Real hillbillies like me don’t trust JD Vance. You shouldn’t trust him either.

MSNBC – Opinion

Real hillbillies like me don’t trust JD Vance. You shouldn’t trust him either.

In his bestseller memoir, JD Vance uses a wide brush to paint Appalachians as lazy, ignorant and unwilling to try at life.

By Willie Carver, poet and writer – July 17, 2024

Maddow outlines JD Vance’s radical extremism on Ukraine, abortion rights

It’s easy to understand why “Hillbilly Elegy,” the 2016 memoir by JD Vance, piqued the interest of the American people. It recycles a narrative America has relied on for a century to sleep soundly despite the everyday horrors of our society: Rich people do well because they are morally better than the poor.

Add some powerful tropes — a firebrand “pistol packing lunatic” mamaw who protects at all costs, a rags-to-riches story in which Vance, a Marine,  escapes the “worst of my cultural inheritance” (p. 253) of unsophisticated, drug-addicted, murderous hillbillies — and you’ve got a bestseller.

You’ve also got a dangerous lie, one relying on ugly stereotypes that harm real Appalachians in order to advance a political career. Former President Donald Trump announced Monday that Vance, the junior senator from Ohio, is his pick for his running mate.

Unlike me, Vance is not Appalachian.  He was born and raised in Middletown, Ohio, well outside any maps of the distinct geographical and cultural region. Trump picking this Rust Belt charlatan as his running mate Monday sparked a resounding and unifying rant among conservative and liberal hillbillies alike in my social media feed: We do not acknowledge him.

Why would we? Vance introduces his reader to Appalachia by immediately profiling the worst behaviors of each of his uncles, including a scene of grotesque violence. He calls us a “pessimistic bunch” living in a “hub of misery” (p. 4), and over and over again he uses a wide brush to paint Appalachians as lazy, ignorant and unwilling to try at life.

Though there are dozens of offensive stories to choose from in “Hillbilly Elegy,” perhaps the most ridiculous one occurs when, during boot camp, Vance says he meets an eastern Kentuckian who, never having heard the term, asks “What’s a Catholic?” because, as Vance presents it, “down in that part of Kentucky [where he says that man is from], everybody’s a snake handler.” (p. 160). It’s an addictively stereotypical image: the ignorant, isolated, snake-handling hillbilly. But it’s not reality. There are a half dozen churches in that Kentuckian’s county seat, mostly Baptist and Methodist.  Just 20 miles away, in Hazard, there’s a Catholic Church. Another 20 miles away, where Vance’s family lives, there’s a Catholic Church with more than 4,000 Facebook followers.

Vance’s memoir of Appalachia, full of gun-toting, drug-addicted “lunatics” aimlessly awaiting death, is at best a cherry-picking of the worst moments of his life. At worst, it’s a concoction of real memories and some of television’s worst stereotypes of what Appalachia is.

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author on 2016 campaign. 04:37

I am not alone.

Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll’s “Appalachian Reckoning,” a response to Vance’s bestseller, anthologizes more than 400 pages of responses from real Appalachians describing their lives in all the nuance they deserve.

But nuanced stories aren’t useful in politics.

Appalachia is simply a rhetorical device for Vance that he used to launch a political career. If your political goal is to blame the poor for their own problems, then using the regional ethnicity of your grandparents to present yourself as “authentic” can compel readers to believe your narrative or to feel good about having already believed it. After all, the narrative of the lazy hillbilly has existed for as long as rich folks outside of Appalachia needed an explanation for mountain poverty that doesn’t include blaming themselves.

Did the poverty come from the rest of the country ignoring a region they thought had no resources?

Did the poverty come from coal barons stealing resources once they were discovered.

Did the poverty come from outside coal companies not paying coal miners actual money for decades?

Why blame complex issues that implicate rich white folks when “lazy” is only two syllables?

Vance builds on this narrative, ignoring nuance and context, presenting supposed anecdote after supposed anecdote of cultural depravity and portraying himself as a hillbilly who survived and knows the answer to what ails Appalachia is political conservatism.

Joy Reid on ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author, U.S. Senate candidate JD Vance recanting Trump critiques. 02:57

For Vance, issues of poverty, drug abuse and neglected children are “issues of family, faith, and culture.” (p. 238) He goes so far as to claim that these “problems were not created by governments or corporations or anyone else.” (p. 255)

That’s insulting. Individuals living in poverty did not invent opioids. Individuals living in poverty did not refuse to regulate opioids.

He puts the blame entirely on poor Americans, on mothers on food stamps and on fathers who are out of work, extending the roots of that blame directly to Appalachians and some inherent moral flaw. In convincing readers outside of Appalachia that they need the solution he is selling, he paints the Appalachian as the moral problem in America:

The dog whistle is pretty clear: The immoral hill folks are already in your area. Trust me, I escaped them. I know the answer to save you from them.

