There has been so many stories of sexual assault within the Republican party this past week, that for me…as a survivor, I have blocked out many news outlets. Even some of the post here on the blog is hard to get through.
Here are a few tweets illustrating what I am talking about:
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday the testimony of Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser won’t change his mind, no matter what she says. “What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?"https://t.co/endhCHRYiq
A press adviser helping lead the Senate Judiciary Committee’s response to a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has stepped down amid evidence he was fired from a previous political job in part because of a sexual harassment allegation against him.
Garrett Ventry, 29, who served as a communications aide to the committee chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, had been helping coordinate the majority party’s messaging in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party. In a response to NBC News, Ventry denied any past “allegations of misconduct.”
After NBC News raised questions about Ventry’s employment history and the sexual harassment allegation against him, Judiciary Committee Spokesman Taylor Foy replied in a statement: “While (Ventry) strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee.”
Ventry also resigned Saturday from the public relations company where he had been on a temporary leave of absence to work for the Judiciary Committee, a company spokesman told NBC News.
Republicans familiar with the situation had been concerned that Ventry, because of his history, could not lead an effective communications response.
Garrett Ventry submitted his resignation Friday night, he said in a brief phone interview Saturday morning. He said he denies the allegation but stepped down “in order to not be a distraction” as Senate Republicans continue to work to get Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh confirmed.
“Garrett was one of several temporary staff brought on to assist in the committee’s consideration of the Supreme Court nomination, a team that has done outstanding work,” a committee spokesman said Saturday morning. “While he strongly denies allegations of wrongdoing, he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee.
NBC News reported Saturday morning that it had been investigating Ventry’s past employment history, including his tenure in the office of North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell in 2017. According to the network, Ventry was let go from the office after a female GOP staffer in the North Carolina General Assembly accused him of sexual harassment. He had also been accused of embellishing his résumé.
In this @CNN video claiming to present the "average female viewer" we have: ✔︎Gina Sosa, failed GOP Trumper candidate for #FL27 ✔︎Irina Villarino, Trump supporter and operative who helped with GOP tax bill ✔︎Lourdes Castillo de la Peña, Ted Cruz operative and fundraiser 1/ pic.twitter.com/nPdGtERnky
.@GinaSosa, second from the right, is a tremendously unsuccessful GOP politician that got less than 2% of the primary vote in #FL27 who is working hard for any relevance within the party. https://t.co/xgy08yqATm 2/
Another awful example of inside-the-beltway reporting – being accused of sexual assault is "drama" and the risk is not that a predator is *currently* on the federal bench or that he might be elevated to SCOTUS, it's that Republicans might lose their majority. Do better @bpoliticshttps://t.co/62PPMjXQQ3
If all politics is local, then there is something really rotten in the parishes that surround mine. The same congressional district that gave rise to David Duke and “David Duke without the Baggage” Steve Scalise has a berg called Kenner which,of course, was part of an old plantation back in the day. You can’t go far around here without standing on ground that was likely taken from indigenous people and built up by slaves. Then, there’s the always haunting knowledge that the poor white man was placated by these rich, slave owning bastards with the comfort of “well, at least you’re not black”.
We’re not far–at any moment–from this history and we’ve not learned our history lessons.
The deliberate use of Colin Kaepernick’s symbolic and quiet protest of the incredible levels of police violence against persons of color to fan the flames of aggrieved white people has me sick to my stomach. I am sick of this illegitimate president*. I am even more sick of all the politicians that fan the flames of hatred between all of us that call this country home. I am sick of reading wypipo who simply want to cling to their ignorance and privilege. I want to scream it isn’t always about you at them!
It is difficult to not see the racism in all these actions and words. We’ve gone way pass the dog whistle phase.
This should not stand and any person in Kenner, Louisiana should let their mayor know that the majority of people living around here will not tolerate it. It’s an abomination. It’s illegal. It’s a first amendment violation. To quote my friend and editor of the Bayou BriefLamar White Junior:
The white mayor of an American city is attempting to prevent parents and coaches from buying or dressing their children in clothes and shoes from a company that aired an inspirational television commercial reaffirming the humanity and the hopes of black children in America.
Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn has apparently issued a memorandum demanding that the city recreation department and any booster clubs operating at its facilities no longer purchase or accept delivery of Nike athletic products or any apparel that features the company’s famous logo.
The Sept. 5 memo to Recreation Director Chad Pitfield, which is being circulated on social media, was not made public by City Hall. A spokesman for the city said Sunday (Sept. 9) that he had no comment. Zahn could not be reached.
“If we have something that we feel that we want that’s going to benefit our kids,” Rey said, “it shouldn’t matter what logo, what brand — as long as it helps the kids and what we’re trying to accomplish at the park.”
Nike recently unveiled its “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who triggered a wave of protests against racial inequality last year by kneeling during the National Anthem prior to games. The ads generated passionate reactions from people around the world.
The Kenner memo says that, effective immediately, all purchases of clothing, shoes, athletic equipment or any other athletic equipment by booster clubs operating at city recreation facilities must be approved by Pitfield or his designee.
“Under no circumstances will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any city of Kenner recreation facility,” according to the memo, which is on official mayor’s office letterhead and signed by Zahn. It makes no reference to the Nike campaign.
Kenner Councilman Gregory Carroll responded to the memo in a public Facebook post Sunday (Sept. 9), “I was not made aware of this decision beforehand and it is in direct contradiction of what I stand for and what the City of Kenner should stand for. I am 100% AGAINST this decision. I will meet with the Mayor and other Council members in an effort to rescind this directive.”
