Finally Friday Reads: E Pluribus Unum

This mural of Lady Justice was painted by W. T. Reed and is located in the courtroom of the Pike County Courthouse in Waverly, Ohio. Captured by Photographer Doris Rapp.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

During the Cold War and Jim Crow periods, pressured by right-wingers and hyper-religionists, our country gravitated from our country’s traditional motto to the theocratic statement “In God (sic) we Trust.”  This happened in 1956.  The symbolism of “out of many, one” was evidently too woke for them back then.  It sounded too much like godless communism.

I think the big assumption was that you could tell a communist by their choice to not drag religion into everything in the tradition of the First Amendment of our Constitution. You may remember the crap the Republicans gave President Obama while visiting Jakarta in 2019 when he spoke of E Pluribus Unum as the motto under which our country was founded.  It was placed on “The Great Seal” of the United States in 1782. 

Moreover, in the 1770s and ’80s Congress opposed a theistic motto for the nation, and many of the founders worked hard to prevent one from being established.

In July 1776, almost immediately after signing the Declaration of Independence, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were tasked with designing a seal and motto for the new nation. In August John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, that he had proposed the “Choice of Hercules” as the image for the seal. Adams believed that individuals should choose to lead moral personal lives and to devote themselves to civic duty, and he preferred a secular allegory for that moral lesson.

The other two committee members proposed images that drew on Old Testament teachings, but neither shared the beliefs of those today who assert the role of God in our national government. Benjamin Franklin, a deist who did not believe in the divinity of Christ, proposed “Moses lifting up his Wand, and dividing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh, in his Chariot overwhelmed with the Waters.” This motto he believed, captured the principle that “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”

Thomas Jefferson, who later created his own Bible by cutting out all mentions of the miracles of Jesus Christ (as well as his divine birth and resurrection), envisioned “The Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by day, and a Pillar of Fire by night, and on the other Side Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon Chiefs, from whom We claim the Honour of being descended and whose Political Principles and Form of Government We have assumed.” Of all of his accomplishments, Jefferson selected just three for his tombstone, one of which was writing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which established a separation of church and state.

The three men worked in consultation with an artist, Eugène Pierre Du Simitière, who rejected all of the ideas of the three committee members. His own first attempt was also rejected by Congress. It would take years and several more committees before Congress would approve the final design, still in use today, of an American bald eagle clutching thirteen arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other.

Only the motto “E Pluribus Unum” (“from many, one”) survived from the committee on which Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin had served. All had agreed on that motto from the beginning.

The current motto, “In God We Trust,” was developed by a later generation. It was used on some coinage at the height of religious fervor during the upheaval of the Civil War.

It was made the official national motto in 1956, at the height of the Cold War, to signal opposition to the feared secularizing ideology of communism.

In other words, “In God We Trust” is a legacy of founders, but not the founders of the nation. As the official national motto, it is a legacy of the founders of modern American conservatism — a legacy reaffirmed by the current Congress.

The northwest mural, overlooking Main Street, features a Black “Lady Justice” with a scarf covering her eyes, a sword in her right hand, and the scales of justice in her left, ready to deliver “fair and true justice.” Victor Ash. University of Houston-Downtown

It always amazes me when the Tea Party completely misses the history of that event.  Republicans tend to do that. Then, there’s the Second Amendment, where the modern, very recent interpretation written by Justice Scalia (Heller, 2008) was textualized and still is controversial. However, it still stands because, well, that’s why Republicans keep stacking the court. They want to interpret the US Constitution free of all that debate and writings we have to read from historical documents which clearly indicate how absolutely wrong they all are. But that doesn’t matter to them.  They are all convinced that Right-Wing Christian Nationalism is the only interpretation of anything. There are many deep pockets in Right-Wing America to fund the attack on our Constitutional Republic and small d democracy.

Justice Clarence Thompson’s Big Daddy Warbucks is one of the Huge Republican Donors funding the death of all of America’s Better Angels one institution at a time.  It’s not a coincidence that Harlan Crow is in the headlines while we see this headline from Dean Obeidallah. “Tennessee GOP succeeded where MAGA failed on Jan 6: They overturned an election to preserve White Supremacy.”  He adds, “This will only get worse.”  Indeed.

