Finally, Friday Wrap up

Poppy Flowers / Vase And Flowers, Van Gogh, 1887 stolen from Mahmoud Khalil museum in 2010 for the second time.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Well, it’s been a wild ride this week with public hearings from the January 6th Committee,  insane weather, and just general mayhem and running amok, amok, amok.

This is Susan Glasser’s take on this week’s hearings in The New Yorker. What We Learned About Trump, Pence, and the January 6th Mob. The third hearing on the attack on the Capitol revealed that the Proud Boys would have killed the Vice-President “if given the chance.” ‘

The malice of those in the crowd toward Pence, the holier-than-thou evangelical Christian who had spent the previous four years as Donald Trump’s slavishly loyal sidekick, was remarkable.

“If Pence caved we’re going to drag motherfuckers through the streets,” one rioter was captured on video saying. “He deserves to burn with the rest of them,” another said. A man with a bullhorn agitated the crowd. “Mike Pence has betrayed the United States of America,” he informed the already agitated mob. “Mike Pence has betrayed this President.” He finished with a threat and a promise: “We will never, ever forget.”

The explosive ending of the Trump Presidency has always been a story about the rift between Trump and Pence—two of the most mismatched figures ever to be thrown into a marriage of political convenience. For four years, Trump had tested and tried his sanctimonious No. 2, but Pence never broke. Not in public, not, as far as we can tell, in private, either. He was famous during the Trump years for doing and saying almost nothing that would make news. When he debated Kamala Harris during the 2020 campaign, his most memorable moment was when a fly landed on his impeccably coiffed white hair and he did not react for the full two minutes that it sat on his head.

But on January 6th, Pence finally did break with Trump, refusing to go along with the President’s absurd, illegal, and unconstitutional plot to have his Vice-President single-handedly overturn the will of the American people and block Congress’s confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory. On Thursday, the House committee devoted its hearing to attempting to explain Trump’s scheme to pressure Pence—which unfolded in a series of inflammatory Presidential tweets, angry phone calls, and bizarre White House meetings that were a mix of constitutional-law seminars and live reënactments of “The Godfather.” The committee introduced a new villain to a national television audience: John Eastman, the former law professor who concocted the absurd legal theory that Pence could unilaterally overturn the election—a concocted counterpart to what U.S. District Judge David Carter recently skewered as “a coup in search of a legal theory.”

Narcissa’s Last Orchid, 1940, Georgia ‘Keeffe,

Meanwhile, Pence is making plans to run for President in 2024. This is from The Wall Street Journal: “Mike Pence Plots 2024 Bid as Jan. 6 Hearings Remind Voters of His Break From Trump. Former vice president has been campaigning for GOP candidates, including high-profile Trump critics, and plans to make economic speech Monday.”

As the House committee investigating the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol focused almost entirely Thursday on the role Mike Pence played in averting a constitutional crisis, the former vice president was far from Washington.

Rather than watch the hearing, Mr. Pence was in Ohio, campaigning for Gov. Mike DeWine and a Republican congressman—the latest step in a carefully managed re-emergence onto the national political scene as he appears to lay the groundwork for a 2024 presidential campaign.

“Ultimately, I believe that most Americans understand that we did our duty that day under the Constitution and the laws of this country,” Mr. Pence said in an interview of his actions on Jan. 6, when he rebuffed pressure from then-President Donald Trump to reject electoral votes for Joe Biden.

It was the most visible break Mr. Pence displayed after four years of loyalty to Mr. Trump. Committee members said the president’s resulting actions helped trigger an attack that included calls for the vice president’s hanging.

Mr. Pence, nonetheless, indicated he isn’t interested in relitigating the 2020 election as Mr. Trump has since he lost, to the frustration of some GOP leaders.

“Everywhere I go across the country, I can tell you, the American people are hurting,” he said Thursday. “Inflation is at a 40-year high, $5-a-gallon gas and higher, the crisis at our border that I saw firsthand on Monday. A crime wave impacting our cities. It’s one of the reasons I’m so determined to be out supporting candidates for the House, the Senate and governors.”

Mr. Pence’s travels illustrate the challenge he would face in another election as he grapples with the legacy of the Trump administration. Some analysts and Republican strategists question whether he could pull it off.

