Wednesday Reads: Dog Lips

Morning all…I forgot it was my turn to post the thread…so this is going to be a quickie.

Cartoons from Cagle:

This is shitty news.

This is an open thread.


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


Monday Reads: Residual Trump Chaos and Damage

Frankenthaler Helen, Mountains and Sea, 1952

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Another Monday reveals all the residual chaos and damage caused by Trump and his administration, his appointments to the Supreme Court, and his White National Christianists Cult.  I’m going to start with one of the Incel Militias that were part of the insurrection and have been disturbing the peace in other states.

The Three Percenters are one of the vilest groups with a conspiracy theory claiming that only 3% of American colonists fought against the British during the American Revolution, a claim that has never been proven.   They are also known as III%ers or Threepers.  This is from the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s catalogue of Domestic Terrorists known as HateWatch.

“Get an indictment. Present it to the sheriff. If they don’t uphold the law, that’s where the militia come in.”
– Jon Ritzheimer, a Three Percenter and former Oath Keepers member, on his plans to link up with local antigovernment militias and conduct a citizen’s arrest of U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)

“The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. If you’re a Muslim I’m going to enjoy shooting you in the head. When we go on operations there’s no leaving anyone behind, even if it’s a 1-year-old. … I guarantee if I go on a mission those little fuckers are going bye-bye.”
– Patrick Stein, member of the terrorist group The Crusaders, which split from the Kansas Security Force Three Percent

“That’s what my group does. We monitor them and their activity, we show up in their neighborhoods armed and let them know they’re being watched and if they fuck up my guys will take em [sic] out.”
– David Wright, leader of a Three Percenter group, Bureau of American Islamic Relations (BAIR)

There are more quotes and facts about this group at the link.  Go there only if you want to be triggered by hate and violent threats. It figures that the first Jan. 6 defendant convicted in court would be a Threeper. The Prosecution called them “terrorists.” Indeed, they are.

This is from The Washington Post: “U.S. seeks 15-year sentence for Guy Reffitt, citing terrorism. The Three Percenters recruiter, the first Jan. 6 defendant convicted at trial, was found guilty of leading a charge while armed that led to first break-in at the U.S. Capitol and also of threatening his son. ”

… Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Nestler and Risa Berkower said Reffitt’s case is exceptional.

Reffitt “played a central role” at the head of a vigilante mob that challenged and overran police at a key choke point, a stairway leading up from the Lower West Terrace, before the initial breach of windows near the Capitol’s Senate Wing Doors at 2:13 p.m., prosecutors said. After the riot, Reffitt warned his son and 16-year-old daughter that “if you turn me in, you’re a traitor, and traitors get shot,” his son testified at the trial.

Conventional sentencing rules are of “inadequate scope” to account for the range of Reffitt’s obstruction, witness tampering and weapon offenses, prosecutors wrote in a 58-page sentencing memo.

“Reffitt sought not just to stop Congress, but also to physically attack, remove, and replace the legislators who were serving in Congress,” prosecutors wrote.

They called his conduct “a quintessential example of an intent to both influence and retaliate against government conduct through intimidation or coercion” and said it reflected the statutory definition of terrorist violence that is subject to harsher punishment.

Nowhere is there more legal chaos than in the states after the reversal of Roe.  Laws older than the passage of women’s suffrage may soon come into effect.  These laws are also from periods before modern obstetric and gynecology practice and knowledge.

This is from The Detroit Free Press about the situation in Michigan.  It’s written by Dave Boucher. “Michigan court ruling lets prosecutors file charges under 1931 abortion law”.

A court order that sought to bar enforcement of a dormant law criminalizing most abortions in Michigan does not apply to county prosecutors, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

The massively consequential ruling means the 1931 law banning all abortions except those done to protect the life of a pregnant person essentially takes effect immediately, said David Kallman, an attorney for Great Lakes Justc Center, a conservative organization representing several Michigan prosecutors who challenged the injunction.

“We’re ecstatic. It’s wonderful. That’s exactly what we’ve been saying all along,” Kallman said Monday morning in a phone interview.

The decision could have a sweeping and drastic impact in the state, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and many other pro-abortion rights advocates have fought to maintain legal access to abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June.

