Finally Friday Reads: Judge Loose Cannon’s Land of Pure Imagination

Come with me, and you’ll be in a land of pure imagination.” Gene Wilder’s 1971 Willy Wonka in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

Good Day Sky Dancers!

The big story today is that Trump actually has appointed a few “Trump” judges, and they’re willing and able to create laws and requests out of thin air. Judge Loose Cannon appears to be a wholly-owned subsidiary.  This is not how a democracy works. No one is above the rule of law.

Judge Cannon even stated that Trump’s reputation is on the line.  Who thinks he has a stellar reputation? Why is he more important than any other criminal?  For example, none of his lawyers argued that any of the sensitive material might have been unclassified by Trump. Trump was interviewed conservative by commentator Hugh Hewitt and said he’d done the deed. This, however, is not the point. Unclassified or not, they don’t belong to him.  Plus, the proper procedures and documentation to declassify documents were not done.  This is truly an astounding moment in our republic.

From Jurassic World: Dr. Alan Grant: “It’s just the two Raptors, right? You’re sure the third one’s contained?”
Dr. Ellie Sattler: “Yes, unless they figure out how to open doors.”
Spoiler alert: They do.

Here’s a take on the Hewitt interview from Susan B. Glasser published in The New Yorker: “A Second Trump Term Would Be a Scary Rerun of the First. Remember those “Jurassic Park” velociraptors learning how to open the door? 

On Thursday morning, Donald Trump did a phone interview with the radio host Hugh Hewitt, one of many conservative commentators who started out as harsh critics of Trump only to change their view of him once he came to power. Hewitt asked the former President, who was promoting a campaign rally this weekend for candidates he’s endorsed in Ohio, whether he feared being indicted by the Justice Department for bringing top-secret classified documents with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left office and refusing to return them.

Well, Trump responded, there was no reason for them to charge him, except “if they’re just sick and deranged, which is always possible.” When Hewitt helpfully reminded him that he had previously claimed to have verbally ordered all the documents at issue declassified, Trump agreed. “I have the absolute right to declassify,” the former President said. “Absolute.”

Then Hewitt asked the question that, nearly two years after Trump exited the White House, has, perhaps inevitably, come to dominate American politics since he became the first President in American history to refuse to accept his electoral defeat: “Will you run for President anyway, even if you’re indicted?”

Trump’s response left little doubt that the answer is yes, before he proceeded to issue the kind of threat that, had the violent insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021—and all the rest—not happened, might have been dismissed as the idle but reckless bluster for which he has long been famous. “I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it,” he said, of an indictment. Trump added, “I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before.”

Once again, Hewitt tried to play cleanup. “You know that the legacy media will say that you’re attempting to incite violence with that statement,” the host warned the former President. Seemingly unconcerned, Trump blithely repeated the threat. “That’s not inciting,” he insisted. “I don’t think the people of this country would stand for it.”

This remarkable exchange says pretty much everything you need to know about Donald Trump in 2022: he wants to run again for President, and he has little apparent hesitation about calling forth a mob all over again if that’s what it takes. The past, in other words, is prologue. With Trump, it always is.

“That’s Entertainment, Part II” stars Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, 1976

Follow the link to find out more about “Trump, the Sequel”.  It ain’t entertainment.  Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discusses procedure for handling documents with Seth Meyers on “Late Night”. This HuffPo article has a link to the interview and some discussion and is written by Ron Dicker. “Hillary Clinton: Type Of Documents That Trump Had Are Often Handcuffed To An Officer. The former secretary of state detailed the strict protocol for the kind of classified material that Trump may have stashed at home”

Clinton told “Late Night” host Seth Meyers that when she read top-secret material, an officer “would come into my office and would have a handcuff that was attached to a suitcase in order to show me something that was so secret he literally had to have it tied to his hand.”

The officer would watch Clinton read it and sign that she had reviewed it, and then he would take it back, she recalled.

The idea that Trump reportedly squirreled away top-secret information on a foreign government’s nuclear capabilities and the like at a country club prompted Clinton to say: “I don’t care what political party you are. … This is a threat to our national security.”

Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential election to Trump, harkened back to his supporters’ cries to “lock her up” for using a private email server to conduct government business. Clinton faced accusations that she was trying to conceal wrongdoing. (A State Department investigation of the emails determined in 2019 that “There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information,” The New York Times reported.)

“Unlike those guys, I’m not saying ‘lock him up,’” Clinton said of Trump and his supporters. “I’m saying let’s just find the facts and follow the evidence wherever it goes.”