Did you watch any of the Tennesse house’s sham “trial” yesterday?  It belonged more to Wonderland than the United States judicial system.  I was expecting someone to shout “off with their heads” or, more appropriately, “lynch them” to the young black men that dare represent and join their constituents to protest gun violence. Four of five seconds in the legislature well defined their sin.

The event struck me in the same way that watching southern law enforcement turn fire hoses on children during the Civil Rights actions. I was unsurprised to hear that one of them uttered the word uppity. Gerrymandering by such states is the only way they get what they want.  Tennessee and Wisconsin showed us that this week.

The Tennessee GOP’s shocking expulsion of two Black state representatives— Justin Jones and Justin Pearson—from the legislature for simply breaking House rules of decorum was about one thing: Preserving white supremacy.

That is not just my view but also Democratic Tennessee State Senator London Lamar who appeared on my SiriusXM show Thursday night. When I asked how much of the GOP’s expulsion of these two state reps was motivated by white supremacy, the Senator bluntly responded: “All of it.” (The clip is at the bottom of the page.) Senator Lamar also explained how white GOP leaders in the Tennessee legislature have long prevented discussions on racism, even noting that on Thursday a GOP Senator introduced legislation to ban local governments in the state from studying reparations. “This State still very much has issues with racism,” the Senator added.

There is a connection between the Tennessee GOP controlled state legislatures only expelling the two Black state reps—and not the white rep who engaged in the same conduct—and the Jan 6 attack. That terrorist attack incited by Trump was also about preserving white supremacy.

A few facts back that up. First, polls have found that nearly two-thirds of Republicans agree with a core belief of the “great replacement” conspiracy theory that alleges Democrats are encouraging demographic change in the country to replace “more conservative white voters.”  As a 2022 poll found, 68 percent of Republicans responded that they believed that the recent shift in U.S. demographics is “not a natural change but has been motivated by progressive and liberal leaders actively trying to leverage political power by replacing more conservative white voters.”

Fox News Tucker Carlson—who I have long referred to as “Tucker Klansman”— has worked tirelessly to promote that belief in the years before the Jan 6, 2021 attack. Carlson began in 2019 on his top rated show—along with his guests—to fuel the flames of white victimhood by claiming Democrats want to literally replace white Republicans.  Donald Trump also continually played on the white right’s fears with talk of “invasion” of immigrants flooding America and bringing crime.

Jan 6 was a manifestation of that fear of the white right losing power.  Just look at who carried out the attack. While The Proud Boys and members of white right militias got the headlines, a study by the University of Chicago looking at the people arrested tells us more about what truly fueled this: the fear of white people being replaced.  This report found that “the No. 1 belief among insurrectionists—shared by fully 75 percent of respondents—is the “great replacement” of the electorate by the Democratic Party.”

That helps explain why the majority of those arrested did not come from deep Red areas but from places with the greatest demographic change.  As Robert A. Pape, a professor at University of Chicago who led the study noted, the majority of those arrested for the Jan 6 attack came from counties that had lost white population share. The greater the decrease in “non-Hispanic whites,” as the researchers described, the more likely the county was to have spawned an alleged rioter.

More than half of the people arrested for the Jan 6 attack—per Pape’s report—hail from counties where Biden won, adding to the sense that these right wing conservatives were literally losing power.

Justice is Blind. This mural was created by Ronald McDowell, who was commissioned by Jefferson County Court House, Birmingham, Alabama. 2018

Tennessee, the founding location of the KKK, is still dealing with leaving its past.  You may think I was using the term lynching gratuitously earlier. But maybe you didn’t know this. This is from the AP. It’s dated March 2, 2023.  “Tennessee GOP lawmaker apologizes over ‘hanging’ comment.”

A Tennessee Republican lawmaker on Thursday apologized after asking earlier this week if “hanging by a tree” could be added to the state’s execution methods. This comment has shocked Black lawmakers who point to the state’s dark history of lynching.

Rep. Paul Sherrell, who is white, first made the remark Tuesday as a separate lawmaker was introducing legislation to include the firing squad to execute death row inmates.

