Caturday Reads (kat edition)

Chinese Folk Art – Cat under the Tea Table

Happy Saturday Sky Dancers!

BB is still having issues with her sciatica so I’ll be sitting in the catbird seat today again!

An interesting article showed up today in The Washington Post suggesting that one day in 1973 changed our country.  I was a junior in high school and remember the day and events.  However, I never viewed it as being that significant. See what you think.   “Jan. 22, 1973: The day that changed America” written by James D. Robenalt.

It was a day unlike any other in U.S. history. Jan. 22, 1973, was the day Henry Kissinger flew to Paris to end the Vietnam War for the United States. It was the day the Supreme Court issued its opinion on abortion rights in Roe v. Wade. And it was the day the nation’s 36th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, died of a heart attack in Texas at 64.

Few days have represented such a turning point in the trajectory of our history, and what happened that day started a chain reaction that turned politically nuclear, leaving us with the current landscape of unbridgeable divides.

Less than a decade earlier, the American populace had seemed as united as ever in a time of landslide elections and political consensus. The disintegration of that unity began well before Jan. 22, 1973, but no date more fully captures the end of the spirit of the ’60s and the start of a darker era of seemingly permanent political schism.

More than anything, the Roe ruling drew an enduring red line through American politics, where compromise was impossible and opponents were not only wrong but wicked. Every year since 1973, D.C. has been flooded in the days around Jan. 22 with antiabortion protesters for what has become known as the March for Life. (Last year’s events were called off because of the coronavirus, yet many still came to Washington. This year, despite the ongoing pandemic, the gathering took place Friday.) Promoters refer to the event as “the world’s largest annual human rights demonstration.”

The vaccine requirements for certain events at this year’s march sparked a vicious online battle, with many abortion opponents asserting that vaccines cause abortions or are produced using fetal cells. “It is tragic that a PRO-LIFE organization would be coerced into promoting ground-up murdered baby injections!” one person posted in the comments on the March for Life website. “This is evil.”

The radicalization of our politics would not have seemed possible to the actors who made Jan. 22, 1973, such a fateful day.

Chinese Folk Art Kitties, Zhu Suzhen

I do have to say that after a few years of just being relieved that women were no longer subjected to state control I had no idea there was a group of hardcore fanatics that would twist and turn every reality about the human reproduction process and gestation period into something unrecognizable and so focused on protohumans and unaware that viable 3rd term babies are simply born.  For me, it was just my first introduction to hard-core idiots.  We just used to call them “holy rollers” and got a good laugh at them if we saw their tents anywhere between our trips from Omaha to Kansas City on the backroads.

You can read the rest at the link including a triggering walk down Nixon Lane.

Mississippi Today reports that “Every Black Mississippi senator walked out as white colleagues voted to ban critical race theory. The historic, unprecedented walkout came over a vote on the academic theory that state education officials and Republican lawmakers acknowledge is not even taught in Mississippi.” This is reported by Bobby Harrison. The theory is clearly the new black welfare queen with a Cadillac trope. It’s another example of hard-core idiots. The struggle continues.

Every Black Mississippi senator walked out of the chamber Friday, choosing not to vote on a bill that sponsors said would prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in the state’s public schools and colleges and universities.

The historic, unprecedented walkout came over a vote on the academic theory that state education officials and Republican lawmakers acknowledge is not even taught in Mississippi. Republicans hold supermajority control of the Senate, meaning they can pass any bill without a single Democratic vote.

“We walked out as a means to show a visible protest to these proceedings,” state Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson, said of the unprecedented action.

In 1993, Black caucus members left before then-Gov. Kirk Fordice delivered his State of the State speech in protest of his policies. But no Capitol observer could recall an instance of members leaving en mass in protest before a vote on a bill.

“We felt like it was a bill that was not deserving of our vote,” said Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville. “We have so many issues in the state that need to be addressed. We did not need to spend time on this.

“Even the author of the bill (Michael McLendon, R-Hernando) said this was not occurring in Mississippi,” Simmons continued.

Chinese Folk Art – Girl Stroking Cat on her Lap

Yes, it is also now the partial-birth abortion myth of Racism. It’s yet another law designed to signal hard-core idiots to panic over a nonexistent situation also.  And speaking of hard-core idiots, let’s see today’s reads on The Oath Keepers.

 Erin Mansfield / Stars & Stripes: Leaked Oath Keepers list names 20 current military members

When they enlisted in the military, they swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, and to obey the orders all the way up to those from the president of the United States.

But then, while still in the service, they went on to swear a different allegiance — one to the now extremist, anti-government Oath Keepers. Dozens of military members vowed they would never obey potential government orders that group leaders considered acts of war or cause for a revolution.

At least 20 are still serving.

