Is the US headed for another civil war?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by James R, Feb 11, 2022.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    A government that does little is what most people want. You describe compromise as compromising with failure. No compromise is an extreme position and we see that doesn't usually work either.

    You don't want government loans but you don't mind taxes being raised forever rather than having a loan for a short period of time. How is that better?

    Look at the drug addicts living under bridges and in the parks all around Seattle. You think it would be better to house them without any restrictions? For the true homeless there are shelters. Drug addicts don't want that because they have to continue doing drugs and they have to continue committing crimes to pay for the drugs. Do you think if we did that (provided better housing) they would stop using drugs or use more drugs?

    Where is the motivation to work and to be productive if it's easy to be a drug user and have everything provided? We need more productive people, not less.

    How many productive people do you know on the far left? Who is more productive, you or James?
     
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    You are erroneous and fallacious; observe:

    • … of such centrist inclination as to demand liberals compromise with conservatives by agreeing to fail.​

    It's not a question of "no compromise", or "compromise as compromising with failure". Rather, it is the political question of demanding such compromise as agreeing to fail.

    Not every compromise is a compromise with failure. As I said↑, it's called compromising with conservatives, or, compromising with Republicans.

    There is a curious, narrow dullardy, a presumption of unmarked boundaries, common among many conservative outlooks and positions, as if their argument is the only other possible alternative, or some such. It's an artificial dualism, a false dichotomy. It's like when people complain that everyone who disagrees with me gets called -ist, and the obvious answer is no, not the ones who aren't -ist; some people even actually teach me things that advance my understanding, which is a far cry from blaming the penguin↱ as one faults right↱. It's even in the conservative narrative about Hillary and the Deplorables. Those who would separate↗ conservatism from Trumpism¹ might recall she did the same; even more, she asserted to recognize the difference in Trump voters. But when the so-called Deplorables complained that she called all Trump voters deplorable, that other half was apparently willing to dutifully line up↗ and complain↗. It's actually part of our American tradition, and thus kind of baked into conservatism, but that gets complicated, or, at least, subtle.

    Since you're so fluent in fallacy, try this one: You don't like taxes, but you're happy to pay inflated prices so rich people can buy another summer house and a new jet to fly there; how is that better?

    Walmart quality on Amazon terms at Netflix prices with a Hulu interface on a Comcast box. It's how your bit about centrism↑ isn't utterly wrong; the center of the voter-spectrum bell curve, as such, that middle bloc, that influential "center" majority, as such, gets so angry about the results of what they voted for, and in feeling somehow hopeless about how society goes, pretends the indifference you suggest, a façade to obscure and occult what they would otherwise prefer remain unseen.

    Your entire post is a string of fallacies:

    The thing is, some part of me would presume you're aware it's more complicated than that. Asking, as you do, "Do you think if we did that (provided better housing) they would stop using drugs or use more drugs?" is fallacious.

    If I suggest it sounds like 1984 all over again, I don't mean the dystopian novel, but, rather, suggest a vintage for that dystopian conservative politic.

    You mean like a best-selling, influential novelist? I actually don't know. To the one, not everyone makes those politics known; to the other, it depends on what you call productive, or how you measure leftwardness.

    †​

    Remember² Wilde: "The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible."
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ If we "wonder what happened to all those non-Trump Republicans that existed at the time of his election", there are two obvious answers to the question. One is that some will vote for a moderate or conservative Democrat; the other is that most will come back to the Party line enough to support Trump sufficiently to drive the Bushes and Cheneys out. Of the part about voting for Democrats, we should remember that struggling to accommodate conservative needs in order to pick up those crossover voters is part of how the Democrats wreck themselves against the rocks, akin to your prior noise about noise and centrism.

    ² As I have already mentioned↗ to you twice↗ in as many weeks.​

    Bors, Matt. "Fault Right". The Nib. 7 August 2018. TheNib.com. 6 September 2022. http://bit.ly/2L2vXcs

    Tomorrow, Tom. "Penguin thinks we're Nazis". This Modern World. 28 May 2018. DailyKos.com. 6 September 2022. http://bit.ly/2zojjht

    Wilde, Oscar. "The Soul of Man Under Socialism". 1891. Marxists.org. 6 September 2022. http://bit.ly/1JdDOaw
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    And Yet Again ....

    It's always felt like a weirdly delicate proposition¹: They actually want to revolt.

    And remember, that's the flag-draped party of patriotism.