“I think it’s a very good idea, and I was just wondering about… could I put an amendment on that it would include hanging by a tree, also?” Sherrell asked.

At the time, no one on the legislative committee reprimanded or pushed back against Sherrell’s comments. However, his words gained traction throughout the week, which led to the Republican’s apology on the House floor Thursday.

Joyce Vance reminds us of how recently we had a normal Supreme Court that didn’t encourage making most of the country second-class citizens. “Tennessee  —  In December 1966, the United States Supreme Court unanimously decided a case called Bond v. Floyd.” 

In December 1966, the United States Supreme Court unanimously decided a case called Bond v. Floyd. Julian Bond was a Black man elected to the Georgia legislature.

Several months after his election in June 1965, a civil rights organization that Mr. Bond belonged to issued an anti-war statement about Vietnam, which he subsequently endorsed in statements to the press. White members of the Georgia House challenged Bond’s right to be seated, charging that his statements aided our enemies, violated the Selective Service laws, discredited the House, and were inconsistent with the legislator’s mandatory oath to support the Constitution.

Bond filed a challenge in the House to the petitions against seating him, alleging they were violations of his First Amendment rights and they were racially motivated. The House committee hearing his challenge concluded that Bond should not be seated. He filed a lawsuit, and a three-judge panel in the federal district court in Georgia ruled against him 2-1. Bond filed an appeal under a provision that permitted him to go straight to the United States Supreme Court. While the appeal was pending, he was re-elected to the Georgia House in a special election, and, again, the House refused to seat him. He was elected again in the regular election in 1966, and the Supreme Court decided his case shortly afterwards.

The unanimous Supreme Court decision in Bond’s favor relied upon a famous First Amendment case, New York Times v. Sullivan,holding that although a state may impose a requirement that legislators take an oath of allegiance, it cannot limit their capacity to express views on local or national policy. “[D]ebate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open,” the Court wrote, citing the decision in Sullivan.

The Court’s opinion in Bond concluded with these words: “Legislators have an obligation to take positions on controversial political questions so that their constituents can be fully informed by them, and be better able to assess their qualifications for office; also so they may be represented in governmental debates by the person they have elected to represent them. We therefore hold that the disqualification of Bond from membership in the Georgia House because of his statements violated Bond’s right of free expression under the First Amendment.”

Detroit Artist Fel3000ft. ‘The Justice Wall’.2020

No wonder the Republican states want to hide Black History. They’re trying to repeat the worst, hoping we all live in a vacuum or won’t pay attention to what they say and do.  However, the GOP is losing elections. The most recent election in Wisconsin for a position on its Supreme Court illustrates how even a highly gerrymandered state can still deliver a message and progress when voting. Patrick Marley from the  Washington Post writes this: “With liberals in charge, Wisconsin Supreme Court could rule on these issues.”

Democrats made clear to voters that the Wisconsin Supreme Court election this week centered on one key issue: giving liberals a majority on the court so they can overturn the state’s abortion ban.

But the race was also about getting the votes to redraw gerrymandered legislative and congressional districts. And protecting the outcome of the 2024 presidential election. And, potentially, a long list of other issues.

Wisconsin has a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature, so many of its most consequential disputes are resolved by the state Supreme Court. Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal, beat former justice Daniel Kelly, a conservative, by 11 points. When she is sworn in on Aug. 1, liberals will obtain a 4-3 majority, ending a 15-year run of conservative control of the court.

All shall be equal before the law – Graffiti in Cape Town, South Africa

The author follows with a list and discussion of issues that will be decidedly different due to the change. Abortion and redistricting sit right at the top. This epic headline comes from Axios.  “The GOP’s epic losing streak.” 

If Republicans step back and look beyond the legal and social-media spectacle of Donald J. Trump, they’ll see screaming political sirens everywhere they gaze.

Why it matters: The GOP’s political trouble has been unfolding slowly but unmistakably, starting even before Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in 2020.