Peter Falk as Detective Columbo, 1968,
“You try to contrive a perfect alibi, and it’s your perfect alibi that’s gonna hang ya.” …

That sounds a bit like what Columbo used to do.  You goad the criminal long enough and everything unravels.  This is especially true when the criminal is stupid and narcissistic.  This is from The Atlantic and David Frum: “Biden Laid the Trap. Trump Walked Into It. At his Pennsylvania rally, the former president gave exactly the narcissistic display his Democratic nemesis tried to provoke.”

One of the purposes of Biden’s Philadelphia attack on Trump’s faction within the Republican Party was surely to goad Trump. It worked.

Yesterday, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump addressed a rally supposedly in support of Republican candidates in the state: Mehmet Oz for the Senate; the January 6 apologist Doug Mastriano for governor. This was not Trump’s first 2022 rally speech. He spoke in Arizona in July. But this one was different: so extreme, strident, and ugly—and so obviously provoked by Biden’s speech that this was what led local news: “Donald Trump Blasts Philadelphia, President Biden During Rally for Doug Mastriano, Dr. Oz in Wilkes-Barre.”

Yes, you read that right: Campaigning in Pennsylvania, the ex-president denounced the state’s largest city. “I think Philadelphia was a great choice to make this speech of hatred and anger. [Biden’s] speech was hatred and anger,” Trump declared last night. “Last year, the city set an all-time murder record with 560 homicides, and it’s on track to shatter that record again in 2022. Numbers that nobody’s ever seen other than in some other Democrat-run cities.”

Trump spoke at length about the FBI search of his house for stolen government documents. He lashed out at the FBI, attacking the bureau and the Department of Justice as “vicious monsters.” He complained about the FBI searching his closets for stolen government documents, inadvertently reminding everyone that the FBI had actually found stolen government documents in his closet—and in his bathroom too. Trump called Biden an “enemy of the state.” He abused his party’s leader in the U.S. Senate as someone who “should be ashamed.” He claimed to have won the popular vote in the state of Pennsylvania, which, in fact, he lost by more than 80,000 votes.

The rally format allowed time for only brief remarks by the two candidates actually on the ballot, Oz and Mastriano. Its message was otherwise all Trump, Trump, Trump. A Republican vote is a Trump vote. A Republican vote is a vote to endorse lies about the 2020 presidential election.

Remember Ron Popeil and his infomercials about his pocket Fisherman?  He had a wonderful long life selling gadgets on TV and passed quietly last year. He sold his Ronco Co. for $55 million and lived to see Dan Aykroyd send him up on SNL.  This is unlikely for Pillow Huckster Mike Lindell.  The Pillow guy was served an FBI subpoena and had his phone grabbed.  Now, like his mentor, the head huckster of the Trump Family syndicate, he’s suing the FBI and just about everybody.  But wait, there’s more!  He’s suing the United States of America! He’s retained, Alan Dershowitz!!  This is from Steve Benen writing for Maddow Blog at MSNBC: “MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell claims FBI executed warrant, seized his phone.  It’s tempting to dismiss Mike Lindell as a silly sideshow, but as the FBI seizes his phone, the Trump insider is facing a serious situation.”

It’s tempting to dismiss Mike Lindell as a silly sideshow. The MyPillow CEO has earned a reputation as a clownish figure in Donald Trump’s orbit, pushing strange conspiracy theories and making outlandish claims about the former president’s imminent reinstatement. In general, Lindell is more likely to generate eye-rolling than outrage.

But when it comes to the investigation into the efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, there are serious questions about Lindell’s efforts that can’t be laughed off.

Indeed, let’s not forget that Trump welcomed the pillow guy into his political fold in the wake of Election Day 2020, and Lindell was seen at the White House after the Jan. 6 attack with a paper with the words “insurrection act” and “martial law if necessary” on it. When the House select committee investigating Jan. 6 subpoenaed Lindell’s records, no one was especially surprised.

As it turns out, congressional investigators aren’t the only ones interested in his perspective. The Associated Press reported overnight that Lindell claimed late yesterday that federal agents seized his cellphone.

Lindell was approached in the drive-thru of a Hardee’s fast-food restaurant in Mankato, Minnesota, by several FBI agents, he said on his podcast, “The Lindell Report.” The agents questioned him about Dominion Voting Systems, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and his connection to Doug Frank, an Ohio educator who claims voting machines have been manipulated, he said. The agents then told Lindell they had a warrant to seize his cellphone and ordered him to turn it over, he said. On a video version of his podcast, Lindell displayed a letter signed by an assistant U.S. attorney in Colorado that said prosecutors were conducting an “official criminal investigation of a suspected felony” and noted the use of a federal grand jury.

Given the circumstances, I suppose some caution is in order. Lindell says all sorts of weird things, and as a rule, it’s best not to accept his assertions at face value.

That said, the FBI confirmed that it really did serve Lindell with a search warrant.

