Saturday, March 4, 2023

Last Call For Retribution Execution, Con't

Donald Trump closed out CPAC tonight with the one true thing he's ever said in a political speech so far in 2023.


Donald Trump returned to a Conservative Political Action Conference recast in his image Saturday, capping a three-day agenda heavy with adoration for the coup-attempting former president but considerably less-well attended by activists and presidential contenders alike.

Trump, within minutes of taking the stage at the Gaylord National Resort, went into his typical remarks, disparaging the United States as a “filthy communist country” and attacking Democrats and the news media.

“They’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you. I’m just standing in their way,” he said. “We will drive out the globalists. We will kick out the communists.”

And even though dozens of rows in the back remained empty, Trump thanked the fire marshal for letting in so many of his supporters. “Look at all these people. They’re up to the rafters,” he said.

Trump called prosecutors investigating him “racist” — the ones in New York and Georgia are Black — and claimed they only went after him because he is likely to win the presidency again. He continued lying about the 2020 election having been stolen from him: “We did much better in 2020 than we did in 2016.” He added later, “I won that second election, and I won it by a lot.”

He relitigated, at length, his two impeachments: The first for his attempted extortion of Ukraine and the second for his incitement of the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol that capped off his coup attempt to remain in office.

And he promised that if he won reelection, he would take revenge on those who didn’t respect his followers. “I am your retribution,” he said.
Absolutely believe him on this.
To a frightening degree, if this man ends up back in the White House, he will imprison, immiserate, and even kill millions of us. He will be assisted by a complicit Supreme Court and Republican congress and he will build a federal bureaucracy that will be a nightmare, with dozens of states and hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers and US military troops being used against anyone Trump can think of.

He is 100% telling the truth here.

The Big Lie, FOX Edition, Con't

 Hey look, Democrats are starting to push back on FOX News not being a real news organization and some Dems even want to get rid of it as such.

The thunderclap of stories showing Fox News’ role in pushing 2020 election fraud conspiracies and aiding Donald Trump’s campaign has intensified calls among Democrats to black out the network.

The revelations, made public as part of a $1.6 billion lawsuit brought against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems, showed that some network hosts and executives endorsed lies about Trump’s loss, hosted conspiracy theorists whom they thought were unhinged, and overtly prioritized the company’s profit over truth. A related deposition of the media empire’s chair, Rupert Murdoch, revealed that he shared private intel about Joe Biden’s campaign TV ads and provided debate strategy with top Trump advisers.

For years, Democrats have been engaged in a debate over whether the party should shun the cable news giant or grudgingly use its airwaves to run counterprogramming. But in the midst of the latest saga, a newer type of reaction has emerged: that they should sever all ties, including any money spent advertising on the network.

“There is nothing in those documents to show they operate like a real news organization,” said Doug Gordon, a Democratic strategist. “If you are running a campaign in 2024, how do you in good faith hand your ads to Fox when you know they handed them over to Republicans? If there are any general election debates, how do you let Fox be a moderator?”

There is no indication, at this juncture, that major Democratic entities are ready to halt their ad buys on Fox News, let alone its many affiliates. But that is partially because few Democratic campaigns or causes are currently spending ad money. In the interim, the Dominion lawsuit revelations have led to louder calls for the party to make a firm break from any involvement with the cable channel, whom they view as functionally a campaign arm for Republicans. Democrats spanning the ideological spectrum have even started calling on the White House Correspondents’ Association — the group of news reporters advocating for press access — to boot Fox News reporters from the briefing room.

“They are arguably the most important entity of the American right and the Republican Party,” said Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg, suggesting that The Associated Press include in its stylebook that Fox News is not a news organization. “There needs to be a serious conversation now about whether Fox can continue to be a member of the White House Correspondents Association. Keeping them there seems not to be OK.”

Even with its reputation for airing reliably conservative content, Fox News remains a major player in Democratic politics. More self-identified Democrats consistently watch the network than any other cable channel, according to Nielsen MRI Fusion. And a faction of Democrats sees value in both reaching those voters and trying to persuade the independents and Republican-leaning ones who tune into the channel.