USA TODAY confirmed with all five branches of the U.S. military that 81 people signed up for the Oath Keepers while in uniform. The names are from a hacked list that a watchdog group shared with journalists last fall. The military members are in addition to the 40 current and former law enforcement officers USA TODAY confirmed in October 2021.

The Defense Department has known for decades that its members were joining extremist groups but often did not punish them, instead keeping in place a vague policy that banned their active participation, such as through fundraising or recruiting.

In December, the Defense Department clarified more than a dozen examples of active participation, but it’s unclear whether joining the Oath Keepers and remaining a member of the militia would run afoul of the new rules.

Hu Yongkai, Chinese Folk Cat Paintings

CNN: Videos show ‘Stop the Steal’ rally organizer saying he would work with extremist groups

An organizer of the “Stop the Steal” rallies that preceded the attack on the US Capitol a year ago said he would work with two extremist groups, who later had members charged in the attack, about providing security and housing for the January 6, 2021, rally in Washington.

In previously unreported videos from the social media platform Periscope reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Ali Alexander, a leader of the “Stop the Steal” rally and a central figure in the House select committee’s investigation of January 6, said he would reach out to the right-wing Proud Boys and Oath Keepers on providing security for the event. Both groups later had members charged in the attack on the Capitol, including conspiracy. Last week, the Justice Department charged the Oath Keepers leader and 10 others with seditious conspiracy related to the attack.

Alexander has not been charged or implicated in any unlawful act. He has denied working with anyone, including lawmakers or extremist groups, to attack the Capitol.

In other videos removed from Periscope — it’s unknown who removed the videos, when and why — Alexander claimed to describe further details of his communications and coordination with several Congressional Republicans pushing to overturn the election result. The lawmakers have denied planning rallies or coordinating with Alexander in any way.

Woman with Cat
Modern Chinese Art Painting, Mo Nong

And finally, from Lawfare: What Does the Seditious Conspiracy Indictment Mean For the Oath Keepers?

Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke at length recently on the Justice Department’s expansive efforts to prosecute “all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law—whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.” President Biden pointedly referred to the events of the day as “an armed insurrection … looking to subvert the Constitution.” Indeed, the prosecution of Rhodes and his co-defendants serves to elevate these Oath Keepers to a new tier of criminal conduct, into territory far more significant than trespassing, assault or obstruction of a congressional proceeding. This indictment may also serve as a warning to other high-level members of domestic violent extremist movements who allegedly engaged in similar conspiracies, including Proud Boys leaders such as Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs and potentially Proud Boys president Enrique Tarrio.

The arrest of Stewart Rhodes is likely to serve as a short-term blow to the operational activities of the Oath Keepers as a formal entity. The indictment against him makes it clear how important he is to the organization. He allegedly ran point on creating online encrypted groups where he pushed out orders to his followers. In one chat, entitled “Leadership intel sharing secured,” he noted two days after the November election, “We aren’t getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit[.]” Four days later, he led an online go-to meeting with fellow Oath Keepers where he “outlined a plan to stop the lawful transfer of presidential powers,” according to charging documents. While Oath Keepers general counsel Kellye SoRelle announced she is taking over as acting president, it is unclear what a post-Rhodes Oath Keepers organization will look like, or whether it will enjoy the same significance in anti-government circles without Rhodes. Rhodes played an outsized role in the organization and, in many ways, was the glue that kept the group together.

As the prosecution of Rhodes and hundreds of other Capitol Hill Siege defendants continues, it is more crucial than ever to ensure the government’s efforts to combat domestic violent extremism focus not only on the individual hierarchical groups and brands like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys but also on their ideological adherents who may not formally join organized groups. The government’s indictment makes it apparent that Rhodes felt the events of Jan. 6 were far from a final crescendo of anti-government activity in the United States, noting that after the inauguration, Rhodes “messaged others to organize local militias to oppose President Biden’s Administration.”

This is from The Mother Jones link cited in the above Tweet. You can read the precise details there.

In court filings this week, the Justice Department further revealed the scope of the alleged plot by Oath Keepers to mobilize a heavily armed “quick reaction force” (also known as a “QRF”) just outside of downtown Washington, part of a plan to unleash violence in the nation’s capital and stop the lawful transfer of the presidency to Joe Biden. One filing, a detention memo in the case against Oath Keeper Edwards Vallejo of Arizona, hints that more people could yet be charged in connection with the conspiracy. Evidence it contains also shows that extremists have embraced Trump’s most recent rhetoric reinforcing the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him through fraud, messaging that continues to fuel a violent far-right movement.

Hu Yongkai, Chinese Folk Cat paintings

Ed Pilkington–writing for The Guardian–elucidates the troubles of the Trump Family Crime Syndicate. “House of Trump is crumbling’: why ex-president’s legal net is tightening”.