“The Trump base in many states is very firm and very loyal,” said Pennsylvania pollster Terry Madonna. “That’s Pence’s problem. He has to find a way to move some of those people over to him and campaign without alienating that base.”

Chrysanthèmes rouges, 1881, Claude Monet

I cannot believe that people are laying the groundwork for the 2024 presidential election already.  Especially, Mike Pence and especially in the middle of these hearings.  More information is coming from The Washington Post on the connections between the Thomases and John Eastman.  “John Eastman says Ginni Thomas invited him to speak on ‘election litigation’.”

John Eastman, the lawyer who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election, confirmed Thursday that the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas invited him a month after the election to speak at a meeting she was helping to organize.

Eastman’s disclosure came a day after The Washington Post reported that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol had obtained email correspondence between him and Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a conservative activist and staunch supporter of former president Donald Trump. Individuals involved in the investigation said the emails — which have not been made public — showed that Thomas’s efforts to help overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, The Post reported.

On Thursday afternoon, during a hearing largely devoted to outlining Eastman’s role in what the committee described as a scheme to steal the presidency, he posted online a copy of an email that he said Thomas sent him on Dec. 4, 2020. The email showed Thomas inviting him to speak on Dec. 8 to Frontliners, which she described as “a group of grassroots state leaders.”

In an accompanying statement posted to Substack, the online newsletter site, Eastman sought to downplay the significance of the invitation, saying Thomas had asked him to give an “update about election litigation to a group she met with periodically.”He wrote that he did not discuss with Thomas or her husband “any matters pending or likely to come before the court.”

I’ll just let my buddy John have a word on this.

All of the witness-to-date –except for those in the Capitol Police–have been Republican officials or lawyers that are have basically had it with The Big Lie.   John Eastman continues to dither and take his 5th Amendment rights in response to questioning.  From what I could tell from the testimony of others,  he knew it was wrong but just couldn’t abandon Trump’s machinations.  Pence never went public with his plans until the day of the insurrection which makes him complicit up to that point in my eyes.  They are all weasels.

The Russians are still pounding the eastern part of Ukraine although there is some good news on some fronts. The EU membership is likely to happen.

 

Here is what Ursula von der Leyen said as she officially gave candidacy status to Ukraine.

The European Commission has backed Ukraine’s bid to be given candidacy status to join the EU – bringing it one step closer to joining the bloc.

“Good work has been done” by Ukraine, but more is needed, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Ukraine must make “important” reforms – on rule of law, oligarchs, human rights and tackling corruption, she added.

Candidacy status is a significant step to joining the EU, however the whole process can take many years.

The recommendation from the European Commission still needs to be signed off by the EU’s 27 member states, who meet to discuss it next week. The French, German and Italian leaders have already backed Ukraine’s bid, but the decision must be unanimous.

Speaking from Brussels and wearing blue and yellow – the colours of Ukraine – Ms Von der Leyen said Ukrainians are “ready to die” for the European perspective.

“We want them to live with us in the European dream,” she said, adding that Ukraine had shown its “aspiration and determination to live up to European values and standards.”

The Washington Post continues its live updates on the conflict if you’re interested in the meeting with EU leaders or any other details of the war.

Bouquet of flowers,1882, Édouard Manet

The best news of the week is that my almost 1-year-old granddaughters can now get either Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. Everyone with small children in their family should be quite happy about this.  Our littlest citizens will now be protected.  This is from CBS News.  “FDA authorizes COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5 years old”.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old on Friday, clearing a key hurdle in expanding eligibility for the shots to 20 million babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must still sign off before kids under age 5 can start getting vaccinated, which could happen within days.

“Those trusted with the care of children can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of these COVID-19 vaccines and can be assured that the agency was thorough in its evaluation of the data,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a statement announcing the move.

The FDA’s decision comes after unanimous votes of support out of a daylong meeting Wednesday of the regulator’s outside advisers, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which weighed submissions from Moderna as well as Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.

A panel of the CDC’s own advisers, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, is scheduled to vote on Saturday. Once the CDC director formally greenlights vaccinations following the meeting, federal officials have said they expect many kids can start getting shots as soon as Tuesday, June 21.