    The latest, per Benen↗:

    In late 2021, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene briefly referenced “a National Divorce scenario” that seemed to allude to the dissolution of the United States. About a year later, the Georgia Republican seemed to predict a “national divorce” in response to the CDC adding Covid shots to its list of recommended vaccine schedules.

    This morning, as some elected officials released statements recognizing the Presidents' Day holiday, the right-wing congresswoman published a message to Twitter that steered clear of traditional American patriotism. The missive read in its entirety:

    “We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government. Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat's [sic] traitorous America Last policies, we are done.”

    At face value, this isn't especially surprising. Greene has earned a reputation as one of the most radical members of Congress in recent memory. She's expressed support for violence against Democratic elected officials, and a year ago, the Georgia Republican appeared at a white-nationalist event. The fact that the congresswoman has endorsed a vision in which Americans “separate by red states and blue states” is entirely in line with everything we know about her.

    But let's not lose sight of the larger context: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and GOP leaders recently rewarded Greene with committee assignments, including a slot on the House Homeland Security Committee. Are Republicans prepared to defend a member of the House Homeland Security Committee openly endorsing the dissolution of the United States?

    Remember, this is also the party known for complaining that government just doesn't work.

    Putting the insurrectionist sympathizer who gives aid and comfort to the nation's enemies on the Homeland Securty Committee is just the latest example of how that complaint was actually a threat. Republicans don't simply believe, but, rather, intend that government will fail.

    A small but important detail, here, is the oath of office; Rep. Greene (R-GA14) has abrogated. To be clear, the oath pledges fidelity to the Constitution, which in turn is established for ourselves and our posterity; the Republic is guaranteed, and its continuation is a duty accepted and affirmed in that oath. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is in dereliction.

    †​

    And, honestly, let us jump out in front of one, here: Hint: We tried "separate but equal". Hint: It didn't work. Hint: At the time, the lone dissenter among those who had a say was also the former slave owner who knew it wouldn't work. Today's separatists should take the hint: Even the slave owner knew it wouldn't work. So, no, that's not where she was going with it.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    ¹ see #23↑ above; see also, "I Think of All Those Republicans …" #3↗.​

    Benen, Steve. "Despite her role, Marjorie Taylor Greene backs 'national divorce'". MSNBC. 21 February 2023. MSNBC.com. 20 February 2023. http://bit.ly/3YIsNvb
     
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Sean Hannity promotes dissolution of the United States, FOX News, 21 February 2023

    If the question of another civil war in the United States is, as such↑, entirely up to those who would revolt, it might be important to check in on what they are actually saying.

    Earlier this week, Sean Hannity promoted the "national divorce"↑ suggested by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA14). As we see, the pitch is couched as conservative talking points:

    "Much smaller federal government" — In more recent history, there were the Norquist acolytes pledging to not raise taxes, and seeking to render the federal government so weak it could be easily murdered. Compared to American history in general, the Articles of Confederation failed, and it's about time conservatives came to terms with that fact. They don't, however, because they abide other priorities.

    "States fully control public education" — One would expect the supremacist censorship tantrum of late would make the point about that, but people didn't catch on after thirty years of anti-gay, forty years of anti-science, and fifty years of anti-woman. Conservative priorities on this point are pretty clear.

    "States could continue using fossil fuels" — Nothing but the pitch; this is pure rightist nonsense prioritized as anti-government populism.

    "One day elections with paper ballots" — We've seen how elections go in these states; Hannity is pitching a debacle. It's actually a complicated talking point, but tells us much about the motivations and priorities.

    "Law enforcement supported and funded" — Compared to the number of Democratic-majority areas increasing law enforcement funding, there is nothing subtle about the priorities.​

    For her part, Taylor's underlying argument runs approximately that the last thing she would ever want to see is a civil war, but it's going that direction so maybe we should just skip to the end and give conservatives everything they want. And that is, for American conservatives, kind of the same as it's ever been.

    Comparatively, from nearly a year ago↗:

    • We already know from a generation of rhetorical escalation that it is impossible to concede enough to these people; outright Appeasement doesn't even work. That is to say, it really does seem there are a lot of people who apparently really do want to have it out that way, and the only real question is how many. Do they have enough to bring it? Then they will. To the other, they've kind of been at it for a while. We're Americans, so we won't call it a civil war.​

    That is to say, the most surprising thing about this turn is either that she actually came right out and said it, or nothing at all. The difference is a matter of expectation and hindsight: Before someone actually goes and does something that stupid, it's kind of impolite to suggest they actually would. After they go and do it, well, of course they would, and we really ought not pretend surprise. If the proverbial nobody took this possibility seriously before a sitting Member of Congress went and said it, blame a pretense of decency. But, no, we should not be at all surprised to discover this is where they're going with it. It's hardly new.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @atrupar. "Hannity is taking Marjorie Taylor Greene's 'national divorce' BS seriously". (thread) Twitter. 21 February 2023. Twitter.com. 23 February 2023. https://bit.ly/3Zz6DM7
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    21,609
    It's what most people who don't think about it want.

