Monday Reads: 16 Days and CountingPosted: January 4, 2021
Good Day Sky Dancers!
It’s back to work for me! So, I know that the cat pix are usually BB’s thing but these 16th century rocket cats completely intrigued me. They also reminded me that I would like to just streak through the next 16 days like a speeding bullet.
I knew when the Washington Post got that tape of Trump demanding the Secretary of State of Georgia find him some 11 thousand odd votes with not so vague threats attached that my writing fate this morning was sealed. There are equally outrageous things going on with the Mad King like giving Presidential medals of honor to the rogue’s gallery of the most dishonorable Republican members of Congress whose names make me queasy. Then, there’s also some rumors that we’re sending him to Turnberry in Scotland some time around the last of those 16 days. It seems like his remaining flunkies are doing what they can to enforce his worst policies too while we’re watching him meltdown. I offer up this example from Louisiana.
Djibril Coulibaly arrived in Louisiana 19 years ago, recruited from his native Mali by the state’s prize-winning program to promote the French language in schools. He and his wife settled in Opelousas, where their three sons were born. In 2012, they moved to Thibodaux, where he taught second and third graders and sometimes volunteered as a soccer coach.
In the halls of W.S. Lafargue Elementary School, Coulibaly was known as a punctual, soft-spoken instructor who rarely missed a day of class. So when he didn’t show up for work on Dec. 15 — and his 2001 blue Toyota Sierra van was found empty on a street near the school — those who know him were alarmed enough to call the hospital emergency room and the Thibodaux Police Department.
Police investigators soon learned that federal agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement had driven over from Mississippi to arrest Coulibaly, 50, who now sits in a detention center 160 miles from his family, awaiting deportation in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration.
That prospect has spawned prayer groups for Coulibaly along with gift cards, presents and donations to his family and a flurry of letters written by his employer, colleagues and friends, all with hopes of stopping ICE from sending him back to Mali.
“I don’t know what went wrong, but I want things to be right,” said Sandy Holloway, president of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and a former Lafourche Parish educator who knows Coulibaly personally. “He’s a very good gentleman, and I love his children.”
An ICE spokeswoman would not discuss Coulibaly’s case, citing privacy concerns. But in recent years, immigration judges have ruled that Coulibaly must leave because he does not have a continuous visa allowing him to stay in the United States. His lawyers are still appealing those decisions, and his friends still question his abrupt apprehension.
“Why are they rushing to deport him?” said Ana Elashry, a special education teacher whose children are close with Coulibaly’s sons? “He’s a good man, a family man, on top of being a teacher.”
Yes, on top of a pandemic that’s rampant and other ongoing shitshows we see that the Trumpist regime is still on its basic mission which is to rid the country of all people of color. Mr. Coulibaly is also Muslim. Devin Nunes gets a Presidential medal of honor and this fine teacher and his family get the death penalty.
One of the key worries among his supporters is that Coulibaly’s middle son is non-verbal and severely autistic. Because the family is Westernized and his children have attended Roman Catholic schools in Louisiana, they say, his son’s condition is likely to be viewed in Mali as punishment for people who are not good Muslims.
Also, in recent years, Islamist fundamentalists have gained more power in his native country, which could put his family in danger, wrote Charlotte Walker-Said, an associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and specialist on French-speaking parts of West Africa.
Speaking of Pandemics before Fauci trolled Trump over the weekend on Trump’s accusation that the CDC “exagerates” covid deaths. Fauci told Trump “These are real deaths.”
This is from the Slate link in the above twitter.
President Donald Trump criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sunday morning, accusing it of propagating “fake news” by exaggerating the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States. In a Sunday morning tweet, Trump said the numbers are inflated because of the CDC’s “ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries.” Trump sent the tweet as the the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States passed the 20-million mark and the death toll surpassed 350,000, by far the highest in the world, followed by Brazil, which has reported more than 195,000 deaths.
So, most of the outrage today surrounds a call from Trump to Georgia SOS basically begging him to overturn his state’s election results. Trump just may have violated Federal and State law. This is from the NYT and written by Eric Lipton.
The call by President Trump on Saturday to Georgia’s secretary of state raised the prospect that Mr. Trump may have violated laws that prohibit interference in federal or state elections, but lawyers said on Sunday that it would be difficult to pursue such a charge.
The recording of the conversation between Mr. Trump and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of Georgia, first reported by The Washington Post, led a number of election and criminal defense lawyers to conclude that by pressuring Mr. Raffensperger to “find” the votes he would need to reverse the election outcome in the state, Mr. Trump either broke the law or came close to it.
“It seems to me like what he did clearly violates Georgia statutes,” said Leigh Ann Webster, an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer, citing a state law that makes it illegal for anyone who “solicits, requests, commands, importunes or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage” in election fraud.
At the federal level, anyone who “knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a state of a fair and impartially conducted election process” is breaking the law.
The call and Trump’s absurd charges of election fraud have caused the 117th Congress to be in total chaos. This is from Olivia Beavers writing for Politico: “117th Congress kicks off with GOP civil war, calls for impeachment and plexiglass”.
It’s less than 24 hours into the 117th Congress and we’ve already seen Republicans break out into a civil war, Democrats renew calls to impeach President Donald Trump and quarantined members being forced to vote from the confines of a plexiglass case in the House chamber. Welcome to 2021.
THE GOP TURNS ON ITSELF: An intra-party battle is heating up within the Republican Party as two bitterly divided sides clash over the decision of at least 12 GOP senators, and dozens more House Republicans, to challenge the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win.