Federal officials say most jurisdictions — except for Florida — have pre-ordered doses out of the 10 million total shots that were made available; 2.5 million orders were received for Pfizer’s shots and 1.3 million for Moderna’s.

Providers in the initial wave have ordered only one of the brands in some jurisdictions, though the Biden administration hopes that will even out as supply climbs around the country over future rounds of shipments.

The FDA also moved Friday to authorize Moderna’s vaccine for children 6 through 17 years old, after the company’s request to vaccinate these children had been stalled for months over concerns it might pose a larger risk of heart inflammation side effects in adolescents.

So, that’s a little this and that for the week!  I hope you can add some more interesting things!  I’m trying to escape the heat today.  We may hit 100 today.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

 


Monday Reads: America has a gun fetish that’s killing us

The Super Flower Blood Moon eclipse of 2022 over my house last night.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I gaze through my Twitter feed which is loaded with all these photos of wipipo and their small army of indoctrinated children looking like they’re all about to head to The Aluminium Warehouse Church of the Almighty Dollar to get their sanctimony on or to everyone’s favorite store, movie theatre, or place of actual worship to slaughter the rest of us.

I’m trolling my stupid Senator again because he doesn’t seem to have any concept of being moral even though he throws bible verses on his feed day after day. Sometimes he sounds almost normal and then, he goes down the MAGA rabbit hole and sounds like a monster.

I am just sick of all the gun violence and white national terrorist violence and murder. I know I keep writing about it but folks like my one semi-cogent Senator are just fixated on all the wrong problems. For one, why do kids have access to dangerous weapons of war? For another, at what point do we start looking at Terrorist Manifestos and “news” broadcasts domestically and say this isn’t free speech, it is violent insurrection talking?

This is your basic child abuse. They look like a cult! And this is what their children grow up to do:

And this is your basic horrid policy. Let’s kill a lot of people by linking these two things together! And of course, let’s ignore gun violence even if you’re a doctor and every doctor’s organization calls it a Public Health Crisis.

Please read that thread from Sherrilyn Iffel. It’s enlightening. Please read this one too!!!

I’ve been caught in several shootouts in my neighborhood recently. The abandoned Naval Base is full of methheads and heroin addicts who come from the rural areas to the city. There are gunshots at least once a day. There have been at least 4 deaths there this month that are known around here from there. The police seem absolutely unable to do anything. Our crime wave is due to the long-ignored Opioid crisis. Why don’t we see some action there?

I grew up in a small Iowa town with a lot of people that had guns specifically for hunting. All I ever saw was the meat my dad would bring home when his friends shared their bounty. I have lived in this neighborhood for over 20 years and it was labeled as dangerous when I moved here. Well, the demographics have changed and the violence is appalling now. I’ll let you read between the lines. They are getting these ideas from one Party, from their Preachers, and from the likes of Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

Congressman Adam Schiff said it out loud. Fox News, Republicans, and white nationalist xtians are killing us and our democracy. There is no other way to look at this. They are after the rights of women, religious minorities, or the nonreligious, and they are after people of color and the GLBTQ community. It’s their way or we go to prison or they just turn their maladjusted little men on us with their tactical gear and semi-automatic weapons. OR, they let big Pharma loose to turn those little men into monsters.

And they send monsters to serve at the State and Federal levels who want the process to be rigged in their favor. Otherwise, they quit or go on Fox to howl like hyenas.

The number of proposed laws catering to one very small part of the Christian belief community is astounding. I just wished that a number of people heard those of us that experienced it from the 1980s forward and actually believed what we were saying. I was under attack as not being a ‘real’ Christian because I was a social justice Methodist at the time. One of my great grandfathers was a circuit rider in the Kansas/Oklahoma area doing just about the same thing as me so it’s a long tradition in my family.

Oh, and here are some pictures of my new Kitty Cristal who was rescued from the middle of neutral ground and is now happily installed on my bed. I’m hoping to distract you from all this distress with her as much as she is doing for me.

From Salon: “Why is the Supreme Court using religious belief to alter secular law? Alito’s draft opinion is full of specious legal and historical language — but it’s just religious doctrine in drag”. This is written by Thom Hartmann.

Democrats are generally disinclined to discuss religion, much less debate it.