You really can’t make this up. But, sometimes, life unfolds like something you’d expect to see on a screen.  Like how about a State Governor that rounds up a bunch of refugees in San Antonia, puts them on a chartered plane, stops in Miami to pick up some Fox News videographers, and dumps them, say in Martha’s Vineyard or downtown Chicago at night, or in front of the Vice President’s Home?  Is this the new version of Beverly Hillbillies? And so old Ron, well he’s a millionaire, loaded up some migrants, and soon they’re in the air…   Well, the saga continues on this one, and happily so for those that landed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Boomer wrote yesterday about how the folks in the vineyards stepped up to make these folks feel better after the lies and trafficking.

This is from Charlie Sykes, writing for The Bulwark: “The Cruelty and the Crazy. Migrant airlifts and the Unabomber candidate.”

Sorry, but shipping migrants to Martha’s Vineyard is brilliant — a political masterstroke, an epic troll, and, above all hilarious.

You can tell because of the reaction on the right: a cascade of LOLS and triggering-the-libs-huzzahs as Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis stick it to the hypocritical Blue State elites. Donald Trump may have come down a golden escalator to denounce Mexican rapists, but these guys are actually putting them on buses and sending them to Chicago.

And, sending a busload of migrants to Vice President’s Kamala Harris’s residence is … I’m sorry, but right-wing Twitter needs to catch its breath, it’s laughing so hard. Delaware — Joe Biden’s home state — is next!

Even the respectable cons at Commentary think it’s a “political coup.” Anti-Trump conservative Matt Lewis has also come around. “Blue states are finally getting a taste of what red border states have to deal with every day.”

In DeSantis’s case, he’s using Florida tax dollars to fly Venezuelan refugees fleeing communism from Texas to Massachusetts (which has a Republican governor). But don’t get hung up on the details, because this is priceless political theater that supremely owns the libs, whose tears are the sweet, sweet aphrodisiac for the base.

The cruelty is, of course, simply a bonus. And the “narrative” is more important than cuckish concerns about… morality.

Let’s stipulate of couple of things. First: there is a real problem at the border, and there’s a legitimate debate over how migrants should be handled and who should share the burden.

Abbott and DeSantis have every right to raise questions about border policies; they can make speeches, hold press conferences, run ads, raise money off anti-immigrant outrage, and even stage political events to highlight their positions.

And there is nothing inherently awful about political stunts, especially in our media-besotted political environment.

But this one is different, because they chose to use people — including vulnerable children — as their pawns and props.

The Venezuelan immigrants sent by DeSantis are on their way to the Cape today to be handled the way immigrant families should be handled.  They will be temporarily housed at Joint Base Cape Cod before being relocated to places where they can apply for asylum and start anew.  This is from The Washington Post: “Migrants sent by Gov. DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard depart for Cape Cod. They will be temporarily housed at Joint Base Cape Cod, according to Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker.”  The weird thing about this one is that the Mass Governor is one of what’s left of old-timey Republicans.

On Friday morning, the dozens of migrants who landed on Martha’s Vineyard this week filed out of the church they’d been sleeping in for two nights to hugs from the local volunteers.

They now had full bags and new cellphones. As they boarded the three white buses that would take them to the ferry, many cried. Eliomar Aguero, 30, put up a peace sign, smiling and thanking the dozens of volunteers waving him on. “Thank you all,” Aguero said in Spanish.

Soon, he and his wife, Maria, would board a ferry. Massachusetts authorities announced Friday that the 50 migrants would be moved from Martha’s Vineyard to a military base in Cape Cod so they can find shelter and chart next steps. The move is voluntary for the migrants, the state said.

Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said the migrants will be offered “shelter and humanitarian supports” in dormitory-style rooms at Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne. State and local officials will also ensure migrants have food, shelter and other services. Baker said he plans to activate up to 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to aid in the relief effort.

Hopefully, they will soon say, “There’s no place like home.”  If there is anything like karma, justice, or whatever, someone will soon drop a house on Ron Desantis and throw a bucket of water on Greg Abbot.

Well, that’s it for me today.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

“Wanna change the world?  There’s nothing to it”   Willy Wonka


Thursday Reads: The Search Aftermath

R. Kenton Nelson, 1954

R. Kenton Nelson, 1954

Good Afternoon!!

The top stories today are focused on the earthshaking FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Of course there is other news; but I’m obsessed with bringing down Trump, so those stories are what interest me.

The only really new information to come out yesterday was this story by national security reporter William Arkin at Newsweek: Exclusive: An Informer Told the FBI What Docs Trump Was Hiding, and Where.

The raid on Mar-a-Lago was based largely on information from an FBI confidential human source, one who was able to identify what classified documents former President Trump was still hiding and even the location of those documents, two senior government officials told Newsweek.