    One of my favorite quotes on this came from a tea partyer interviewed back in 2010. She had been supporting a smaller government that did less. A reporter interviewing her asked if she wanted to lose her entitlements if it meant getting that smaller government. She answered:

    “That’s a conundrum, isn’t it? I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security. I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

    Most conservatives want smaller government. But ask them if they want fewer roads, no air traffic control, less support for veterans, a smaller military, an end to Social Security and Medicare, and they invariably answer "well, no, keep that stuff of course. Cut the other stuff. You know, all the bloated, inefficient stuff. Bureaucrats, gold plated toilet seats, that sort of thing." And yes, there is waste in government, and we should reduce that. But the largest part of their complaint comes down to "I want my stuff - and I want them to pay for it - and I don't want any of my money to go to their stuff." And that just doesn't work on a large scale.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/politics/15poll.html
     
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,807
    "Entitlements" is misused. They are called that because it's something that you are "entitled to". You've paid into Social Security and therefore you are "entitled to it".

    Of course no one wants no government. Most would argue that there are things that need to be done by the government (whether they are more efficient or not). You've mentioned the traditional things that are better left to the government. I'm not for "for profit" private prisons because the profit motive doesn't lend itself to running prisons. We don't want longer sentences or more people in prisons even if that would be more profitable.

    If taxes aren't going to be sufficient to pay for programs that aren't necessary (pre-kindergarten) or if taxes will be excessive if they do pay for it, that is what is being referred to.

    Almost by definition, if public debt to GDP is 120%, government is too big. I'm sure I could find a story where that was pointed out to a progressive and they responded "Oh, I hadn't thought it it quite that way!" That wouldn't really be a persuasive argument though.
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    21,609
    Doesn't that have to do with the level of taxation, though? If no one pays any taxes, then any government at all is too large. If tax rates are like Finland's, then the government we have is quite frugal.
     
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,807
    I think our taxes are about right. Not perfect, but about right, IMO. You can't take it all or output will just decline (can't kill the goose that laid the golden egg).

    This debt isn't a sudden thing. It's in every administration. So, given the facts as they actually exist, we are spending too much. You could always be broke and I could point out that you have too many sports cars and too many houses. You could argue that you should actually be buying even more cars and that the problem is just that you don't earn enough and need a higher paying job.

    If this goes on for years, the "logic" could be true but you aren't going to get a higher paying job apparently so it's still not a good argument.

    At a certain point, Democrats can't just keep saying "tax the rich" but not being able to do it, not being willing to tax themselves and yet they keep spending. Given that history, saying the problem isn't spending but rather it's a taxation problem, is just not dealing with reality.

    It's also not being responsible with spending since you can always spend if the only plan is for the other guys to have to pay for it. There is no balance to that approach. In our personal lives were are responsible (to a large degree) because we have to be. If money was just given to us "we" would have too many sports cars and too many houses.

    The government has too many sports cars and too many houses.
     
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    21,609
    OK let's go with that.

    I would argue that the better choice would be to decide how many cars and houses we need beforehand - and then set taxes to pay for exactly that amount of cars and houses. No more, no less.
     
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,807
    I agree. Many thing in life aren't actually necessary if you can't afford them. It's a sliding scale.

    Let's say that most government jobs have much more generous benefits than the average private sector job. Those might be nice benefits but if we can't afford the program in the first place not every government job has to have gold plated benefits.

    If we want income groups higher than our own to pay for a new program, we should be willing to pay more as well. We should also realize that nothing is "free" and that there is ultimately a price to be paid in terms of unintended (or unwanted) side effects.

    If we want "affordable" housing, raising property taxes to fund that makes little sense (for example).
     
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    21,609
    Jobs that the government offers have to have compensation (salary + benefits) to allow them to hire adequately competent people. Dropping the compensation until you can only get less competent people is NOT a cost savings, as any business owner knows.
     