  1. First, the 2018 House elections were a disaster for Republicans: Democrats had a net gain of 40 seats to take over the House — their largest gain since the post-Watergate election of 1974.
  2. Then Trump lost the presidency.
  3. Next, Republicans blew two runoff elections in Georgia and lost control of the U.S. Senate. The runoffs took place a day before Trump backers stormed the Capitol.
  4. Then, Republicans won the legal fight over abortion as Trump-appointed justices helped to ensure the reversal of Roe v. Wade. But the GOP lost a series of political battles over it afterward — a reflection of polls indicating that most Americans support abortion rights. GOP-led state legislatures have shown no signs of slowing their push to enact stricter abortion bans, suggesting continuing political backlash.
  5. Republicans put high-profile election deniers on the 2022 midterm ballot in key state and federal races — only to see several lose winnable elections.
  6. Republicans blew a chance to control the Senate by nominating too many hard-to-elect-in-a-swing-state Trump facsimiles. Their hopes of a big House majority were erased for the same reason, creating constant headaches for new Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
  7. Just this week, progressive Democrats triumphed in two of this year’s most consequential elections. Brandon Johnson, a teachers’ union organizer, was elected Chicago mayor. In swing state Wisconsin, Democrat-backed Janet Protasiewicz flipped the state Supreme Court to liberals in a landslide, after leaning into her support for abortion rights.
  8. Senate Republicans have been gifted a historically favorable 2024 map — but hard-right candidates who appeal to the GOP base again threaten to inject uncertainty into at least five winnable races.
  9. Trump is driving an agenda dominated by vengeance and victimhood, diverting Republicans from the inflation- and crime-centered messages that helped them in the midterms.

Reality check: Trump, if anything, is stronger and more likely to win the GOP nomination than he was after the November midterms.

This brings me to the poster child for Republican corruption.  That would be Uncle Clarence Thomas.  BostonBoomer gave us a thorough examination of his ongoing luxury trips on the way to the gates of hell.  This is written by Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern for Slate. “Clarence Thomas Broke the Law, and It Isn’t Even Close It probably won’t matter. But it should.”

ProPublica’s scrupulously reported new piece on Justice Clarence Thomas’ decadeslong luxury travel on the dime of a single GOP megadonor will probably not shock you at all. Sure, the dollar amounts spent are astronomical, and of course the justice failed to report any of it, and of course the megadonor insists that he and Thomas are dear old friends, so of course the superyacht and the flights on the Bombardier Global 5000 jet and the resorts are all perfectly benign. So while the details are shocking, the pattern here is hardly a new one. This is a longstanding ethics loophole that has been exploited by parties with political interests in cases before the court to curry favor in exchange for astonishing junkets and perks. It is allowed to happen.

We will doubtless spend a few news cycles expressing outrage that Harlan Crow has spent millions of dollars lavishing the Thomases with lux vacations and high-end travel and barely pretended to separate business and pleasure, giving half a million dollars to a Tea Party group founded by Ginni Thomas in 2011 (which funded her own $120,000 salary). But because the justices are left to police themselves and opt not to do so, we will turn to other matters in due time. Before the outrage dries up, however, it is worth zeroing in on two aspects of the ProPublica report that do have lasting legal implications. First, the same people who benefited from the lax status quo continue to fight against any meaningful reforms that might curb the justices’ gravy train. Second, the rules governing Thomas’ conduct over these years, while terribly insufficient, actually did require him to disclose at least some of these extravagant gifts. The fact that he ignored the rules anyway illustrates just how difficult it will be to force the justices to obey the law: Without the strong threat of enforcement, a putative public servant like Thomas will thumb his nose at the law.

If there is a single image that captures this seedy state of affairs, it is a painting of Thomas hanging out with Leonard Leo (Federalist Society co-chair and judicial power broker) and Mark Paoletta (who has served as chief counsel to former Vice President Mike Pence and general counsel of Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget). Both are political operatives, though Crow assures us that they would never dare talk about Thomas’ work. This image should be enough to shock anyone into taking action against the spigot of dark money that flows directly from billionaire donors into the court, its justices, and their spouses’ pockets. Continuing to live as though there is nothing to be done about any of this is a choice. We make it every day.

