, sure. Spy on the German Parliament? Jawohl. Poison exiled dissenters, of course. All of the above and much more that is hidden from view.

And all through these abuses, Trump continued to wink and smile whenever Putin’s name was mentioned. If not a love affair, certainly a dependent relationship.

As with most things Trump, there is a mystery here. What is Trump’s real connection to Russian economic interests? Is it simply an obsession with building the next iteration of a colossally ugly Trump Tower in Moscow? Perhaps.

What is clear, however, is that Putin was a lucky fellow. Never before in history has a Russian dictator found such a friendly audience in the White House. And it wasn’t just Trump who became a Putin ally. From CNN:

“The real bombshell it contains is not the confidence of the spy agencies that Russia hoped to subvert American democracy. It is that US intelligence experts effectively confirmed that for the second election in a row, Trump acolytes repeatedly used, knowingly or otherwise, misinformation produced by the spies of one of America's most sworn foreign adversaries to try to win a US election.

“And given the advantage of hindsight, the latest intelligence assessment is not just an isolated example of incriminating evidence against Russia and its efforts to create chaos and discord within the United States.

“For all of the stale US debate about whether Trump and his aides "colluded" with Russia, there are now multiple reports, intelligence assessments and other known details to expose a damning reality: Moscow with its election meddling, Trump acolytes pushing false claims of voter fraud and his GOP supporters in the states now passing voter suppression laws share the same goal -- the denigration of the US democratic system.”

What’s perhaps most damming about this new report is that it was actually created during the Trump administration. But it was effectively hidden by Trump’s political appointees.

If Trump had indeed won reelection, it’s possible it would have been buried forever. Hidden in whatever next iteration of this weird romance between Donnie and Vlad.

The New York Times reports:

“The reports, compiled by career officials, amounted to a repudiation of Mr. Trump, his allies and some of his top administration officials. They reaffirmed the intelligence agencies’ conclusions about Russia’s interference in 2016 on behalf of Mr. Trump and said that the Kremlin favored his re-election. And they categorically dismissed allegations of foreign-fed voter fraud, cast doubt on Republican accusations of Chinese intervention on behalf of Democrats and undermined claims that Mr. Trump and his allies had spread about the Biden family’s work in Ukraine.”

And who are these allies who became the useful idiots of the Russian operation? Look no further than Trump’s lawyer and lead clown, Rudy Giuliani.

He was, as we remember, happily making accusations about the purported corruption of Hunter Biden. Turns out, this claim was planted information from, you guessed it, Russia. In The Daily Beast:

“The report cites Andriy Derkach, a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian legislator with “ties to Russian officials as well as Russia’s intelligence services,” as one of those proxies. Derkach, over whom Russian President Vladimir Putin “had purview,” according to the report, famously fed bullshit about the Biden family’s financial entanglements in Ukraine to Giuliani, then acting as Trump’s consigliere, most of it focused on Hunter Biden’s involvement in the corruption-plagued Ukrainian gas company Burisma. (The GRU also tried to hack subsidiaries of that company in “an attempt to gather information related to President Biden's family and Burisma.”)

“As The Washington Post reported in October 2020, America’s Mayor was even warned by then-National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien that he was being used in an elaborate Russian influence operation. That of course didn’t stop Giuliani from relying on the “very helpful” Derkach to launder disinformation about the Bidens, including by hosting the operative on his podcast.”

So, what now? Well, Putin’s big adventure manipulating American politics may be coming to an end. Speaking with ABC News, President Biden foreshadowed some payback:

"He will pay a price," Biden said. "We had a long talk, he and I, when we -- I know him relatively well. And the conversation started off, I said, 'I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared."

Stephanopoulos asked: "So you know Vladimir Putin. You think he's a killer?"

"Mmm hmm, I do," Biden replied.

While the president said "you'll see" that Putin is "going to pay," he did not elaborate.

VERDICT – For the record: Putin helped elect Trump in 2016 and tried again in 2020. It was an outrageous form of cyber and info warfare that changed American history. Now with Biden in charge, we can be hopeful that Putin’s wings are getting clipped.

POWER VIDEO: Unlike Donald Trump’s servile mooning of Putin, Biden is acts like, you know, the President of the United States:

POWER TWEET – Once again, a mass shooting. And once again, thanks to the NRA and its allies, a killer who had no problem getting a gun on demand:

POWER READ 1 – Republicans are increasingly nervous that their wall of opposition to rescuing Americans during the Covid crisis will backfire in next year’s midterm elections. In Politico:

Republicans on Biden’s Covid bill: We bungled this one

“As President Joe Biden embarks on an ambitious plan to sell his massive coronavirus relief package to the public, conservatives are starting to ask: Did we botch this?

“The overwhelming sentiment within the Republican Party is that voters will turn on the $1.9 trillion bill over time. But that wait-and-see approach has baffled some GOP luminaries and Trump World figures who expected Republicans to seize their first opportunity to cast newly-in-charge Democrats as out of control. Instead, they fear the party did little to dent Biden’s major victory — a victory that could embolden the administration in forthcoming legislative fights and even the lead up to the midterm elections.

"The lack of response to this bill in an organized messaging and aggressive media push back is shown by the fact that Democrats have now gone from $2 trillion to a $4 trillion infrastructure package. If Covid relief was that easy, why not just run the table?” said former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

“It’s a fairly popular bill that polled well because it’s been sold as a Covid relief bill with direct cash payments to Americans — what’s not to like?” he added. “However, that’s not what the bill is. That’s a huge problem because 2022 has already started and you don’t see the fight here.”

POWER READ 2 – We live under a clear and present danger: White Supremacy. In AP:

White supremacist propaganda surged in 2020, report says

White supremacist propaganda reached alarming levels across the U.S. in 2020, according to a new report that the Anti-Defamation League provided to The Associated Press.

“There were 5,125 cases of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ and other hateful messages spread through physical flyers, stickers, banners and posters, according to Wednesday’s report. That’s nearly double the 2,724 instances reported in 2019. Online propaganda is much harder to quantify, and it’s likely those cases reached into the millions, the anti-hate organization said.

“The ADL, which was founded more than a century ago, said that last year marked the highest level of white supremacist propaganda seen in at least a decade. Its report comes as federal authorities investigate and prosecute those who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January, some of whom are accused of having ties to or expressing support for hate groups and antigovernment militias.

POWER READ 3 – Trump is not poor - but his economic future is not very bright. In Bloomberg:

Trump’s Ailing Empire

“Donald Trump upended the American presidency after stepping away from the company that made him rich and famous. Four years later, returning to his empire after losing the White House, what he finds may upend him.

“Trump’s net worth is down to $2.3 billion from $3 billion when he became president, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The pandemic he promised would disappear is walloping his company, and the riot that got him impeached for a second time is wounding his brand.

“His financial disclosures and loan documents, interviews with former executives and industry analysts, and a host of legal fights and investigations reveal just how much trouble Trump and his company could face. Covid has been hard on office buildings key to his wealth and hotels and resorts that bear his name. The fallout from the Capitol assault has hurt his relationships with brokers and lenders. At least $590 million in loans come due in the next four years, more than half personally guaranteed by Trump, and his scrapyard of failed enterprises has only gotten more crowded.”

POWER QUOTE – Theodore Roosevelt is not much in vogue with Republicans these days. But they certainly could use this lesson as they sadly drive immigrant hatred.

“Any man who tries to excite class hatred, sectional hate, hate of creeds, any kind of hatred in our community, though he may affect to do it in the interest of the class he is addressing, is in the long run with absolute certainly that class's own worst enemy.” - Theodore Roosevelt

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