Carlos Lozada | The Inside Joke That Became Trump’s Big Lie – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Donald Trump’s so-called big lie is not big because of its brazen dishonesty or its widespread influence or its unyielding grip over the Republican Party. It is not even big because of its ambition — to delegitimize a presidency, disenfranchise millions of voters, clap back against reality. No, the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election has grown so powerful because it is yoked to an older deception, without which it could not survive: the idea that American politics is, in essence, a joke, and that it can be treated as such without consequence.

The big lie depends on the big joke. It was enabled by it. It was enhanced by it. It is sustained by it.

When politicians publicly defend positions they privately reject, they are telling the joke. When they give up on the challenge of governing the country for the rush of triggering the enemy, they are telling the joke. When they intone that they must address the very fears they have encouraged or manufactured among their constituents, they are telling the joke. When their off-the-record smirks signal that they don’t really mean what they just said or did, they are telling the joke. As the big lie spirals ever deeper into unreality, with the former president mixing election falsehoods with call-outs to violent, conspiratorial fantasies, the big joke has much to answer for.”

” . . . . The big lie is that the election was stolen; the big joke is that you can prolong that lie without consequence. The former is a quest for undeserved power; the latter is an evasion of well-deserved responsibility.”  . . . .

How Abbott Kept Sick Babies From Becoming a Scandal – The New York Times

David Enrich, the business investigations editor for The New York Times, is the author of the forthcoming book, “Servants of the Damned: Giant Law Firms, Donald Trump, and the Corruption of Justice,” from which this article is adapted.

“Early on a Saturday morning in 2013, Mark Bennett, a federal judge, walked into his chambers in the courthouse in Sioux City, Iowa. He’d been out of town for a speaking engagement and was hoping to catch up on work. A surprise awaited him as he entered his office: Cardboard boxes were stacked everywhere. His immediate thought was that another judge might be moving in.

Another judge was not moving in. Judge Bennett was presiding over a case in which Abbott Laboratories, the sprawling health care company that dominated the market for infant formula, was being sued on behalf of a girl, Jeanine Kunkel, who five years earlier had suffered severe brain damage after consuming the company’s powdered formula. Jeanine couldn’t speak, sit up or even swallow, and the tragedy had nearly destroyed her family.

The boxes cluttering Judge Bennett’s chambers were filled in large part with evidence that Abbott’s lawyers wanted to be able to introduce at the upcoming trial.

After more than two decades on the federal bench, Judge Bennett had a pretty good guess as to what was going on. The accusations in the lawsuit posed a threat to Abbott, which had staked its reputation on being family-friendly and devoted to health and safety. Judge Bennett figured that to protect an important client, the company’s outside lawyers, from the international law firm Jones Day, were trying to snow their opponents with tens of thousands of pages of paperwork. Even if the materials were only tangentially related to this particular case, the plaintiffs’ lawyers would need to spend countless hours poring over the documents to see what they contained.”

Michelle Cottle | Donald Trump’s Dangerous Gambit – The New York Times

Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

“If there’s one thing a top-notch grifter knows how to do, it’s exploit a crisis.

So it is that Donald Trump has transformed the F.B.I.’s search of his Mar-a-Lago home from a potentially debilitating scandal into a political bonanza — one that threatens to further divide a twitchy, polarized nation.

His formula for this alchemy? The usual: playing on pre-existing grievances among his followers — in this case, the right’s bone-deep suspicion and resentment of federal authority. If you thought members of the MAGAverse were jacked up on Deep State conspiracy theories before, just wait until they spend several more weeks consuming the toxic spinsanity that Mr. Trump and his enablers have been pushing out like black tar heroin.

Once Mr. Trump donned his trusty cloak of victimhood, which by now must be threadbare from overuse, the Republican response to the search was predictable: His base roared in outrage, a display of blind fealty featuring threats of lethal violence against their savior’s perceived persecutors. Party leaders tripped over themselves to fuel the fury, lobbing attacks at the F.B.I. for which they should forever hide their faces. (Dear Kevin McCarthy: Any blood spilled over this is partly on your hands. An “intolerable state of weaponized politicization” of the Justice Department? Seriously?)”

