Finally Friday ReadsPosted: September 23, 2022 Filed under: campaign financing, corporate money, corruption, court rulings, executive privilege, misogyny, Republican politics, Treason and Sedition Republican Style, tRump crimes against humanity, War on Women 22 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
The headlines are filled with Republican Shenanigans. Holding them accountable for illegal actions appears difficult. This highlights the difference in treatment for everyone else and white men.
The case against Rep. Matt Gaetz has now been considered too difficult to prosecute because all of the witnesses are not upstanding citizens. What do you expect from a gang of sex traffickers of underage women? Devlin Barret, writing for The Washington Post, states: “Career prosecutors recommend no charges for Gaetz in the sex-trafficking probe. Investigators see credibility challenges for two of the main witnesses in the probe of the congressman’s past dealings with a 17-year-old.”
Career prosecutors have recommended against charging Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in a long-running sex-trafficking investigation — telling Justice Department superiors that a conviction is unlikely in part because of credibility questions with the two central witnesses, according to people familiar with the matter.
Senior department officials have not made a final decision on whether to charge Gaetz, but it is rare for such advice to be rejected, these people told The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations. They added that it is always possible additional evidence emerges that could alter prosecutors’ understanding of the case.
Nevertheless, it is unlikely that federal authorities will charge Gaetz with a crime in an investigation that started in late 2020 and focused on his alleged involvement with a 17-year-old girlseveral years earlier. Gaetz,40, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying he has never paid for sex. He has also said the only time he had sex with a 17-year-old was when he was also 17.
The congressman is likely a role model for these guys. Again, this is from The Washington Post, written by Taylor Lorenz. “The online incel movement is getting more violent and extreme, report says. The Center for Countering Digital Hate analyzed more than 1 million posts showing a rise in advocacy of rape, mass killings.”
The most prominent forum for men who consider themselves involuntarily celibate or “incels” has become significantly more radicalized over the past year and a half and is seeking to normalize child rape, a new report says.
The report, by the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s new Quant Lab, is the culmination of an investigation that analyzed more than 1 million posts on the site. It found a marked spike in conversations about mass murder and growing approval of sexually assaulting prepubescent girls.
The report also says that platforms including YouTube and Google, as well as internet infrastructure companies like Cloudflare are facilitating the growth of the forum, which the report said is visited by 2.6 million people every month. “These businesses should make a principled decision to withdraw their services from sites causing such significant harm,” the report says.
“This is a novel, new violent extremist movement born in the internet age, which defies the usual characteristics of violent extremist movements that law enforcement and the intelligence community are usually used to,” said Imran Ahmed, founder and CEO of CCDH, a US-based nonprofit. “Our study shows that it is organized, has a cogent ideology and has clearly concluded that raping women, killing women, and raping children is a clear part of the practice of their ideology.”
Incels blame women for their failings in life. The term originated decades ago, and while the first incel forum was founded by a woman in the mid 1990s, incel communities have since become almost exclusively male. Incel ideology has been linked to dozens of murders and assaults over the past decade, the most prominent one involving Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old self-described incel who murdered six people in a stabbing and shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2014. Before killing himself, he posted a long manifesto and YouTube videos promoting incel ideology.
In March, the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center released a report warning that anti-woman violence was a growing terrorism threat.
According to the CCDH analysis, members of the forum post about rape every 29 minutes, and more than 89 percent of posters support rape and say it’s acceptable. The CCDH analysis also found that posters on the forum are seeking to normalize child rape. More than a quarter of members of the forum have posted pedophilia keywords, the analysis found, and more than half of the members of the forum support pedophilia.
I don’t believe this is necessarily a new thing. This is the problem with the internet. It lets the worst of society hang together and leads to an evil gestalt. These men gain confidence and ideas from their online cult. Also, they can see how easy it is for certain types of men to avoid legal entanglements.