Those of us in Orleans Parish recognize these remnants of scared white people fleeing to Jefferson Parish to avoid white children and black children in the same classroom as “Kenner Brahs”. They’re not a very distinct breed down here in the old south. They’re just one with a slightly different accent that drinks beer and spews racism.
Black people are much more likely to be shot by police than their white peers.
An analysis of the available FBI data by Vox’s Dara Lind found that US police kill black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the US population. Although the data is incomplete because it’s based on voluntary reports from police agencies around the country, it highlights the vast disparities in how police use force.
The disparities appear to be even starker for unarmed suspects, according to an analysis of 2015 police killings by the Guardian. Racial minorities made up about 37.4 percent of the general population in the US and 46.6 percent of armed and unarmed victims, but they made up 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police.
What is distinct about this protest? Is it just that we’ve got such naked white nationalism in the White House egging on the demons of our history? I suggest you read this brilliant essay “Dictating the conditions of freedom”.
White people don’t like it when black folks take a stand against their oppression. White culture expects black bodies and minds to be servile; existing for the sole purpose of entertaining, educating, or otherwise being in service to white people. White folks think that by ‘allowing’ black people to participate in ‘their’ stuff they aren’t racist. In reality, participation is often predicated on the unspoken expectation that ‘exceptional’ black people are only granted access to these spaces in exchange for their silence on the race issue.
We must always be thankful and express our gratitude at every turn. We must always pay obeisance to the benevolent white people who ‘gave’ us a chance.
Never talk about history; always focus on the present.
Be black, but not too black.
Never speak about current issues, unless you’re talking about what’s wrong with the black community.
Never call white people to account for their present racism.
Never make white people feel like they’re racist. Never speak out about your own or others’ oppression.
Do whatever it is that you’re being allowed to do without saying a mumbling word about how you’re being treated. Woe be unto you if you break this silent contract.
When Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the national anthem, he broke the contract. What’s worse is that as a biracial man who was adopted by a white family, he broke solidarity with any claim that whiteness could make on him. In White America’s eyes, he had chosen a side. He could not play the role of the ‘ambiguous other with white parents.’ He was no longer a white man by proxy. Whiteness had been willing to grant him a pass until he took a knee on the sideline, his Afro advertising his bold blackness that could not be buried.
When Colin kneeled, White America stopped seeing his whiteness. They could only see a black man who had broken the contract, who had made them feel racist. They could only see an “ungrateful n——r” who deigned not to participate in America’s civil religion. Whether or not he intended to, Kaepernick chose his blackness on that day. Not that he should have had to (because he shouldn’t have), but a side was chosen for him.
When white people decide to stand up for the dignity of black people, they still retain their whiteness. Other white folks might call them unsavory names and attempt to cow them back into white solidarity, but they still carry white privilege everywhere they go.
But when black people, even those of us who carry multiple racial identities, stand up for black lives, we lose. We lose friends. We lose employment. Some of us even lose our places of worship or connections to family members. We become pariahs.
When white people can no longer buy our silence and acquiescence about white supremacy, they turn on us. They try to destroy our reputation. They make us out to be mentally ill. They sanction us for failing to pass their litmus tests for orthodoxy. They attempt to gaslight us and make us feel guilty for ‘changing.’
The reaction that we see to Colin Kaepernick’s Nike endorsement has nothing to do with patriotism, ‘the troops,’ or any other red herring that is being bandied about. People aren’t burning their shoes because they feel that our country is being disrespected. They aren’t cutting Nike swooshes off of clothes because they feel a deep sense of patriotism. White people are ‘protesting Nike’ because they are upset that a black man has called attention to how racist America is (and them by extension).
Any black person who is participating in this so-called protest is doing so because they have bought into the idea of their own exceptionalism above the rest of the black community. They are a contract player for white supremacy, and their actions should not be seen as a cachet of black approval for white folks’ racism.
White people’s anger shows that they do not believe that the First Amendment (or any other rights for that matter) applies to black people. Their rage shows that they feel that their whiteness is not being adequately respected and revered by someone who they believe is beneath them.
I have read some very disturbing comments on posts I’ve read from friends that make me wonder if so many white people are being willfully obtuse about not getting all of this. I suppose the actual motivation matters less than the words I read that make me realize that we’re a long way from seeing every one’s civil rights respected equally.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a gubernatorial nominee who recently was accused of using racially tinged language, spoke four times at conferences organized by a conservative activist who has said that African Americans owe their freedom to white people and that the country’s “only serious race war” is against whites.
DeSantis, elected to represent north-central Florida in 2012, appeared at the David Horowitz Freedom Center conferences in Palm Beach, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, said Michael Finch, president of the organization. At the group’s annual Restoration Weekend conferences, hundreds of people gather to hear right-wing provocateurs such as Stephen K. Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos and Sebastian Gorka sound off on multiculturalism, radical Islam, free speech on college campuses and other issues.
On Monday, the Ford Motor Company, which owns the Detroit Lions, took a stand and pushed back on President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric against NFL players who protest.
“We respect individuals’ rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share,” the company said on Monday. “That’s part of what makes America great.”
The company made the announcement after Trump on Friday urged people to protest the NFL and said owners should fire players who decide to kneel during the national anthem, CNN reports.
