And can you believe this?
Cartoons via Cagle:
Some disturbing videos out of Yellowstone:
Meanwhile in Mexico City:
This kid has the moves:
And just an update…my daughter Bebe has a new kitten, she picks her up later tonight. It is a little 11week old female.
So have a good day, try to keep cool.
Good Day Sky Dancers!
There’s a seemingly endless discovery of shakedowns and grifts that came at the end of the Trump administration. We know many individuals carted off the people’s property like Trump himself and Mike Pompeo. Donald Trump’s emolument violations are legendary and unpunished.
We also know that Jared Kushner made endless trips to Saudi Arabia asking for his pay for how much he helped them benefit from his access to his father-in-law. Now, we know Steve Mnuchin made just as many trips and received money for his business. All this happened while the White House was planning the insurrection.
From the New York Times: “Kushner’s and Mnuchin’s Quick Pivots to Business With the Gulf. Weeks before the Trump administration ended, Jared Kushner and Steven Mnuchin met with future investors on official trips to the Middle East.” This revolving door usually happens after officials leave office but not these two. Under the guise of “The Abraham Fund”, these two milked their positions for all they were worth.
Shortly before the 2020 election, Trump administration officials unveiled a U.S. government-sponsored program called the Abraham Fund that they said would raise $3 billion for projects around the Middle East.
Spearheaded by President Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, the fund promised to capitalize on diplomatic agreements he had championed between Israel and some Arab states — pacts known as the Abraham Accords. Steven Mnuchin, then Treasury secretary, helped inaugurate the fund on a trip to the United Arab Emirates and Israel, hailing the accords as “a tremendous foundation for economic growth.”
It was little more than talk: With no accounts, employees, income or projects, the fund vanished when Mr. Trump left office. Yet after Mr. Kushner and Mr. Mnuchin crisscrossed the Middle East in the final months of the administration on trips that included trying to raise money for the project, each quickly launched a private fund that in some ways picked up where the Abraham Fund had ended.
Mr. Kushner and Mr. Mnuchin brought along top aides who had helped court Gulf rulers while promoting the Abraham Fund, and soon, both were back in the same royal courts asking for investments, although for purely commercial endeavors.
Within three months, Mr. Mnuchin’s new firm had circulated detailed investment plans and received $500 million commitments from the Emiratis, Kuwaitis and Qataris, according to previously unreported documents prepared by the main Saudi sovereign wealth fund, which itself soon committed $1 billion. Mr. Kushner’s new firm reached an agreement for a $2 billion investment from the Saudis six months after he left government.
A New York Times report last month revealing the Saudi investments in the Kushner and Mnuchin funds raised alarms from ethics experts and Democratic lawmakers about the appearance of potential payoffs for official acts during the Trump administration.
These were no small sums as reported by Business Insider: “Jared Kushner and Steve Mnuchin cashed in fast on their Trump-era work, raising $3.5 billion from Arab states for private funds, report says.” At least the money showed up after the Trump administration ended but the grift occurred during it.
Shortly after Trump left office, Mnuchin launched a fund, Liberty Capital, and Kushner followed soon after, launching Affinity Partners in July.
Within six months, Affinity Partners had secured a $2 billion investment from the Saudi sovereign-wealth fund, The Times reported in April.
Liberty Capital raised more than $1.5 billion from the sovereign-wealth funds of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar within three months of Mnuchin leaving office, The Times reported.
Political commentators and ethics experts were concerned that the investments may be a way for the investors to gain footing with those close to Trump, should he run for and win the 2024 election. Trump has yet to declare whether he will run.
The Times reported that Kushner and Mnuchin made a string of visits to the Middle East while in office, meeting those who would ultimately invest billions in their funds.
Kushner made three trips to the Middle East shortly after the November 2020 US election, The Times said, including a January 5 meeting in Saudi Arabia with leaders of the Persian Gulf states.
On January 5, 2021, Mnuchin started his own Middle East tour, with scheduled stops to visit the heads of the sovereign-wealth funds of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait, The Times reported.