This is written by Brian Bennet. Steal food or smoke a joint, and you wind up in jail for years. This is especially true if you’re a minority or a poor person. Steal millions via government grants; they ignore you. Like in sports, Colin Kaepernick and Michael Vick get demonized for their behaviors and dumped. Brett Favre steals millions for welfare recipients in Mississippi and crickets.
On Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James compounded Trump’s legal woes, announcing that the state was suing Trump, his three adult children, the Trump Organization, and senior management in the company, alleging business fraud involving the value of assets to banks, insurance companies and the state tax authorities.
The sheer number of investigations and the increasingly tangled defenses his legal team is having to put on paper and argue in court amount to a stress test of Trump’s standard strategy to deny, deflect, delay, and not put anything in writing.
“I don’t think there’s any other president who was in a similar legal jeopardy” after leaving office, says Timothy Naftali, a historian at New York University and former director of the federal Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Warren Harding was investigated by his own vice president and successor, Calvin Coolidge. Nixon would have been the target of investigations for years if Gerald Ford had not pardoned him in September 1974, a month after Nixon resigned from office.
“Even Nixon pales by comparison,” says Norman Eisen, an anti-corruption expert at Brookings Institution and the former special counsel to the Democrat’s House Judiciary Committee from 2019 to 2020 during Trump’s first impeachment. “Nixon just had one Watergate scandal. Trump has had a succession of them, each one more concerning than the last.”
In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is looking into how Trump pressured election officials to swing the 2020 presidential election in his direction. The House Jan. 6 Committee and the Department of Justice are both looking at what role Trump played in the lead up to the deadly attack on the Capitol Building to stop the lawful counting of electoral college votes. Federal prosecutors have an active criminal investigation into how and why Trump took thousands of government documents—many containing state secrets—to his residence at Mar-a-Lago and why he refused repeated requests to return them.
And New York’s civil lawsuit announced by James on Wednesday is on top of a separate criminal investigation out of the Manhattan District Attorneys’ Office into the Trump Organization that is set to go to trial in October.
In all of the ongoing cases, Trump is employing the tried-and-true playbook he first learned all those years ago from Cohn for staying out of prison and staying in business, according to Jennifer Taub, a professor at Western New England University School of Law who has tracked the ways that Trump had evaded accountability for decades.
This exclusive headline from CNN really is fascinating. I imagine the move is to stop the prosecutors from being able to find and flip associates. “Exclusive: Trump’s secret court fight to stop grand jury from getting information from his inner circle.”
Former President Donald Trump‘s attorneys are fighting a secret court battle to block a federal grand jury from gathering information from an expanding circle of close Trump aides about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, people briefed on the matter told CNN.
The high-stakes legal dispute — which included the appearance of three attorneys representing Trump at the Washington, DC, federal courthouse on Thursday afternoon — is the most aggressive step taken by the former President to assert executive and attorney-client privileges in order to prevent some witnesses from sharing information in the criminal investigation events surrounding January 6, 2021.
The court fight over privilege, which has not been previously reported and is under seal, is a turning point for Trump’s post-presidency legal woes.
How the fight is resolved could determine whether prosecutors can tear down the firewall Trump has tried to keep around his conversations in the West Wing and with attorneys he spoke to as he sought to overturn the 2020 election and they worked to help him hold onto the presidency.
This dispute came to light as former Trump White House adviser and lawyer Eric Herschmann received a grand jury subpoena seeking testimony, the people briefed said.
Other former senior Trump White House officials, including former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Patrick Philbin, appeared before the grand jury in recent weeks, after negotiating specific subjects they would decline to answer question about, because of Trump’s privilege claims.
Have you ever seen anyone claim privilege this many times? Nixon didn’t get away with it, so what’s the deal with the Trump claims? This Trumper candidate seems pretty audacious with the lies too. Uh, that’s not how this works JR, this is not how any of this works.
But these folks will be bankrolled! Check out these links!