Ford has a heavy stake in the NFL with team ownership and last year entered into a three-year agreement making the Ford F-Series the league’s official truck.
The NFL has said it would not penalize players who refuse to take the field during the national anthem.
Martha Firestone Ford, owner and chairwoman of the Detroit Lions and a member of the Ford family, fired back at Trump for his divisive comments.
“Our game has long provided a powerful platform for dialogue and positive change in many communities throughout our nation,” she said. “Negative and disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country, and we do not support those comments or opinions.”
Ford also owns the naming rights to the Ford Field in Detroit.
My Brothers @kstills and @ithinkisee12 continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed! They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward!
Just hours ahead of the first kickoffs on the first Sunday of the NFL’s regular season, President Trump again called for NFL players to stand for the national anthem and for TV networks to broadcast it, pointing to a decline in television ratings for the league’s season opener Thursday night.
“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison,” he tweeted. “Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!”
Even though Colin Kaepernick would later join Trump in tweeting about the issue, it was a relatively quiet day as it pertained to the issue, with most of the discussion on the league’s first Sunday focused on the action on the field.
The season-opening games featured few demonstrations during the playing of the anthem, with Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson of the Dolphins taking a knee and their teammate, Robert Quinn, raising a fist before the game against the Titans. Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who started the idea of demonstrating during the anthem, tweeted that Stills and Wilson, who have frequently protested by kneeling before games, “continue to show their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed! They have not backed down, even when attacked and intimidated. Their courage will move the world forward! ‘Love is at the root of our resistance!’ ”
The debate is almost certainly an irresistible one for the Russians, given that it includes issues of race, patriotism, and national identity — topics the Russian trolls sought to exploit during the run-up to the election, and have continued to focus on in the two years since.
CNN worked with researchers at Clemson University that have archived millions of tweets sent by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll group that was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in February. The accounts’ links to Russia were discovered by Twitter, which provided details about them to Congress. The data shows the trolls repeatedly weighing in on the debate, using different accounts to take both sides. While they used some accounts to push petitions to fire the protesting players, they used others to hail them as heroes.
Over the past year, social media networks have identified and removed thousands of accounts tied to the IRA. But despite the tech companies’ efforts, there’s no indication that the group is shying away from the NFL controversy.
There is no question that the debate over the protests is real. But Americans watching the controversy unfold on social media ought to know that not all the outrage on either side is authentic, and not all of it is coming from US shores.
Clemson University researchers and CNN have found instances of accounts linked to Russian trolls by Twitter weighing in on the issue as recently as May of this year.
In the wake of a widely-circulated memo banning Kenner’s recreation booster clubs from purchasing Nike gear, a “peaceful protest” is planned for the city’s Susan Park at 5 p.m. on Monday.
The protests follow a firestorm that ignited over the weekend when a memo from Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn began to be shared on social media. That memo ordered that all recreation district purchases be routed through the city’s purchasing department and said “Under no circumstances will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any city of Kenner recreation facility.”
Nike has recently found itself the subject of national controversy after running new commercials featuring former NFL quarterback Kaepernick, who had been widely criticized — and supported — for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick chose to kneel as a protest against police killings of African-Americans.
Zahn did not respond to repeated requests for comment Sunday. But he made his feelings on the matter clear at the city’s Freedom Fest during the Labor Day weekend, when he said before a national anthem performance “In the city of Kenner, we all stand.”
Hey Zahn, when it comes to government stamping its damned shoes down on the rights of our fellow citizens, then I say this. A good number of us will not stand for it or any other tricks.
Did a former Trump immigration policy employee and wife of a United States attorney flash a white power symbol during Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing?
Zina Bash is a 36-year-old woman who previously served as the deputy director of policy and communications for Ted Cruz’s failed presidential run in 2016. She has made the rounds in Washington, D.C., having worked for Senator John Cornyn as well as current U.S. Supreme Court justice nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. She also worked on Trump’s immigration policy.
In video from the hearing, Bash can be seen sitting directly behind Kavanaugh—looking smug and at times smirking as Democrats speak during the hearing. One of her hands is making the “OK” symbol, which has been co-opted by Trump supporters, white supremacists and members of the alt-right in an effort to troll people on the left, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The NRA is pledging to spend at least $1 million on advertisements in support of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Supreme Court justice, reports Bloomberg.
Why it matters: The NRA is looking to swing the four Democratic senators running for reelection in Indiana, West Virginia, Alabama and North Dakota — all states Trump won. The digital ads will urge voters to call their senators and demand they vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
During yesterday’s opening statements, I was impressed by Ann Klobuchar, so I wanted to post a link to a transcript of what she said, and to the video:
WASHINGTON– Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) delivered her opening statement at the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over Supreme Court nominees. Prior to her time in the Senate, Klobuchar served as Hennepin County Attorney.
For broadcast-quality video of Klobuchar’s remarks, click here.
Klobuchar’s opening remarks as prepared are below:
Go to the link to read her statement. This was one of many things she said:
Our democracy is on trial. And for the pillars of our democracy and our Constitution to weather this storm, our nation’s highest Court must serve as a ballast in these turbulent times.
Our very institutions—and those nominated to protect these institutions—must be fair, impartial and unwavering in their commitment to truth and justice.
So today we will begin a hearing in which it is our duty to carry on the American constitutional tradition that John Adams stood up for many centuries ago—and that is to be, quote, “a government of laws and not of men.”