The officials, who have direct knowledge of the FBI’s deliberations and were granted anonymity in order to discuss sensitive matters, said the raid of Donald Trump‘s Florida residence was deliberately timed to occur when the former president was away….

Both senior government officials say the raid was scheduled with no political motive, the FBI solely intent on recovering highly classified documents that were illegally removed from the White House. Preparations to conduct such an operation began weeks ago, but in planning the date and time, the FBI Miami Field Office and Washington headquarters were focused on the former president’s scheduled return to Florida from his residences in New York and New Jersey.

“They were seeking to avoid any media circus,” says the second source, a senior intelligence official who was briefed on the investigation and the operation. “So even though everything made sense bureaucratically and the FBI feared that the documents might be destroyed, they also created the very firestorm they sought to avoid, in ignoring the fallout.”

Of course it was Trump himself who ignited the firestorm by publicly announcing the FBI search, then whining, ranting, and grifting from his followers based on his supposed victimization.

In the past week, the prosecutor in the case and local Assistant U.S. Attorney went to Florida magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart in West Palm Beach to seek approval for the search of Donald Trump’s private residence. The affidavit to obtain the search warrant, the intelligence source says, contained abundant and persuasive detail that Trump continued to possess the relevant records in violation of federal law, and that investigators had sufficient information to prove that those records were located at Mar-a-Lago—including the detail that they were contained in a specific safe in a specific room.

“In order for the investigators to convince the Florida judge to approve such an unprecedented raid, the information had to be solid, which the FBI claimed,” says the intelligence source.

There’s much more background information in the article if you want a refresher.

Onelio Marrero

By Onelio Marrero

Today, The Wall Street Journal has more on the events that led up to the FBI warrant and search of Trump’s property: FBI Quest for Trump Documents Started With Breezy Chats, Tour of a Crowded Closet. Why interactions between FBI, Trump team soured remains a mystery.

Around lunchtime on June 3, a senior Justice Department national security supervisor and three FBI agents arrived at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida to discuss boxes with government records sitting in a basement storage room along with suits, sweaters and golf shoes.

A few days later, the FBI sent a note asking that a stronger lock be installed on the storage room door, signing off: “Thank you. Very truly yours, Jay Bratt, chief of counterintelligence and export control section.”

In the following weeks, however, someone familiar with the stored papers told investigators there may be still more classified documents at the private club after the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes earlier in the year, people familiar with the matter said. And Justice Department officials had doubts that the Trump team was being truthful regarding what material remained at the property, one person said. Newsweek earlier reported on the source of the FBI’s information.

Two months later, two dozen Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were back at Mar-a-Lago with a warrant predicated on convincing a federal magistrate judge that there was evidence a crime may have been committed. After hours at the property, the agents took the boxes away in a Ryder truck.

Many elements of what happened between those events—one seemingly cordial, the other unheard of—remain unknown. But the episode points to a sharp escalation in the Justice Department’s inquiry into Mr. Trump, which also includes an investigation into the events leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on the Capitol. And it has prompted outrage from Republicans, who have rallied around Mr. Trump as he contemplates running again for president.

The WSJ says it’s a mystery why the DOJ investigation “escalated” to the point where the FBI was directed to search Trump’s property. It doesn’t seem that mysterious to me. Right-wing “reporter” John Solomon writes that Trump received a grand jury subpoena “months before” the “raid.” Obviously, the situation escalated when Trump ignored the subpoena.

The WSJ story doesn’t seem to have a paywall (I got there from Memeorandum), so you can read much more at the link. It’s very long, but Politico has a good summary of the facts from the WSJ article:

On June 3, JAY BRATT, chief of counterintelligence and export control section at the Department of Justice, visited Mar-a-Lago to inspect a storage room that contained presidential documents. By this point in his standoff with the government, Trump had already returned 15 boxes of records to the National Archives, which subsequently found “classified national security information” among the returned items.

Trump, who stopped by the June inspection to greet Bratt, had told the government that there was no more classified material in his possession. The dispute, it appeared, when Bratt showed up, was about returning what Trump represented to be non-sensitive documents. Retaining non-classified documents is still a violation of the strict Presidential Records Act, but the available evidence suggests the two sides were working it out.

onelio-marrero being-transported

Being Transported by Onelio Marrero

But things started to escalate. Five days later, Bratt sent Trump’s lawyer, EVAN CORCORAN, an email, a copy of which was read over the phone to the Journal: “We ask that the room at Mar-a-Lago where the documents had been stored be secured and that all the boxes that were moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago (along with any other items in that room) be preserved in that room in their current condition until further notice.”

Then, on June 22, the government subpoenaed Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage, which the Journal says was provided.