What Does Most Favored Nation (MFN) Mean in Music Licensing? – Easy Song Help Center

“What is Most Favored Nation (MFN)?

Most Favored Nation is a economic status that means a given country or nation has been granted the most favorable trading terms by its trading partner. This provides security to the Most Favored Nation who knows that they are getting the best deal on their end.

What does MFN have to do with Music Licensing?

As you may guess, MFN is applied in many industries. For music licensing, it comes into play when we are negotiating custom licensing deals. Whether it’s for publishing rights, master rights, or any other type of license, any copyright holder has it within their rights to require MFN with any permissions they give out. If you see that a publisher is requiring a fee with MFN included, this means that they will only give their permission if they’re given the option to change or increase their fee any time that another party in the same deal requests a higher fee. This ensures that they are the Most Favored Nation and avoids them from being paid any less than another publisher without their consent.”

Source: What Does Most Favored Nation (MFN) Mean in Music Licensing? – Easy Song Help Center

Opinion | We Are Retired Generals and Admirals. Trump’s Actions on Jan. 6 Were a Dereliction of Duty. – The New York Times

Steve Abbot, Peter Chiarelli, John Jumper, James Loy, John Nathman, William Owens and 

“Admirals Abbot, Loy, Nathman and Owens and Generals Chiarelli, Jumper and Wilson are retired four-star generals and admirals in the U.S. armed forces.

The inquiry by the House’s Jan. 6 committee has produced many startling findings, but none to us more alarming than the fact that while rioters tried to thwart the peaceful transfer of power and ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the president and commander in chief, Donald Trump, abdicated his duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

In the weeks leading up to that terrible day, allies of Mr. Trump also urged him to hold on to power by unlawfully ordering the military to seize voting machines and supervise a do-over of the election. Such an illegal order would have imperiled a foundational precept of American democracy: civilian control of the military.

Americans may take it for granted, but the strength of our democracy rests upon the stability of this arrangement, which requires both civilian and military leaders to have confidence that they have the same goal of supporting and defending the Constitution.”

Tears, Screaming and Insults: Inside an ‘Unhinged’ Meeting to Keep Trump in Power – The New York Times

“The meeting lasted for more than six hours, past midnight, and devolved into shouting that could be heard outside the room. Participants hurled insults and nearly came to blows. Some people left in tears.

Even by the standards of the Trump White House, where people screamed at one another and President Donald J. Trump screamed at them, the Dec. 18, 2020, meeting became known as an “unhinged” event — and an inflection point in Mr. Trump’s desperate efforts to remain in power after he had lost the election.

Details of the meeting have been reported before, including by The New York Times and Axios, but at a public hearing on Tuesday of the Jan. 6 committee, participants in the mayhem offered a series of jolting new details of the meeting between Mr. Trump and rival factions of advisers.”

Andrew Weissmann | Merrick Garland Should Investigate Trump’s 2020 Election Schemes as a ‘Hub and Spoke’ Conspiracy – The New York Times

Mr. Weissmann was a senior prosecutor in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“The tenacious work of the Jan. 6 committee has transformed how we think about the Jan. 6 rebellion. It should also transform the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Before the hearings, federal agents and prosecutors were performing a classic “bottom up” criminal investigation of the Jan. 6 rioters, which means prosecuting the lowest-ranking members of a conspiracy, flipping people as it proceeds and following the evidence as high as it goes. It was what I did at the Justice Department for investigations of the Genovese and Colombo crime families, Enron and Volkswagen as well as for my part in the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election led by the special counsel Robert Mueller.

But that is actually the wrong approach for investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. That approach sees the attack on the Capitol as a single event — an isolated riot, separate from other efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election.”