To me that means figuring out what your views are Judge on whether a President is above the law. It is a simple concept, something that we all learned in grade school, that no one is above the law. So I think it is a good place to start.
There were many highly credentialed nominees like yourself that could have been sitting before us today, but—to my colleagues—what concerns me is that during this critical juncture in history, the President has hand-picked a nominee to the Court with the most expansive view of Presidential power possible… a nominee who has actually written that a President—on his own—can declare laws unconstitutional.
Something big must be coming from either Mueller’s investigation or the Southern District of New York, because Trump is truly losing it. Hard to believe, but his tweets are getting crazier than ever and serious people are questioning his sanity.
Trump has completely flipped his lid. It’s a little scary seeing the president of the United States become psychotic https://t.co/5gBCRi5d2l
Every day, the President of the United States wakes up & starts to fabricate accusations, attack the press, work to undercut rule of law by tweet, threaten firings, respond to cable TV in real-time, rant about ratings & project an unhinged sense of victimhood. Utter madness.
#InaSaneWorld, Trump’s family, friends or aides would intervene and take him somewhere safe where he could not do more harm to himself or the country. Now this responsibility falls to Mueller, the FBI, and/or a Democratic majority. https://t.co/PPTRn678dS
Donald Trump is now claiming that his infamous May 2017 TV interview, seen by millions, in which he freely admits to firing former FBI Director James Comey because of the Russia probe is somehow fake.
Among a series of unglued tweets, Trump accused NBC anchor Lester Holt of “fudging” the tape that is reportedly being looked at by special counsel Robert Mueller as evidence of obstruction of justice.
Trump’s bizarre claim 16 months after the fact came amid a rant about fake news in which he again labeled reporters the “enemy of the people.” [….]
This is the first time Trump has questioned the veracity of the recording in the 476 days since the interview was first broadcast.
During the interview Trump said of Comey’s firing: “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’”
A man was charged on Thursday with threatening to kill employees of the Boston Globe following the paper’s decision to coordinate a national response to President Donald Trump‘s attacks on the media, according to a release issued by the Justice Department.
In more than a dozen threatening phone calls to the newspaper, Robert Chain, 68, threatened to kill Globe employees and referred to the publication as “the enemy of the people,” according to the release. The threats started Aug. 10, the day the Globe announced that it would be coordinating editorials from papers around the country to “protect free press from Trump attacks.”
More than 300 publications published editorials on Aug. 16 as part of the project, according to a tally from the Globe. That day, Chain allegedly threatened to shoot Globe employees in the head, “later today, at 4 o’clock.”
Chain, of Encino, Calif., was arrested Thursday and eventually will be transferred to Boston. He is expected to appear in federal court in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon.
Here’s what Trump tweeted to his millions of cult followers this morning.
Earlier Thursday, Trump wrote in a post on Twitter that he could not “state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is.”
He signed off the tweet: “Enemy of the People!”
And Here are Chain’s words:
NBC News: According to the criminal complaint Chain threatened to travel to The Boston Globe and kill newspaper employees.
NBC News: In a statement, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling says:
"In a time of increasing political polarization, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.” https://t.co/y4EsqFCyhs
President Trump’s advisers and allies are increasingly worried that he has neither the staff nor the strategy to protect himself from a possible Democratic takeover of the House, which would empower the opposition party to shower the administration with subpoenas or even pursue impeachment charges.
Within Trump’s orbit, there is consensus that his current legal team is not equipped to effectively navigate an onslaught of congressional demands, and there has been broad discussion about bringing on new lawyers experienced in white-collar defense and political scandals.
The president and some of his advisers have discussed possibly adding veteran defense attorney Abbe Lowell, who currently represents Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, to Trump’s personal legal team if an impeachment battle or other fights with Congress emerge after the midterm elections, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Trump advisers also are discussing recruiting experienced legal firepower to the Office of White House Counsel, which is facing departures and has dwindled in size at a critical juncture. The office has about 25 lawyers now, down from roughly 35 earlier in the presidency, according to a White House official with direct knowledge.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
Yesterday Trump fired White House Counsel Don McGahn via Twitter, and this morning he’s tweeting responses to the news coverage.
Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner had NOTHING to do with the so called “pushing out” of Don McGahn.The Fake News Media has it, purposely,so wrong! They love to portray chaos in the White House when they know that chaos doesn’t exist-just a “smooth running machine” with changing parts!
Exact timing aside, McGahn’s exit comes at a critical moment for Trump and the Republican Party. A blue wave could hand Democrats control of the House beginning in 2019, allowing them to initiate congressional investigations, issue subpoenas for information related to the president and his businesses, and begin impeachment proceedings. At the same time, McGahn’s departure is likely to set in motion a series of changes that will fundamentally alter Trump’s relationships with his White House legal team, the special counsel’s office, and his personal attorneys. Last summer, when the president asked McGahn to fire the special counsel, he reportedly threatened to resign. (McGahn’s likely successor, Clinton-impeachment alum Emmet Flood, is expected to be less cooperative with document requests. According to the Times, Flood recently contested a special counsel request to interview Chief of Staff John Kelly, citing the president’s executive privilege.)
Emmet Flood. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM.