“If there is any temptation to judge these problems as the narrow concerns of backwoods hollers, a glimpse at my own life reveals that Jackson [Kentucky]’s plight has gone mainstream. Thanks to the massive migration from the poorer regions of Appalachia to places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, hillbilly values spread widely along with hillbilly people.” (p. 20)

The “hillbilly” twist is a particularly clever political move because it allows poor white folks living in swing states (like those listed above) to draw a quick line of demarcation around themselves — hardworking but poor Americans — and the supposed immoral, lazy welfare queens and absent, violent hillbilly fathers spreading into their cities and towns.

Trump’s choice of JD Vance ties Project 2025 even closer to his campaign. 09:33

Vance paints himself as having narrowly escaped  “the deep anger and resentment” (p. 2) of those who raised him and laments the supposed white working class feeling that “our choices don’t matter.” (p. 176)

Wednesday morning, my sister, who has known overwhelming pain and difficulty, signed up for nursing classes at a community college. Last week, my nephew, a young man with everything stacked against him, asked me to meet him to talk about vocational school.  

I see people making choices.

I see no anger.

Vance confuses frustration in a difficult system with anger and resentment.

Vance confuses frustration in a difficult system with anger and resentment; he misrepresents  Appalachians acknowledging that the choices they have are few and far between and require great levels of personal sacrifice as their belief that the choices they make don’t matter. He sees the drowning person and decides they lack determination in swimming. He ignores those creating the flood.

Vance does identify one hillbilly trait that I will, at this moment, agree with: We can be distrustful of outsiders. I might add that I am most distrustful of outsiders pretending to be insiders and of outsiders with a political agenda. 

This hillbilly does not trust JD Vance.

Today’s GOP has no past, present, or future. It’s just Trump.

MSNBC – Opinion

Today’s GOP has no past, present, or future. It’s just Trump.

It’s as if MAGA wiped the GOP slate clean and made 2016 its Year Zero.

Michael A. Cohen, MSNBC Columnist – July 17, 2024

Image: politics political trump supporters

Delegates hold up signs during the second day of the 2024 Republican National Convention at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, on July 16, 2024.Jim Watson / AFP – Getty Images

In his seminal dystopian novel, “1984,” George Orwell wrote “who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

Suffice it to say, Orwell would have had a field day at the 2024 Republican National Convention

Indeed, there is no better example of former President Donald Trump’s hold over the modern GOP than this week’s near-total erasure of the Republican Party’s past.

You might not be aware of it by watching the Republican convention this week, but the Republican Party is, in fact, 170 years old. It was formed in 1854 as an abolitionist movement opposed to the expansion of slavery into western territories. Its first standard-bearer was Abraham Lincoln, which is why the GOP is sometimes referred to as the “Party of Lincoln.” Nineteen presidents have been Republicans.

But if you watch the 2024 Republican convention, you are likely to hear about only one: Donald Trump. It’s as if MAGA wiped the GOP slate clean and made 2016 its Year Zero.

Other than Trump, there’s only one other living Republican ex-president: George W. Bush. He’s one of only four Republican presidents in history to win two presidential elections and serve eight years in office. And the chances of hearing Bush’s name mentioned in a positive light by convention speakers in Milwaukee this week are close to nil. 

Twenty years ago, Bush was a revered figure within the GOP (for those of you who are younger, you’ll have to take my word for it). 

But in the 16 years since he left office, Bush’s presidency has largely been stuffed down the memory hole — and it has been a bipartisan effort. Even Democrats don’t bother talking about his disastrous presidency anymore. While Bush left office with a historically low approval rating and a cratering economy, that’s not necessarily why he is persona non grata in the party he once led.

Bush was an internationalist. Trump is an isolationist. W was pro-immigration and, by and large, opposed to demonizing people of color. Trump is, of course, the exact opposite. And Bush is part of a multigenerational political dynasty. In other words, for MAGA he is the embodiment of the dreaded political establishment.  

But it’s not just Bush who has been kicked to the curb. There are also three living Republican vice presidents not in attendance — Dan QuayleDick Cheney and Mike Pence. Quayle has been out of the limelight for years; Cheney is the father of Liz Cheney, whom Trump despises for her role in co-chairing the House Jan. 6 committee, and, of course, on Jan. 6 Trump helped whip up a mob that threatened the life of Pence, his former vice president — so it’s probably best he didn’t make the trip to Milwaukee. (Incidentally, it was Quayle who told fellow Hoosier Pence that he didn’t have the authority to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 election.)

How about the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney? He’s retiring from the Senate, in large measure because of his revulsion at the direction the party has taken since Trump won its presidential nod in 2016. (Of course, Trump hates him, too, as Romney was the only Republican who voted to convict at both of Trump’s impeachment trials.)0 seconds of 2 minutes, 38 secondsVolume 90% 

‘The devil came to Pennsylvania’: Sen. Tim Scott calls Trump’s survival a ‘miracle’

Romney’s 2012 running mate, Paul Ryan, a former speaker of the House, might be in attendance in Milwaukee (he is, after all, from Wisconsin), but he’s not speaking. The same goes for 2008 nominee Sarah Palin. Her running mate, John McCain, passed away in 2018, but there won’t be any glossy tributes for him. Trump, infamously, mocked McCain’s time as a POW in Vietnam. The national convention where McCain is most likely to show up is the Democratic National Convention. McCain’s widow, Cindy, spoke there in 2020.

