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Author: Heather Cox Richardson

The GOP civil war: Republicans struggle to stop their party’s transformation into Trump’s autocratic cult

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post ran OpEds on October 11 from Republicans or former Republicans urging members of their party who still value democracy to vote Democratic until the authoritarian faction that has taken over their party is bled out of it. In the New York Times, Miles Taylor and Christine Todd Whitman wrote, “We are Republicans. There’s only one way to save our party from pro-Trump extremists.” Taylor served in the Department of Homeland Security and was the author of the 2018 New York Times piece by “Anonymous” criticizing former president Trump. Whitman was...

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World Wide Outage: Facebook goes offline while facing blistering accusations from whistleblower

“Hello literally everyone,” the official account of Twitter tweeted on October 4, after Facebook and its affiliated platforms Instagram and WhatsApp went dark at about 11:40 in the morning. The Facebook outage lasted for more than six hours and appeared to have been caused by an internal error. But the void caused by the absence of the internet giant illustrated its power at a time when the use of that power has come under scrutiny. In mid-September, the Wall Street Journal began to publish a series of investigative stories based on documents provided by a whistle-blower. The “Facebook Files”...

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Weaponizing the debt ceiling: Why Republicans are taking the country hostage to undercut Democrats

The Senate considered a bill to fund the government until December and to raise the debt ceiling on September 27. The Republicans joined together to filibuster it. Such a move is extraordinary. Not only did the Republicans vote against a measure that would keep the government operating and keep it from defaulting on its debt — debt incurred before Biden took office — but they actually filibustered it, meaning it could not pass with a simple majority vote. The Republicans will demand 60 votes to pass the measure in the hope of forcing Democrats to pass it themselves, alone,...

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The Eastman Memo: Written proof of Trump’s attempt to replace our democracy with an autocracy

On September 20, we learned that after last year’s election, John Eastman, a well-connected lawyer advising former president Donald Trump, outlined a six-point plan to overturn the outcome of the election and install Trump as America’s leader. They planned to cut the voters’ actual choice, Democrat Joe Biden, out of power: as Trump advisor Steve Bannon put it, they planned to “kill the Biden presidency in the crib.” This appears to have been the plan that Trump and his loyalists tried to execute on January 6. That is, we now have written proof of an attempt to destroy our...

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Financial Deadlines: Why the debt ceiling is being used as a tool to destroy a strong federal government

The House of Representatives passed a funding bill on September 21 that would both keep the government from shutting down and prevent a default on the U.S. debt. The vote was 220 to 211, with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans voting against. There are two financial deadlines looming. One is the need for Congress to fund the government. In late December 2020, Congress passed a huge bill that, among other things, funded the government through September 30. The new fiscal year starts on October 1, and if the government is not funded, it will have to...

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Forgotten Sacrifices: Why the ideas that Confederates fought for at Antietam remain alive today

One hundred and fifty nine years ago this week, in 1862, 75,000 United States troops and about 38,000 Confederate troops massed along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland. After a successful summer of fighting, Confederate general Robert E. Lee had crossed the Potomac River into Maryland to bring the Civil War to the North. He hoped to swing the slave state of Maryland into rebellion and to weaken Lincoln’s war policies in the upcoming 1862 elections. For his part, Union general George McClellan hoped to finish off the southern Army of Northern Virginia that had snaked away from him all...

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