The shake-up of the White House general counsel’s office may also precipitate more significant changes to Trump’s relationship with the Justice Department. A key point of tension between Trump and McGahn has been Jeff Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation last year, which McGahn reportedly failed to prevent and which Trump views as the “original sin” that set in motion the series of events leading to Mueller’s appointment. In recent weeks, Trump has revived his public attacks on his long-suffering attorney general, and has spoken with his personal lawyers about firing him, according to The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, what was once a largely unified wall of G.O.P. support for Sessions has begun to crack. While Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other high-ranking lawmakers continue to stand by Sessions, others have seemingly resigned themselves to the inevitability of his firing. “Trump doesn’t like him,” Senator and Trump confidant Lindsey Graham told reporters Tuesday. “This relationship has soured, and I’m not blaming Jeff. It can’t go on like this.” Others have begun signaling that if Trump is to fire Sessions, it should at least wait until after the midterm elections, effectively endorsing an expiration date for the attorney general. “They’d do it before, but they’re worried about the effect it would have on the midterms themselves,” Senator Bob Corker told the Post. “It’s about the investigation, and I think the Mueller investigation ought to go on unimpeded.”
The combination of a new White House counsel and a new attorney general in charge of the Russia probe could pour gasoline on the already-fiery dynamic between president and special counsel. Ousting either man could look like further evidence of corrupt intent on the part of Trump, should Democrats ultimately pursue impeachment. More important, it could presage an aggressive new legal strategy by the president and his lawyers as Mueller’s investigation grinds toward a conclusion. Given that the midterms are just around the corner, avid watchers of the probe expect any new indictments to be issued by September 7—the 60-day mark before the elections—in order to avoid the appearance of partisanship.
That’s next Friday, and remember the Grand Jury on Fridays.
People who met Mike Pence at Hanover College say something happened there to change him. In the fall of 1977, when he arrived, Hanover was the kind of liberal arts school where young minds were gently opened by professors and classmates. Pence moved in the opposite direction there, becoming more rigid and doctrinaire as he studied for a history degree.
Eventually his faith led him to reject some friends and even regard his fiancée, Karen, as a sinner whom he would have to forgive in order to marry. These habits of mind, later revealed in his hostility to equality for gay people and even climate science, were formed when he was barely an adult.
Vespers was organized around songs and testimonies of faith. It offered community to students who were adjusting to the emotional challenge of leaving home. It also gave the guitar-playing Pence the opportunity to preach with the zeal of a new convert to right-wing Christianity. His schoolmate Linda Koon recalls a charismatic fellow who turned cruel when she failed to meet his definition of true faith.
“He was rigid, condescending and exclusionary,” Koon said in an interview. “You had to fit into his little pocket of Christianity, and I didn’t fit.”
Koon’s problem was that she couldn’t recount a dramatic come-to-Jesus tale of Christian conversion. “He acted like he had been struck by lightning,” she said. “I had just grown up in the Lutheran Church and had always been a Christian. That wasn’t good enough. He told me that wasn’t good enough, ‘God doesn’t want your kind.’
Head over to CNN to read the rest.
So . . . what stories have you been following?
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There just doesn’t appear to be words to describe the clusterfuck we’re living through under one party rule right now. I’m going to start with the Kavanaugh SCOTUS appointment which is being railroaded through the Senate even though it’s clear that the majority of American people oppose him and he likely lied to Congress on his last appearance which is a felony.
We have repeatedly expressed our serious concerns about the unprecedented lack of transparency and partisan process that is being used to hide Brett Kavanaugh’s record from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate as a whole, and the American people. Although Judge Kavanaugh amassed a substantial record during his five years in the Bush White House, to date, less than 3% of his record has been made available to the Committee, and 98.4% of his record is being withheld from the full Senate and the public. By comparison, for Elena Kagan’s nomination, 99% of her White House records were made available to Congress and the public.
We have stated all along that the unprecedented, partisan process being used for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is a disservice to the Senate and to the American people. Now, we are seeing firsthand the problems that result from attempts to hide Judge Kavanaugh’s record. In particular, from the limited set of documents available, we have already seen records that call into serious question whether Judge Kavanaugh was truthful about his involvement in the Bush Administration’s post-9/11 terrorism policies when he testified before this Committee during his 2006 nomination hearing.
As you know, in 2006, Judge Kavanaugh told the Committee under oath that he was “not aware of any issues” regarding “the legal justifications or the policies relating to the treatment of detainees”; was “not involved in the questions about the rules governing detention of combatants”; had nothing to do with issues related to rendition; and was unaware of, and saw no documents related to, the warrantless wiretapping program conducted without congressional authorization.
However, at least two documents that are publicly available on the Bush Library website from Judge Kavanaugh’s time as Staff Secretary suggest that he was involved in issues related to torture and rendition after 9/11. In one, just days after the existence of the Office of Legal Counsel “torture memos” was publicly revealed, then-Deputy White House Chief of Staff Harriet Miers forwarded to Judge Kavanaugh a set of talking points addressing the memos and U.S. torture policy. The forwarded email makes clear that then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley had personally asked for Judge Kavanaugh’s review. Similarly, another email shows that Judge Kavanaugh was included on an email chain circulating talking points on rendition and interrogation. These emails and talking points demonstrate why we need access to Judge Kavanaugh’s full record as Staff Secretary.
In addition, documents that have been produced to the Committee as part of the partisan process that you have brokered with Bill Burck further undercut Judge Kavanaugh’s blanket assertions that he had no involvement in or knowledge of post-9/11 terrorism policies. These documents are currently being withheld from the public at your insistence, but they shed additional light on Judge Kavanaugh’s involvement in these matters and are needed to question him in a public hearing.