What is wrong with these people?   Radical Misogynists are eager to strip women of the rights granted to them by the Constitution to be free of forced servitude to the state or any other entity.

The Washington Post continues this discussion this morning.”Major legal fights loom over abortion pills, travel out of state. The reversal of Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years is expected to trigger a new set of legal challenges for which there is little precedent”

The Supreme Court’s three liberal justices, in denouncing their colleagues’decision to eliminate the nationwide right to abortion, warned last month that returning this polarizing issue to the states would give rise to greater controversy in the months and years to come.

Among the looming disputes, they noted:Can states ban mail-order medication used to terminate pregnancies or bar their residents from traveling elsewhere to do so?

“Far from removing the court from the abortion issue,” Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote in dissent, “the majority puts the court at the center of the coming ‘interjurisdictional abortion wars.’ ”

The overturning of Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years is expected to trigger a newset of legal challenges for which there is little precedent, observers say, further roiling the nation’s bitter political landscape and compounding chaos as Republican-led states move quickly to curtail access to reproductive care. It is possible, if not probable, that one or both of these questions will eventually work its way back to the high court.

With friends like Grand Inquisitor Alito, churches fund political campaigns and actions brazenly.  This article by Peter Slevin –writing for The New Yorker–is a horrifying example of how an extremely well-off Catholic Church can oppress women with well-funded Political Campaigns.

When Justice Samuel Alito and his colleagues squinted at history and ruled that the U.S. Constitution included no right to abortion, Dinah Sykes felt her heart sink. But here she was, on an evening in July, sweating through her blue T-shirt in ninety-five-degree heat, trying to persuade Kansans to block an effort to remove the right to abortion from the state constitution. She held a stack of flyers and carried a bottle of water in a cloth bag slung over her shoulder. A blond ponytail poked through the back of her baseball cap. “Sixty per cent of Kansans believe a woman should have a right to choose,” she said, as she walked from house to house. “And they should not have someone else’s beliefs forced upon them.”

Sykes, a local lawmaker, was in Merriam, a southwestern suburb of Kansas City. Early in her two-hour canvassing session, she climbed the steps of a split-level home and rang the bell. When Adrienne Maples, a professional photographer, came to the door, Sykes launched into her riff: “Are you aware that there is a referendum on the August 2nd ballot?” Before Sykes, who is the Democratic minority leader in the Kansas Senate, could finish explaining that the vote may lead to an abortion ban, Maples interrupted. “I’m pretty sure there are a lot of pissed-off women who will be voting no,” she said. Maples planned to be one of them. “I’m concerned that we’re slipping backwards. This is scary.

On Tuesday, in the dead of summer, when many Kansans are on vacation and college campuses are largely empty, voters will be asked to amend the state constitution, and give license to the Republican-dominated legislature to rewrite the state’s laws on abortion. It will be the nation’s first direct electoral test of abortion rights since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Catholic Church is spending millions to advance the amendment, while a broad coalition of pro-choice organizations is scrambling to stop it, testing a new message tailored to appeal to independents and moderate Republicans. The pitch casts the amendment as an infringement on personal liberties—a government mandate “designed to interfere with private medical decisions.” The front of the flyer that Sykes was tucking into screen doors did not mention abortion. It said “It’s up to us to keep Kansans free by Voting No!”

Republicans who turned their backs on Veterans last week by voting no to fund programs to help Veterans sickened by Burn Pits are ignoring that vote.  I am among the constituents that trolled him for his vote.  Now, he has amnesia.

The latest Trumperz Tantrum votes haunt them all in the upcoming election. Democratic Candidate Luke Mixon, running against Senator Foghorn Leghorn, is riding that horse in his ads. I’m pretty sure he’s not the only one.  I would also like to say that all these snarky, trolling ads of Republicans on all kinds of issues are the only thing that puts a big ol’ smile on my face these days.

Beginnings, Helen Frankenthaler, 2002

Meanwhile, Republicans are still trying to fuck with our democratic election process.  They want state legislatures to do the voting for them. This is from Politico: “Trump-backed conspiracy theorist makes a charge for chief election position in Arizona. State Rep. Mark Finchem is part of a pro-Trump coalition of secretary of state candidates running in battleground states throughout the country.”

