Thanksgiving Day Reads


Good Morning!!

This morning, I’m grateful for my family and friends;  I’m grateful for this blog and my Sky Dancer friends; I’m grateful to have a safe and comfortable place to live; and I’m grateful that the monster who currently sits in the Oval Office will soon be gone and we will once again have a normal president. I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving day.

Unfortunately, we still have to survive 55 more days until Trump is gone, but we can do it together! Here are some news stories to check out if you need a break today:

Amy Coney Barrett has made her unique contribution to worsening the already out-of-control pandemic. The New York Times: Splitting 5 to 4, Supreme Court Backs Religious Challenge to Cuomo’s Virus Shutdown Order.

The Supreme Court late Wednesday night barred restrictions on religious services in New York that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had imposed to combat the coronavirus.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s three liberal members in dissent. The order was the first in which the court’s newest member, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, played a decisive role.

The court’s ruling was at odds with earlier ones concerning churches in California and Nevada. In those cases, decided in May and July, the court allowed the states’ governors to restrict attendance at religious services.

245988_rgb_768The Supreme Court’s membership has changed since then, with Justice Barrett succeeding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September. The vote in the earlier cases was also 5 to 4, but in the opposite direction, with Chief Justice Roberts joining Justice Ginsburg and the other three members of what was then the court’s four-member liberal wing.

The court has decided that religion “trumps” government efforts to promote public health. Churches are now free to hold frequent super-spreader events and put lives at risk.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to surge as we move into the holidays. It will likely worsen after Americans gather with family and friends. The Washington Post: As Americans prepare to gather for Thanksgiving, the world watches with dread and disbelief.

Foreign observers are watching with trepidation — and at times disbelief — as coronavirus cases surge across the United States, and masses of Americans are choosing to follow through with plans to visit family and friends for this week’s Thanksgiving holiday anyway.

It’s been a grueling year. Many have gone months without seeing their loved ones. Thanksgiving travel is down and many families are opting against their usual festivities. But as the pandemic drags on, with shorter days and chillier weather forcing more people indoors, the social isolation is becoming more difficult to bear.

Decisions over whether to gather have turned divisive, as experts warn that Thanksgiving includes the key ingredients — a shared, indoor meal and inter-household mixing — that could spark an even worse surge in cases in the coming weeks.

7064534a-d7ab-4693-a512-4c3e469b6641-245656_RGB_1536It’s a scenario that officials in other countries are trying to avert ahead of other upcoming holidays, such as Christmas and New Year’s.

“From Australia, this looks like a mindbogglingly dangerous chapter in the out-of-control American COVID-19 story,” Ian Mackay, an associate professor of virology at the University of Queensland, wrote in an email. “Sadly, for some, this will be a Thanksgiving that is remembered for all the wrong reasons.”

Yesterday Trump pardoned Michael Flynn. Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent at The Washington Post: Trump wages war on our country and the rule of law one last time.

In a move no less appalling for it being no surprise, President Trump has pardoned Michael Flynn, his disgraced former national security adviser. Add him to the rogue’s gallery — among them Joe Arpaio, Dinesh D’SouzaRod Blagojevich, Bernard Kerik and Roger Stone — of criminals and reprobates to whom Trump has given executive clemency, their loyalty and obsequiousness winning them an escape from full accountability for their misdeeds.

But Flynn stands apart from the rest, because his whole story contains so much of the Trump era in microcosm.

And in pardoning Flynn, Trump has waged what may be his final biggest act of war on our country.

Back in 2016, Flynn was given a close advisory role to the Republican candidate, mostly because he was one of the few retired flag officers who would stand behind Trump. The fact that he was a loony conspiracy theorist and venomous Islamophobe (he once said Islam is “a malignant cancer”) only helped. At the time, he was also secretly working on behalf of the Turkish government.

download (1)Flynn’s 24-day tenure as national security adviser came to an end when routine government surveillance of the Russian ambassador discovered the two officials in conversation before Trump was inaugurated. When the FBI questioned Flynn about it, he lied to the agents about the substance of their conversations, as well as to others in the Trump White House.