And then on Monday, the FBI warrant was executed.

The mystery is: What changed?

The answer, according to the Journal, is that an informant told the FBI that Trump was lying.

This morning, Mick Mulvaney spoke to CNN about the FBI search, and in the midst of multiple lies and obfuscation he revealed something important. Politicus USA: Mick Mulvaney Says The FBI Informant Is Someone Very Close To Trump.

Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said that only six or eight people would have the info given to the FBI, so the informant is someone very close to Trump.

“I didn’t know there was a safe at Mar-a-Lago and I was the chief of staff for 15 months. This would be someone handling things on day to day, who knew where documents were, so it would be somebody very close to the president, my guess is there are probably six or eight people who had that kind of information.

I don’t know the people on the inside circle these days. I can’t give any names of folks who come to mind, but your instinct is a good one if you know where the safe is and you know the documents are in ten boxes in the basement, you are pretty close to the president.”

If Mulvaney is correct, and the informant is someone very close to the former president, it makes sense that the FBI might also have knowledge of what Trump was planning on doing with the documents that he stole from the White House.

Jacob Lawrence, the Library, 1960

Jacob Lawrence, the Library, 1960

Of course the MAGA maniacs are up in arms. Kyle Cheney and Meredith McGraw at Politico: Trump world gripped with anger, fear and a host of conspiracies about the FBI search.

In the wake of news that the FBI agents executed a court-authorized search warrant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, Trump’s allies and aides have begun buzzing about a host of potential explanations and worries. Among those being bandied about is that the search was a pretext to fish for other incriminating evidence, that the FBI doctored evidence to support its search warrant — and then planted some incriminating materials and recording devices at Mar-a-Lago for good measure — and even that the timing of the search was meant to be a historical echo of the day President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974.

“There are no coincidences when it comes to the Deep State. They could have done this raid a couple of days before or tomorrow, but they chose Aug. 8 for a reason,” Monica Crowley, a former top official in the Trump Treasury Department, said on the “War Room” podcast.

Trump world is no stranger to being deeply suspicious, even conspiratorial. But the speculation sparked by the FBI search has taken on a different scope, coming amid a combination of anxiety — that the so-called Deep State is out to get the former president — and a dearth of public information about the bureau’s actions.

“I can tell you all of us agree this is corrupt,” said Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump confidante whose service in the Trump administration was marked by attacks he waged on career officials and an acrimonious exit. “Many people in Trump world agree with me that this is theater and this is designed to damage the president, this is designed to damage Republicans in the midterms and it is designed to advance the interests of the Democratic Party. And you know what, they completely failed.”

There is no evidence that the Department of Justice did anything improper, and it in fact obtained approval from a federal court to obtain its search warrant. Trump himself could answer some of the lingering questions. He is at liberty to disclose the warrant — though he has not been provided the underlying affidavit — and to describe the files that were confiscated by the FBI. But so far he has opted against doing so.

Adolph-MENZEL-A Seated Woman Reading (Portrait of Emilie Fontane)

Adolph Menzel, A Seated Woman Reading (Portrait of Emilie Fontane

More on Trump’s and MAGA world’s paranoia from Asawin Suebsaeng at Rolling Stone: With Feds Circling, Trump Asks Allies: Who’s ‘Wearing a Wire’?

Donald Trump is worried he may have a rat — or multiple rats — in his midst. He’s wondering if his phones are tapped, or even if one of his buddies could be “wearing a wire.”

As the federal and state investigations into Trump and his orbit swell, so have the former president’s suspicions, according to two sources familiar with the matter and another two people close to the twice-impeached former Oval Office occupant. 

This summer, Trump has asked close associates if they think his communications are being monitored by the feds, or — per his phrasing — “by Biden.” As a source close to Trump describes it to Rolling Stone: “He has asked me and others, ‘Do you think our phones are tapped?’ Given the sheer volume of investigations going on into the [former] president, I do not think he’s assuming anything is outside the realm of possibility.”

The source adds, “He’s talked about this seriously [in the past few months], but I know of one time when he made a joke that was something like, ‘Be careful what you say on the phone!’”

Moreover, on at least a couple of occasions since May, the former president has wondered aloud if there were any Republicans visiting his clubs who could be “wearing a wire,” according to another person close to Trump and a different source familiar with the matter. Trump and his allies are baselessly floating the idea that federal agents could be guilty of “planting” incriminating evidence at his private resort. And the ex-president and several of his longtime advisers are trying to figure out if they have, in their terminology, a “mole” or a “rat” in Trump’s inner sanctum who is slipping his secrets to the feds. 

