Finally Friday Reads: The Republican Insane Asylum and it’s a democratic republic IF we can keep itPosted: March 24, 2023 Filed under: just because | Tags: Republicans Ongoing Threat to Democracy 21 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
It’s hard to read and watch the news these days without getting PTSD from the shock and awe of the meltdown of Orange Caligula and watching the incredible number of folks with Personality Disorders taking front and center in MAGGot land. It’s on the national and local headlines all over the country. The attacks on schools and libraries continue. It appears the only strategy they have to try to stop the next few generations from rejecting all that hate and stupidity. Meanwhile, the reality of gun violence, insufficient obstetric care in most of the country, and climate change reality gets shuffled to the back page. Yesterday’s post was jarring on many levels for me. Nobody can ever really prepare you for the performance of right-wing Republicans.
Marjorie Taylor Greene says outrageous and invalid things under our legal system. Yesterday, The Guardian reported that MTG announced, “Alvin Bragg must be arrested ahead of expected indictment of ‘innocent former president’ Trump.” How off-the-wall is that? And, like all Republican projections, this is a call for a Banana Republic-style political move. Lock up all your political enemies!
MAGA Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is calling for the arrest of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg amid speculation that Donald Trump will be indicted on charges relating to hush-money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
In a social media post on Wednesday, Ms Greene called for the DA to be taken into custody.
“Now it’s time to arrest Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg for prosecutorial misconduct after hiding hundreds of pages of exculpatory evidence!” she wrote. “Bragg is on the verge of indicting an innocent former President and top Presidential candidate against the opposing ruling party.”
She then veered into a conspiracy theory, claiming the DA was “breaking the law” and “trying to incite civil unrest with his Soros funded political war.”
“Hold him accountable!” she wrote.
How do they even come up with this shit?
Yesterday’s post contained some of the most outrageous Truth Social Farts I’d seen by Trump. He called out a lynching party on the highly qualified, educated, and respected Black D.A. of Manhattan. It’s not any better today. This is from the New York Times. “Trump, Escalating Attacks, Raises Specter of Violence if He Is Charged. In an overnight post, the former president stepped up his attacks on the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, and warned of “potential death and destruction” if he is indicted.”
Will law enforcement let him incite an insurrection and lynch mob again? When does calling out for this stuff become enough to lock him up?
In an overnight social media post, former President Donald J. Trump predicted that “potential death and destruction” may result if, as expected, he is charged by the Manhattan district attorney in connection with hush-money payments to a porn star made during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The comments from Mr. Trump, made between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on his social media site, Truth Social, were a stark escalation in his rhetorical attacks on the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, ahead of a likely indictment on charges that Mr. Trump said would be unfounded.
“What kind of person,” Mr. Trump wrote of Mr. Bragg, “can charge another person, in this case a former president of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting president in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a crime, when it is known by all that NO crime has been committed, & also that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our country?”
“Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truely hates the USA!” the former president wrote.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Bragg did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In an email to his staff last week, Mr. Bragg wrote that the office “will continue to apply the law evenly and fairly, and speak publicly only when appropriate.”
Glenn Thrush and Alan Goldman write this analysis in the New York Times. “Trump Inquiries Present a Stress Test for Justice in a Polarized Nation. Attorney General Merrick Garland and other prosecutors have sought to demonstrate that politics should not infect the justice system. Those efforts face a steep challenge as the Trump investigations move ahead.”
Even in the absence so far of any charges against Mr. Trump, Trump, political polarization runs so deep, and mistrust of federal law enforcement is so ingrained on the right, that efforts by Mr. Garland and others to offer assurances that justice is being dispensed without regard to politics are often drowned out by powerful counterforces. Among the strongest of those forces are allies of Mr. Trump who have sought to undercut the legitimacy of the Justice Department in general and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in particular.
The Justice Department “has been a remarkable backstop,” said Lindsay M. Chervinsky, a presidential historian and senior fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. “But the department is being given a role that it was never really designed to have — defending American democracy.”
In some ways, the confluence of Trump-focused inquiries is putting the criminal justice system through a public stress test unlike any in American history.
This is from emptywheel. “HAPPY CRIME-FRAUD EXCEPTION DAY, FOR THOSE WHO CELEBRATE.” You know who the criminal is when two judges find this rarely used, and usually in mob cases, crime-fraud exception for attorneys.
For the US political world, though, today marks crime-fraud exception day, the day that at least one of Trump’s attorneys will be obliged to testify about how Trump lied to his lawyers to try to get away with hoarding stolen classified documents.
Because Evan Corcoran (and possibly Georgia attorney Jennifer Little) will testify today, I thought it a good day to update the list of attorneys who were or have been witnesses or who may be subjects in one or more investigations into Trump.