Should he win on Tuesday, Finchem will become the latest member of the “America First Secretary of State Coalition” to secure the Republican nomination in a key battleground, putting them a general election win away from running the 2024 presidential vote in their states — four years after working to subvert President Joe Biden’s election win and falsely claiming the vote was marred. The coalition’s founder, Jim Marchant, is the Republican nominee in Nevada, while Kristina Karamo is the de-facto GOP pick in Michigan. And in Pennsylvania, where the governor picks the state’s chief election official, coalition member Doug Mastriano is the GOP candidate.

In Arizona, where GOP state legislators have embraced Trump’s fictions and financed investigations into the 2020 vote count, Trump supporters are “gunning for secretary of state,” said Mike Noble, the chief of research and managing partner at the Arizona-based polling firm OH Predictive Insights. “[It] is definitely one they have really put a priority on.”

Meanwhile, Margaret Sullivan speculates about Faux News and Trump Replacements writing this at The Washington Post. “The cautious calculation behind whether Fox will dump Trump.” Whatever will Tuckums do?

On the one hand, the opinion pages of two Murdoch newspapers — the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post — have turned on Trump recently, both offering scathing editorials that blasted him for his role on Jan. 6, 2021, particularly his utter lack of leadership in calling off the dangerous mob. And, far more important than any newspaper editorial, his most valuable media ally, Fox News, has skipped much of the live coverage of the former president’s speeches and rallies while not interviewing him live for months.

Worse, the person emerging as his chief rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Florida governor Ron DeSantis, has clearly caught the cable network’s eye.

But there’s still plenty of sycophancy on display. Just days ago, the talking heads of “Fox & Friends” — perhaps chastened by Trump’s raging that they had gone to the “dark side” after they reported some unfavorable poll numbers — once again stroked his fragile but oversize ego. Brian Kilmeade called him the “greatest golfing president ever,” and Ainsley Earhardt backed that up with one admiring exclamation: “Athletic!”

I’m not sure what Trump’s Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament did but piss off most of New York City.  The One Dollar special ticket didn’t even draw a crowd per Insider.

Former President Donald Trump has faced criticism for hosting the event at one of his golf courses in light of allegations of human rights abuses against the Arab kingdom, such as the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The 9/11 Justice group, composed of family members of 9/11 victims, has criticized Trump for hosting the tournament despite what they describe as “clear” evidence linking Saudi Arabia to the terrorist attack.

Some 9/11 family members and survivors protested near the event on Thursday.

Trump made various remarks to reporters throughout the event, The Wall Street Journal said, including talking about Trump Doral, his Miami property that will host a second LIV event this year.

When asked how much he was being paid to work with LIV, Trump said it was “very generous” but added, “I don’t do it for that,” per the outlet.

I’m sure all of us would be glad to get him and his cult off the news cycle, but it seems highly unlikely.

Btw, the beautiful art is from American Artist Helen Frankenthaler, whose mid-century modern abstract art is amazing. Good thing we love truth and beauty here to cover all these cult activities.

Anyway, what’s on your reading and blogging list?


Thursday Reads: Jan. 6 Committee Hearing Tonight

Good Morning!!

Tonight is the final January 6 Committee hearing, at least for this month. It should be a blockbuster. There are plenty of predictions about what will happen tonight. There is also more news about the Secret Service deleting text messages from January 5 and 6. I’ll get to those stories in a minute, but first some breaking news.

Despite his advanced age, Biden appears to be healthy and fit. Here’s hoping his symptoms stay mild.

Tonight’s January 6 Committee Hearing

Hugo Lowell at The Guardian: January 6 panel to show Trump violated law by refusing to stop Capitol attack.

The January 6 House select committee is expected to make the case at its hearing on Thursday that Donald Trump potentially violated the law when he refused entreaties to take action to stop the 2021 attack on the US Capitol by a mass of his supporters, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The panel will demonstrate that the former Republican president was “derelict in his duty” to protect the US Congress and might have also broken the federal law that prohibits obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, which had gathered to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Matthew Pottinger

Matthew Pottinger

Trump could have called on national guard troops to restore order when he saw on TV the melee unfolding at the Capitol, the panel is expected to argue, or he could have called off the rioters via a live broadcast from the White House press briefing room, but he did not. Or he could have sent a tweet trying to stop the violence far earlier than he actually did, during the 187-minute duration of the Capitol attack.