In addition to working in the Trump-Pence administration, Paoletta serves as the Thomases’ longtime fixer, attack dog, and booster. He represented Ginni Thomas when she spoke to the Jan 6. committee about her support for overturning the 2020 election. He also edited a biography of Clarence Thomas based on an almost comically obsequious documentary (in which he was also involved). So it should not be a surprise that Paoletta has also testified against any ethics reform measures for the Supreme Court, dismissing the reform movement as part of “the coordinated campaign by some Democrats and their allies in the corporate media to smear conservative Justices with the goal of delegitimizing the court.”

The lack of a binding ethics code for justices redounds to Paoletta’s benefit: ProPublica reports that he joined the Thomases on a trip through Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands on the Crows’ yacht. At the time, Paoletta was serving in the Trump administration, and was therefore subject to far stricter ethics rules than the justice; he told ProPublica that he reimbursed Crow for the trip, although he would not give a price tag. (It is an extraordinary feat for a public servant to be able to afford a private international yacht adventure; it also proves that even in government posts that actually have enforceable ethics rules, those rules may not be up to the job of policing corruption.)

Go read the rest!  This needs to change.

Anyway, that’s it for me today.  This is a long post.  I hope you can get through it without losing your lunch.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Black Rage is founded on two-thirds a personRapings and beatings and suffering that worsensBlack human packages tied up in stringsBlack rage can come from all these kinds of things
Black rage is founded on blatant denialSqueezed economics, subsistence survivalDeafening silence and social controlBlack rage is founded on wounds in the soul  

Sunday Reads: The Village People

Good morning, let’s get this party started…cartoons via Cagle:

On Monday…I may be live tweeting this court proceeding:

In college I did my thesis on women in early Medieval Irish Literature…so this next link was up my dark alley:

This is an open thread, please take it easy today.

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

Caspar David Friedrich, Monk by the Sea, c. 1809,

Good Day Sky Dancers!

The headlines are filled with Republican Shenanigans. Holding them accountable for illegal actions appears difficult.  This highlights the difference in treatment for everyone else and white men.

The case against Rep. Matt Gaetz has now been considered too difficult to prosecute because all of the witnesses are not upstanding citizens.  What do you expect from a gang of sex traffickers of underage women?  Devlin Barret, writing for The Washington Post, states: “Career prosecutors recommend no charges for Gaetz in the sex-trafficking probe. Investigators see credibility challenges for two of the main witnesses in the probe of the congressman’s past dealings with a 17-year-old.”

Career prosecutors have recommended against charging Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in a long-running sex-trafficking investigation — telling Justice Department superiors that a conviction is unlikely in part because of credibility questions with the two central witnesses, according to people familiar with the matter.

Senior department officials have not made a final decision on whether to charge Gaetz, but it is rare for such advice to be rejected, these people told The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations. They added that it is always possible additional evidence emerges that could alter prosecutors’ understanding of the case.

Nevertheless, it is unlikely that federal authorities will charge Gaetz with a crime in an investigation that started in late 2020 and focused on his alleged involvement with a 17-year-old girlseveral years earlier. Gaetz,40, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying he has never paid for sex. He has also said the only time he had sex with a 17-year-old was when he was also 17.

Chase William Merritt, Idle Hours .1894

The congressman is likely a role model for these guys.  Again, this is from The Washington Post, written by Taylor Lorenz. “The online incel movement is getting more violent and extreme, report says. The Center for Countering Digital Hate analyzed more than 1 million posts showing a rise in advocacy of rape, mass killings.”

The most prominent forum for men who consider themselves involuntarily celibate or “incels” has become significantly more radicalized over the past year and a half and is seeking to normalize child rape, a new report says.

The report, by the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s new Quant Lab, is the culmination of an investigation that analyzed more than 1 million posts on the site. It found a marked spike in conversations about mass murder and growing approval of sexually assaulting prepubescent girls.

The report also says that platforms including YouTube and Google, as well as internet infrastructure companies like Cloudflare are facilitating the growth of the forum, which the report said is visited by 2.6 million people every month. “These businesses should make a principled decision to withdraw their services from sites causing such significant harm,” the report says.

“This is a novel, new violent extremist movement born in the internet age, which defies the usual characteristics of violent extremist movements that law enforcement and the intelligence community are usually used to,” said Imran Ahmed, founder and CEO of CCDH, a US-based nonprofit. “Our study shows that it is organized, has a cogent ideology and has clearly concluded that raping women, killing women, and raping children is a clear part of the practice of their ideology.”