Since the Stormy Daniels payment may lead to Trump’s first indictment, Michael Cohen gets pride of place at number one on this list, a reminder that for seven years, Trump lawyers have been exposing themselves to legal jeopardy to help him cover things up.
The following lawyers have all — at a minimum — appeared in subpoenas pertinent to one or another of the investigations into Donald Trump, and a surprising number have testified before grand juries, including at least three with (Executive Privilege) waivers. To be clear: Many have no legal exposure themselves, but are instead simply witnesses to the efforts made to keep Trump in line before they were replaced with lawyers who were willing to let Trump do whatever he wanted, legal or no. But some of these lawyers have had legal process served against them, and so may themselves be subjects of one or multiple investigations.
- Michael Cohen (hush payment): convicted felon whose phones were seized April 9, 2018
- Rudolph Giuliani (Ukraine, hush payment, Georgia, coup attempt): phones seized in Ukraine investigation April 28, 2021, received subpoena for billing records in fundraising investigation around December 2022
- John Eastman (Georgia, coup attempt): communications deemed crime-fraud excepted March 28, 2022; phone seized June 22, 2022
- Boris Epshteyn (stolen documents, coup attempt, Georgia): testified in Georgia grand jury; phone seized in September after which he retroactively claimed to have been doing lawyer stuff
- Sidney Powell (fraud, coup attempt, Georgia): Subpoenas sent in fraud investigation starting in September 2021; testified before Georgia grand jury; appeared in November subpoena
- Jeffrey Clark (coup attempt): May 26 warrant for cloud accounts and phone seized June 22, 2022
- Ken Klukowski (coup attempt): May 26 warrant for cloud accounts
- Victoria Toensing (Ukraine, coup attempt): Phone seized in Ukraine investigation April 28, 2021, on June and November subpoenas
- Brad Carver (Georgia and fake elector): phone contents seized June 22
- Jenna Ellis (coup attempt and Georgia): Rudy’s sidekick, censured by CO Bar for
lyingserial misrepresentations, on June and November subpoenas
- Kenneth Cheesbro (fake elector, Georgia): included in June and November subpoenas
- Evan Corcoran (stolen documents): testified before grand jury in January, testifies under crime-fraud exception on March 24
- Christina Bobb (coup attempt, Georgia, stolen documents): interviewed in October 2022 and appeared before grand jury in January, belatedly asked for testimony in Georgia
- Stefan Passantino (coup attempt obstruction and financial): included in November subpoenas, alleged to have discouraged full testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson
- Tim Parlatore (stolen documents): appeared before grand jury in December 2022
- Jennifer Little (Georgia and stolen documents): ordered to testify under crime-fraud exception
- Alina Habba (stolen documents, NYS tax fraud): testified before grand jury in January
- Bruce Marks (coup attempt): included in November subpoena
- Cleta Mitchell (coup attempt and Georgia): included in November subpoenas
- Joshua Findlay (coup attempt): included in June subpoenas
- Kurt Olsen (coup attempt): included in November subpoenas
- William Olson (coup attempt): included in November subpoenas
- Lin Wood (coup attempt): included in November subpoenas
- Alex Cannon (coup attempt, financial, stolen documents)
- Eric Herschmann (coup attempt, Georgia, financial, stolen documents)
- Justin Clark (coup attempt and financial): included June and November subpoenas
- Joe DiGenova (coup attempt): included in June and November subpoenas
- Greg Jacob (coup attempt): grand jury appearances, including with Executive Privilege waiver
- Pat Cipollone (coup attempt): grand jury appearances in summer and — with Executive Privilege waiver — December 2
- Pat Philbin (coup attempt and stolen documents): grand jury appearances in summer and — with Executive Privilege waiver — December 2
- Matthew Morgan (coup attempt): included in November subpoenas
Tim Parlatore is the latest addition to this list, based off someone’s decision to reveal Parlatore’s testimony to the stolen documents grand jury in December. As ABC reported, Beryl Howell ordered him to testify after he belatedly revealed that investigators he hired had found four documents with classification marks in a box brought back to Mar-a-Lago after the August 2022 search (he emphasizes that he did so without a subpoena, but this was an effort to stave off a finding of contempt).
So read this excellent piece about All the Ex-President Lawyers. Contempt charges anyone?
And, it’s not just the MAGA/Freedom Caucus crazies that are after U.S. Democracy. They’re definitely the sideshow. This is from Sherrilyn Ifill writing at Slate. “The Republican Plan to Make Voting Irrelevant.”
On Tuesday, it was reported by NBC News that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to recover at a rehabilitation center after his fall at a restaurant in Washington earlier this month. McConnell spoke with fellow Republican Senators over the phone from the facility and “sounded like Mitch,” according to Senate Minority Whip John Thune.