The effort is snowballing as more Republicans join the Trump-guard led by Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) in the Senate and Rep. Mo Brooks (Ala.) in the House, while the old guard like Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is warning that this effort is jeopardizing the nation’s democratic values.
With nearly a quarter of Senate Republicans taking part in the effort, against the urging of top GOP Senate leaders, it is also becoming clear just how much of a force Trump will be in the Republican Party even once he’s out of the White House. As one top House Republican told Huddle: “[Trump’s] the 800 pound gorilla.” They don’t want to cross him.
The tensions have jumped so high that individual GOP senators are now directly headbutting one another, with Toomey accusing Cruz, Hawley and other Republicans of undermining the right to participate in direct elections and Hawley decrying Toomey’s arguments and “shameless personal attacks.”
“I’m concerned about the division in America, that’s the biggest issue, but obviously this is not healthy for the Republican Party,” lamented Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). “This is bad for the country and bad for the party.” Burgess and Marianne with the story. http://politi.co/3odDYcZ
The Washington Post has published the full audio and a transcript if you haven’t ventured there yet. It’s pretty difficult to miss how unhinged Trump has become since losing the election. Raffensperger keeps calmly explaining that nothing he says is true.
Trump: It doesn’t pass the smell test because we hear they’re shredding thousands and thousands of ballots, and now what they’re saying, “Oh, we’re just cleaning up the office.” You know.
Raffensperger: Mr. President, the problem you have with social media, they — people can say anything.
Trump: Oh this isn’t social media. This is Trump media. It’s not social media. It’s really not; it’s not social media. I don’t care about social media. I couldn’t care less. Social media is Big Tech. Big Tech is on your side, you know. I don’t even know why you have a side because you should want to have an accurate election. And you’re a Republican.
Raffensperger: We believe that we do have an accurate election.
Trump: No, no you don’t. No, no you don’t. You don’t have. Not even close. You’re off by hundreds of thousands of votes. And just on the small numbers, you’re off on these numbers, and these numbers can’t be just — well, why wont? — Okay. So you sent us into Cobb County for signature verification, right? You sent us into Cobb County, which we didn’t want to go into. And you said it would be open to the public. So we had our experts there, they weren’t allowed into the room. But we didn’t want Cobb County. We wanted Fulton County. And you wouldn’t give it to us. Now, why aren’t we doing signature — and why can’t it be open to the public?
And why can’t we have professionals do it instead of rank amateurs who will never find anything and don’t want to find anything? They don’t want to find, you know they don’t want to find anything. Someday you’ll tell me the reason why, because I don’t understand your reasoning, but someday you’ll tell me the reason why. But why don’t you want to find?
Meanwhile, NewsMax says Trump really made the case. This weird ass right wing media outlets are getting more surreal every day. The make Fox News look like MSNBC practically. Blooomberg‘s Timothy L O’Brien writes this “Trump’s Phone Call Is What Coup Fever Looks Like”.
Like the little boy haunted by ghosts in the horror movie “The Sixth Sense,” President Donald Trump sees dead people everywhere. He thinks at least 5,000 of them voted in Georgia during the presidential election and were part of a broader conspiracy that deprived him of a victory in the state.
In an unhinged, extraordinary phone call Saturday with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, and Ryan Germany, Raffensperger’s general counsel, Trump tried to strong-arm them into conceding that President-elect Joe Biden hadn’t really secured 11,799 more votes than he did. And he encouraged them to find ways to invalidate those votes, according to a recording of the conversation obtained by the Washington Post (which broke the story) and Bloomberg News.
“So what are we going to do here folks?” Trump asked during the one-hour call. “I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes.” Trump, who oversees the Justice Department for 16 more days, also threatened both men, warning that they could be charged with a crime if they failed to support his voting fraud fairytales.
Trump has been at this for decades, so there’s nothing surprising here. He spent years trying to bully, buy off or corrupt regulators, politicians, law enforcement officials and others he encountered as a developer, casino operator, media fixture and politician. He was impeached for trying to convince Ukraine’s president during a phone call to find dirt on Biden that would undermine his presidential candidacy.
But it is surprising how easily Trump continues to corrupt so many around him. Too few in his party are willing to tell the president, as Germany did, that reality doesn’t comport with his lies. Cowed by Trump’s political traction or eager to jump on his gravy train, too few are willing to abandon him publicly so voters’ faith in the electoral process, democracy and the rule of law isn’t permanently undercut.
The phone call memorialized what corruption and a desire to orchestrate a political coup sound like and, happily, Raffensperger and Germany were unswayed. “The challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger told Trump, who continued trying to steamroll him anyway. “What we’re seeing is not at all what you’re describing,” said Germany.
So, I’m exhausted by all of that Trumpy stuff and inclulding this crazy pandemic and all the selfish people that refuse to do right by our public health laws. I’m also exhausted by the thought that 40 percent of the American public does not appear to be able to recognize insanity and evil when they see it. This is why I am thankful every time I get to read your comments. We may be a far flung community in terms of space but we need to hold tight to the folks who know that none of this is normal for anything but a dysfunctional banana republic.
I can’t wait for the Biden/Harris Administration to come turn some of this around. I hope it’s in time for people like Djibril Coulibaly and his family and for all the families who have or will have some one living through or dying from Covid 19. It didn’t have to be like this. I doubt I’ll ever not see some one who voted for that monster without thinking of the same folks that marched the country to hell trying to hold on to slavery.
Take care! Be safe! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?