Alex Isenstadt / Politico: Trump to unleash millions in the midterms in possible prelude to 2024
Peter Stone / The Guardian: Alarm as Koch bankrolls dozens of election denier candidates
Former Justice Stephan Breyer warns the current Supreme Court Cartel not to take its backward-facing privilege too seriously. This is also from CNN, and then I am done with all these bad boys. “Breyer warns justices that some opinions could ‘bite you in the back’ in exclusive interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace.”
Retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is warning his colleagues against “writing too rigidly” in their opinions, saying that such decisions could “bite you in the back” in a world that is constantly changing.
In a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace on “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” which debuted Friday on HBOMax and airs Sunday night on CNN, Breyer also bemoaned his position in the court’s minority liberal bloc during his final year on the bench, addressed the court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade and spoke about the ongoing controversy regarding Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.
Breyer said it was a “very frustrating” spot to be in as he found himself in dissent in a number of historically consequential cases where he said the majority side (conservatives — although the retired justice did not use that description) was unwilling to bend.
“You start writing too rigidly and you will see, the world will come around and bite you in the back,” Breyer said in his first televised interview since leaving the bench earlier this year. “Because you will find something you see just doesn’t work at all. And the Supreme Court, somewhat to the difference of others, has that kind of problem in spades.”
“Life is complex, life changes,” Breyer added. “And we want to maintain insofar as we can — everybody does — certain key moral political values: democracy, human rights, equality, rule of law, etc. To try to do that in an ever-changing world. If you think you can do that by writing 16 computer programs — I just disagree.
The comments from Breyer come days before the Supreme Court begins its first term without him in nearly 30 years. In the new term, the justices will consider issues including voting rights, immigration, affirmative action, environmental regulations and religious liberty — areas where the solid conservative majority can easily control the outcomes.
Okay, that’s “all I can stands and I can’t stands no more.” (To quote my childhood hero.)
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
The great nations of Europe were standing on the shore.
They’d conquered what was behind them
And now they wanted more
So they looked to the mighty ocean
And took to the Western sea
The great nations of Europe in the 16th century
Hide your wives and daughters, hide the groceries too
The great nations of Europe comin’ through
Labor Day Reads: Judge shopping Pays OffPosted: September 5, 2022 Filed under: executive privilege, Judge Shopping, Labor Day, special master 25 Comments
Happy Labor Day, Sky Dancers!
A Trump-appointed Federalist Society Judge took a radical view toward the law regarding Presidential Documents and ordered a Special Master to review the documents seized during the search of his Mar-a-Lago country club. This is from NBC: “Judge grants Trump’s special master request, delays parts of a criminal probe. The Trump-appointed judge dismantled Justice Department arguments and said the unique case called for a neutral review of documents the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago”.
In a major blow for the government, a federal judge approved former President Donald Trump’s request for a special master to oversee all the evidence the FBI seized last month from his Mar-a-Lago estate and temporarily blocked parts of the Justice Department’s investigation.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon — a Trump appointee — said in her ruling Monday that the special master should be able to review the documents seized to address both questions of attorney-client privilege and also to litigate claims of executive privilege.
Government employees screening the documents had only set aside ones that may have been protected by attorney-client privilege and argued that executive privilege was not at play here.
“In addition to being deprived of potentially significant personal documents, which alone creates a real harm, Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” she wrote.
Trump had requested that a special master, a third party attorney, review the material seized on Aug. 8 to assess for potential attorney-client or executive privilege issues.
Trump’s attorneys argued in a recent court filing that “left unchecked, the DOJ will impugn, leak, and publicize selective aspects of their investigation with no recourse for [Trump] but to somehow trust the self-restraint of currently unchecked investigators.
The Justice Department had argued against the special master request, saying that a special master “is unnecessary and would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests.” In a statement on Monday, DOJ Spokesman Anthony Coley said, “The United States is examining the opinion and will consider appropriate next steps in the ongoing litigation.”