Flynn pleaded guilty to his crime, and that could have been the end of it. But then — and this is where his story becomes even more a Trump story — he was adopted by the far right as a martyr, a victim of the so-called deep state, a hero whose only crime was service to Donald Trump.

Attorney General William P. Barr injected himself into the case this past May, seeking to undo Flynn’s guilty plea. To say it’s unusual for the nation’s chief prosecutor to come to the side of someone who has already pleaded guilty would be an understatement. Along with the commutation given to Stone, it was as vivid an illustration of the corruption of the Justice Department as one could imagine.

But before Flynn’s case could be resolved by the court, Trump stepped in with a pardon. Not because Flynn was innocent. Not because he received some draconian sentence (he hadn’t been sentenced yet) and justice demanded it. But simply because he’s one of Trump’s guys, one of a long list of criminals and thugs with whom this president has surrounded himself.

As Andrew McCabe pointed out on CNN yesterday, the entire Russia investigation might not have happened if Flynn had not lied to the FBI. That led to an FBI investigation that Trump tried to get FBI director James Comey to end. Comey’s refusal led Trump to fire him, leading to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor. Now Flynn, who twice pled guilty, has been pardoned. 

David Frum at The Atlantic: Trump Pardoned Flynn to Save Himself.

Here’s the first and most important thing to understand about the crime for which President Trump just pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn: Flynn did not lie to protect himself. He lied to protect Donald Trump.

5dd8229d06539.imageAt the end of December 2016, Flynn had a series of conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. A month later, on January 24, 2017, Flynn was asked about those conversations by the FBI agent Peter Strzok.

In the first set of conversations, Flynn urged Kislyak to oppose a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. The second set occurred a week later, while Flynn was on holiday in the Dominican Republic. There, Flynn sought to convince Kislyak to persuade the Russian government not to retaliate against the United States, over a round of sanctions punishing Russia for intervening in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump.

From Flynn’s own narrow personal point of view, there was no reason to lie about any of these conversations. Yes, he was pushing the limits a little bit, doing diplomacy before the new administration took office. A more elegant diplomat would have found a way to honor the rule that there’s only one administration at a time, while also communicating what he wanted the Russians to know about the differing intentions of the incoming administration. But such limit-pushing has surely happened often before in the history of American foreign policy. All Flynn had to say to avoid legal jeopardy was, “Yes, I spoke to Ambassador Kislyak. Possibly I was premature. My bad.”

Read the rest at The Atlantic. Trump’s pardon of Flynn is corrupt and he should be prosecuted for it. I don’t know who the next attorney general will be, but Biden says he won’t interfere with the Department of Justice. We can only hope that Trump will suffer some consequences for what he has done to our country.

As of yesterday, Trump and Rudy Giuliani were still trying to overturn the 2020 election. As usual, their efforts were bizarre and embarrassing. The Daily Beast: Trump Calls Into Rudy Giuliani’s Latest Election Fraud Pantomime.

President Donald Trump called into a bizarre “hearing” on voter fraud organized by Rudy Giuliani and Pennsylvania Republicans on Wednesday—part of a doomed attempt to overturn an election result that has been certified by the state.

After canceling an in-person appearance, Trump called campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis’ phone, which was held up to a microphone as people in the Gettysburg hotel room cheered.

jd112220dapr“We have to turn the election over because there’s no doubt we have all the evidence, we have all the affidavits, we just need some judge to listen to it properly,” Trump said, after weeks of not producing any evidence of mass fraud in court. “Evidence is pouring in now as we speak.” [….]

In his rambling phone call from the Oval Office, Trump repeated his vague claims about the entire election being rigged, about winning every swing state, and about Republican poll watchers in Pennsylvania being “treated like dogs.” (In fact, COVID-19 restrictions meant all observers couldn’t be nearer than 25 feet to counters—a decision the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld.)

“This election was lost by the Democrats, they cheated, it was a fraudulent election, they flooded the market, they flooded everybody with ballots and I just want to thank everybody for being there,” Trump said. “This is a very important moment in the history of our country.”