The former president instead only reluctantly posted a tweet in the afternoon of January 6, hours after his top advisors at the White House and Republicans allies in Congress repeatedly implored him to intervene, the select committee will show….

The sources described what the select committee sees as potential legal culpability for the former president, speaking on the condition of anonymity ahead of the prime time hearing.

Two insider witnesses, “former deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger and former Trump press aide Sarah Matthews,” will testify in the hearing.

The two witnesses with inside knowledge of how the West Wing operated on January 6 are expected to narrate how that day unfolded, starting with how desperately Trump did not want to return to the White House after delivering his speech at the rally at the nearby Ellipse, where he had urged supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat….

Sarah MatthewsThe Guardian has learned, according to a person directly familiar with the matter, that in a previously unreported incident, the fracas [described in testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson” about going to the Capitol, after Trump told his supporters at the rally to go to Congress and “I’ll be there with you”, continued when he arrived back at the White House, and the argument spilled into the West Wing driveway.

Pottinger and Matthews are expected to testify about what happened when Trump was back at the White House, including details on Trump in his dining room off the Oval Office, where he watched the Capitol attack erupt on TV, transfixed by the images as rioters overran police and rampaged through the halls of Congress, the sources said.

The select committee will show through videotaped testimony from the Trump White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and other aides, that the former president ignored repeated entreaties from advisers to help stop the Capitol attack, the sources said.

Rolling Stone: Exclusive: Jan. 6 Committee Plans to Humiliate MAGA Lawmakers Who Cowered During Capitol Attack.

The Jan. 6 committee plans to use its Thursday-night hearing to call out insurrection-friendly lawmakers who cowered during the Capitol attack but have since downplayed the insurrection’s severity, according to two sources familiar with the committee’s planning.

“They have plans to paint a really striking picture of how some of Trump’s greatest enablers of his coup plot were — no matter what they’re saying today — quaking in their boots and doing everything shy of crying out for their moms,” one source tells Rolling Stone. “If any of [these lawmakers] were capable of shame, they would be humiliated.” [….]

The committee has at times switched plans at the last minute, and it remains unclear which specific lawmakers the committee could call out. But at least some Republicans have already had their attempts to downplay or justify the attempted coup undone by footage from the day of the attack. When Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) claimed the insurrection “a normal tourist visit,” social media users quickly located photos of the Georgia Republican gasping in terror and hiding behind an armed Capitol police officer pointing a handgun at a barricaded entrance to the Senate floor.

In the 18 months since the insurrection, Republican lawmakers have tried to whitewash it through a series of contradictory talking points. Republicans have alternately downplayed the attack by calling it “a peaceful protest,” claimed it was violent but that the violence was carried out solely by nonexistent “antifa” or federal informants at the Capitol, or that Democrats were to blame for failing to adequately defend the Capitol against the protesters they variously claim weren’t violent or a threat.

Republicans like Reps. Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Paul Gosar have gone so far as to cast alleged rioters held in pretrial detention as unjustly accused political prisoners.

Read more at Rolling Stone.

The Washington Post: Even a day after Jan. 6, Trump balked at condemning the violence.

One day after the last rioter had left the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, President Donald Trump’s advisers urged him to give an address to the nation to condemn the violence, demand accountability for those who had stormed the halls of Congress and declare the 2020 election to be decided.

He struggled to do it. Over the course of an hour of trying to tape the message, Trump resisted holding the rioters to account, trying to call them patriots, and refused to say the election was over, according to individuals familiar with the work of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

The public could get its first glimpse of outtakes from that recording Thursday night, when the committee plans to offer a bold conclusion in its eighth hearing: Not only did Trump do nothing despite repeated entreaties by senior aides to help end the violence, but he sat back and enjoyed watching it. He reluctantly condemned it — in a three-minute speech the evening of Jan. 7 — only after the efforts to overturn the 2020 election had failed and after aides told him that members of his own Cabinet were discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

“This is what he wanted to happen,” Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), who is scheduled to lead the questioning Thursday along with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), said in an interview this week. “You might have earlier on said, ‘Was he incompetent? Was he someone who freezes in a moment when they can’t react to something? Or was it exactly what he wanted to have happened?’ And after all of this, I’m convinced that this is exactly what he wanted to have happen.”