The 1996 presidential nominee (and 1976 vice presidential nominee), Bob Dole, passed away in 2021. What are the chances that there will be a tribute to him at this year’s Republican convention? There wasn’t one in 2020 to honor former President George H.W. Bush, who died in 2018. Will there even be a reference to Ronald Reagan, the president to whom Republicans tied themselves for decades after he left office? It’s hardly a guarantee, which once would have been sacrilegious at a GOP event but today is practically par for the course (although if one wants to see the new Reagan biopic starring Dennis Quaid, it’s showing every day in Milwaukee).

Historically, political parties have a tendency to turn their backs on failed presidents or losing candidates. There weren’t many Republican conventions that extolled the virtues of Herbert Hoover after his disastrous one term in office. The same goes for Richard Nixon, the only president who was forced to resign. But even Nixon got a shoutout from the party’s presidential nominees in 1992 and 1996. 

For Democrats, Jimmy Carter might have lost re-election in 1980 and is generally considered a failed president — but that didn’t stop Democrats from giving him a prime-time speaking slot at the next three conventions. This year, one can fully expect prime-time speeches from Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Al Gore, John Kerry or Tim Kaine made appearances. 

But at this year’s RNC, it’s as if there was no Republican Party before Trump came along. And, in a sense, that’s true. The current incarnation of the GOP bears no resemblance to the party of Lincoln, Reagan or the Bush family. The only real blast from the past is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. I could identify only two speakers who worked in the Bush administration. It’s now the party of Trump and Trumpism, of political outsiders and rebels — and the only price for entry is pledging one’s fealty to the leader (not the party).

Donald Trump’s choice of JD Vance ties Project 2025 even closer to Trump’s campaign

Of the dozens of speakers over four days in Milwaukee, virtually all came to prominence in just the past decade or so — and largely on Trump’s coattails. People like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kari Lake, Tom CottonMarco Rubio and Matt Gaetz are the faces of the modern GOP. Their rises to prominence have little to do with adherence to GOP policy orthodoxy or even their political chops but rather their willingness to prostrate themselves before Donald Trump — and fully embrace his many lies. 

In Trump’s GOP, there are no legacy, no coherent ideological beliefs and no enduring political tradition. There is no past, present or future. There’s just Trump.

Michael A. Cohen is a columnist for MSNBC and a Senior Fellow and co-director of the Afghanistan Assumptions Project at the Center for Strategic Studies at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. He writes the political newsletter Truth and Consequences. He has been a columnist at The Boston Globe, The Guardian and Foreign Policy, and he is the author of three books, the most recent being “Clear and Present Safety: The World Has Never Been Better and Why That Matters to Americans.”

What history tells us about Trump’s attempted assassination

MSNBC – Opinion

What history tells us about Trump’s attempted assassination

Presidential candidates have long been prime targets for would-be assassins, many of whom had very different motivations for pulling the trigger.

By Hayes Brown, MSNBC Opinion Writer/Editor, July 16, 2024

‘Keep politics and violence as separate as possible’ as we get closer to November

Picture this: A former Republican president is attempting a comeback into politics. Despite leaving office four years ago, he’s busy trying to convince the American people that his successor has been a disappointment. During an event on the campaign trail, a shot rings out as a would-be assassin attempts to end his life.

On Saturday, that scene played out for the second time in American history. Former President Theodore Roosevelt survived that 1912 shot, fired as he attempted to mount a strong third-party challenge to return to the White House. So too did former President Donald Trump when a single gunman fired at him during a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday. It’s a dire reminder that in a country where political violence is never too far from the forefront of the nation’s consciousness, and guns remain widely available, those campaigning for the highest office in the land have long been considered prime targets.

While Trump’s wound was reportedly superficial, a few inches to the left would have likely been deadly. The latter was also true for Roosevelt, who was shot in the chest by his assailant. It was only thanks to the items in his jacket pocket — the 50 pages of his prepared remarks, folded once, and his steel eyeglass case — that the bullet was slowed. Though Trump was rushed offstage, Roosevelt concluded that the bullet had not pierced anything important. He then continued to deliver an off-the-cuff speech for close to an hour, only being taken for medical treatment afterward.

Roosevelt himself first ascended to the presidency because of an assassin’s bullet. He was vice president when President William McKinley was shot by an anarchist in 1901 while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. The resulting wound turned gangrenous thanks to poor handling from doctors, leaving Roosevelt the youngest president in history.

How America has reacted to past presidential assassination attempts

Decades later, Teddy’s distant cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt was the target of another would-be assassin. A month before he was sworn in as president in 1933, a man fired six shots at the car carrying the president-elect; Roosevelt was unscathed, but five other people were hit, including Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, who would later die from his wounds.