Giuliani said he wanted a special prosecutor to probe those who ran the election.

“I think you have more than enough to say that this election, the numbers don’t add up,” he said. “It’s easy to figure out what the right numbers are by excluding the illegal votes. Out of the honest votes, the winner of the election changes.”

CNBC reports on the efforts of another Trump lawyer to overturn the Pennsylvania election results: Trump lawyer details far-fetched strategy to reverse Pennsylvania win for Biden.

Two-Turkeys-by-Jeff-Koterba-CagleCartoons.com_A lawyer for President Donald Trump’s campaign on Wednesday revealed that the campaign could be relying on pulling off a complicated — and possibly unprecedented — legal and legislative trick shot to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania and possibly in other states.

That far-fetched strategy would require a federal court to invalidate Pennsylvania’s certification of its election results, and then get the state’s General Assembly to agree to send Trump electors to the Electoral College.

The idea is buried in a footnote in a three-page letter that campaign attorney Marc Scaringi wrote to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

The Trump campaign is asking that appeals court to hear its bid to block the effect of Tuesday’s certification of a win for Biden in Pennsylvania.

Read more Trump legal insanity at the link.

Ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell is still trying to “help” Trump stay in the White House, even though she has been fired from Giuliani’s team. Bloomberg:  Ex-Trump Lawyer Sidney Powell Files Election Suits in ‘DISTRCOICT’ Court.

A lawyer who was dropped from President Donald Trump’s legal team filed typo-strewn lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia alleging massive election fraud.

Sidney Powell, who has pushed some of the most extreme conspiracy theories around the election of Joe Biden, filed the lawsuits late Wednesday, according to a post on Twitter. The two cases have similar themes of problems linked to voting machines, mail-in ballots and deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

Conspiracy-Theories-by-Kevin-Siers-The-Charlotte-Observer-NCPowell was kicked off Trump’s legal team this week after her claims about a vast Democratic conspiracy against the president. Days earlier she had appeared at a press conference alongside Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, where she alleged a plot to swing the election to Biden that involved voting-machine tampering and Venezuela.

The pre-Thanksgiving lawsuits, which target elected officials in both states, also include other claims about forged ballots and observers being unable to watch the vote count.

Despite numerous allegations of voter fraud and irregularities from Trump and his supporters, no evidence has emerged of widespread problems that would have changed the results of the election, which Biden won with 306 electoral votes.

Hang in there Sky Dancers. Just 55 more days to go. Have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving Day.

12 Comments on “Thanksgiving Day Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. dakinikat says:

    SCOTUS unleashed the plague rats and just put religion above the law imho. I really hate republicans right now.

    • quixote says:

      Me too. And I didn’t know it was even possible to have more revulsion against them than I already did!

    • I find it bizarre that these supposedly intelligent, well educated people, benched for the rest of their lives utttering last words, cannot discern the difference between the process of moving into, through and out of a grocery store with minimal personal interaction and, alternatively, sitting side by side, chanting, singing etc. for an hour or more. It is a very different level of contact. Religious congregation is much more analogous to spending time in a crowded bar, or restaurant, or packed into an arena cheering on a favourite team.
      The promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” seems to have been bastardized to “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for me and “f*ck off and die” for anybody who gets in my way. To me, this seems supremely unjust!

    • NW Luna says:

      Singing is about the most effective way to spread covid-19 (next to direct inoculation). Religion shouldn’t be an excuse to infect people. These people must believe their allegedly all-powerful deity can’t hear them except in large groups.

      I seem to recall something in the Christian bible about healing the sick. It sure wasn’t an exhortation to infect the healthy.

    • djmm says:

      It would be bad even if the attendees were only a danger to themselves. But they are a danger to the rest of the community including essential workers and medical personnel, as they go out, shop, work, recreate — and find themselves having to be tested and even hospitalized.

      It will take time to clean up the Trump-tainted Supreme Court.

  4. NW Luna says:

    I’m thankful for the SkyDancing community!

  5. NW Luna says:

    h/t to Delphyne

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    Happy Thanksgiving