They like to point out that Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin were famously atheist, Thomas Jefferson and dozens of other high-profile people in the founding generation were deists (a close cousin to atheists and certainly not Christians), and that in two different places the Constitution explicitly rejects religion interfering with government or vice versa.

But it’s time to discuss religion whether we like it or not, because it’s no longer knocking on our door: Sam Alito just sent it into the house with a no-knock warrant and stun grenades that threaten to catch the place on fire.

Alito’s Dobbs v. Jackson draft opinion rests on two main premises.

The first is that the Supreme Court has no business recognizing a “right” that isn’t rooted in the nation’s “history and tradition.”

This right-wing canard has been around for years, and has been used to argue against pretty much ever form of modernity from integrated public schools to, more recently, same-sex marriage. It’s a convenient pole around which you can twist pretty much any argument you want, because American history and tradition have been all over the map during the past roughly 240 years.

For example, Alito could just as easily have pointed out that there were no federal or state laws regulating abortion at all at the founding of our republic, and they didn’t really start showing up until the 1800s as physicians were clamoring for licensure to lock midwives out of birth-related medical practice (which included abortion).

The year Virginia got an abortion-regulating law, for example, was the same year — 1847 — that the American Medical Association was founded. Ben Franklin had been dead more than a half-century and not a single signer of the Declaration of Independence was still alive.

She sure sleeps better than I do!!

Read on. We’re in the dawning of the Age of DisReason and Religious tyranny. It’s back to the Middle Ages. We also know they are a well-armed bunch of Crusaders that have been whipped up into a frenzy by the Republican Party and Fox News. They also have plenty of playgrounds out on the Internet. They’ve been stacking courts since the Reagan years and look out!

And now, we have a fringe theory guiding yet another set of their reactionary movement. This is from the New York Times: “A Fringe Conspiracy Theory, Fostered Online, Is Refashioned by the G.O.P. Replacement theory, espoused by the suspect in the Buffalo massacre, has been embraced by some right-wing politicians and commentators.”

Inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, a white man with a history of antisemitic internet posts gunned down 11 worshipers, blaming Jews for allowing immigrant “invaders” into the United States.

The next year, another white man, angry over what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 23 people dead, and later telling the police he had sought to kill Mexicans.

And in yet another deadly mass shooting, unfolding in Buffalo on Saturday, a heavily armed white man is accused of killing 10 people after targeting a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side, writing in a lengthy screed posted online that the shoppers there came from a culture that sought to “ethnically replace my own people.”

Three shootings, three different targets — but all linked by one sprawling, ever-mutating belief now commonly known as replacement theory. At the extremes of American life, replacement theory — the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to “replace” and disempower white Americans — has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years and fueling the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence.

But replacement theory, once confined to the digital fever swamps of Reddit message boards and semi-obscure white nationalist sites, has gone mainstream. In sometimes more muted forms, the fear it crystallizes — of a future America in which white people are no longer the numerical majority — has become a potent force in conservative media and politics, where the theory has been borrowed and remixed to attract audiences, retweets and small-dollar donations.

By his own account, the Buffalo suspect, Payton S. Gendron, followed a lonelier path to radicalization, immersing himself in replacement theory and other kinds of racist and antisemitic content easily found on internet forums, and casting Black Americans, like Hispanic immigrants, as “replacers” of white Americans. Yet in recent months, versions of the same ideas, sanded down and shorn of explicitly anti-Black and antisemitic themes, have become commonplace in the Republican Party — spoken aloud at congressional hearings, echoed in Republican campaign advertisements and embraced by a growing array of right-wing candidates and media personalities.

My Dog Temple has a new buddy.

We’ve always had ugly racist, anti-semite, white nationalist movements lurking about but now they’re weaponizing the first and second amendment against the majority. And of course, some Republicans are calling it a “false flag” operation which means this ugly ass young man was really a liberal. This Senator is a white nationalist. From HuffPo: “State Senator Who Backs White Nationalism Suggests Buffalo Shooting Was False Flag. Arizona GOP Sen. Wendy Rogers promoted a deranged conspiracy theory after 10 people were killed in what authorities say was a

A Republican state lawmaker with ties to white nationalists suggested the racially motivated mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket was staged by government agents.
“Fed boy summer has started in Buffalo,” Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers wrote on Telegram. The first-term lawmaker has built a national profile among far-right extremists with incendiary rhetoric, diehard support for former President Donald Trump and an embrace of white nationalism.