 

CNN: Trump had ‘extreme difficulty’ with his speech on the day after January 6.

The House committee investigating the insurrection plans to show footage at Thursday’s hearing of then-President Donald Trump having difficulty working through efforts to tape a message to his supporters on January 7, 2021, the day after the Capitol riot, sources familiar with the committee’s plans tell CNN….

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who is a member of the committee, confirmed Wednesday night to CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the panel has the outtakes and plans to share some of them during the hearing.

“The President displayed extreme difficulty in completing his remarks,” Raskin said on “Anderson Cooper 360.”

“It’s extremely revealing how exactly he went about making those statements, and we’re going to let everybody see parts of that,” he added.

Rep. Adam Schiff, another committee member, told CNN’s Don Lemon later Wednesday that the outtakes “will be significant in terms of what the President was willing to say and what he wasn’t willing to say.”

The California Democrat said the outtakes will show “all of those who are urging him to say something to do something to stop the violence. You’ll hear the terrible lack of a response from the President, and you’ll hear more about how he was ultimately prevailed upon to say something and what he was willing to say and what he wasn’t.”

The video tape outtakes will be one part of a larger presentation during which the committee plans to detail Trump’s lack of attention to the ongoing riot. The committee has said it will focus on the 187 minutes that Trump sat back, refusing to act, as the Capitol was under siege. Some committee members have described this as Trump’s “dereliction of duty.”

The Secret Service and the Missing Text Messages

This shocking story broke last night. Carol Leonig and Maria Sacchetti at The Washington Post: Secret Service watchdog knew in February that texts had been purged.

A watchdog agency learned in February that the Secret Service had purged nearly all cellphone texts from around the time of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, but chose not to alert Congress, according to three people briefed on the internal discussions.

Joseph Cuffari, Homeland Security Inspector General

Joseph Cuffari, Homeland Security Inspector General

That watchdog agency, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, also prepared in October 2021 to issue a public alert that the Secret Service and other department divisions were stonewalling it on requests for records and texts surrounding the attack on the Capitol, but did not do so, the people briefed on the matter said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal investigations.

The previously unreported revelation about the inspector general’s months-long delay in flagging the now-vanished Secret Service textscame from two whistleblowers who have worked with Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari, the people knowledgeable about the internal discussions said.

In recent days, one former employee approached the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), an independent government-accountability group, and described the decision from Cuffari’s office not to promptly disclose that Secret Service records had been wiped from agency phones starting in January 2021. The group relayed the information to congressional staff, who independently corroborated the account with a second whistleblower.

The congressional staff and two whistleblowers shared a concern that Cuffari’s office not alertingcongressional investigators to the missing records reduced the chances of recovering critical pieces of evidence related to the Jan. 6 attack.

The purged texts of Secret Service agents — some of whomplanned President Donald Trump’s movements on Jan. 6 and shadowed Trump as he sought to overturn the election results — could shed light on what Trump was planning and saying.

This story broke this morning on CNN.

(CNN)The Department of Homeland Security inspector general has directed the Secret Service to stop its internal investigations into what happened to text messages related to January 6 that may have been deleted, according to a letter reviewed by CNN.

The inspector general wrote that the Secret Service should stop investigating the matter because it could interfere with the inspector general’s own investigation into what happened to the agency’s text messages.

The letter adds to the growing tension between the Secret Service and the DHS inspector general over the potentially missing text messages, which are being sought by the House select committee as part of its investigation into former President Donald Trump’s actions and movements on January 6, 2021.

“To ensure the integrity of our investigation, the USSS must not engage in any further investigative activities regarding the collection and preservation of the evidence referenced above,” DHS deputy inspector general Gladys Ayala wrote in a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray on Wednesday evening. “This includes immediately refraining from interviewing potential witnesses, collecting devices or taking any other action that would interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.”

