Mostly Monday Reads: The Truth should set us FreePosted: January 2, 2023
Happy First Monday of the year 2023!
Out with the old and in with the new! Well, in some circumstances.
The truth will be hidden if you are a pregnant woman in Louisiana. Your truth will be that you are the state’s chattel, as are all other women. The state will still think you asked for every act of violence and violation of your personal rights because your truth is irrelevant.
Laws may cost your life and freedom if you are black in America. The truth will be wrapped up in perfidious stereotypes that may cost you everything. Chances are it will be the state that doles out this ending to you.
The truth may never translate to you if you seek asylum, refuge, or safety from the violence United States Drug and Foreign policy brings to your country. This will be especially true if you come from a “shithole” country or one that “never sends its best people” because you’re not of the ‘proper’ ethnic heritage.
The truth of Domestic Terrorism may never be entirely spoken if you were attacked in a religious space that isn’t respected by the group in power in this country. If you’re a member of the GLBT community, you’ve been told clearly that your truth must hide in a closet and never be seen in libraries, schools, or what was to be a safe space for your community.
There are others in this country where the truth of their lies is exposed, yet they get to keep at it in their everyday lives. They may ‘grab pussies’ and not be held to account in a court of law for sexual battery. They may be found out about their sexual misdeeds– many of which are illegal–and they still get to be the President of the United States. They may call for insurrection and actively plot with prominent political figures from many states and at the Federal Level, and they will be given a pass. They may even be the President, and they may run again. They may make up an entire life and work history, continue to hide the truth from their constituency, and still head to the District, where they will be welcomed by a power-hungry pol who just wants to be Speaker of the House.
This is the old stuff I’d really like to be rid of, and I wish the list wasn’t longer than I deal with in one blog post.
From the Independent: “Ginni Thomas admits she was not aware of any evidence of voter fraud when she lobbied to overturn election. Wife of Supreme Court judge admits she ‘wasn’t very deep’ in her knowledge of specific voter fraud claims in interview with Jan 6 committee.” Me: Who actually believes any of this?
In the aftermath of that election, Ms Thomas personally lobbied White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to text messages obtained by the committee and leaked to journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History,” she wrote on November 10, after Joe Biden had been projected as the winner.
In an interview with the January 6 Committee, which took place on 29 September 2022, committee members repeatedly pressed Ms Thomas to reveal what evidence of election fraud had motivated her to approach Mr Meadows.
“I can’t say that I was familiar at the time with any specific evidence. I was just hearing it from news reports and friends on the ground, grassroots activists who were inside of various polling places that found things suspicious,” Ms Thomas said in response to a question from committee member Jamie Raskin about the most significant evidence she had seen.
Later asked by Republican committee member Liz Cheney to confirm that she had seen no list of fraud or irregularities, Ms Thomas replied: “Right. I know. I wasn’t very deep; I admit it.”
Ms Thomas’ lobbying effort raised concerns among Democrats about a conflict of interest in the Thomas household, as Justice Thomas may have been called upon to rule on cases involving the 2020 election — a matter on which his wife was a committed political activist.
In her opening statement to the committee ahead of her interview, Ms Thomas said the couple maintain an “ironclad” agreement to avoid discussing Supreme Court cases in their home.
There was a lot of Twitter Trash around the entire Insurrection episode and the follow-up fake electors. Here’s a good summary from The Daily Beast. “Hope Hicks, Ivanka Aide Fumed at Karlie Kloss’ Jan. 6 Tweets. The pair also worried the insurrection would wreck their reputations and careers, newly released text messages reveal.” How far do things go before you stop enabling lies and the rule of chaos and ego?
After a mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a top aide to Ivanka Trump and presidential adviser Hope Hicks fumed about tweets posted by supermodel Karlie Kloss, the wife of Jared Kushner’s brother.
That’s according to text messages released by the House’s Jan. 6 committee—which also reveal the aide, Julie Radford, and Hicks were worried that the insurrection would destroy their reputations.
After the riot, Kloss took to Twitter to write: “Accepting the results of a legitimate democratic election is patriotic. Refusing to do so and inciting violence is anti-American.” She also responded to a Twitter user who encouraged her to “tell your sister-in-law and brother-[in]-law” by replying, “I’ve tried.”
The newly released texts show that Hicks flagged the Kloss tweets for Radford, who responded, “Unreal. She just called me about it.”
Hicks then texted back: “I am so done” and added, “Does she get how royally fucked they all are now?”
Hicks and Radford also fretted that they would face fallout from the deadly Capitol riots.
“In one day, he ended every future opportunity that doesn’t include speaking engagements at the local proud boy’s chapter,” Hicks wrote, apparently referring to lame-duck President Trump.
“And all of us that didn’t have jobs lined up will be perpetually unemployed,” she continued. “I’m so mad and upset. We all look like domestic terrorists now.”
Radford wrote that she’d “been crying for an hour.”