Cannon allowed a national security review of the records to continue but temporarily blocked the government from reviewing and using them for its “investigative purposes.” She systematically rejected the DOJ’s arguments that Trump’s special-master request was filed too late, was superfluous and that Trump had no right for review because he didn’t own the documents in question that were seized.
Cannon did not immediately grant Trump’s request to get back more of his property more quickly.
Legal analysis by lawyers and scholars has not been kind to the judge. Just so you know, there is no such thing in law as a “special master” to review “executive privilege”.
This is astounding. How does he get away with this?
Many lawyers online Lawyers question how a former President can claim executive privilege against the Justice Department since it is part of the executive branch.
Explanations provided by the judge do not appear based on law or precedent. This is from Rolling Stone: “Trump Is Getting the ‘Special Master’ He Asked for in the FBI Mar-a-Lago Case. Florida Judge Aileen Cannon has granted former President Donald Trump’s request for a “special master” to review seized documents.” This is written by Nikki McCann Ramirez.
But Monday’s ruling does in part grant the late request from Trump’s lawyers to stop the DOJ from reviewing documents collected in the department’s investigation of Trump’s retaining and handling of classified materials.
In the ruling Cannon, cited concerns over the potential damage to Trump should materials in the custody of the DOJ be leaked to the public. “In addition to being deprived of potentially significant personal documents, which alone creates a real harm,” wrote Cannon, “Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public.”
While ruling may temporarily delay proceedings, the DOJ has already had a chance to conduct their own review of materials seized in the raid, and will have a chance to influence the selection of the “special master.” Judge Cannon has ordered both camps to submit their proposed candidates by September 9th.
What about the damage done to our national security, our nation, and our allies by Trump?
Cannon appears to have created an executive privilege component out of thin air.
This is from Perry Stein writing for The Washington Post: “Judge grants Trump request for special master to review Mar-a-Lago documents. Rulings says prosecutors can’t use seized documents in criminal probe until they are examined by outside expert” The man stole them. They weren’t his. WTF?
In opposing the appointment of a special master, Justice Department lawyers told Cannon they had already sorted through the documents, using a “filter team” to separate out more than 500 pages of potentially privileged documents. That arrangement was approved by a U.S. magistrate judge who authorized the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. Prosecutors said appointing a special master would be pointless, given the previous filter team review — but Cannon disagreed. They also said that there was no legal basis to appoint a special master in this case and that Trump had no rights to possess White House documents once he left office.
On Friday, Cannon unsealed a detailed inventory list of items seized from Mar-A-Lago. It showed that Trump intermingled classified and unclassified materials in boxes at Mar-A-Lago and had dozens of empty folders that bore a “classification” marking.
This is from the blog Lawyers, Guns, and Money: “LAME DUCK CONFIRMATION OF REPUBLICAN “JUDGE” PROVIDES IMMEDIATE PAYOFF FOR TRUMP”. This is written by Scott Lemieux.
I’ve always liked this blog because they don’t pull punches ever.
On November 12 2020, after Donald Trump had already been defeated, the Senate was able to ram through the confirmation of 39-year-old Federalist Society hack Aileen Cannon to the District Court of Southern Florida. The political payoff for Trump has been swift:
his refers to this particular thread provided by lawyer, teacher, and law analyst Steve Vladeck followed by the Ashey Rangappa tweet I posted above.
Needless to say, this kind of lawlessness, designed to try to run out the clock and make it harder to indict Trump as 2024 gets closer, would mean a lot less were 11CA and the Supreme Court not also controlled by Republican hacks willing to wink at the law to help out Daddy Trump.
Here’s the thread by Vladeck.
The artwork today is by Hale Woodruff whose many wonderful paintings are featured at The Smithsonian. His most famous work are Murals featured at Talladega University which is the first HBC in the United States. One of these mural is posted above. I thought that this labor day I would feature this great Black American Artist since so many of his works feature black workers. Remember, African American Slaves and their descendents built much of this country.
Happy Labor Day!
What’s on your blogging and reading list today?