The inspector general wrote that the Secret Service should explain what interviews had already been conducted related to the text messages, along with the “scope off the questioning, and what, if any, warnings were given to the witness(es).” The inspector general told the Secret Service to respond by Monday.

Today should be interesting for politics junkies. All of the big news organizations are jockeying for scoops about tonight’s hearing. I’m really looking forward to it. 

Have a great Thursday, Sky Dancers!


Finally Friday Reads: Into the Woods

Girl in White in the Woods, 1882, Vincent van Gogh.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Things keep getting weirder this week. News broke last night that would be stunning if it was just one story. But, it wasn’t just one story. It is story after story after story including a shooting at a university I taught at while I was ABD.

I’ve been grading and working on my earth mother vibe to try to stave off that feeling that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. My neighbor drove me to get a sourdough starter. I used to work this into bread weekly when my girls were quite little. Well, I think it went bad around the time I had cancer and couldn’t keep up with anything and that would make baby daughter an actual baby daughter. This starter actually comes from Sandor Katz about 20 years ago. So it must have radical power!

This brings me to the formula shortage and the behavior of the Nasty Nine Republican Congress Critters in the House. My first daughter never had formula at all but the littlest one got weaned early because my milk just dried up at the shock of my cancer diagnosis. She was like 5 months at the time and we had to get her on soy formula because, like me, she had issues with the regular stuff. Fortunately, the soy alternative was around for her. I can’t imagine it being absent from shelves. It hurts thinking about it.

I still can’t believe anyone serving in Congress couldn’t get themselves to vote for a program to help put baby formula on shelves. Most voted to get some flexibility on formula brands for WIC recipients. But, 200 of them evidently decided that it wasn’t time for government spending on live babies. They seem to have their whitie-tighties in a bunch over the President getting the military to bring some in from Switzerland too. It’s the continuation of that forced birth notion where we forget the actual children once they’re out of the birth canal. So, this is the good and horrid news yesterday for families with fertile mothers.

The good news is that the baby formula shortage may come to an end rather quickly. From WAPO: “Baby formula plant may be open within a week, FDA commissioner says.” Maybe, I’m obsessed with this because I have two granddaughters on formula right now but it just seems like something that shouldn’t happen in a highly developed country. It’s mostly because we’ve let the industry get way too concentrated and have done a lot to stop the importation from foreign sources. The last one was when NAFTA was renegotiated and Trump was having his milk wars with Canada. I guess the one good thing is my kids are close to Canada and have resources since both are Doctors.

Congress on Thursday passed a measure aimed at helping low-income mothers more easily get baby formula, as lawmakers intensified their scrutiny of failures at the Food and Drug Administration, failures that led to a nationwide shortage of a critical food source for infants and medically fragile children.

The bill, which President Biden is expected to sign, passed unanimously in the Senate and with bipartisan support in the House. It would allow mothers in the Women, Infants and Children program — who buy half the formula in the United States — a broader choice of formulas during supply-chain crises that threaten baby food and formula.

The votes came on a day when FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf was grilled by members of a House appropriations subcommittee about failures at his agency that contributed to the shortage. The members criticized the FDA for moving too slowly to investigate a whistleblower complaint last year at a baby formula plant in Sturgis, Mich., that makes much of the U.S. supply of powdered formula. The plant was inspected and shuttered only this year after two infants were sickened and two infants died after consuming contaminated formula. Abbott Nutrition, which operates the plant, has said there isn’t clear evidence the contamination came from the factory.

Let’s hope this ends shortly before any more babies get sick or die.

Asleep In The Woods, Jules Breton, 1877

This, however, keeps going on and I hope we get some frog marches before we all die of advanced age. This is from Politico: “Eastman provides new details of Trump’s direct role in legal effort to overturn election. The court filing describes the direct role of Trump himself in developing strategy, detailing “two hand-written notes from former President Trump about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation.”

John Eastman, the attorney who architected Donald Trump’s last-ditch legal strategy to overturn the 2020 election, revealed Friday that he routinely communicated with Trump either directly or via “six conduits” during the chaotic weeks that preceded the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

In a late-night court filing urging a federal judge to maintain the confidentiality of his work for Trump, Eastman provided the clearest insight yet into the blizzard of communications between Trump, his top aides, his campaign lawyers and the army of outside attorneys who were working to help reverse the outcome in a handful of states won by Joe Biden.