The news brought to mind McConnell’s exceptional instincts as a political calculator, and in particular his past cynical and perhaps prescient deliberations concerning his own health. In 2020, amid reports that McConnell had visited Johns Hopkins in Baltimore after concerning photos were published showing intense bruising on one of his hands, the Kentucky Republican began a campaign to pressure the GOP-controlled Kentucky Legislature to change that state’s law to remove from the governor—who is a Democrat—the authority to select a candidate to fill the unexpired term of a departing U.S. senator. The ability of the governor to appoint a nominee to fill the unexpired term of a senator without restrictions is the law in 35 states.
But McConnell urged, and the Kentucky Legislature took the step of changing that state’s law—overriding the veto of the governor to do so—in a way that assured that Republicans would maintain control of McConnell’s seat should it become vacant.
This effort—to remove powers from elected representatives who are Democrats—has become the new method of disenfranchising voters and maintaining perpetual Republican political power. And it is being undertaken with alarming frequency and speed across the country. This may be the most dangerous and efficient structural attack on our democracy. Its threat, and pernicious ingenuity, lies in its ability to make voting itself irrelevant. Voters may turn out in high numbers and elect their candidates of choice, but if the official is not one whose views align with those of the Republican Party, they may find that their powers of office are removed by antagonistic GOP-controlled legislatures.
We have seen this phenomenon most readily applied to so-called progressive prosecutors who have run successfully on platforms of criminal justice reform across the country. Progressive prosecutors have refused to prosecute low-level marijuana possession crimes, have embraced diversion programs, have opened conviction integrity units to review prior prosecutions for violations of law, and have prosecuted police officers for brutality. For embracing these and other reforms, progressive prosecutors have been confronted with an array of efforts to remove their power. Prosecutors who prosecute or investigate the wrong kinds of criminal suspects in the eyes of Republican legislators have also received this treatment.
Aramis Ayala became the first Black elected prosecutor in the state of Florida when she was elected in 2016 as state’s attorney for Orange and Osceola counties. One of her early announcements was that she would no longer pursue death sentences in capital cases. She argued that seeking the death penalty in homicide cases was draining the coffers of the county, in addition to many other flaws. Indeed, one study found that Osceola County had more prisoners on death row than over 99 percent of U.S. counties. The Republican attorney general of Florida and, subsequently, Republican Gov. Rick Scott and then Gov. Ron DeSantis removed from Ayala all first-degree murder cases and transferred them to a prosecutor in a different circuit.
Go read this piece. MTG and her antics should not detract us from the real danger Republicans still pose.
One more from Slate. Never in my lifetime did I expect to see any school official fired because three prudish parents couldn’t handle their kids seeing Michelangelo’s David. “An Interview With the School Board Chair Who Forced Out a Principal After Michelangelo’s David Was Shown in Class.” WTAF?
On Thursday, the Tallahassee Democrat reported that the principal of a local charter school, the Tallahassee Classical School, was forced to resign after three parents complained about an art teacher showing a picture of Michelangelo’s 16th-century sculpture of David. “Parental rights are supreme, and that means protecting the interests of all parents, whether it’s one, 10, 20 or 50,” the chair of the school’s board, Barney Bishop III, told the paper. To figure out exactly how this happened, I called Bishop, who is also, according to his biography, a consultant, a lobbyist, an “outspoken advocate for the free enterprise system,” and an Eagle Scout. Our conversation has been edited for clarity.
Dan Kois: Why did the board make the decision to remove the principal of the school?
Barney Bishop III: Well, like all the reporters I’ve talked to today, the premise that you’re operating from is incorrect. We didn’t remove her. She resigned. She’s an at-will employee by contract, as are all our teachers. I went to her last week and offered her two letters. One was a voluntary resignation, and another a letter that said if she decided not to resign, I was going to ask the board to terminate her without cause. Without cause. We have the right to do that under the contract.
So it’s safe to say she resigned under pressure from the board.
As I said in the Tallahassee Democrat, based on counsel from our employment lawyer, I’m not going to get into the reasons. But this wasn’t about that one issue. That’s not the entire truth, and she knows it. The fact is, I have been working with her since she became principal, and I have supported her as principal. But as I saw how things were going, how decisions were being made, I made the decision this was the best thing for the school.