  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,807
    As any business owner knows it's also market based and not command based. I've been to the post office and I see who they get. Markets work better. As any business owner knows when the economy is in decline you have to tighten your belt, unless you are the government.
     
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    21,609
    Right. Some things (air traffic control, the military) should NOT fluctuate with the economy, and are better controlled by the government. Some things (pet rocks, steaks, Ford F350's) work better in a market, and can be "belt-tightened" when necessary.

    If the economy is in the toilet, it is not OK to hire incompetent people for air traffic control (or to manage nuclear weapons.) Even if that might be OK if you are selling pet rocks.
     
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,807
    It's never good to hire incompetent people but the government does manage to do that sometimes. It has little to do with what I was talking about however.
     
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    21,609
    Agreed. No system works 100%.
    You were saying that when the economy is poor, the government should skimp on things and not have "gold plated benefits" for government jobs. I think we should ALWAYS offer enough compensation to fill the important government jobs with competent people. Hiring the bottom of the barrel to "economize" is never a good idea for businesses OR governments.
     
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    8,807
    You never have to hire anyone, including bottom of the barrel. For instance, lets say that you were thinking about helping the homeless but the choice was do nothing or give them an income sufficient to bring them to the top of the poverty line, provide full dental, vision, and medical and offer tuition reimbursement.

    So that either costs nothing or it costs let's say $50k per year. You can't afford it so you do nothing. If you could offer a little assistance, no vision and dental and only catastrophic medical maybe you could do that for $20k year and you could find a way to fund that.

    Often that flexibility isn't available in government. You have many current employees without vision or dental (just for arguments sake) and yet if you offer anything to the homeless perhaps it's mandated that you have to offer all that.

    Often the taxpayer paying for all this doesn't even have the same benefits as the non-working person being provided this.

    The real point here is that there is a lot that is a reasonable policy if we were already fiscally responsible, but we aren't. It's like someone saying that our debt is too high, let's cut military spending and then they say and lets use that to pay teachers more!

    They just said that the debt was too high and yet offered nothing that would cut the debt.
     
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Entirely Up To Those Who Would Revolt

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    Bestselling cartoonist and celebrity rightist Scott Adams twittexed a threat that, while carefully-crafted, was not at all veiled:

    Good fences make good neighbors. It's useful for Democrats to understand that if Trump spends a minute in jail on bullshit charges, all the rules are suspended. We're a safer country with that clear understanding. #TooFar

    So far, people are doing well enough pretending to not care, or maybe I'm wrong about that, the the exbird just isn't showing much for reaction. Most prominently, A. R. Moxon↱ mocked:

    Oh no, if Trump goes to prison for some of his most egregious crimes, then conservatives will suspend their famous restraint and adherence to political norms and simply pursue power on any pretext they might devise, hard to imagine what that would look like.

    I say just file it as another example↑: They're doing it to themselves; they're setting themselves up for a revolt; a sector in the conservative market that desperately wants some manner of revolt; they are looking for an excuse to revolt; agitating for a "necessary", "we had no choice", "y'all forced us to do this by making us defend ourselves" revolt pretty much from the outset. Almost seven years ago↗, for instance: The whole point is that traditional supremacy is over, these people are disenchanted, and now they want out, but they're patriots, so their revolt must be forced on them by everyone else.

    And Adams' threat isn't actually so much carefully as obviously crafted; everything about the threat hinges on what he means by "bullshit charges". Compared to Moxon, i.e., some of Trump's most egregious crimes, what does Adams mean by "bullshit", because aside from the obvious context Moxon suggests Adams' extwit reads as extraneous nonsense unattached to anything going on, as if he just needed a rush of telling off some figment of his imagination in order to shake off the morning and feel motivated for the day.

    Inasmuch as a question of a civil war is up to those who would revolt, inspirational puffery is what it is, but there is also a future in which hindsight reminds that they kept warning us, over and over and over again.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @JuliusGoat. "Oh no, if Trump goes to prison for some of his most egregious crimes, then conservatives will suspend their famous restraint and adherence to political norms and simply pursue power on any pretext they might devise, hard to imagine what that would look like." Twitter. 6 August 2023. Twitter.com. 6 August 2023. https://bit.ly/3s1jQBK

    @ScottAdamsSays. "Good fences make good neighbors. It's useful for Democrats to understand that if Trump spends a minute in jail on bullshit charges, all the rules are suspended. We're a safer country with that clear understanding. #TooFar". Twitter. 5 August 2023. Twitter.com. 6 August 2023. https://bit.ly/3OJtDnR
     
  21. Zero Point Native Registered Member

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  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    The Shadow Over Claremont


    Is it really a story of decline?