Incels blame women for their failings in life. The term originated decades ago, and while the first incel forum was founded by a woman in the mid 1990s, incel communities have since become almost exclusively male. Incel ideology has been linked to dozens of murders and assaults over the past decade, the most prominent one involving Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old self-described incel who murdered six people in a stabbing and shooting rampage in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2014. Before killing himself, he posted a long manifesto and YouTube videos promoting incel ideology.

In March, the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center released a report warning that anti-woman violence was a growing terrorism threat.

According to the CCDH analysis, members of the forum post about rape every 29 minutes, and more than 89 percent of posters support rape and say it’s acceptable. The CCDH analysis also found that posters on the forum are seeking to normalize child rape. More than a quarter of members of the forum have posted pedophilia keywords, the analysis found, and more than half of the members of the forum support pedophilia.

I don’t believe this is necessarily a new thing.  This is the problem with the internet.  It lets the worst of society hang together and leads to an evil gestalt.  These men gain confidence and ideas from their online cult.  Also, they can see how easy it is for certain types of men to avoid legal entanglements.

This is written by Brian Bennet.   Steal food or smoke a joint, and you wind up in jail for years. This is especially true if you’re a minority or a poor person.  Steal millions via government grants; they ignore you.  Like in sports, Colin Kaepernick and Michael Vick get demonized for their behaviors and dumped. Brett Favre steals millions for welfare recipients in Mississippi and crickets.

On Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James compounded Trump’s legal woes, announcing that the state was suing Trump, his three adult children, the Trump Organization, and senior management in the company, alleging business fraud involving the value of assets to banks, insurance companies and the state tax authorities.

The sheer number of investigations and the increasingly tangled defenses his legal team is having to put on paper and argue in court amount to a stress test of Trump’s standard strategy to deny, deflect, delay, and not put anything in writing.

“I don’t think there’s any other president who was in a similar legal jeopardy” after leaving office, says Timothy Naftali, a historian at New York University and former director of the federal Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Warren Harding was investigated by his own vice president and successor, Calvin Coolidge. Nixon would have been the target of investigations for years if Gerald Ford had not pardoned him in September 1974, a month after Nixon resigned from office.

“Even Nixon pales by comparison,” says Norman Eisen, an anti-corruption expert at Brookings Institution and the former special counsel to the Democrat’s House Judiciary Committee from 2019 to 2020 during Trump’s first impeachment. “Nixon just had one Watergate scandal. Trump has had a succession of them, each one more concerning than the last.”

In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is looking into how Trump pressured election officials to swing the 2020 presidential election in his direction. The House Jan. 6 Committee and the Department of Justice are both looking at what role Trump played in the lead up to the deadly attack on the Capitol Building to stop the lawful counting of electoral college votes. Federal prosecutors have an active criminal investigation into how and why Trump took thousands of government documents—many containing state secrets—to his residence at Mar-a-Lago and why he refused repeated requests to return them.

And New York’s civil lawsuit announced by James on Wednesday is on top of a separate criminal investigation out of the Manhattan District Attorneys’ Office into the Trump Organization that is set to go to trial in October.

In all of the ongoing cases, Trump is employing the tried-and-true playbook he first learned all those years ago from Cohn for staying out of prison and staying in business, according to Jennifer Taub, a professor at Western New England University School of Law who has tracked the ways that Trump had evaded accountability for decades.

Beach in Pourville, Claude Monet, 1882

This exclusive headline from CNN really is fascinating.  I imagine the move is to stop the prosecutors from being able to find and flip associates.  “Exclusive: Trump’s secret court fight to stop grand jury from getting information from his inner circle.”

Former President Donald Trump‘s attorneys are fighting a secret court battle to block a federal grand jury from gathering information from an expanding circle of close Trump aides about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, people briefed on the matter told CNN.

The high-stakes legal dispute — which included the appearance of three attorneys representing Trump at the Washington, DC, federal courthouse on Thursday afternoon — is the most aggressive step taken by the former President to assert executive and attorney-client privileges in order to prevent some witnesses from sharing information in the criminal investigation events surrounding January 6, 2021.