Despite the attempt on Teddy Roosevelt’s life, Secret Service protection was only extended to former presidents in 1965. That level of security was only extended to “major presidential candidates” in 1968 when Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y., was assassinated while campaigning for the presidency. (His son, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., was assigned Secret Service protection for his long shot independent presidential campaign on Monday.) But the Secret Service agents assigned to protect Alabama Gov. George Wallace when he campaigned for the Democratic nomination in 1972 weren’t enough to prevent an attempted assassination that left Wallace paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.

We still don’t know the motives of the shooter who fired at Trump. The motives of other assassins or would-be assassins of presidential candidates are a mixed bag. For some, like Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan, there has been a distinct political target, in his case Kennedy’s support for Israel. Others, like the man who shot Wallace, literally did it for the fame, or infamy, involved in trying to kill a famous figure. John Schrank, the person who tried to kill Theodore Roosevelt, did so because he claimed McKinley’s ghost told him that Roosevelt had murdered McKinley and ordered Schrank to avenge his death.

We also can’t easily use the past to judge what effect this incident will have on the election. Tony Diver, The Telegraph’s U.S. editor, looked to the shooting of President Ronald Reagan in 1981 as a touchstone. Reagan had only been in office for less than a year when John Hinckley Jr. shot him in a delusional attempt to win the attention of actor Jodie Foster. “If history tells us anything, the events of Saturday will only increase his support,” Diver wrote. “In the months after Mr Reagan was shot, the newly-elected Republican president saw a poll boost of eight points.”

While that may have been the last credible assassination attempt on a president, there are a lot of differences here that make me skeptical about the bounce Trump might see. For one, no matter what has happened to him, there’s always been a ceiling for him in the polls and a floor from his die-hard supporters. In addition, the “rally around the flag” effect that often occurs after an attempt on a sitting president’s life is less frequently seen when the target is a candidate for the office, even one who has held the job before. Both Roosevelt and Wallace lost their presidential races.

In the end, there are only two main things that unite all the attempts on presidential candidates’ lives. The first, and most within our grasp to change, is access to guns in this country. The other, though, is harder to address. Every assassination undertaken or attempted, whether for personal glory or ideology, can rightly be seen as an attack on a symbol. For what else is a candidate for the presidency but a symbol of what the country might next be? It is the reaction to the attack on that symbol that they seek, be it praise and attention, or to spark a revolution. It’s not yet clear what reaction the man who fired at Trump wanted when he pulled the trigger — but I fear it won’t be long before we find out what tinderbox he hit as well.

Hayes Brown is a writer and editor for MSNBC Daily, where he helps frame the news of the day for readers. He was previously at BuzzFeed News and holds a degree in international relations from Michigan State University.

trump and MAGA world know they can’t will elections honestly: Trump campaign sues Michigan Gov. Whitmer over new voter registration sites

NBC News

Trump campaign sues Michigan Gov. Whitmer over new voter registration sites

Dareh Gregorian and Selina Guevara – July 15, 2024

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee sued Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others Monday for allowing federal Veterans Affairs and Small Business Administration sites to be used for voter registration efforts.

In papers filed in federal court in Michigan, the campaign and the RNC contend Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson exceeded their authority when they struck agreements to use the VA and SBA offices as “voter registration agencies,” or VRAs.

“Under Michigan law, the authority to make such designations is held solely by the Legislature,” the filing said.

Michigan is a state that Trump won in 2016 and then flipped to back Joe Biden in 2020. It is expected to be a pivotal battleground state in this year’s election.

Trump has long sought to sow the seeds of doubt about elections before they occur, and he leveled unfounded accusations at several states in the lead-up to the 2020 election, which he then repeated as part of baseless claims to overturn the outcome when he lost.

Trump’s campaign echoed complaints that voter integrity was at risk in the suit filed Monday.

“The RNC and its members are concerned that Defendants’ failure to comply with Michigan statutes governing VRA designation undermines the integrity of elections by increasing the opportunity for individuals to register to vote even though they are ineligible to do so, and by sowing confusion regarding whether the agencies purporting to offer assistance in registering voters are doing so in accordance with applicable law,” says the suit, which was first reported by MLive.com.

It also contends that the “SBA and VA’s continued unlawful operation as VRAs have caused economic, financial, and political injury to the Plaintiffs, including by forcing them to allocate additional resources and misallocate their scarce resources in ways they otherwise would not have.”

The suit seeks a judgment declaring the move unlawful, as well as a “permanent injunction barring the State Defendants from designating any VRAs without express authorization from the Michigan Legislature.”