The self-pity didn’t end there, with Hicks moaning that she and other Trump White House officials would be “unemployable” and “untouchable” after the violence aimed at overturning the election of Joe Biden
“God, I’m so fucking mad,” she wrote.
Radford, who was Ivanka’s chief of staff, said the backlash was underway. “Visa also sent me a blow-off email today. Already,” she said.
“Not being dramatic, but we are all fucked,” Hicks fired back—while privately admitting Trump White House official Alyssa Farah Griffin’s resignation made her look like a “genius.”
Of course, we see young women in the administration whining about the entire episode. This one slayed me. “Hope Hicks to aide on Jan. 6: ‘We all look like domestic terrorists now’.” You may find it at The Hill. See any existential angst from the good ol’ boys’ side, or am I missing something?
Former White House aide Hope Hicks told a fellow aide in text messages during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection that “we all look like domestic terrorists now” as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
If you’re the right person, you get to make up all kinds of shit and still serve in the beltway! . This is from the New York Times. “As His Life of Fantasy Comes Into Focus, George Santos Goes to Washington. Mr. Santos, under scrutiny for lies about his background, is set to be sworn into Congress on Tuesday even as records, colleagues, and friends divulge more about his past.” The byline is shared by Michael Gold and
It remains unclear how the controversy might affect Mr. Santos’s debut in Congress, including his committee assignments. Mr. Santos told NY1 last month that he hoped to serve on the House Financial Services or Foreign Affairs committees, based on his “14-year background in capital markets” and a “multicultural background.” He has since admitted to misrepresenting his work in financial services, while aspects of his heritage have been called into question.
New reporting by The Times brings a clearer picture of his earlier life into view, including information about the gaps in his personal history, along with discrepancies in how he described his mother’s life.
Mr. Santos has said that he grew up in a basement apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. Until Wednesday, Mr. Santos’s campaign biography said that his mother, Fatima Devolder, worked her way up to become “the first female executive at a major financial institution.” He has also said that she was in the South Tower of the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that she died “a few years later.”
In fact, Ms. Devolder died in 2016, and a Brazilian community newspaper at the time described her as a cook. Mr. Santos’s friends and former roommates recalled her as a hardworking, friendly woman who spoke only Portuguese and made her living cleaning homes and selling food. None of those interviewed by The Times could recall any instance of her working in finance, and several chalked the story up to Mr. Santos’s tendency for mythmaking.
His apparent fabrications about his own life begin with his claims about his high school. He said he attended Horace Mann School, a prestigious private institution in the Bronx, and said he dropped out in 2006 before graduating and earning an equivalency diploma. A spokesman for Horace Mann said that the school had no record of his attending at all.
This guy lives on Fantasy Island. But, hey, he’s getting away with it so far!
So, I buried the lede or saved the last big act for the Center Ring. Your choice. Representative Kevin McCarthy is still struggling to attain the Speaker of the House position in the next Republican-led Congress. I have no idea why he wants to steer this ship of fools other than wanting to be The Speaker for some reason other than being able to accomplish anything in the position.
This is from POLITICO Playbook. It’s called “McCarthy on the brink,” with shared bylines by Rachel Blade, Eugen Daniels, and Ryan Lizza.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Seven years after his last, failed bid for the speakership, KEVIN McCARTHY’s dreams of wielding the gavel are again in peril. Despite years of political contortions aimed at winning over his critics on the far right, with just over 24 hours left until the critical floor vote, the California Republican’s math problem is getting worse, not better.
On Sunday evening, McCarthy announced on a private conference call that he would give his antagonists one of their top demands: The threshold to trigger a vote ousting a speaker would shrink from half the GOP conference, as had been agreed to by a majority of the members, to five dissatisfied lawmakers. But hours later, a group of nine House conservatives issued a letter saying that’s not good enough.
That’s in addition to the five “Never Kevin” lawmakers who have already declared they’re opposing McCarthy. (Remember: He can lose only four votes if all House members cast votes Tuesday.)
But this morning, we can report that that’s not even the worst of it. We caught up Sunday with one of the GOP fence-sitters, a member who has been in the room for these negotiations. And he told us that some of these undecided members won’t support McCarthy — even if he gives them everything they want.
“The problem is people don’t trust Kevin McCarthy and a number won’t vote for him. Those are just the facts,” this lawmaker told us. “The list [of demands] that we offered was not for guaranteed support but rather the kinds of things that might move some of his detractors.”
That’s a huge issue for McCarthy — one that his allies told us days ago they’re worried about. Notably, on the conference call Sunday, McCarthy repeatedly dodged questions from his own rank and file about whether his proposed “motion to vacate” change would even get him the votes.
It won’t, as the missive from the nine conservatives demonstrated Sunday night. And it’s unclear what more McCarthy can give them to change their minds before voting begins.