The filing also describes the direct role of Trump himself in developing strategy, detailing “two hand-written notes from former President Trump about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation.” Those notes are among the documents Eastman is seeking to shield via attorney-client privilege. Eastman said he would also speak directly with Trump by phone throughout his legal challenges to the election.

Eastman described these contacts and records as part of an effort to prevent the Jan. 6 select committee from accessing 600 emails that describe his efforts to build Trump’s legal gambit to reverse the 2020 election outcome — and, when that failed, urge state legislatures to simply overturn the results themselves. He argues that the documents are protected by attorney-client and attorney work product privileges that Congress has no business probing, even as the panel investigates the circumstances that led a mob of Trump supporters to attack the Capitol.

Well, that’s what lawyers call “proof of intent”. (Lock him up!)

Okay, deep breaths and a poem before I go on …

How I go into the Woods

by Mary Oliver

Ordinarily I go to the woods alone,
with not a single friend,
for they are all smilers and talkers
and therefore unsuitable.
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree.
I have my ways of praying,
as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone
I can become invisible.
I can sit on the top of a dune
as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned.
I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me,
I must love you very much.

“Walking at the forest edge”, Ferdinand Hodler, 1885

Well, it had to come to pass, and turn off the TV for the weekend unless you want to be driven nuts by tales of Hunter Biden’s laptop. I think it was leaked as a distraction because unless we get to hear about Donald Jr, Ivanka, and Jared’s forays into shaking down nations, I do not give a fuck about this. However, here’s the NBC take. (Hint: he went on a drug-fueled bender as he mentioned in HIS BOOK.) Analysis of Hunter Biden’s hard drive shows he, his firm took in about $11 million from 2013 to 2018, spent it fast. The hard drive and documents from Senate Republicans indicate few of Biden’s deals ever came to fruition and shed light on how fast he was spending his money. ” Just so, you remember, this is like Benghazi, it never goes away.

NBC News obtained a copy of Biden’s laptop hard drive from a representative of Rudy Giuliani and examined Biden’s business dealings from 2013 to 2018 based on the information available on the hard drive and the scope of the documents released by the Senate.

The Republicans on the Senate Finance and Homeland Security committees, then chaired by Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, respectively, issued their first report on Biden’s business dealings in September 2020. The 87-page report said Biden had “cashed in” on his name, but Johnson said in an interview before its release that the report included “no massive smoking guns.”

Now in the minority, the Republicans from the two committees are still reviewing and analyzing several hundred pages of financial and business documents tied to Biden and his business associates, according to a person familiar with the committee’s work.

But of course, his LAPTOP!!

And, here’s the only twist of interest to me:

I have to admit, it’s somewhat like watching two trains wreck at once. Trust Fund Tuckums just surely can grovel just as well as throw utter bull crap to an audience.

Tucker Carlson and his wife were looking to get their son a leg up in his college application to Georgetown University when they turned to a well-connected Washington friend who had an even better-connected father.

“I realize you don’t really know Buckley,” Susie Carlson wrote via email in 2014 to Hunter Biden, a Georgetown graduate and the son of the then-vice president. “Maybe you could meet or speak to him and he could send you a very brief resume with his interests and grades attached.”

Tucker Carlson offered that his son was a good squash player and an excellent fly fisherman. “He loves Washington for all the right reasons, I think,” Carlson added, “and really wants to go to school here.” When Biden agreed to write a letter of recommendation, Susie Carlson added a heap of praise: “Tucker and I have the greatest respect and admiration for you. Always!”

And speaking of weasely wipipo gone wild, this is from Michael Tomasky’s “Fighting Words, a weekly newsletter about what got me steamed this week. ” You may get this newsletter from TNR. It perks up my Fridays for sure!

Item two: Who is Barry Loudermilk?

Thursday afternoon on MSNBC, Nicolle Wallace asked Charlie Sykes, What do you know about Barry Loudermilk? Sykes offered that all-too-rare cable TV response: Not much, really.