Believe me, this many of them hammering on Abortion rights kept at it for nearly 50 years, and look where we are today. They won’t stop. They’ve been at “multiculturalism” and are now decrying a weird take on “woke,” which means we don’t want anything that is WHYTE CHRISTIANIST NATIONALISM.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I’m gonna fight ’em all
A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back
They’re gonna rip it off
Taking their time right behind my back
And I’m talking to myself at night
Because I can’t forget
Back and forth through my mind
Behind a cigarette
And the message coming from my eyes
Says, “Leave it alone”
Don’t wanna hear about it
Every single one’s got a story to tell
Everyone knows about it
From the Queen of England to the Hounds of Hell
And if I catch it coming back my way
I’m gonna serve it to you
And that ain’t what you want to hear
But that’s what I’ll do
And the feeling coming from my bones
Says, “Find a home”
I’m taking Keely to the vet today for a check-up. Keep your fingers crossed! The meds are working. She’s had no seizures since she was on them, but wow, this little 9 lb cat knows how to fight against being pilled!
Have a good weekend!
Well, scratch that and move it to Wednesday morning.
Glad Keely has been seizure-free!
This thread…I feel like throwing up.
I know. And MTG is visiting “political prisoners,” aka INSURECTIONSISTS, and violent mobs in a DC Prison again. Just as the woman who broke into Pelosi’s office got 3 years there …
” The young Pennsylvania woman who helped break into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Jan. 6, and whose age and actions brought her notoriety and made her one of the iconic faces of the insurrection, has been sentenced to three years in prison, a judge ruled on Thursday.
Riley June Williams, 23, of Harrisburg, had been convicted in November with interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder and related counts. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C.”
3 years for breaking and entering and treason seems much too short.
Marjorie Three Names’ antics are plenty to prove the Repubs are now a front for a transnational crime syndicate. The Donald is so far from being the only prion in this disease.
But I have such a bad feeling about how this is going. I’d think if the US was going to reject that crap it would have done so by now. ?? Wouldn’t it?? You’d think the (gerrymandered) Repub state reps squelching Democratic governors (statewide, harder to gerrymander) would be enough to make politicians run around with their hair on fire? ??
And, yes, the majority have rejected it over and over and over again. But we’re not in a democracy any more. It’s been a slow takeover going all the way back to Reagan. The response has always been a bit of patching. It’s never proportional to the scale of the criminal takeover.
Meanwhile, as with all dictatorships, there’s enough popular support for male white supremacy to keep the awful avalanche rolling.
We’re going backward. Voting Rights Act nearly eviscerated. Women’s bodily autonomy nonexistent in many states. Today’s Republicans would recognize Nixon’s Watergate tactics but would find his other policies liberal by comparison.
Russia, huh. Imagine that.
Jimmy Kimmel only just finished pointing out Trump wouldn’t be in so much trouble if he wasn’t the D.U.M.B.E.S.T criminal alive. So the Dump decides to go one better by hiring the exact same apparatchiks as two? three? of his current court cases involve?
How does this guy manage to feed himself?
What’s left of his trust fund money goes to big Macs so he doesn’t need utensils like 3 fingers pudding DeSantis.
But of course!
So Florida art teachers can’t use images of Michelangelo’s David in art class. What about Botticelli’s Venus? Or Praxiteles’ Aphrodite? Somehow I guess that the images of naked women are allowed.
Gah. Conservatives freak out about sculptures of naked males and liberals demand that GenderQueer with its illustrations of kids doing fellatio should be kept in school libraries. Can we get some effin’ balance!
Kellie-Jay Keen organizes Let Women Speak events for women’s rights and women’s and girls’ same-sex spaces. These started in London’s Hyde Park at Speaker’s Corner. There’s a long tradition of that location as a place where speakers could informally talk to the public about current events, politics, or whatever. KJK simply provides a mike and women attendees can come up and speak or just listen. All women are saying is that they have a legitimate right for their same-sex spaces — changing rooms, restrooms, female sports, showers.
Somehow this is seen as hatred of trans people, and anti-women’s rights / pro-men’s rights protestors have shown up at Let Women Speak events to make noise and threats to try to shut up the women.
In New Zealand today Keen and other women had paint, eggs and other material thrown at them and were met with bodily violence. Why do men hate women who speak up?
‘”The trans movement is no threat whatsoever to women,” say trans activists as they form a violent mob and assault women.’
I’m not sure you can even say they lack self-awareness. It’s a lack of any awareness at all.
The funny thing is if you read transactivist threads, it’s all about how dangerous and awful and damaging “terfs” are. And if you read long enough to get to actual evidence — what have they actually _done_ that’s so bad — it’s things like … said they want single-sex space for women.
There was a case (I think in England?) where a woman got so incensed at a TRA in a public toilet she attacked him in some fashion to make him leave. At which point the UK pro-trans press rose up in arms about how terrible it was for transwomen to be running the risk of violence and not having a “safe place to pee.” Um, yeah. Women of course would know nothing about that.
Last comment on this despicable violence against women. I agree it comes down to male hatred of women saying “No” to men.