In a new filing released this week designed to pressure Trump and two of his children – Ivanka and Donald Jr – into facing questioning, James forensically dissects how such strikingly large valuations came about. The 2011 estimate for the Scottish property, her investigators discovered, included an estimated £75,000 ($120,000 at 2011 exchange rates) for undeveloped land at the site.

Investigating deeper, they found that the figure had been created for an article in Forbes magazine. The revelation prompted a line in this week’s filing that must be among the tartest in US financial history.

“It thus appears,” James writes, “that the valuation of Trump Aberdeen used for Mr Trump’s financial statement was prepared for purposes of providing information to Forbes magazine in a quote.”

James’s legal document is packed with similarly juicy titbits. The 2014 value of the Scottish golf club was based in part on the projected sale price of 2,500 houses on the land, even though none of the houses actually existed and the company had planning permission for only half that number.

In 1995 the Trump Organization bought a parcel of land in Westchester, New York, known as the Seven Springs Estate, for $7.5m. By 2004 it was valued at $80m and by 2014 at $291m. That 2014 figure, James notes in another exquisitely tart reference, included a valuation of $161m for “seven non-existent mansions”.

The juiciest titbit of all concerns Trump’s former home, the gilded Fifth Avenue temple to his own ego dubbed “Versailles in the sky”, in which he lived before moving into the White House. James’s investigators were puzzled to find the Trump Tower triplex in Manhattan was listed at $327m in 2015, based on the apartment’s size, allegedly 30,000 sq feet.

In fact the property is 11,000 sq feet, which produces a value of $117m. That’s an overstatement in Trump’s official financial statements of more than $200m.

You might think this family of hard-core idiots was talking about the size of fish caught or the length of the family jewels.

James is pursuing her investigation as a civil case, which means that were Trump to be found liable it could cost him heavily in fines and penalties. More seriously, James is working in coordination with the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, a similarly tenacious and relentless prosecutor equipped with a large and highly experienced team of investigators.

Bragg is asking exactly the same questions as James: did the Trump Organization commit accounting, bank, tax or insurance fraud? The critical difference is that Bragg’s investigation is criminal, threatening Trump not with fines but prison time.

“Trump could end up in an orange jumpsuit at the end of that one,” said Timothy O’Brien, a senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.

So, history rolls on and rolls over a lot of people.  Just remember, we’ll shortly enter the Year of the Tiger. 

The Year of the Rat (2020) was about survival, and the Year of the Ox (2021) was about anchoring ourselves in a new reality. The Year of the Tiger will be about making big changes. This will be a year of risk-taking and adventure. We’re finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everyone is fired up, generosity is at an all-time high and social progress feels possible again.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


24 Comments on “Caturday Reads (kat edition)”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Have a good weekend! Hope you feel better BB!!!

  2. MsMass says:

    I remember 1973- on walking into a CA redwoods park after crossing Mt. Whitney on a college wilderness trip and thinking to myself, lots of “jesus freaks” here. That was the beginning of the evangelical movement in my view.
    Roe vs Wade was celebrated a few months later with sighs of relief. I knew a family member who had to fly to DC for an abortion 5 years earlier with associated fudging of medical need. You had to jump through alot of hoops in those days to qualify.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yes. My Presbyterian church had a panel that held a discussion on it. The women who had experiences with illegal abortion stories were terrifying to hear,

  3. NW Luna says:

    ‘Stop the Steal’ rally organizer saying he would work with extremist groups

    LOL. ‘Stop the Steal’ is already an extremist group!

  4. NW Luna says:

    I’m glad to hear NY AG James is being so thorough (though of course she would be). Ooooh, civil case which can levy heavy financial penalties! Also, “length of the family jewels”?

  5. NW Luna says:

    Love the cats — and fierce tiger — in the paintings!

  6. palhart says:

    Thanks for this post, kat. I found it to be calming and comforting today because of aspects of movement in the civil cases against DT. I hope he’s caught this time, but won’t hold my breath. I’ve been amazed at the number of idiots who live outside the South as I had thought we had 99% of them living here. Everyone please be careful so as you won’t have any reason to have to go to the hospital since the anti-vaccers are taking up too many of the ICU beds.

  7. dakinikat says:

  8. dakinikat says:

    This is an extremely good thread via Brennan Center lawyer about what the voter machine seizure would’ve meant in terms of law …

  9. roofingbird says:

    I don’t see that particular date as a nexus. Anti war marches had already been conducted. Watergate happened in 1972, just after the election. (Bad.) Hillary was on the investigation team.(Target for the emerging VRWC.) Most were enraged about a faulty president sending an SOS anywhere.(Especially Vietnam.) A lot of broken people were returning. Foodstamp use was growing from 3 to 15 million, and sentiment over that was also growing.