It will be history-making if his bid fails. These are some hints of who or what may come next if that happens. This is from the New York Times. “Here Are the House Republicans to Watch If McCarthy’s Bid For Speaker Falters. Representative Kevin McCarthy has so far faced no viable challenger for the speakership. But if he is unable to secure the votes, an alternative could quickly emerge.”
But the landscape could quickly change should Mr. McCarthy falter on Tuesday, when the new Congress convenes and lawmakers vote to elect a new speaker. House precedent requires that lawmakers continue voting on ballot after ballot if no one is able to win the gavel. If Mr. McCarthy is unable to quickly win election, Republicans would be under immense pressure to coalesce around an alternative, ending a potentially chaotic and divisive fight on the floor that could taint the start of their majority in the House.
The bad news is Sleazy Steve Scalise (also known as David Duke without the Baggage) is at the top of the list. Run for your lives!
Here are other items to read on tomorrow’s drama.
Farnoush Amiri / Associated Press: EXPLAINER: How the House of Representatives elects a speaker
One last harbinger of evil tidings, I’m off to relax one more day before returning to student time. This is from Bess Levin, writing at Vanity Fair. “A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO WHY A RON DESANTIS PRESIDENCY WOULD BE AS TERRIFYING AS A TRUMP ONE. His bigoted policies and authoritarian behavior make him just as bad a pick for the top job in Washington.”
He thinks it’s okay to treat human beings like chattel
Remember when the state of Florida sent a bunch of planes to Texas; lured Venezuelan migrants onto said planes with the promise of housing, jobs, and basic services; told them they were headed for Boston; and then dumped them on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard? All so the governor could score some cheap political points with the gang at Fox News and anyone else who thinks it’s cool to treat people from other countries as subhuman? You should, considering it happened quite recently, it was absolutely stomach-churning, and it’s presumably the kind of stunt DeSantis would look forward to regularly engaging in on a mass scale as president.
He’s dangerously anti-science
After three weeks of taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously by declaring it a public health emergency and ordering a statewide lockdown, DeSantis apparently decided science was for suckers. “We will never do any of these lockdowns again,” he said in April 2020—as thousands of Americans were dying each day—lifting all restrictions on schools, businesses, and government buildings and banning local governments from enforcing their own public health measures, like mask mandates.
After initially telling people to get vaccinated against the virus, he reversed course, refusing to say if he’d gotten a booster shot. He enacted a law prohibiting businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, including in petri dish environments like cruise ships. He withheld pay from school board members requiring masks; held a press conference with a guy who claimed COVID vaccines change your RNA; and offered unvaccinated cops $5,000 to relocate to Florida. In September 2021, he appointed Joseph Ladapo to serve as surgeon general of the state, apparently having appreciated the flurry of op-eds the doctor had written promoting hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, opposing masking and lockdowns, and questioning the safety of vaccines. Ladapo later recommended that healthy children not get vaccinated against COVID-19, despite the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics advising they do so and cited what experts said was a deeply flawed study that also recommended men between 18 to 39 not be vaccinated.
In December, DeSantis announced that he’d petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to convene a grand jury to investigate “crimes and wrongdoing” related to COVID-19 vaccines, and suggested in the petition that anyone who recommended people receive the lifesaving vaccine—like the CDC and Joe Biden—must have been financially compensated to do so. That announcement came approximately one month after the Palm Beach Post noted that “the coronavirus has killed more people aged 65 and over in Florida than any other state in the nation” and that “public health experts outside of the state attribute the trend to the DeSantis administration’s counterproductive COVID-19 policies,” which started when “the Governor began weaponizing health care.”
He wants to make it harder for people to vote and had Floridians arrested as part of another one of his political stunts
Like many a Republican, DeSantis is a big proponent of disenfranchising voters, and has signed a raft of laws making it harder for people to cast ballots for their candidates of choice, including ones limiting the use of drop boxes, hampering Floridians’ ability to vote by mail, and preventing the distribution or food or water to voters waiting on long lines. That a judge found such measures “unconstitutional and especially discriminatory toward minority voters,” according to USA Today, did not stop DeSantis from signing a bill this year creating the Office of Election Crimes and Security, and tasking it with investigating alleged voter fraud. During a press conference he held in August to brag about his work cracking down instances of supposed wrongdoing, the governor told reporters that more than a dozen people had been arrested on charges of voting illegally in the 2020 election and warned, “This is the opening salvo.”
But wait! There’s more! Go read the link and be aware if he decides to throw his black hat into the ring!
So, I hope you had a great New Years’ weekend! All hail to the Krewe of Crazy Cat ladies and to the Queen who carries the golden litter scoop! I joined my neighbors to wander the neighborhood and give treats to our huge feral cat community. Feral cat colonies are protected and fed by the city. Since we’re an international port and a tropical zone, cats really keep the vermin in check! We love them!! We also loved the free New Year’s buffets at the three bars in our Barmuda Triangle! I had two glasses of wine and napped the afternoon and night away like the super fun old lady I’ve become!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?