After all, Judge Kavanaugh was an Associate White House Counsel on 9/11. Over the next several months and years, the White House sought legal opinions from the Office of Legal Counsel and advised the President on the legality of several controversial programs. For example, just six days after the 9/11 attack, Office of Legal Counsel lawyer John Yoo drafted a memorandum evaluating the legality of a program that would allow warrantless wiretapping of American’s e-mails and phone calls. Mr. Yoo, described in a public Inspector Generals’ report as “‘very well connected’ with officials in the White House,” addressed his memo to Deputy White House Counsel Timothy Flanigan, Judge Kavanaugh’s likely supervisor at the time. It is important for the public and full Senate to understand whether Judge Kavanaugh was involved in their communications, despite having told the Committee in 2006 that he had not seen or heard anything about the President’s warrantless wiretapping program until December 2005.
Whether Judge Kavanaugh misled this Committee in 2006 and his involvement in these White House policies are critically important to our consideration of his fitness for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. These are serious questions that could easily be addressed if we were given access to his records. As it stands, however, you have refused to join our request for Judge Kavanaugh’s Staff Secretary records and have sought to keep his White House Counsel documents secret as well.
We firmly believe that Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination cannot be considered unless these documents are available, including to the public and the Senate as a whole. We therefore urge you to join our request for Judge Kavanaugh’s Staff Secretary records and to publicly release documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the White House in the same manner as was done for all previous Supreme Court nominees. The truth should not be hidden from the Senate or the American people.
A new poll from CNN shows that Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination is the least popular since Robert Bork’s nomination by Ronald Reagan. The overall percentage of polled Americans who would like to see Kavanaugh confirmed is a whopping 37 percent. Bork’s came in a little lower, at 31 percent.
The most interesting data from this poll is how many women across the ideological spectrum oppose the nomination. While 74 percent of Republicans say he should be confirmed, only 28 percent of women agree. This is even true among Democrats. A mere 6 percent of Democratic women say Kavanaugh should be confirmed, compared to 22 percent of Democratic men. Women are also more likely to view Kavanaugh’s positions as extreme. Only 35 percent of women consider his views mainstream, compared to 50 percent of men. Gee, it’s almost like if you fail to be directly impacted by policies like legal abortion, you’re less likely to care about them.
The National Archives and Records Administration, which has historically been tasked with producing documents relating to Supreme Court nominees, distanced itself from the group of George W. Bush lawyers currently working on releasing Kavanaugh documents from his time in the Bush administration. The archival staff is conducting its own review of the nominee’s record, as requested by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), but they will not be able to fully comply until late October due to the sheer number of documents involved.
The nonpartisan agency said in a Wednesday statement that the Republican review of some of Kavanaugh’s time in the Bush White House is “completely apart” from the one it is working on, adding that the parallel review is “something that has never happened before.”
“This effort by former President Bush does not represent the National Archives or the George W. Bush Presidential Library. The Senate Judiciary Committee is publicly releasing some of these documents on its website, which also do not represent the National Archives,” the statement read, noting that former presidents have the right to access and release records of their administration.
Part of the reason why there has been so much partisan wrangling over Kavanaugh’s record is the fact that there has never been a Supreme Court nominee with such an extensive paper trail. As someone who spent five years working as a top aide in the White House, he’s got far more documents than Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch or President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan ― a sum that is said to total several million. It’s why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tried to nudge Trump into nominating other candidates in the first place, fearing it could pose difficulties for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
That exact scenario is playing out currently in the Senate, where Democrats are hammering Republicans for not being willing to produce his full record and pressing forward with the confirmation hearing before the National Archives is able to conduct its own review. On Thursday, Democrats announced they are prepared to sue the National Archives if the Freedom of Information Act request they filed seeking Kavanaugh’s documents isn’t honored.
“I think they realize if the American people knew just how Justice Kavanaugh felt before he became a judge, they might not want him to be there,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a floor speech on Thursday.
Rachel Maddow shared a rediscovered tape of Kavanaugh’s view that overturning established laws may be necessary to remove anything not clearly delineated in the Constitution directly.
Rachel Maddow shares a new tape of Donald Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh discussing Antonin Scalia’s opposition to marriage equality and abortion rights, characterizing them as “new rights” not guaranteed by the Constitution.
The facts here are pretty simple: Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would shape the court for a generation. Long after our reality TV POTUS is gone, his “legacy” would live on in the form of a pro-corporate, anti-union judiciary in which judges are but an extension of the billionaire donor class that underwrites the modern GOP.
Media companies are, these days, too focused on staging pundit brawls about profane tweets to document the stakes of a Kavanaugh confirmation.
For this reason, Democrats need to take immediate action, before their Republican colleagues once again outmaneuver them. That means seizing control of the narrative by promising the media what it lusts after: a fight.
Every single Democrat in Congress should gather on the steps of the Supreme Court and explain to the American people what’s going on here:
That the GOP — by means of naked intransigence — already has stolen one seat on the high court and won’t get another.
That Kavanaugh is an illegitimate pick, nominated by a president who lost his election by three million votes and who is currently under criminal investigation for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to subvert our democracy.
That Kavanaugh himself would serve not as an impartial jurist, but as a hyper-partisan legal bodyguard for a demagogue president so venal and mistrusted that he has resorted to forcing his employees to sign illegal non-disclosure agreements.
That Kavanaugh would twist the Constitution into knots seeking to protect the president from being questioned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We know this for a fact because Kavanaugh — who once worked as one of Kenneth Starr’s legal attack dogs — has since had a change of heart, and wrote in 2009 that Clinton should never have been investigated. Why? Because indicting a sitting president “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.”
