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


Wednesday Reads: Rise Up RevComs

Cartoon by Pia Guerra

Watch the video from the hearing below:

Cartoons via Cagle:

So…earlier this week I got this tweet sent to me when I retweeted something from Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights:

So, I looked into it.

Then last night I found this video:

Here are some more things I found:

Some of the responses from Rise Up and RevComs:

As you can see, RevComs is using the Rise Up hashtag:

I find it interesting that they are highlighting this:

As well as this tweet from RevComs:

Ugh…

In other news:

Geez…this is an open thread.

All this pleading the Fifth has me thinking of this skit:


Wednesday Reads: Primary Frights

Read the room…

And can you believe this?

Those fuckers.

Cartoons via Cagle:

If only…

Some disturbing videos out of Yellowstone:

Meanwhile in Mexico City:

For Pride…

This kid has the moves:

And just an update…my daughter Bebe has a new kitten, she picks her up later tonight. It is a little 11week old female.

So have a good day, try to keep cool.


Finally Friday Reads: Lock the Big Lie Enablers Up!

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

We’re six months past a soft coup d’etat that investigations show was way worse than we thought. It came after months of careful, planning, changes in staffing at DOJ and the Pentagon, and many attempts to manipulate state officials.  The brutality to Capitol Hill Officers during the insurrection was terrifying. However, there was a clear, cynical lead-up for planners in the White House–clearly led and encouraged by Trump–as shown by a Senate Committee investigation.  This post follows up on BB’s post yesterday as more information becomes available.

Peasant Couple,
Maqbool Fida Husain ,1950

From CNN: “Senate Judiciary Committee issues sweeping report detailing how Trump and a top DOJ lawyer attempted to overturn 2020 election”.  Trump “relentlessly” sought to overturn the election.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday released a sweeping report about how former President Donald Trump and a top lawyer in the Justice Department attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Trump directly asked the Justice Department nine times to undermine the election result, and his chief of staff Mark Meadows broke administration policy by pressuring a Justice Department lawyer to investigate claims of election fraud, according to the report, which is based on witness interviews of top former Justice Department officials.

The Democratic-led committee also revealed that White House counsel Pat Cipollone threatened to quit in early January as Trump considered replacing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ lawyer who supported election fraud conspiracies.

After the eight-month investigation, the findings highlight the relentlessness of Trump and some of his top advisers as they fixated on using the Justice Department to prop up false conspiracies of election fraud. The committee report, the most comprehensive account so far of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, described his conduct as an abuse of presidential power.

The massive plot to overturn the election that eventually led to the January 6 soft coup is laid out bare at the CNN link.  You may watch the coverage and continue reading there. This intersects nicely with the 1/6 Commission’s work.  They’ve issued subpoenas and Donald Trump has asked four big players to ignore them. From The Independent: “Four of Mr Trump’s associates were sent subpoenas by House select committee investigating 6 January”

Confirming that Mr would not be cooperating, The Washington Post reported the text of a letter from Mr Bannon’s lawyer to the committee citing the former president’s executive privilege.

“It is therefore clear to us that since the executive privileges belong to President Trump and he has, through his counsel, announced his intention to assert those privileges … we must accept his direction and honour his invocation of executive privilege,” attorney Robert Costello wrote.

Mr Bannon’s response was also confirmed by another source who told CNN that a second of Mr Trump’s inner circle asked to cooperate with the investigation, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, has responded, but it is as yet unknown whether he will or will not cooperate.

Four of Mr Trump’s associates were sent subpoenas by the House select committee. It is not yet known if the other two, Karsh Patel and Dan Scavino, have responded.

Lawyers working for the former president sent letters to the four men on Wednesday saying that Mr Trump viewed the subpoenas as an infringement of executive privilege and that they should not cooperate.

Trump continues to push the false narrative that he has some kind of blanket executive privilege after office.  He clearly does not as witnessed by the flurry of documents released to both committees by the real President.

Susan B Glasser has penned this for The New Yorker: “The Battle of January 6th Has Just Begun. Nine months after the storming of the Capitol, Trump is more popular with the G.O.P. and his Big Lie is more widely believed.”