Rough way to make a living hmmm? The worst is that the policy pay-off is pretty disgusting and may include letting the Khashoggi murder slide. From MSNBC’s MaddowBlog: “Why Saudi money for Kushner, Mnuchin is drawing fresh scrutiny. Before leaving office, Jared Kushner and Steven Mnuchin engaged in official Middle Eastern travel to countries they would soon hit up for private cash.”
On the former, let’s not forget just how eager Team Trump was to cozy up to Riyadh. As we discussed last month, Trump’s first foreign trip while in office was to Saudi Arabia. When Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman imprisoned other members of the royal family, Trump announced his support for the move. When the Saudis imposed a blockade on U.S. allies in Qatar, Trump endorsed this, too. When the U.S. had evidence of bin Salman approving the operation that killed Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump boasted that he came to the crown prince’s rescue and shielded him from consequences.
Kushner was responsible, at least in part, for helping shape the administration’s policy, making at least three trips to Saudi Arabia during his father-in-law’s first year in the White House. (Oddly enough, the actual total might be more: One of Kushner’s trips was kept private and only came to public attention after his return.)
Then, as his father-in-law’s term wound down, Kushner didn’t just prepare for life after a powerful White House role, he also made a series of additional trips to the Middle East, meeting with representatives of countries his newly formed private equity firm would soon approach for substantial financial investments.
Texas, of course, is well known for its high plains grifters. This is from CNN: “Jackson may have violated federal law by using campaign funds to pay for private dining club, report finds.” Do we need to mention that he’s a Republican?
GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson may have violated federal law by using campaign funds to pay for “unlimited access” to a private dining club in Texas, according to a review by a House advisory panel, referring the matter for further investigation.
The Office of Congressional Ethics is asking the House Committee on Ethics to launch an investigation into Jackson’s use of campaign funds after its review found “substantial reason to believe” that Jackson either converted campaign funds for personal use or expended funds that were not attributable to campaign or political purposes — a potential violation of campaign finance law and House rules.
Jackson refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to the review, but his attorney disputed the findings in a letter to the House ethics panel.
The advisory board found that Jackson’s campaign expenses “may not be legitimate,” asserting that Jackson “used campaign funds to pay for unlimited access to the Amarillo Club, a private dining club located in Amarillo, Texas.”
The review documents that Jackson’s campaign fund, Texans for Ronny Jackson, has made consistent payments to the Amarillo Club since October 2020, including dues, membership food, beverage and membership fees. Between October 2020 and September 2021, the review found that Jackson’s campaign committee made 11 monthly dues payments to the club, totaling $1,929.07.
And for some reason, someone just had to hear from Henry Kissinger’s war criminal mouth one more time. This is from the Washington Post. “Kissinger says Ukraine should concede territory to Russia to end war. ” He really puts the meat to the bones in terms of that old saying “Only the good die young.” They evidently invited him to Davos. (Sigh)
Former U.S. secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger said Monday that Ukraine should concede territory to Russia to help end the invasion, suggesting a position that a vast majority of Ukrainians are against as the war enters its fourth month.
Speaking at a conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Kissinger urged the United States and the West to not seek an embarrassing defeat for Russia in Ukraine, warning it could worsen Europe’s long-term stability.
After saying that Western countries should remember Russia’s importance to Europe and not get swept up “in the mood of the moment,” Kissinger also pushed for the West to force Ukraine into accepting negotiations with a “status quo ante,” which means the previous state of affairs.
“Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome. Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante,” said Kissinger, 98, according to the Daily Telegraph. “Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.”
There are 4 states having primaries today. Georgia will likely be the most-watched but all are important.
This is from the NPR tweet link above. Some of these candidates are real doozies.
Four states hold primary contests Tuesday, including runoff elections in Texas.
Georgia holds the political spotlight, as the endorsement power of former President Donald Trump faces its biggest test yet — and likely its largest failure — as Democrats also seek a path to flip the state’s control from a divided GOP.
Trump has endorsed a slew of Georgia candidates — including lesser-known, down-ballot races like insurance commissioner — in the state where he faces a criminal probe after a January 2021 call in which he asked Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” some 12,000 votes to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
I personally want Huckabuck defeated in Arkansas because I can’t take any more of her constant lying. Unfortunately, the Lt Governor dropped out to run for AG and her only rival is a dark horse. We’ll have to hope that the Democratic candidate can win in November.