More stories about the search to check out:

I highly recommend this piece by Brian Karam at Salon: No exit: After Mar-a-Lago raid, Trump is trapped — and his fear is palpable. It actually helped me feel somewhat hopeful.

Emptywheel: The Likely Content of a Trump Search Affidavit.

The Washington Post: Citizen Trump may have broken a law that President Trump made a felony.

The Daily Beast: Hell Week: How Trump’s Problems All Converged at Once.

Vice News: Far-Right Extremists Are Violently Threatening the Trump Search-Warrant Judge.

Law and Crime: Federal Magistrate Judge Orders DOJ to Respond to Media and Non-Profit Requests to Unseal Trump Search Warrant.

New York Magazine: ‘You Can’t Play the Cable-News Game in Court.’

Have a great Thursday Sky Dancers!!


Monday (Bannon’s in Jail) Reads

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Wow! Is there a lot of news today, and it continues to baffle me! Let’s start with a good story.  Bannon is in jail.  He continues to devolve into something less than human.  Take a look at that picture.  Something that lives under a bridge and demands tolls?  Animated spud? Zombie?  Your guess is as good as mine!  The protestor has one appellation correct:  “Coup Plotter.”

We also have some history worth celebrating. Ruby Bridges integrated New Orleans Public Schools 61 years ago. 

And I was just this years old when I found out that Rosa Parks became a practicing Buddhist in her golden years. She practiced the same tradition as Tina Turner.

What would happen if we continue to teach our children what brave women of color do after that one moment they changed history?

So, back to the country’s ugliest spud.

His face continues to make an excellent argument for not using drugs. It’s much better than a fried egg. He’s been arrested. He’s in the custody of Federal Officials. He’s scheduled to appear before a judge later today. Get that TV turned on because I’m sure there will be coverage.

Justice moves slowly sometimes, but it’s moving.  Then, there’s the anti-justice and law and order party. This is from WAPO: “In wake of Bannon indictment, Republicans warn of payback. GOP lawmakers say Democrats, by pursuing contempt charges against a Trump ally, are paving the way for them to go after Biden aides if they retake the House in 2022.”

BENGHAZI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  HER EMAILS!!!!!!!!!!! JUST MAKE SHIT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many GOP leaders, however, are seizing on Bannon’s indictment to contend that Democrats are “weaponizing” the Justice Department, warning Democrats that they will go after Biden’s aides for unspecified reasons if they take back the House majority in next year’s midterm elections, as most political analysts expect.

“For years, Democrats baselessly accused President Trump of ‘weaponizing’ the DOJ. In reality, it is the Left that has been weaponizing the DOJ the ENTIRE TIME — from the false Russia Hoax to the Soviet-style prosecution of political opponents,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the third-ranking House Republican, tweeted Saturday.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) suggested that Republicans would seek payback if the GOP regained control of the House, signaling that in challenging the doctrine of executive privilege, Democrats were making it easier for Republicans to force Biden’s top advisers to testify before a future GOP Congress.

I have a good response for that:

So, let me just shake it off and move on to some more good news about Black Women in Leadership. Mayor Latoya Cantrell has won overwhelming support to serve a second term.  Not everyone agrees with it but they certainly did not show up and vote. The words of disapproval appear to be coming mainly from men. That’s not surprising.  There’s general excitement that Beto O’Rorke is running for Texas governor but not much enthusiasm expressed in the MSM about the barn burner campaign run by Val Demings to unseat little Marco Rubio.  This was what I could find that wasn’t from a month ago.  The site is Sunburn which is basically a Florida Political blog.

Val Demings rips Marco Rubio for skipping 14 Senate hearings amid GOP boycotts” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — U.S. Sen. Rubio has missed as many as 14 Senate hearings over the past two months, a practice the Republican was criticized for six years ago as he launched a bid for the presidency. But many of his absences since September have been part of either a GOP boycott of the Small Business Committee or a pledge to not vote for any of Biden’s State Department nominees. U.S. Rep. Demings, his likely opponent in next year’s U.S. Senate race, blasted Rubio’s absenteeism. Rubio did not appear at nine Foreign Relations hearings since Sept. 22, most of which focused on Biden nominations. Rubio has so far opposed all of Biden’s nominees to the State Department.

Meanwhile, the MSM is turning its need for drama to our Vice President Kamala Harris.  I like this guy that calls CNN the “Perez Hilton” of the political world. The piece is basically rumor-mongering and not much else.

Here’s the CNN article: “Exasperation and dysfunction: Inside Kamala Harris’ frustrating start as vice president”

Worn out by what they see as entrenched dysfunction and lack of focus, key West Wing aides have largely thrown up their hands at Vice President Kamala Harris and her staff — deciding there simply isn’t time to deal with them right now, especially at a moment when President Joe Biden faces quickly multiplying legislative and political concerns.