Authorities said an 18-year-old white gunman traveled several hours on Saturday to a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, where he opened fire outside at a supermarket. Thirteen people were shot; 10 died. Most were Black. The accused killer left a manifesto riddled with racist views and references to the “great replacement” conspiracy theory that white Americans are being replaced by people of color, according to The New York Times.

Oh, and then there’s this from VOX: “The Supreme Court just made it much easier to bribe a member of Congress. A case brought by Ted Cruz is a huge boon to rich candidates and moneyed lobbyists.” SCOTUS weaponized the first amendment again and there’s nothing in the original Constitution about lobbyists and dark money so please, Alito, explain this one to me in “federalist” terms.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has been at war with campaign finance laws for more than a dozen years, stretching at least as far back as its decision in Citizens United v. FEC (2010). On Monday, the Court’s six Republican appointees escalated this war.

The Court’s decision in FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate is a boon to wealthy candidates. It strikes down an anti-bribery law that limited the amount of money candidates could raise after an election in order to repay loans they made to their own campaign.

Federal law permits candidates to loan money to their campaigns. In 2001, however, Congress prohibited campaigns from repaying more than $250,000 of these loans using funds raised after the election. They can repay as much as they want from campaign donations received before the election (although a federal regulation required them to do so “within 20 days of the election”).

The idea is that, if already-elected officials can solicit donations to repay what is effectively their own personal debt, lobbyists and others seeking to influence lawmakers can put money directly into the elected official’s pocket — and campaign donations that personally enrich a lawmaker are particularly likely to lead to corrupt bargains. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) manufactured a case to try to overturn that $250,000 limit, and now, the Court has sided with him.

Indeed, now that this limit on loan repayments has been struck down, lawmakers with sufficiently creative accountants may be able to use such loans to give themselves a steady income stream from campaign donors.

According to the Los Angeles Times, for example, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) made a $150,000 loan to her campaign at 18 percent interest in 1998 — before the 2001 law was enacted. Though Napolitano did eventually reduce the interest rate on this loan to 10 percent, the high-interest loan allowed her to make a considerable profit from donors.

Okay, there’s more about this shit but I can’t do it. Maybe BB will pick up on some of it tomorrow.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today!!

And love and snuggles from all of us at the kathouse! Here’s Ted Cruz with the Last Word today.


Monday Reads: It’s always the same Nonsense!

Seated Female Clown (Mlle Cha-U-Kao), 1896 Wall Art, Henri
de Toulouse-Lautrec, The Met

Good Day Sky Dancers!

BB is the authority on this, but I’d just like to say if you want any of the best examples of projection as an ego defense mechanism, choose any Republican.  The Encyclopedia of Britannica sums it up nicely. “Projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world.”  From the existence of Pedophiles to Cancel Culture, Republican sloganeering puts a target on something “liberal” and then focuses on getting the attention off the incredible number of instances of it that appear in the Republican Party domain.

A few days ago, I put this Newsweek article up down the thread. “GOP Senator Ray Holmberg Resigns Chair After Texts to Child Porn Suspect.”   The details of anything other than the texts aren’t known right now, but it sure seems a lot of Republicans are overly intrigued with pedophiles these days.  Of course, we know of many recent Republican officeholders–most notably Denny Hastert, the former Speaker of the House– that were actual pedophiles. A judge referred to him as a “serial child molester” after determining he had been molesting boys he coached over decades.  We also have the examples of MagaRats Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan.  There’s an awful lot of deflecting and projecting dealing with that horrid behavior.

And who could forget this one from a few weeks ago? From Vanity Fair: “TED CRUZ WARNS DISNEY PROGRAMMING WILL SOON DEPICT MICKEY AND PLUTO F–KING.”

In an extremely weird set of remarks, even for him, the Texas lawmaker opined at a live recording of his podcastVerdict With Ted Cruz: “I think there are people who are misguided, trying to drive, you know, Disney stepping in, saying, you know, in every episode now they’re gonna have, you know, Mickey and Pluto going at it. Like, really? It’s just like, come on guys, these are kids, and you know, you could always shift to Cinemax if you want that. Like, why do you have—it used to be, look, I’m a dad. You used to be able to put your kids on the Disney Channel and be like, alright, something innocuous will happen.”