Whitmer’s and Benson’s offices for comment did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Putin and the trump MAGA cult again on the same propaganda page: The Kremlin is pushing a MAGA talking point that Biden’s administration is to blame for the Trump assassination attempt

Business Insider

The Kremlin is pushing a MAGA talking point that Biden’s administration is to blame for the Trump assassination attempt

Kwan Wei Kevin Tan, July 15, 2024

  • Russia says the Biden administration should be blamed for the Trump rally shooting.
  • A Kremlin spokesperson said the Biden administration incited tensions that led to the attack.
  • Trump allies like JD Vance have similarly accused the Biden administration of causing the attack.

The attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump was indirectly caused by President Joe Biden and his administration, a Kremlin spokesperson said on Sunday.

“We don’t think at all and don’t believe that the attempt to eliminate the presidential candidate Trump was organized by the present power,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters, per Russian state media outlet TASS.

“But it is the atmosphere that has been created by this administration during the political struggle, the atmosphere around the candidate Trump, prompted what America is facing today,” he continued.

On Saturday, Trump was left wounded after a gunman tried to shoot him during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

“I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post on Saturday. “I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin.”

The Secret Service said the attack killed one bystander and left two others critically injured. The rally shooter, a 20-year-old man named Thomas Matthew Crooks, was shot dead by a Secret Service sniper.

But Trump’s life, Peskov said, had long been in danger.

“After numerous attempts to remove candidate Trump from the political arena using legal instruments at first, courts, the prosecutor’s office, attempts to politically discredit and compromise the candidate, it was obvious to all outside observers that his life was in jeopardy,” Peskov said on Sunday, referencing Trump’s conviction in his Manhattan hush money criminal trial on May 30.

The Kremlin’s remarks on Sunday echo that of Trump acolytes like Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Rep. Mike Collins of Georgia.

The trio were quick to point fingers at Biden following Saturday’s failed assassination.

“The Republican District Attorney in Butler County, PA, should immediately file charges against Joseph R. Biden for inciting an assassination,” Collins said in an X post on Saturday.

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also ripped the Democratic Party and accused them of inciting tensions before Saturday’s assassination attempt.

“Don’t tell me they didn’t know exactly what they were doing with this crap. Calling my dad a ‘dictator and a ‘threat to Democracy’ wasn’t some one off comment. It has been the MAIN MESSAGE of the Biden-Kamala campaign and Democrats across the country!!!” Trump Jr. wrote on X on Sunday.

This isn’t the first time Russia has sought to paint a picture of a dysfunctional America while weighing in on the country’s political developments.

Last month, Putin said that Trump’s Manhattan felony conviction was politically motivated and that the former president’s rivals were “simply using the judicial system in an internal power struggle.”

“They are burning themselves from the inside, their state, their political system,” Putin told reporters at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, per Reuters.

Representatives for Russia’s foreign ministry and the Biden administration didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

Republican’ s finally try to get rid of trump: But then try to blame the Democrats. VP frontrunner JD Vance points finger at Biden for apparent assassination attempt at Trump rally

Independent

VP frontrunner JD Vance points finger at Biden for apparent assassination attempt at Trump rally

John Bowden  – July 14, 2024

The man who could end up being Donald Trump’s running mate was quick to directly blame President Joe Biden for the apparent assassination attempt at the former president’s rally on Saturday in Pennsylvania.

JD Vance, who is just days away from potentially being announced as the nominee for vice president at the Republican National Convention, pointed the finger at Democrats and the president after Trump was shot at during his campaign event in Butler, Pennsylvania.

He was led away clutching the side of his bloody head.

One spectator was killed and two others were left in critical condition in the surreal shooting that sent shockwaves through the crowd.

The suspected gunman was shot dead by a Secret Service agent at the scene.

On Sunday morning, the FBI identified the suspect as Thomas Matthew Crooks – a 20-year-old Pennsylvania resident who was a registered Republican voter, according to online records.

Vance, a freshman Republican senator from Ohio, quickly used the incident to attack Biden

In a post on Saturday evening, he wrote: “Today is not just some isolated incident. The central premise of the Biden campaign is that President Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist who must be stopped at all costs. That rhetoric led directly to President Trump’s attempted assassination.”

He was not the only Republican to take their response to the tragedy as far.

Without offering a shred of evidence, Rep Mike Collins, a right-wing conservative from Georgia, made the wild assertion that the local district attorney in the district of Pennsylvania where the rally took place should bring the incumbent president up on charges for “inciting” the assassination of his political rival, an allegation Trump himself has not made in his own social media posting following the shooting.

“Joe Biden sent the orders,” tweeted the congressman.

“The Republican District Attorney in Butler County, PA, should immediately file charges against Joseph R. Biden for inciting an assassination,” added Collins.

The Independent has reached out to the Biden campaign for comment on Vance and Collins’ remarks.

Vance’s statement is notable given that he’s one of just a few lawmakers still in the running to serve as Trump’s vice presidential nominee on the Republican 2024 ticket. He and the two other top contenders, Sen Marco Rubio and Gov Doug Burgum, all met with the former president within the last day; the Republican National Convention is only days away, with the first official events beginning on Monday.