    The saga of the Claremont Institute in the Trump years is readily told as one of moral collapse. Once upon a time, the men of the Claremont Institute (they are almost all men; more on that in a moment) idolized George Washington for his "prudence" and "civility." From its founding up through the Obama years, the institute was certainly situated on the right, but it was not, or did not seem to be, conspicuous for its extremism. It was probably best known for publishing the Claremont Review of Books, which was sized and laid out to resemble The New York Review of Books, as if to suggest that it was in direct competition with its more established and exalted Manhattan counterpart.

    But in 2015–16, the Claremont men threw their support behind the man who descended that golden escalator with a mouthful of hateful rhetoric. In an earlier time, they defended intellectual rigor against the alleged relativism of contemporary academic culture. But now they provide a platform for white nationalists, racist "replacement" theorists, and the Pizzagate man. Nate Hochman, the erstwhile DeSantis staffer who was fired after he reportedly created and distributed a campaign video featuring Nazi imagery in July, is a former Claremont Institute Publius Fellow (2021). "Most haunting of all—they once hailed the United States as "the best regime in Western civilization." But in the aftermath of Trump's defeat in 2020, Claremont board member John Eastman was instrumental in the plot to recruit fake electors and overturn the election—and the men of Claremont rose to his defense. Eastman currently faces potential disbarment in California and appears to be a person of interest in special counsel Jack Smith's investigations. Yet Claremont board member and founder Christopher Flannery has called John Eastman a "hero" and has asked us instead to condemn "the Stalinist machine" (meaning U.S. federal law enforcement) for persecuting him. Eastman was the unidentified (and uncharged) co-conspirator 2 in the August 1 indictment of Trump over his January 6 actions ....

    .... The Claremont Institute's seeming embrace of political violence against the government of the United States is not limited to Eastman's efforts to whip up the mob that gathered at the Ellipse in preparation for the assault on the Capitol, nor can it be excused as mere metaphorical excess in the war of ideas. "Given the promise of tyranny, conservative intellectuals must openly ally with the AR-15 crowd," argues author Kevin Slack, a professor at Hillsdale College, in a lengthy book excerpt published in Claremont's online magazine, The American Mind. "Able-bodied men, no longer isolated, are returning to republican manliness in a culture of physical fitness and responsible weaponry. They are buying AR-15s and Glock 17s and training with their friends, not FBI-infiltrated militias or online strangers but trustworthy lifelong friends to build a community alongside."

    "What the hell happened to the Claremont Institute?" asks Laura K. Field, a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center and a scholar in residence at American University, in an insightful series in The Bulwark. Daniel W. Drezner has described the institute as "the poster child for the devolution of conservative thought." Over at National Review, Mona Charen has written that Claremont "stands out for beclowning itself," and adds that its fellows have "thoroughly jettisoned their devotion to truth and virtue." In conversation with me, Bill Kristol dismissed the current incarnation of Claremont as "off-putting and depressing and stupid." Steve Schmidt, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, was even more direct. Claremont, he told me, "is becoming like the West Point of American fascism. It has collected a creature cantina, like the Star Wars scene, and has nurtured and midwifed the birth of a political ideology" that "leaves most commentators deeply discomforted by calling it by its name."

    But is it really a story of decline? Or are we simply seeing the true face of the beast, now that it has stepped into the limelight of significant political power?


    (Stewart↱)

    So much of conservatism just eases into the authoritarian right. At some point, the tendency ought to be significant of something.

    That is to say, we have been told.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Stewart, Katherine. "The Claremont Institute: The Anti-Democracy Think Tank". The New Republic. 10 August 2023. NewRepublic.com. 12 August 2023. https://bit.ly/3saQGQN


     
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Republican Comes Out Against the Republic

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    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA14) marked 9/11 by calling for secession↱:

    If the Biden admin refuses to stop the invasion of cartel led human and drug trafficking into our country, states should consider seceding from the union.

    From Texas to New York City to every town in America, we are drowning from Biden's traitorous America last border policies.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    @RepMTG. "If the Biden admin refuses to stop the invasion of cartel led human and drug trafficking into our country, states should consider seceding from the union. From Texas to New York City to every town in America, we are drowning from Biden’s traitorous America last border policies." Twitter. 11 September 2023. Twitter.com. 11 September 2023. https://bit.ly/3Li5ovU
     

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