The exasperation runs both ways. Interviews with nearly three dozen former and current Harris aides, administration officials, Democratic operatives, donors and outside advisers — who spoke extensively to CNN — reveal a complex reality inside the White House. Many in the vice president’s circle fume that she’s not being adequately prepared or positioned, and instead is being sidelined. The vice president herself has told several confidants she feels constrained in what she’s able to do politically. And those around her remain wary of even hinting at future political ambitions, with Biden’s team highly attuned to signs of disloyalty, particularly from the vice president.

She’s a heartbeat away from the presidency now. She could be just a year away from launching a presidential campaign of her own, given doubts throughout the political world that Biden will actually go through with a reelection bid in 2024, something he’s pledged to do publicly and privately. Or she’ll be a critical validator in three years for a President trying to get the country to reelect him to serve until he’s 86.
Few of the insiders who spoke with CNN think she’s being well-prepared for whichever role it will be. Harris is struggling with a rocky relationship with some parts of the White House, while long-time supporters feel abandoned and see no coherent public sense of what she’s done or been trying to do as vice president. Being the first woman, and first woman of color, in national elected office is historic but has also come with outsized scrutiny and no forgiveness for even small errors, as she’ll often point out.

So, a “few” unnamed people created all this projection.  I call shenanigans!  This is a 3-year-old article from Forbes but I don’t think much has changed.  “Black Women Are Besieged On Social Media, And White Apathy Damns Us All.”  This was written by Janet Burns

In the past year or so, I’ve been particularly disturbed to see members and allies of the current administration lob such undermining and vitriolic slurs at Black women leaders on Twitter and elsewhere (often following cable news’ example) with virtually no backlash, including repeated attacks on two sitting U.S. congresswomen.

Surely a lifetime of undoubtedly backbreaking work and overcoming fierce adversity to become a prominent politician would earn both Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL) more respect from anyone, as well as an equally fierce outcry and defense from their white colleagues — even despite the various biases and (at best) blind spots in both parties.

After all, when film, stand-up, and Saturday Night Live! comedian Leslie Jones suddenly found her Twitter feed overwhelmed with racist and sexist abuse and extremely violent threats from thousands of users in response to her role in the female-led Ghostbusters remake last year (the worst part of a broader freak out over the film, as many of us will remember), some white fellow cast members and comedy peers quickly joined the Twitter fracas in her defense, or condemned the abuse in no uncertain terms, in the very least.

When it comes to the targeting and demeaning of Black women by prominent white male figures, however, it seems the political community has largely given this abuse a pass on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as have tech companies themselves, for all intents and purposes.

I’m now working on a campaign to make certain the new sheriff in town is a black woman.  While working to see that our new congressional rep was a black woman I ran into the same kinds of things.   I’m solid of the opinion is that nothing will really change unless women band together to change it because the men all jump to the man when push comes to shove.

“How dare we to dream that we can do something about this system that is punitive, discriminatory, and inequitable,” Hutson said in a speech to ecstatic supporters at her election party at Soule’ Cafe on Banks Street when runoff was called by WWL-TV. “But we are gonna do just that.”

I have a few other bits and pieces of breaking news.

From Roll Call: Leahy, longest-serving sitting senator, to retire.

From NBC NewsJudge dismisses weapons charge in Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial

From Max Boot, Washington Post: A newly disclosed memo reveals Trump’s plot to turn the military into his personal goon squad

So much crazy still going on that it’s getting easier to turn the TV off with each passing day.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Must Read Journalism and Must See TV

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I want to bring your attention to a TV documentary and a Rolling Stone Exclusive on evidence there was heavy planning on the part of Congressional Republicans in the insurrection on January 6th. I have to teach tonight, get my real ID this afternoon, and this morning a mitigation specialist comes to check out the water damage in my attic. This will be brief.

First, the documentary was shown last night on MSNBC and will be running on Peacock. It basically addresses the failures of Reconstruction after the Civil War and the deep roots of institutional racism in our country. There were compelling interviews with Southern Americans about their experience. There were professors discussing the various failures that led to the Lost Cause and a lot of where we are right now in terms of Black and White America. There were visits to historical–frequently covered up–events throughout our history like the Clinton, MS Race Massacre. There was also a visit to a Civil war museum that lifts up the contributions of black soldiers of the Union Army.

Here’s a basic description via the Chatanooga Free Times Press. “‘Civil War’ documentary, partially filmed in Chattanooga, premieres Sunday on MSNBC.”

A Civil War documentary that includes perspectives from several Chattanooga-area residents will premiere Sunday on MSNBC.

For “The Civil War (or, Who Do We Think We Are),” Emmy-nominated director Rachel Boynton visited classrooms around the nation to see how the war is taught.