The court fight over privilege, which has not been previously reported and is under seal, is a turning point for Trump’s post-presidency legal woes.

How the fight is resolved could determine whether prosecutors can tear down the firewall Trump has tried to keep around his conversations in the West Wing and with attorneys he spoke to as he sought to overturn the 2020 election and they worked to help him hold onto the presidency.

This dispute came to light as former Trump White House adviser and lawyer Eric Herschmann received a grand jury subpoena seeking testimony, the people briefed said.

Other former senior Trump White House officials, including former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Patrick Philbin, appeared before the grand jury in recent weeks, after negotiating specific subjects they would decline to answer question about, because of Trump’s privilege claims.

Have you ever seen anyone claim privilege this many times?  Nixon didn’t get away with it, so what’s the deal with the Trump claims?  This Trumper candidate seems pretty audacious with the lies too.  Uh, that’s not how this works JR, this is not how any of this works.

But these folks will be bankrolled!  Check out these links!

Alex Isenstadt / PoliticoTrump to unleash millions in the midterms in possible prelude to 2024

 Peter Stone / The GuardianAlarm as Koch bankrolls dozens of election denier candidates

Former Justice Stephan Breyer warns the current Supreme Court Cartel not to take its backward-facing privilege too seriously.  This is also from CNN, and then I am done with all these bad boys.  “Breyer warns justices that some opinions could ‘bite you in the back’ in exclusive interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace.”

Retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is warning his colleagues against “writing too rigidly” in their opinions, saying that such decisions could “bite you in the back” in a world that is constantly changing.

In a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace on “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” which debuted Friday on HBOMax and airs Sunday night on CNN, Breyer also bemoaned his position in the court’s minority liberal bloc during his final year on the bench, addressed the court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade and spoke about the ongoing controversy regarding Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.

Breyer said it was a “very frustrating” spot to be in as he found himself in dissent in a number of historically consequential cases where he said the majority side (conservatives — although the retired justice did not use that description) was unwilling to bend.

“You start writing too rigidly and you will see, the world will come around and bite you in the back,” Breyer said in his first televised interview since leaving the bench earlier this year. “Because you will find something you see just doesn’t work at all. And the Supreme Court, somewhat to the difference of others, has that kind of problem in spades.”

“Life is complex, life changes,” Breyer added. “And we want to maintain insofar as we can — everybody does — certain key moral political values: democracy, human rights, equality, rule of law, etc. To try to do that in an ever-changing world. If you think you can do that by writing 16 computer programs — I just disagree.

The comments from Breyer come days before the Supreme Court begins its first term without him in nearly 30 years. In the new term, the justices will consider issues including voting rights, immigration, affirmative action, environmental regulations and religious liberty — areas where the solid conservative majority can easily control the outcomes.

Okay, that’s “all I can stands and I can’t stands no more.”  (To quote my childhood hero.)

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


The great nations of Europe were standing on the shore.
They’d conquered what was behind them
And now they wanted more
So they looked to the mighty ocean
And took to the Western sea
The great nations of Europe in the 16th century

Hide your wives and daughters, hide the groceries too
The great nations of Europe comin’ through



Sunday Reads: Long Live the King

Today is pretty much all Queen…via Cagle:

No new cartoons for September 11th…except for Luckovich.

That is it for me, this is an open thread…and of course long live the king.

No man’s a jester playing Shakespeare
Round your throne room floor
While the juggler’s act is danced upon
The crown that you once wore

And sooner or later
Everybody’s kingdom must end
And I’m so afraid your courtiers
Cannot be called best friends

Caesar’s had your troubles
Widows had to cry
While mercenaries in cloisters sing
And the king must die

Some men are better staying sailors
Take my word and go
But tell the ostler that his name was
The very first they chose

And if my hands are stained forever
And the altar should refuse me
Would you let me in, would you let me in, would you let me in
Should I cry sanctuary

No man’s a jester playing Shakespeare
Round your throne room floor
While the juggler’s act is danced upon
The crown that you once wore

The king is dead, the king is dead
The king is dead, the king is dead
Long live the king