Well, that’s today’s Journal of High Plains Grifting. I’m sure there will be more when the Jan, 6 Committee starts its hearings next month.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Fifty years ago, Elton John released Tiny Dancer, and Clockwork Orange was playing in theatres. We were fighting what seemed like an endless war run by a lawless President. It was the year of the Easter Offensive when North Vietnamese forces overran South Vietnamese forces. It was probably the first true evidence of a war the US would not win.
Shirley Chisholm became the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) passed Congress and got 35 of the 38 votes to become a Constitutional Amendment. In 1972, Native Americans occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The protest came from tribal frustration with the government’s ‘Trail of Broken Treaties.’ It lasted six days.
Furman v. Georgia was decided in 1972. The United States Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty schemes in the United States in a 5–4 decision. Each member of the majority wrote a separate opinion. The Civil Rights act of 1972 passed which led to Title IX.
A recipient institution that receives Department funds must operate its education program or activity in a nondiscriminatory manner free of discrimination based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Some key issue areas in which recipients have Title IX obligations are: recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment, which encompasses sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; treatment of LGBTQI+ students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment. Also, no recipient or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in a proceeding under Title IX.
1972 was also the year of the Gary Declaration coming from a National Black Political Convention. Reverend Jesse Jackson was just one of many to attend the convention.
What Time Is It?
We come to Gary in an hour of great crisis and tremendous promise for Black America. While the white nation hovers on the brink of chaos, while its politicians offer no hope of real change, we stand on the edge of history and are faced with an amazing and frightening choice: We may choose in 1972 to slip back into the decadent white politics of American life, or we may press forward, moving relentlessly from Gary to the creation of our own Black life. The choice is large, but the time is very short.
Let there be no mistake. We come to Gary in a time of unrelieved crisis for our people. From every rural community in Alabama to the high-rise compounds of Chicago, we bring to this Convention the agonies of the masses of our people. From the sprawling Black cities of Watts and Nairobi in the West to the decay of Harlem and Roxbury in the East, the testimony we bear is the same. We are the witnesses to social disaster.
Our cities are crime-haunted dying grounds. Huge sectors of our youth — and countless others — face permanent unemployment. Those of us who work find our paychecks able to purchase less and less. Neither the courts nor the prisons contribute to anything resembling justice or reformation. The schools are unable — or unwilling — to educate our children for the real world of our struggles. Meanwhile, the officially approved epidemic of drugs threatens to wipe out the minds and strength of our best young warriors.
Economic, cultural, and spiritual depression stalk Black America, and the price for survival often appears to be more than we are able to pay. On every side, in every area of our lives, the American institutions in which we have placed our trust are unable to cope with the crises they have created by their single-minded dedication to profits for some and white supremacy above all.
I was in high school feeling like we might actually get through this all and get to the dream of a more perfect Union. It was definitely a year of ups and downs. Fifty years ago seems like another lifetime. You’d think we’d see more progress on all of this.
We do have a Black Woman Vice President but no ERA and we had our first Black Man elected President who served two terms.. The Department of Interior is led by an Indigenous woman who has planned reforms that might bring more civil rights to our native peoples. Women’s sports are taken a lot more seriously but not one woman player earns what her male peers make.
Black Americans face a new wave of voter suppression and a Supreme Court ready to tear through laws meant to improve access to American Universities not unlike what the 1972 Civil Rights law sought to do on the basis of gender. We just got rid of a second long, unwinnable war but will we have another?
We also have Elton John on tour and Droogs. The Droogs are the white male Maga Men and hide under names like Oathkeepers, Proud Boys, and Patriot Front.
Some things don’t change and in this country, we know why. They don’t share power. They don’t want to. They’ll do anything to keep as much of it as possible. We have a White Male problem and it’s mostly got the face of an extreme patriarchal take of Christianity.
So that’s the perspective. This is the reality in 2022. This is from MS Magazine whose first stand-alone magazine was published in 1972. Excerpts from Elizabeth Hira’s “Americans Are Entitled to Government That Truly Reflects Them. Let’s Start With the Supreme Court” are going to show you exactly how far the rest of us still have to go. It’s in response to the audacity the Republican Party has to hold up Joe Biden’s promise to appoint the first black woman to the Supreme Court as some kind of affirmative action for a less-qualified person which is total Bull Shit.