The White House at least is following Greg Sargent's "Use FOX To get your own message out" theory plan. 

In the 2020 campaign cycle, the network hosted a presidential debate, accepted some $7.4 million in advertising from Joe Biden’s presidential campaign to Fox News, according to the tracking firm AdImpact, and held town halls with Democratic primary contenders. While Biden administration officials have selectively chosen to appear on Fox News for interviews, the president’s aides have also sought out opportunities to use the network as a cudgel against Republican lawmakers — whether on economic issues or matters of public safety.

White House officials, for their part, describe their relationship with Fox employees who cover them closely as combative but mostly cordial. But they also view the Dominion lawsuit revelations as a cover of sorts to treat Fox News with a bit more frostiness than other media outlets. Biden aides have privately bristled at news reporters who just weeks ago piled on criticism of the president for side stepping a customary Super Bowl interview with Fox.

“Regardless of any new revelations of media bias and hypocrisy during the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden won the most votes of any candidate in American history because of his vision for the middle class, his message, and his record,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “And anyone who is surprised by such revelations hasn’t been paying attention to — or watching — Fox News lately.”


Let the Dems fight back as long as they fight.

Going Off The Rails, Cali Edition

Even with the Biden infrastructure bill covering a healthy chunk of the cost, California's high-speed rail corridor from San Francisco to LA is going to cost well over $100 billion just for the land rights and environmental impact, let alone the actual rail construction.
California's bullet train project that is meant to link Los Angeles to San Francisco faces more cost increases and potential delays, according to an update from project leaders released this week.

High Speed Rail Authority officials on Thursday could not provide an estimated completion date for the original vision pitched to voters but said the price tag for the entire project is now up to $128 billion, a 13% increase from last year's projections.

Construction is currently focused on a segment in the Central Valley, a 170-mile stretch between Bakersfield and Merced. Project officials last year estimated that the route would be ready for riders in 2030. While that is still their goal, the latest update shows service could begin sometime between 2030 and 2033.

The Central Valley segment also faces 41% in cost increases compared to last year's estimates, now expected to cost up to $35.3 billion. Part of the scoping plan changed between this year and last, with this year's estimate including light maintenance facilities and new elements for the station in Bakersfield. Project leaders also pointed to the impacts of COVID-19, inflation and supply chain issues that have raised the prices of labor, concrete and steel.

The Los Angeles to San Francisco project was originally pitched to voters with a $33 billion price tag and an estimate that it would begin operating in 2020. Voters approved $9 billion for the project in 2008.

The bullet train will need funds to finish the Bakersfield to Merced line. In the short term, the HSRA is banking on a potential $8 billion grant from the federal government as part of President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure law.

"Additional federal investment is really needed in this transformative project in order to realize its promise to California," said Micah Flores, a spokesman for the project.

When asked if there is a demand for transportation between the two Central Valley cities, Flores noted updated ridership numbers project there could be about 6 million passengers for that section.

Flores also said the project continues to see progress with the creation of 10,000 jobs in the Central Valley — 4,000 of them created in the last four years.

Although there isn't an exact timeline for the completion of the full project between Los Angeles to San Francisco, project leaders noted the environmental review process for 422 of the 500-mile route has been completed. The two final routes requiring environmental reviews include Palmdale to Burbank and Los Angeles to Anaheim.

In the report, a note from HSRA CEO Brian Kelly noted the project does not have any ongoing, dedicated funding beyond 2030.

“More than anything, the project needs stabilized, long-term funding. We have been engaged with our federal partners about this challenge, and we believe that we have a strong strategy to be successful at the federal level," Kelly wrote. " At home, we need an answer on how this project will be funded after 2030. megaprojects that last for decades need long-term, stable funding. Every country around the world that has built high-speed rail has dedicated billions of dollars over several decades to see it through.”
We do need long-term federal funding for projects like this, but that federal part includes Republicans who'd never vote for anything they can't personally get rich from in their own states, so it won't happen. Luckily, California, being basically the fifth largest economy on Earth by itself, is getting it done anyway.
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