Republicans from across the country are meeting in Milwaukee for their party’s nominating convention, where Trump is set to be nominated to run for the White House a third time. He won this year’s presidential primary by a commanding margin, only losing one state.

The Ohio senator is coming up on the second anniversary of his election to the Senate; just a year and seven months into his first term in the upper chamber. His contention for the role of vice president follows his come-from-behind victory in the Ohio Republican Senate primary in 2022, thanks to Trump’s endorsement, and his subsequent defeat of then-Congressman Tim Ryan for the seat in the general election.

Meanwhile, Rubio’s X feed was full of retweets about the shooting. He also attacked early media coverage of the apparent assassination attempt, when it still remained unclear what had transpired.

“Praying for President Trump and all those attending the rally in Pennsylvania today,” he wrote.

Burgum’s statements were more limited, and expressed support for the former president, whom the governor claimed was “stronger” than his political foes.

Trump himself shared a graphic statement about the shooting, saying a bullet had pierced his right ear.

“Nothing is known at this time about the shooter, who is now dead. I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear,” he said. “I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin. Much bleeding took place, so I realized then what was happening. GOD BLESS AMERICA!”

In a new statement on Sunday morning, the former president called on the US to “stand united” as he thanked God for preventing the “unthinkable from happening”.

JD Vance needs to look at himself, his party’s rhetoric before blaming Democrats | Letters

Cincinnati.con – Enquirer – Opinion

JD Vance needs to look at himself, his party’s rhetoric before blaming Democrats | Letters

Letters to the editor – July 15, 2024

Violence has no place in politics. This is quite true, but I find it necessary to point out a few things after Ohio Senator J.D. Vance decided to place the blame for the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump on Democrats.

Political rhetoric has increased on both sides. The reason the rhetoric is necessary, however, is because Trump would not accept the fact that he lost the 2020 election because We the People decided we didn’t want anymore of the leadership, or lack of leadership, he provided. The reason the rhetoric is necessary is because Trump decided to try to protect himself from jail as he knew he was more than likely to be convicted by a jury of his peers for crimes they proved he committed. Finally, I believe Trump is trying to move our country to autocracy with the Project 2025 plan once he is reelected.

Sen. JD Vance (R-OH) gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Sen. JD Vance (R-OH) gestures while speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Democrats are furious and are hard-charging at Trump and his party because we fear for replacing all the men and women in our justice system, who have kept this country safe since the Department of Justice’s inception with the exception of 9/11, with Trump loyalists as Project 2025 espouses. We are afraid of Trump using our service members as the police to “put down” any rioting, especially if the rioters are Black Lives Matter or any other person/persons of color as Project 2025 espouses. We are afraid of Trump eliminating the Department of Education and using his cohorts in the U.S. Supreme Court who want to force all of us to be Christians, as that is what they claim to be, and want to force women back to the 1960s, as one Republican representative stated recently, where we stay at home, have babies and take care of our men.

No, Sen. Vance, look closer to your own party and yourself for the “rhetoric” (lies) that you and your party project.  As Democrats, we will lower the political rhetoric as long as Sen. Vance’s party does. Oh I forgot, Sen. Vance already started right back into blaming Democrats instead of looking closer at himself and the people he supports.

Felicia Duncan, Sharonville

Kinzinger says JD Vance’s response to shooting should ‘disqualify’ him from VP consideration

The Hill

Kinzinger says JD Vance’s response to shooting should ‘disqualify’ him from VP consideration

Sarah Fortinsky – July 14, 2024

Kinzinger says JD Vance’s response to shooting should ‘disqualify’ him from VP consideration

Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said Sunday Sen. JD Vance’s (R-Ohio) response to the attempted assassination of former President Trump should “disqualify” him from serving as vice president.

Vance, a contender for Trump’s choice of running mate, said in a social media post on Saturday that the shooting was “not some isolated incident” and suggested President Biden’s campaign was, at least in part, at fault.

“The central premise of the Biden campaign is that President Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist who must be stopped at all costs,” Vance said on the social platform X. “That rhetoric led directly to President Trump’s attempted assassination.”

Kinzinger — a former GOP member of Congress who became a frequent Trump critic — responded to Vance’s post, saying, “This should absolutely disqualify @JDVance1 from VP.”

Vance’s statement came just hours after Trump was whisked off the stage of his Pennsylvania rally on Saturday, after Trump appeared to be wounded in what authorities are calling an assassination attempt.

At the time of Vance’s statement, there was no public reporting on the motive of the shooter or the details surrounding the incident.

Republicans and Democrats alike have called for decreasing the temperature of political rhetoric.

President Biden ordered a full review of the security for Trump’s Saturday rally and to assess security in place for the Republican National Convention this week in Milwaukee.