But look at where our politics are, nine months after the insurrection, and they tell a radically different story. Trump is, per Pew and other recent polls, both the overwhelming favorite among Republicans for 2024 and their continuing spiritual leader. (Two-thirds of the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents that Pew surveyed wanted Trump to continue to be a major national figure, a total that’s gone up by ten points since January. Yes, that’s not a typo—it’s gone up.) Just as important, he has succeeded in selling his party on his Big Lie about the 2020 election, on January 6th revisionism, and on taking a series of specific actions—from changing how states certify elections to purging state Republican officials who did not go along with his 2020 coup attempt—that will affect American democracy for years to come, whether or not Trump runs again.

Consider one metric I’ve been obsessed with: the increase in the percentage of Republicans who believe Trump’s falsehoods about the election. In January, a CNN poll found that seventy-five per cent of Republicans said that Biden was not legitimately elected President. In April, that number declined to seventy per cent, but now, according to the most recent CNN survey, it has risen to seventy-eight per cent. Yes, more Republicans believe that the 2020 election was stolen now than did when the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

On January 7th, it was still possible to anticipate a different outcome. But, on October 7th, we have to acknowledge that this didn’t happen. Nine months ago, in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection, enough Republican leaders and Trump White House officials viewed the Trump-inspired attack on the democratic transition of power as an event of such horrifying excess that it was difficult to imagine them normalizing, justifying, and rationalizing it as they had the Trumpian excesses of the previous four years. Yet that is exactly what has taken place in the intervening months. “Republicans initially started down the road to a post-Trump party, as opposed to a Trump party . . . and they backed up in record time,” Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told me, on Thursday. “They have missed the historic opportunity to put Trump in the past.” The result is that the political crisis today is worse than it was, not better. The unacceptable has been accepted by a shockingly large part of the population and its political leadership.

Krishen Khanna, News of Gandhiji’s Death (1948). Oil on canvas.

This long form analysis is shocking, indeed!  But this viewpoint is very on point!

The survey, which is worth reading in its entirety, shows that this is not a problem of ideology or policy or the other markers of conventional American politics. It is something much deeper and more intractable: two parties whose members now hate one another with a fierce, anti-democratic, Constitution-threatening passion. Eighty-four per cent of Trump voters said that Democratic officials are a “clear and present danger” to society; seventy-eight per cent of Trump voters also said that Americans who strongly support Democrats are a “clear and present danger.” This level of antipathy is fully reciprocated by Democrats; eighty per cent of Biden voters surveyed said that Republican officials represent a “clear and present danger,” and seventy-five per cent of them said the same about Americans who strongly support Republicans. Things are so bad that fifty-two per cent of Trump voters and forty-one per cent of Biden voters said that they would favor seceding from America. January 6th may not have been the end of Trump so much as the beginning of something even worse.

Which is time to discuss today’s events.

Let’s dive deeper into that.  From HuffPo and Sara Boboltz: “Trump Told 4 Officials To Ignore Jan. 6 Committee Subpoena: Report. The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol wants to hear from Mark Meadows, Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino, and Kash Patel.”

Select Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) wrote in each of his Sept. 23 letters to the witnesses that the panel is “investigating the facts, circumstances, and causes of the January 6th attack and issues relating to the peaceful transfer of power, in order to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend to the House and its relevant committees corrective laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations.”

Thompson’s committee has already taken steps to get its hands on communications from the Trump White House relating to the attack. In August, it sent a sweeping records request to the National Archives, which handles presidential records, and to several federal agencies asking for documentation.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated last month that President Joe Biden was unlikely to block any Trump-era records from making their way onto committee members’ desks, but the administration later issued a clarification saying it would evaluate such requests individually.

Krishen Khanna. 
The Game 1, the early 1980s

Thompson additionally made comments to press on this matter and has indicated that all options are on the table. He did say that Criminal Referrals will be issued on October 1st. Today is basically the first day that contempt of congress charges are applicable.  Newsweek reports this information.

Patel issued a statement to The Washington Post on Thursday before the deadline, pointing to his website where he is seeking to raise $250,000 “to fund a top-notch legal team.”

“I will continue to tell the American people the truth about January 6, and I am putting our country and freedoms first through my Fight with Kash initiative,” he told the newspaper.

The committee had been unable to physically locate Scavino in order to serve him with a subpoena as of Thursday.

It’s not entirely clear what steps the select committee will take if the four former aides refuse to cooperate, but Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, who sits on the committee, suggested on Thursday that they could face contempt charges.

“I believe this is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us, and that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations and the use of Congress‘s own inherent contempt powers,” Raskin said.

I’m willing to give the Congressman the benefit of the weekend.  And, do have a good weekend!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?