That, even more galling, we know that Kavanaugh spoke out against the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to release the Watergate tapes. In other words, he believesthat the president is above the rule of law.
That Kavanaugh flat-out lied to Congress when he was initially confirmed to be a federal judge, which is a crime. And did so in relation to this nation’s efforts to torture human beings.
Evangelist leader and vocal Trump supporter Franklin Graham on Thursday went after Chelsea Clinton for saying women’s access to abortion helped boost the economy, saying that Hitler probably claimed that “killing the Jews” would be good for the German economy.
Graham took to Twitter to share Clinton’s comments from “Rise Up for Roe” — a pro-abortion event advocating against the confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh — at its tour stop in New York.
“@ChelseaClinton, daughter of former President @BillClinton & @HillaryClinton, claims that legalizing abortion added trillions of dollars to the economy,” Graham tweeted alongside a link to a Breitbart News article about Clinton’s remarks. “What a lie. Hitler probably also claimed that killing the Jews would be good for their economy.”
Clinton said earlier this week that there was a connection between Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, and the economy.
“It is not a disconnected fact … that American women entering the labor force from 1973 to 2009 added $3.5 trillion to our economy,” Clinton said at the event. “The net, new entrance of women — that is not disconnected from the fact that Roe became the law of the land in January of 1973.”
The Hill has reached out to the Clinton Foundation, of which Clinton is a board member, for clarification on the source of the statistic she cited.
Clinton defended her comments on Tuesday, tweeting that her words have been misrepresented. Clinton pointed to a recent study she led, which found a connection between women’s access to abortion and socioeconomic consequences.
“Reproductive rights have always been economic rights,” Clinton tweeted. “A recent study found denying women — often already mothers — a wanted abortion results in years of less employment & more family poverty.”
They religious wrongs just cannot leave the Clinton Family alone.
Meanwhile, you’ll notice that I’m providing my tribute to the Queen of Soul. Here’s one from Bitter Southerner Patterson Hood that I can feel.
I’m not saying goodbye to Aretha Franklin. I’m sure I never will in my lifetime. Her music will remain with me as a fixture in our home for as long as I live, and it’s a tradition that my own kids will no doubt carry forward after I’m gone. I’m glad she is no longer suffering. She no doubt lived a full life full of ecstatic moments and majesty. She has left behind a legacy of work that is written into the bedrock of the American art form that she defined and transcended. There was no greater singer in the 20th century, and those Atlantic recordings are stouter monuments to what’s great about our country than anything that could ever be carved into stone. Her songs are living, breathing monuments to the soul of man and woman and race and history and culture. Of the American ideal. The human experience.
I won’t say goodbye, but I will say thank you. Thank you, Aretha Franklin, for turning the pains, sufferings, and transcendent joys of the human experience into an art form that can be blasted from the tiniest transistor radios or the finest McIntosh amplified stereos. They are sounds of our hearts and souls on fire.
Ms. Franklin’s airborne, constantly improvisatory vocals had their roots in gospel. It was the music she grew up on in the Baptist churches where her father, the Rev. Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, known as C. L., preached. She began singing in the choir of her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, and soon became a star soloist.
Gospel shaped her quivering swoops, her pointed rasps, her galvanizing buildups and her percussive exhortations; it also shaped her piano playing and the call-and-response vocal arrangements she shared with her backup singers. Through her career in pop, soul and R&B, Ms. Franklin periodically recharged herself with gospel albums: “Amazing Grace” in 1972 and “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,” recorded at the New Bethel church, in 1987.
But gospel was only part of her vocabulary. The playfulness and harmonic sophistication of jazz, the ache and sensuality of the blues, the vehemence of rock and, later, the sustained emotionality of opera were all hers to command.
Ms. Franklin did not read music, but she was a consummate American singer, connecting everywhere. In an interview with The New York Times in 2007, she said her father had told her that she “would sing for kings and queens.”
“Fortunately I’ve had the good fortune to do so,” she added. “And presidents.”
So, that’s enough for me today. I’m going to do some stuff and listen to Aretha sing out about the peaks and depths of the human condition as I have since being a kid. And, I’ll sing along, albeit quite badly.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
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Jon McNaughton painted a take on George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, except in this version Trump is commanding a boat filled with members of his administration.
“Trump endeavors to cross the ‘swamp’ of Washington D.C. as he carries the light of truth, hope and prosperity,” McNaughton wrote. “The murky water of the deep state is laced with dangerous vermin, perfectly willing to destroy American prosperity for their personal ideologies and financial gain.”
Take a peek at the link to see the various jokes, I’ve posted one of the funnier ones below, which conveniently also shows what the original painting looks like….
lot to unpack here but obvious observations first: Bolton looks like he's hunting Bugs Bunny and Jared Kushner has been left off the boat. https://t.co/G6kiZCi3XR
You can also see another new “work of art” (excuse me while I vomit) below…I don’t know what the name of that piece of shit is…but it must have Strangling the Mueller somewhere in the title.
Nah, see? It is called Expose the Truth. God it is fucking disgusting.
So, now that I have posted some of the visual images for the thread, I suppose I should get around to throwing some links in the pie as well.