The Hill has reached out to Vance’s campaign for a response.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Judge tosses Trump documents case, ruling prosecutor was unlawfully appointed

Reuters

Judge tosses Trump documents case, ruling prosecutor was unlawfully appointed

Andrew Goudsward and Sarah N. Lynch – July 15, 2024

Former U.S. President Donald Trump and Special Counsel Jack Smith

(Reuters) -A U.S. judge in Florida on Monday dismissed the criminal case accusing Donald Trump of illegally keeping classified documents after leaving office, handing the Republican former president another major legal victory as he seeks a return to the White House.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, ruled that Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the prosecution, was unlawfully appointed to his role and did not have the authority to bring the case.

The judge found that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who named Smith in 2022 to oversee investigations involving Trump, did not have the authority “to appoint a federal officer with the kind of prosecutorial power wielded by Special Counsel Smith.”

Cannon also found that Smith’s investigation has been improperly funded through a permanent and unlimited fund Congress set aside in the 1980s for independent investigations.

It marked another blockbuster legal triumph for Trump.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on July 1 that Trump cannot be prosecuted for actions that were within his constitutional powers as president – a landmark decision recognizing for the first time any form of presidential immunity from prosecution. That ruling involved charges pursued by Smith in a separate case against Trump in Washington involving his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.

Cannon’s ruling came two days after Trump was the target of an assassination attempt at a campaign rally in western Pennsylvania. Trump is set to be formally named the Republican presidential nominee in Milwaukee this week, challenging Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 U.S. election.

Prosecutors are likely to appeal Cannon’s ruling. Courts in other cases have repeatedly upheld the ability of the U.S. Justice Department to appoint special counsels to handle certain politically sensitive investigations.

Trump, in a social media post, said Cannon’s ruling should be a “just the first step” and called for the dismissal of all four criminal cases against him.

“Let us come together to END all Weaponization of our Justice System,” Trump wrote.

Trump was convicted in May on New York state felony charges involving hush money paid to a porn star to avert a sex scandal before the 2016 election. Trump had pleaded not guilty in the documents case and in Smith’s other case, as well as to election-related charges in state court in Georgia.

A spokesperson for Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the documents case, Trump was indicted on charges that he willfully retained sensitive national security documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after leaving office in 2021 and obstructed government efforts to retrieve the material. Prosecutors have said the documents related to U.S. military and intelligence matters, including details about the American nuclear program.

Two others, Trump personal aide Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Olivera, were also charged with obstructing the investigation.

‘BREATHTAKINGLY MISGUIDED’

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said in a statement: “This breathtakingly misguided ruling flies in the face of long-accepted practice and repetitive judicial precedence. It is wrong on the law and must be appealed immediately. This is further evidence that Judge Cannon cannot handle this case impartially and must be reassigned.”

At the very least, Cannon’s ruling throws the future of the case into doubt. Trump’s lawyers have not made a similar challenge to the special counsel in Smith’s election-related case.

Trump’s lawyers challenged the legal authority for Garland’s 2022 decision to appoint Smith to lead investigations into Trump. They argued that the appointment violated the U.S. Constitution because Smith’s office was not created by Congress and the special counsel was not confirmed by the Senate.

Lawyers in Smith’s office disputed Trump’s claims, arguing that there was a well-settled practice of using special counsels to manage politically sensitive investigations.

“This ruling flies in the face of about 20 years of institutional precedent, conflicts with rulings issued in both the Mueller investigation and in D.C. with respect to Jack Smith himself,” said Bradley Moss, an attorney who specializes in national security, referring to an investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller during Trump’s presidency.

Moss also said the ruling raises the question of whether Smith will seek to have Cannon removed from the case.

Cannon’s ruling is the most consequential in a series of decisions she has made favoring Trump and expressing skepticism about the conduct of prosecutors. The judge previously delayed a trial indefinitely while considering a flurry of Trump legal challenges.

In an unusual move, she allowed three outside lawyers, including two who sided with Trump, to argue during a court hearing focused on Trump’s challenge to Smith’s appointment.

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas provided a boost to Trump’s challenge to the special counsel. In an opinion agreeing with the court’s decision to grant Trump broad immunity, Thomas questioned whether Smith’s appointment was lawful, using similar arguments to those made by Trump’s lawyers.

Garland appointed Smith, a public corruption and international war crimes prosecutor, to give investigations into Trump a degree of independence from the Justice Department under Biden’s administration.

(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Scott Malone, Daniel Wallis and Will Dunham)

Wounded Russian soldiers – some on crutches – used in ‘meat wave’ attacks

The Telegraph

Wounded Russian soldiers – some on crutches – used in ‘meat wave’ attacks

Verity Bowman – July 14, 2024

Russia is sending injured soldiers back to the front lines to fight
Russia is sending injured soldiers back to the front lines and is using Ukraine PoWs as human shields

Injured Russian soldiers are being sent back into the line of fire in “meat wave” assaults.

The Ukrainian army has reported capturing Russians already suffering from their wounds sustained in previous attacks.

They had been given minimal medical attention before being sent back to fight.

The tactics show an apparent disregard for foot soldiers as commanders throw thousands of men into the front lines in a slow and grinding summer offensive.