What Croydon, a ‘Live Free or Die’ Town, Learned About Democracy – The New York Times

“. . . .  You also should know that New Hampshire’s individual-rights vibe, along with its small population (1.38 million) and large legislature (400 representatives and 24 senators), has drawn libertarians like colonists to a tea party.

This includes the Free State Project, a movement that for years has promoted a mass migration of “liberty activists” to the state so as to seed a kind of limited-government Shangri-La. The group espouses “radical personal responsibility,” “constitutional federalism” and “peaceful resistance to shine the light on the force that is the state,” its website says.

ImageCroydon (population: 800) has, along with other parts of New Hampshire, attracted adherents of the Free State movement.
Credit…John Tully for The New York Times
Croydon (population: 800) has, along with other parts of New Hampshire, attracted adherents of the Free State movement.

Croydon, incorporated in 1763, is among the New Hampshire towns with a free-state vein running through its granite hills. This was hinted at in 2020, when Ian Underwood, a town selectman aligned with the Free State, proposed eliminating the police department as a way to fire its sole employee, the longtime and somewhat controversial chief.

The three-member select board adopted the approach and instructed the chief to return his badge and gear. He promptly handed over his uniform, which he happened to be wearing, and then, in hat, boots and underwear, walked out into a February snowstorm. His wife collected him down past the general store.

Croydon life continued, with yard sales at the museum, Halloween celebrations at the fire station and generally low turnouts at the annual town meetings — a direct-democracy tradition common in New England, when residents gather to approve, deny or amend proposed municipal budgets.

On a snowy Saturday this past March, the 2022 meeting began in the two-century-old town hall, where the walls are adorned with an 1876 American flag made by the “women of Croydon” and instructions to reset the furnace to 53 degrees before leaving.

Residents approved the town budget in the morning. Then they turned in the afternoon to the proposed $1.7 million school budget, which covers the colonial-era schoolhouse (kindergarten to fourth grade) and the cost of sending older students to nearby schools of their choice, public or private.

This is when Mr. Underwood, 60, stood up and threw a sucker punch to the body politic.

Calling the proposed budget a “ransom,” he moved to cut it by more than half — to $800,000. He argued that taxes for education had climbed while student achievement had not, and that based in part on the much lower tuition for some local private schools, about $10,000 for each of the town’s 80 or so students was sufficient — though well short of, say, the nearly $18,000 that public schools in nearby Newport charged for pupils from Croydon.”

They cut the 1.7 Million school budget by 50%!

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens | The Supreme Court’s Fighting Words – The New York Times

Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are Opinion columnists. They converse every week.

“Bret Stephens: Hi, Gail. We’ve had two monumental Supreme Court decisions over the last week, on guns and abortion. Maybe it isn’t a fair question, but which of them scares, dismays, enrages or makes you want to bang your head against the wall more?

Gail Collins: I feel totally traumatized by both of them — even though, I admit, I was pretty much expecting everything that happened.

Bret: A line that’s making the rounds: It’s like knowing daylight saving time is coming and setting your clock back 50 years.”

Michele Goodwin | No, Justice Alito, Reproductive Justice Is in the Constitution – The New York Times

Ms. Goodwin is a chancellor’s professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, and author of “Policing The Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood.”

“Black women’s sexual subordination and forced pregnancies were foundational to slavery. If cotton was euphemistically king, Black women’s wealth-maximizing forced reproduction was queen.

Ending the forced sexual and reproductive servitude of Black girls and women was a critical part of the passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments. The overturning of Roe v. Wade reveals the Supreme Court’s neglectful reading of the amendments that abolished slavery and guaranteed all people equal protection under the law. It means the erasure of Black women from the Constitution.

Mandated, forced or compulsory pregnancy contravene enumerated rights in the Constitution, namely the 13th Amendment’s prohibition against involuntary servitude and protection of bodily autonomy, as well as the 14th Amendment’s defense of privacy and freedom.”