Trump called Don Lemon, LeBron James and Maxine Waters, "dumb". One is from the South. One is from Cleveland. One is from LA. One is in the NBA. One is on TV. One is in Congress. Hmmmm… I wonder what they could possibly have in common? Oh, wait…🖐🏾
I don’t know what to make at that tweet above… I know whatever is being done with the attacks on the press is dangerous. Just like the paintings of tRump strangling Mueller with a tie…it crosses the line.
The pastor delivering the invocation at President Trump’s rally in Ohio on Saturday called for God to shield Trump from “jungle journalism.”
CNN reported that Gary Click, a pastor and member of the Ohio GOP’s State Central Committee, delivered the prayer ahead of Trump’s remarks, asking for God to “protect our President and his family with a shield of faith, Lord.”
“That shield of faith against the fiery darts of the wicked one, Lord, against that jungle journalism that extorts the truth and distorts honesty and integrity every single day, gets in his face with lies and mistruths and innuendos,” Click continued.
Twenty percent of the quiet justice’s former clerks owe their current jobs to President Trump.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is by far the court’s quietest and most conservative justice. He went 10 years without asking a single question from the bench, a streak broken in 2016, not long after the death of his friend Justice Antonin Scalia. Since then, Thomas hasn’t uttered a word in court. His opinions are so quirky and radically conservative that his colleagues on the bench often seem reluctant to sign on to them, making him perhaps one of the least influential justices in the court’s history.
But the court’s only African-American justice is having an outsize influence in one important sphere: the Trump administration. A new report by the AP’s Mark Sherman indicates that roughly 20 percent of the clerks—a total of 22—Thomas has hired since his confirmation in 1991 are either now working as political appointees in the administration or have been appointed by Trump to federal judgeships.
Russian President Vladimir Putin presented a Russian passport to the US actor in 2016, and now Seagal will expand his ties, serving as a goodwill ambassador. He will receive no salary, the Ministry said, adding, “It’s a case of people’s diplomacy intersecting with traditional diplomacy.”
Seagal’s new role was noted by Kremlin-backed TV station RT, who noted Seagal as welcoming the appointment.
“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” RT quoted Seagal. “I have worked tirelessly in this direction for many years unofficially and I am now very grateful for the opportunity to do the same thing officially.”
While Seagal is popular in Russia, he has been accused in the US of sexual misconduct.
In March of this year, two women who previously accused Steven Seagal of rape and sexual assault stepped forward to offer more detailed accounts of the actor’s alleged misconduct. Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom told reporters in a press conference that she will represent former Dutch model Faviola Dadis and one-time aspiring actress Regina Simons as they seek justice.
Actresses Juliana Margulies and Pamela Anderson have also complained about Seagal’s conduct during auditions.
Looks like DC is trying to make the relations between the Neo Nazis holding a rally and folks counterprotesting the racist KKK white nationalist fucks:
In an effort to head off violence between white nationalists and counterprotesters, the District of Columbia metro transit system is considering providing separate trains for those attending the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally Aug. 12. The use of separate trains for such a purpose would be unprecedented.
Hundreds of far-right protesters from as far away as Florida gathered on the waterfront in Portland, Oregon for a “Freedom March” on Saturday. Dozens of those interviewed said they were there to utilize their “freedom of speech.” To do so, they came armed with bats, weighted fighting gloves, wooden poles, canisters of mace, knives, shields and body armor.
The police had declared a day earlier that all such weapons were illegal in Portland parks. But no effort was witnessed to confiscate the weapons or arrest the weapon-holders.
For hours, four lines of riot police kept the far right separated from a much larger crowd of anti-fascists. The Portland police seemingly wanted to avoid a replay of June 30, when they took a hands-off approach to another far-right rally that quickly degenerated into a violent brawl of about 100 people, resulting in five hospitalizations.
This time it was the police who sent protesters to the hospital. Later in the day, when the far right decided to march into the city, police decided to sweep the streets of counter-protesters. Neither side had permits, but police provided protection to the far right to march for two blocks.
To clear the way, police shot dozens of flash-bang grenades at more than 1,000 people who had gathered to oppose what they say are white supremacists.
There are exclusive pictures of the wounded at the Raw Story link.
Maduro was unharmed in the attempt, but many of the military members in attendance were seen reacting to the explosion.
Footage of the speech, circulated on social media, showed Maduro delivering a speech before the sound cuts out, and those on the stage duck. A camera then shows soldiers running from in a square, before the footage cuts completely.
According to Patricia Laya, Bloomberg News’s Venezuela Bureau Chief, the feed cut after an explosion was heard near the stage.
Iam essentially a hack, a commercial person,” Orson Welles once said. “If I had a hobby, I would immediately make money on it or abandon it.” Self-deprecation aside, this most creatively ambitious and restless of US directors was hardly a hack. Welles did have a hobby, though – one he never abandoned or monetised, and one that is now shedding fresh light on a mighty career.
For in private, the great man worked quietly as an artist – yielding a vast, varied collection of paintings, drawings and doodles that has rarely been given serious scrutiny. That output is the subject of The Eyes of Orson Welles, a whimsical documentary by film critic, historian and lifelong Welles devotee Mark Cousins. An exhibition of the artworks, on which Cousins advised, is also now running at Edinburgh’s Summerhall galleries.
For those who think of Welles chiefly as the stern, booming talent behind such concrete American standards as Citizen Kane, Cousins’s film is revelatory, exposing a wry, playful, angry, often lovestruck man behind the Hollywood legend.
That is all I have today, hope everybody is doing well.
This is an open thread.
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The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.