Some Russians have been captured re-entering the battlefield on crutches.

Other injured troops have recorded videos pleading with their superiors for proper treatment as they receive orders to return to battle.

One soldier captured by Ukraine was said to be driving an armoured vehicle with bloodied rags over an injured eye.

The meat assault units are often made up of foot soldiers, released prisoners and the maimed.

Many are simply protecting the next wave of soldiers behind as part of a tactic to distract and overwhelm Ukraine, and make incremental territorial gains.

British military intelligence believes that Russian ranks have been depleted by as many as 70,000 personnel over the last two months – an alarming rate that shows no signs of slowing.

Ukrainian soldiers told The Telegraph that it is “normal practice” to see injured men staggering as they fight, and that Ukrainian prisoners of war are being used by Russia as human shields.

‘We don’t have the strength’

Meanwhile, Russian soldiers have been recorded pleading with their superiors, the military prosecutors office, and even Vladimir Putin, for their lives.

“Why would they send wounded and exhausted people into battle? It’s the same as sending people to their deaths,” said two soldiers of the 1009th regiment in a video shared on social media.

“The commander says that tomorrow we must go and storm this building again.

“But how can we do this if we are in pain, wounded, and simply don’t have the strength?”

The pair, who lent against a tree with visible wounds to their faces, said the only medical treatment they received for shrapnel wounds was from their own first aid kit as they hid in the forest.

Another video clip showed a group of the injured, a number of whom were walking on crutches, pleading desperately with their superiors, stressing that this was their final opportunity to make their case.

They told the camera: “Hear us, please, hear us, hear us. This is our last chance. We have no more options.”

The latest death toll figures of Russian soldiers is equivalent to an average of above 1,000 a day amid the escalating intensity of battle on the newly opened front in Kharkiv, and fighting elsewhere in east and north-east Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defence said on Friday.

“Although this new approach has increased the pressure on the front line, an effective Ukrainian defence and a lack of Russian training reduces Russia’s ability to exploit any tactical successes, despite attempting to stretch the front line further,” the MoD added.

Hunter (his call sign), a Ukrainian junior soldier, said that there are “frequent cases” of Russian soldiers “simply left in positions to die”.

“This is a common situation when wounded Russian soldiers are captured. According to them, they were left to their fate without food and water to die by their own comrades,” he said.

Hunter reported seeing Ukrainian PoWs being pushed to walk ahead of advancing Russian soldiers, forced into the cruel role of human shields.

Yuriy, a machine gunner, confirmed Hunter’s reports, telling The Telegraph: “Of course, I have seen PoWs, this is outrageous and tearing us apart from the inside, such an attitude towards prisoners of war is unacceptable and prohibited by conventions.”

In the Donetsk region, a Russian soldier was captured by Ukraine with his leg rotting from a shrapnel wound.

“He was not evacuated for some reason. Later in Dnipro, our medics had to amputate this leg for him so he can survive,” Vlad, a member of the Kraken Regiment volunteer unit, told The Telegraph.

Vlad reported that the Russians they captured revealed their commander, known by the call sign Ryba, had ordered that no one would be evacuated until they had secured the territory around the Kupyansk silicate plant in the Kharkiv region.

Kupyansk, a strategic rail hub, was seized by Russia in early 2022, retaken by Ukraine seven months later and missile and artillery strikes continue to hit the area.

The river through Kupyansk could offer a natural defence against future Russian advances.

A soldier who chose to remain anonymous said: “We carried a wounded Russian to our side for many kilometres to save his life as he was left alone to die.”

Hunter confirmed that many units – including the poorly-trained, lightly-equipped “Storm-Z” assault troopers – are “prohibited” from leaving their positions.

‘Storm fighters, they’re just meat’

Storm-Z is a series of penal military units for convicts – including murderers – established by Russia by April 6, 2023, renamed Storm-V later that year.

Illia Yevlash, the spokesman for the Khortytsia operational-strategic group, claimed in February that Russian commanders were using human wave tactics involving Storm-Z and Storm-V.

“Storm fighters, they’re just meat,” said one regular soldier from army unit number 40318.

“If such units retreat, they can be destroyed by their barrier units,” said Hunter.

“The Russian armed forces mobilise people with serious illnesses such as tuberculosis or HIV, and such ‘soldiers’ are treated differently.”

Use of suicidal human wave attacks does not appear to have reduced despite high-profile changes at the top of the Russian defence ministry.

Many Ukrainian soldiers who spoke to The Telegraph revealed they hesitate to save Russians because of their unwavering resolve to continue fighting even after being captured.

Yuriy explained that some injured soldiers wanted to surrender quickly, but that he had seen others “shoot to the last”, even attempting to detonate grenades when they were given medical aid.

The high Russian attrition rate comes as Ukraine also struggles to find enough soldiers to make any significant breakthroughs.

The much-anticipated Russian summer offensive appears to have largely fizzled out, with both sides once again locked in fighting along rigid front lines dividing Ukraine roughly from north to south.