Who is he? He’s a congressman from Georgia, from the 11th district, north and west of Atlanta. He co-sponsored legislation to disband the Environmental Protection Agency. He seems to be in the pocket of the credit-rating agencies, whittling away at consumer protections. He voted not to certify the presidential election results. And so on. A run-of-the-mill right-wing backbencher: hence Wallace and Sykes’s lack of information. Nothing of particular interest.

But now, the January 6 select committee has hit upon something quite interesting indeed. Loudermilk gave a tour of the Capitol to constituents on January 5, 2021. That’s, uh, one day before January 6, as you have no doubt already sussed. The Capitol was closed. He was caught on closed-circuit showing some people around.

The long-held suspicion, of course, is that some GOP members gave “reconnaissance tours” before the riot to people who’d come to town to storm the Capitol. Loudermilk insists that he did nothing wrong—that it was just one family, and they never ventured into the areas that were breached. If so, that family got a pretty crappy tour, considering that the breached areas included the halls directly surrounding the House chamber, the House gallery upstairs, and the magnificent Rotunda, the showcase of any Capitol tour, with its impressive statuary and its eight large canvases depicting scenes of the early republic.

We shall see what we shall see. But one increasingly gets the feeling from the leaks that have come out from the committee that these people know stuff. A lot of stuff. Which the rest of us will know soon enough.

As you can see, I’m trying some new tricks today to distract me from all the mass shootings, the Elon Musk Tweets, etc. But I will say that Elon Musk is such a supreme sociopath and narcissist that he could give Donald Trump a run for his money.

Okay, some pretty music before you’ll need to take another morning shower on the next one. I got to hear Bernadette Peters in concert so that’s my happy place right now. My oldest daughter wore the tape out on this one. When I was living in Minneapolis, we went to see it live at the Circle Theatre! What a treat!

Okay, I warned you.

WAPO’s Emma Brown has this headline: “Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice, pressed Ariz. lawmakers to help reverse Trump’s loss, emails show.” Can we PULEEZE get some FROGMARCHES in this country?

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails, sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on Nov. 9, 2020, argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud. Though she did not mention either candidate by name, the context was clear.

Just days after media organizations called the race for Biden in Arizona and nationwide, Thomas urged the lawmakers to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure.” She told the lawmakers the responsibility to choose electors was “yours and yours alone” and said they have “power to fight back against fraud.”

In the Woods, 1855 Asher Brown Durand

But her EMAILS! But his LAPTOP! Lock her up!

It seems like nearly every Republican candidate is trying to outdo each other in selling out women’s bodies to the state. This is from HuffPo: “Trump-Endorsed Candidate Backs Banning Birth Control. Jacky Eubanks, who is running for Michigan state Senate, said “sex ought to be between one man and one woman in the confines of marriage.” Yes, it’s another Phyliss Schafly wannabe.

Donald Trump’s pick for a Michigan state Senate seat is promising to ban all birth control if she gets the chance.

“I guess we have to ask ourselves, would that ever come to a vote in the Michigan state legislature? And if it should, I would have to side with it should not be legal,” Republican Jacky Eubanks said in a recent interview with the site Church Militant.

“People believe that birth control — it’s better, like you said, oh, because then you won’t get pregnant and you won’t need to have an abortion,” she added. “But I think it gives people the false sense of security that they can have consequence-free sex, and that’s not true and that’s not correct. Sex ought to be between one man and one woman in the confines of marriage.”

Eubanks’ comments are some of the most explicit from a conservative candidate about going after contraception. But some other Republicans have made clear that with abortion rights likely to be struck down this summer, they’re starting to eye contraception restrictions as well.

Republican politicians have started talking about Griswold v. Connecticut as another case they’d like to see the Supreme Court overturn after Roe v. Wade. That 1965 decision said married couples have a right to contraception access based on the constitutional right to privacy. That decision could set the stage for future decisions that further restrict birth control protections, abortion and marriage equality.

Okay, I’m going to go water the squash. Set yeast. Go grade. If this country comes to a vile end then I at least want to go out with a good dinner. Church Militant? WTF is a church militant? This certainly can’t have anything to do with the Jesus of the Beatitudes. As my grandfather used to say when he cursed “Jesus wept!”

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?