This is the premise she completely proves. “Our current system has created conditions where, statistically, mostly white men win. That is its own kind of special privilege. Something must change.”
This is her conclusion. “American government in no way reflects America—perpetuating a system where male, white power makes decisions for the rest of us.”
These are her descriptive statistics.
Data shows these claims are not hyperbolic. A Supreme Court vacancy started this inquiry: There have been 115 Supreme Court justices. 108 have been white men. One is a woman of color, appointed in 2009. (Americans have had iPhones for longer than they’ve had a woman-of-color justice.)
One might be tempted to dismiss old history, except that the Supreme Court specifically cannot be looked at as a “snapshot in time” because the Court is built on precedent stretching back to the nation’s founding. Practically speaking, that means every decision prior to 1967 (when Justice Thurgood Marshall joined the Court) reflected what a group of exclusively white men decided for everyone else in America—often to the detriment of the unrepresented.
In a nation that is 51 percent female and 40 percent people of color, are white men simply more qualified to represent the rest of us than we are of representing ourselves? That sounds ridiculous because it is. And yet that is the implication when naysayers tell us that race and gender do not matter—that the “most qualified” people can “make the best choices” for all of us, and they all just happen to be white men.
What’s worse, those white men aren’t just making broad, general decisions—each and every branch of government acts in ways that directly impact people because of their race and gender, among other identities.
- When the Supreme Court considers affirmative action, it will be considering whether race matters for students who are already experiencing an increase in school segregation—what Jonathan Kozol once dubbed “Educational Apartheid.”
- When Congress is inevitably asked to pass a bill to protect abortion should the Court strike down Roe v. Wade, 73 percent of the Congress making that decision will be men—not people who could even potentially experience pregnancy.
- When recent voting rights bills failed, it was because two white Democrats and 48 Republicans (45 white and three non-white) collectively decided not to protect all American voters of color against targeted attacks on their access to the ballot.
- When Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke to the Senate floor about why she could not take necessary steps to protect Americans of color, she did not have to look a single sitting Black woman senator in the eye. Because there are none.
The pattern holds federally, too: Today’s Congress is the most diverse ever—a laudable achievement. Except that today’s Congress is 77 percent white, and 73 percent male. (As an example of how clear it is that Congress was simply not designed for women, Congresswomen only got their own restroomin the U.S. House in 2011.)
In the executive branch, 97.8 percent of American presidents have been white men. There has never been a woman president.
The numbers don’t lie. I don’t even want to go into the number of American presidents that have been worse than mediocre including the previous guy. This is the kind of systemic discrimination perpetuated in this country’s primary decision-makers. It is no wonder 50 years later we are even losing the table scraps they’re stealing now.
I’m going to leave you with this one last analysis before telling you to go read the entire essay.
The first female major-party presidential nominee was dogged by questions of her “electability,” and recent data shows large donors gave Black women congressional candidates barely one-third of what they gave their other female counterparts. Some people don’t support women and candidates of color because they worry these candidates simply can’t win in a white male system of power—which perpetuates a white male system of power. To create equitable opportunities to run, we must change campaign finance structures. It’s a necessary precursor to getting a government that looks like everyone.
I’m trying to send money to Val Demings in her effort to take down Mark Rubio. Mark Rubio will never consider the interests of all of his constituency because he’s funded by white males with a vested interest in their monopolies on politics and the economy.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Now Tom said, “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beating a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me, Mom, I’ll be there
Wherever somebody’s fighting for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helping hand
Wherever somebody’s struggling to be free
Look in their eyes, Ma, and you’ll see me”
Like Tom Joad, I was born an Okie. I was born on the Cherokee strip one of those places on the Trail of Broken Treaties at the end of the Trail of Tears. “The Grapes of Wrath” was on many a book banning and burning list back in the day. Look for it again on a list near you.
Watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat…
If anyone said half the shit tRump has said…they would not have been elected either.
In other news:
Read through this next one…
I want to vomit:
I’m not crazy about the Lincoln Project, probably because of who is behind it…but this is a real good ad:
What do you think?
Have a good Sunday…