Her stop in Chattanooga features Chris Carpenter’s Civil War classes at McCallie School, historian and educator LaFrederick Thirkill, the caretakers of Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery and Chattanooga Connected, a group of community leaders dedicated to intentionally breaking down racial barriers.

Franklin McCallie, a co-founder of Chattanooga Connected, said he’s proud of Boynton’s effort to shed light on “a major thorn in the side of our nation.” The film, he said, should get people talking “rationally and with the hope of healing.”

McCallie was among those who first saw the film in a screening at the Tivoli Theatre earlier this month.

“I feel this film could make a difference,” he said. “She has the liberal side, the very conservative side, and she has shown the depth of feeling of those who have not left the Confederacy behind, who have not left the Civil War behind” more than a century and a half later.

In a review, film critic Matt Zoller Seitz said the movie will be of “particular interest to students who want a lively, thoughtful presentation of basic historical subjects but aren’t going to get it in classrooms where the curriculum is approved by people who are mainly concerned with avoiding discomfort and preserving the status quo.”

This is an interview with the filmmaker.

Portrait of an unidentified African American soldier in uniform, c. 1860s

My next offering is from Rolling Stone. You will want to read this: “EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff. Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a “blanket pardon” from the Oval Office.” It was written by Hunter Walker who had access to two sources working with the ongoing investigation.

I’ll put the list of seditionists up first.

The two sources, both of whom have been granted anonymity due to the ongoing investigation, describe participating in “dozens” of planning briefings ahead of that day when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol as his election loss to President Joe Biden was being certified.

“I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically,” the organizer says. “I remember talking to probably close to a dozen other members at one point or another or their staffs.”

For the sake of clarity, we will refer to one of the sources as a rally organizer and the other as a planner. Rolling Stone has confirmed that both sources were involved in organizing the main event aimed at objecting to the electoral certification, which took place at the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6. Trump spoke at that rally and encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol. Some members of the audience at the Ellipse began walking the mile and a half to the Capitol as Trump gave his speech. The barricades were stormed minutes before the former president concluded his remarks.

These two sources also helped plan a series of demonstrations that took place in multiple states around the country in the weeks between the election and the storming of the Capitol. According to these sources, multiple people associated with the March for Trump and Stop the Steal events that took place during this period communicated with members of Congress throughout this process.

Along with Greene, the conspiratorial pro-Trump Republican from Georgia who took office earlier this year, the pair both say the members who participated in these conversations or had top staffers join in included Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

“We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team like back to back to back to back,” says the organizer.

Portrait of Christian Fleetwood.

It sounds like the chickens are coming home to roost!

In another indication members of Congress may have been involved in planning the protests against the election, Ali Alexander, who helped organize the “Wild Protest,” declared in a since-deleted livestream broadcast that Gosar, Brooks, and Biggs helped him formulate the strategy for that event.

“I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and Congressman Andy Biggs,” Alexander said at the time. “We four schemed up on putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that — who we couldn’t lobby — we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside.”

Alexander led Stop the Steal, which was one of the main groups promoting efforts to dispute Trump’s loss. In December, he organized a Stop the Steal event in Phoenix, where Gosar was one the main speakers. At that demonstration, Alexander referred to Gosar as “my captain” and declared “one of the other heroes has been Congressman Andy Biggs.”

The indication is the list of acts leading up to riots and sedition is long and extensive. I think we can safely assume that these planners were likely at the hotel session prior to January 6,

I have one breaking news story from Sudan to add down here. “Sudan coup: Military dissolves civilian government and arrests leaders.” The reporting is via the BBC.

A coup is under way in Sudan, where the military has dissolved civilian rule, arrested political leaders and declared a state of emergency.

Coup leader, Gen Abdel Fattah Burhan, has blamed political infighting.

Protesters have taken to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and there are reports of gunfire.

Military and civilian leaders have been at odds since long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown two years ago and a transitional government set up.

Witnesses say the internet is down and that army and paramilitary troops have been deployed across the city. Khartoum airport is closed, and international flights are suspended.

Some protesters chanted “no to military rule”.

Demonstrator Sawsan Bashir told AFP news agency: “We will not leave the streets until the civilian government is back and the transition is back.”

“We are ready to give our lives for the democratic transition in Sudan,” another protester, Haitham Mohamed said.

So, that’s enough for me today. The news will likely be crazy-go-nuts today as the press secretary of the tv series The West Wing used to say.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: Whitelash

This attempted coup is disgusting…here are a few thoughts on the violence this past week.

I think it all stems from the fact that a black man was elected President some years ago….tRump supporters have something in common. They are white supremacist, bigoted assholes.

This thread:

Just waiting for…

This is an open thread.