And then there’s this: “Kellyanne Conway Knew Of ‘Sexual Allegations’ Against Nebraska Candidate Months Ago. The former White House adviser and Donald Trump are working for Charles Herbster’s election as governor despite allegations he groped eight women.”  This is from HuffPo, as reported by Mary Papenfuss.

Former Trump administration White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said she heard last year about “some kind of sexual allegations” against GOP Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster — but she’s working to get him elected anyway.

Conway alleged on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast that groping allegations raised by eight women, including a Republican state senator, were somehow cooked up by current Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who does not support Herbster, a corporate CEO who has never held office.

Ricketts “got in my face” 10 months ago vowing to “destroy Charles Herbster,” said Conway. She offered nothing else in the way of proof that Ricketts is behind the assault accusations.

A key accuser is GOP state Sen. Julie Slama. She said in an emotional radio interview earlier this month that she was “in shock” at what she called an “assault” by Herbster at a Republican dinner in 2019.

As I was … walking to my table, I felt a hand reach up my skirt, up my dress and the hand was Charles Herbster’s,” Slama said, her voice shaking, in an interview on News Radio KFAB in Omaha. “I was in shock. I was mortified. It’s one of the most traumatizing things I’ve ever been through.”

Slama added: “I watched as five minutes later he grabbed the buttocks of another young woman. … This was witnessed by several people at the event.”

You may read more about the allegations at the link.  And here’s my cartooning friend from Nebraska on the Pornhusker candidate. By the way, Ricketts also graduated from our High School!  ICK!!!!

We have more on the orange snot blob and his crime syndicate family as I’m writing this.  This is fresh off the virtual presses from the New York Times. “Judge Holds Trump in Contempt Over Documents in New York A.G.’s Inquiry. Former President Donald J. Trump was ordered to turn over materials sought by Letitia James, the New York attorney general, and will be fined $10,000 per day until he does so.

A New York judge on Monday held Donald J. Trump in contempt of court for failing to turn over documents to the state’s attorney general, an extraordinary rebuke of the former president.

The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ordered Mr. Trump to comply with a subpoena seeking records and assessed a fine of $10,000 per day until he satisfied the court’s requirements. In essence, the judge concluded that Mr. Trump had failed to cooperate with the attorney general, Letitia James, and follow the court’s orders.

“Mr. Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” remarked Justice Engoron of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, before he held Mr. Trump in contempt and banged his gavel.

Alina Habba, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said she intended to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Still, the ruling represents a significant victory for Ms. James, whose office is conducting a civil investigation into whether Mr. Trump falsely inflated the value of his assets in annual financial statements.

Illustration by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone

So a few more stories about other thuggish clowns.  Wherever you see a thuggish clown, there will be a thuggish religious figure to give him a messianic complex.  This is by Tom Nichols, writing for The Atlantic. “Putin’s Unholy War. Putin, the Patriarch, and the corruption of Orthodox Christianity.”

For most of the Christian world, Easter is over. For Orthodox Christians, however, Easter week has just begun—and Russia, the largest Orthodox country in the world, is still relentlessly pursuing the invasion and barbaric destruction of its mostly Orthodox neighbor, Ukraine. In fact, the renewed Russian offensive in the Donbas, replete with day and night bombardment of mostly Orthodox, mostly Russian-speaking areas in eastern Ukraine, began just after Russians and Ukrainians observed Palm Sunday.

I note this because I, too, am an Orthodox Christian, and I am watching one nominally Orthodox nation try to slaughter another.

In most of my comments on the Russian war against Ukraine, I’ve tried, as best I can, to provide you with dispassionate analysis. But I hope this week you’ll allow me a few personal observations as I head toward Easter. I realize that sometimes the cold equations of political analysis can seem far removed from our emotions, and so I thought I would share with you some of my own.

Although my career was mostly spent as a scholar and Russia expert, it is difficult for any area specialist to be completely objective about the countries they study, because our lives end up unavoidably connected to the subject of our profession.

Nonetheless, whether friend or enemy, I have spent my life trying to understand Russia and its people. Now, like everyone, I am disgusted by Russian savagery. Fury grows in me each time I see the mutilated corpses and leveled homes—not only because of the sadistic violence, but also because I know that the Russian regime, in trying to destroy the Ukrainian nation, has destroyed a chance, at least for some years to come, for a better world.

And for what?

For the messianic dreams of a small man, a frightened and delusional thug leading a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government, who believes that he is doing God’s will.

You might be surprised at the last sentence, but Vladimir Putin really believes this. He thinks he’s on a mission. I’ll come back to this in a moment, but it’s a reality that too many in the West have either overlooked or chosen to ignore. And as much as I’d like to lay all of this mayhem on Putin’s shoulders alone, we now have to accept that his butchery of innocent people is either tacitly or openly supported by millions of Russians. Yes, there are brave Russians who have risked their lives to protest this war, but there is no way, any longer, to deny that Putin enjoys more support than any decent nation should give to such horror.

And so I grieve not only for Ukraine, but for the knowledge that no matter how this war ends, the era of hope that began in 1989 is over. Ukraine is now the scene of the largest conflict in Europe since World War II. NATO and Russia are openly enemies again. Nuclear war, for a time a forgotten abstraction, is a real danger.

Putin’s messianic madness is magnified by the blessings of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church leader for the invasion of Ukraine. This has split the church.  (Via WAPO)  This so reminds me of all the evangelicals who see Trump as some kind of messiah.  White Patriarchal Nationalism is just a potent poison wherever it manifests itself.

Whether warning about the “external enemies” attempting to divide the “united people” of Russia and Ukraine, or very publicly blessing the generals leading soldiers in the field, Patriarch Kirill has become one of the war’s most prominent backers. His sermons echo, and in some cases even supply, the rhetoric that President Vladimir Putin has used to justify the assault on cities and civilians.

“Let this image inspire young soldiers who take the oath, who embark on the path of defending the fatherland,” Kirill intoned as he gave a gilded icon to Gen. Viktor Zolotov during a service at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in mid-March. The precious gift, the general responded, would protect the troops in their battles against Ukrainian “Nazis.”

One more clown to send in today.

If you haven’t gotten the idea that my post today is all about the clowns who want money and power and will do any schtick to get it, well, you know now.  Now, this has nothing to do with Musk’s diagnosis of having Autism Spectrum Disorder but I think we can see more than a bit of Narcissism in all the folks we read about today. I will leave Twitter if the Orange Cheeto and his hateful cult are allowed back on.  Free speech isn’t about lying or harassing people and calling them ugly names. I use my block and report button continually because I prefer not to see hateful people try to take over a discussion.

Twitter is said to be nearing a deal to sell itself to Elon Musk, according to The New York Times and other outlets, 11 days after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO shocked the industry by offering to buy the company in a deal valuing it at more than $41 billion.

A deal could be finalized as soon as Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Twitter declined to comment on the reports.

Reports that a deal is imminent come after Musk revealed last week he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to acquire the company. Twitter’s board met Sunday to evaluate Musk’s offer to buy all the shares of the company he does not currently own for $54.20 a piece, a source familiar with the deal confirmed to CNN. The source said that discussions about Musk’s bid have turned serious.

Musk appeared to hint at the completion of a deal on Twitter on Monday when he tweeted, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

The potential sale agreement caps off a whirlwind news cycle that began less than a month ago, when Musk revealed he had taken a more than 9% stake in the company and ramped up calls for changes to the social media platform.

I just want quick access to breaking news as reported by the reporters.  Oh, well.  To me, there are critics and then there are damn liars with a mean ax to grind.  I want none of the latter.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: 4/20 again?

Good morning!

What a fucking asshole. Anyway, another year, another meme:

Cartoons via Cagle website:

Grab her by the pussy:

And let’s end with this powerful speech:

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: Believe it or not.

Say what?

Don’t worry, it didn’t permanently change their belief systems…as you will read from the link, the FoxNews people went back to their old ways soon enough.

Cartoon time, via Cagle website:

Gonna miss him👇🏼:

On the Covid news:

Take a look at this clip from Jimmy Kimmel:

The power of yolk compels you:

And you all have a good Sunday, this is an open thread.