Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said. Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.
Mostly Monday ReadsPosted: September 12, 2022 Filed under: Right Wing Angst, The Trump Family Crime Syndicate, Trump Trash | Tags: Invasion of Ukraine 30 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
There’s actually a lot of good news today! Above all, there is excellent news from the Ukrainian front that Russia is being driven back. There are even calls now for Putin to step down! I’ll get to that in a moment, but I couldn’t resist putting this headline from The Times of London first. I love the “snub for Trump” in the lede. So much for Trump’s lie about a secret knighthood. They weren’t expecting President Biden, so now there’s a scramble to prepare for his visit..
I’m going to post Ukrainian art today from the various museums. We know that the Russians targeted all types of cultural locations and that many folk art items were lost in the bombings. It will likely be a while before we discover which great works remain.
Слава Україні! (Romanized: Sláva Ukrayíni!)
I hope this is embarrassing for Trump, who was the ultimate clod during his visit with the late Queen Elizabeth.
Westminster Abbey is expected to be so full that only one representative from each country can attend, although they can be joined by a partner.
Questions have been asked in the US over whether Donald Trump will be invited but British sources have scotched the idea that he could accompany the US delegation and said there would not be space for Biden’s predecessors. Dwight Eisenhower, then the former president, attended Churchill’s funeral a private capacity.
A reception for overseas leaders will take place at Buckingham Place on the eve of the service, but no meetings will be allowed because of the strain on security teams, according to the Foreign Office
One more thing about Trump, and I’ll celebrate the victories of Ukraine. This is from CNN, which I’m probably going to quit quoting because the news channel is becoming an unreliable source soon due to changes in Top Management. “Exclusive: ‘I’m just not going to leave’: New book reveals Trump vowed to stay in White House.” This is about Maggie Haberman’s new tell-all, as reported by Jeremy Herb.
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly told aides in the days following his 2020 election loss that he would remain in the White House rather than let incoming President Joe Biden take over, according to reporting provided to CNN from a forthcoming book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
“I’m just not going to leave,” Trump told one aide, according to Haberman.
“We’re never leaving,” Trump told another. “How can you leave when you won an election?”
Trump’s insistence that he would not be leaving the White House, which has not been previously reported, adds new detail to the chaotic post-election period in which Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat and numerous efforts to overturn the election result led to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.
The man is so narcissistic he’s delusional. Let’s switch topics now!
Today’s New York Times has this headline: “Russia’s Retreat in Ukraine Pokes Holes in Putin’s Projection of Force. Russia’s military setbacks may be weakening President Vladimir V. Putin’s reputation at home as a savvy geopolitical strategist.” Ah, tales of yet another delusional narcissist.
Ukraine’s rout of Russian forces this weekend is creating a new kind of political challenge for President Vladimir V. Putin: It undercuts the image of competence and might that he has worked for two decades to build.
On Sunday, the Russian military continued to retreat from positions in northeastern Ukraine that it had occupied for months. State television news reports referred to the retreat as a carefully planned “regrouping operation,” praising the heroism and professionalism of Russian troops.
But the upbeat message did little to dampen the anger among supporters of the war over the retreat and the Kremlin’s handling of it. And it hardly obscured the bind that Mr. Putin now finds himself in, presiding over a six-month war against an increasingly energized enemy and a Russian populace that does not appear to be prepared for the sacrifices that could come with an escalating conflict.
“Strength is the only source of Putin’s legitimacy,” Abbas Gallyamov, a former speechwriter for Mr. Putin who is now a political consultant living in Israel, said in a phone interview. “And in a situation in which it turns out that he has no strength, his legitimacy will start dropping toward zero.”
Putin is now facing internal dissent. This is something that would be unimaginable before the Invasion of Ukraine. From The Hill link above: “Russian municipal deputies call for Putin’s resignation.”
More than 30 Russian municipal deputies have signed a petition calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s resignation.
The petition, posted by Xenia Torstrem, a deputy in St. Petersburg’s Semyonovsky District, was originally signed by 19 officials.
“We, the municipal deputies of Russia, believe that the actions of President Vladimir Putin harm the future of Russia and its citizens,” a translation of the petition reads. “We demand the resignation of Vladimir Putin from the post of President of the Russian Federation!”
The petition comes as the Ukrainian military pursues a counteroffensive, quickly reclaiming territory and pushing Russian troops back to the northeastern border in some places.
The push’s initial gains have provoked some criticisms of Putin inside the country, a rare rebuke of Russia’s longtime leader who over the years has sought to stifle opposition.
This reporting from The Washington Post is breathtaking.
In the end, the Russians fled any way they could on Friday, on stolen bicycles, disguised as locals. Hours after Ukrainian soldiers poured into the area, hundreds of Russian soldiers encamped in this village were gone, many after their units abandoned them, leaving behind stunned residents to face the ruins of 28 weeks of occupation.
“They just dropped rifles on the ground,” Olena Matvienko said Sunday as she stood, still disoriented, in a village littered with ammo crates and torched vehicles, including a Russian tank loaded on a flatbed. The first investigators from Kharkiv had just pulled in to collect the bodies of civilians shot by Russians, some that have been lying exposed for months.
“I can’t believe that we went through something like this in the 21st century,” Matvienko said, tears welling.
While the Ukrainians struggle to hold on to their democracy, we appear to have about 1/3 of the population that are “democracy deniers.” This is according to a poll by Axios. The results are stomach-churning. Axios refers to this poll as the Two Americas Index.
About one in three Americans prefers strong unelected leaders to weak elected leaders and says presidents should be able to remove judges over their decisions, according to the latest findings from our Axios-Ipsos Two Americas Index.
Why it matters: The findings from this poll shatter the myth that Americans overwhelmingly agree on a common set of democratic values around checks and balances on elected leaders, protection of minority rights and freedom of speech.
- They’re also a reality check against President Biden’s speech that portrayed threats to democracy as solely driven by Republican supporters of former President Trump who refuse to accept that he lost the 2020 election.
What we’re watching: In this poll, significant minorities of Republicans and Democrats supported non-democratic norms in about equal percentages — and Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say presidents should be able to remove judges when their decisions go against the national interest.
- Many Americans also believe the government should follow the will of the majority even at the expense of ethnic and religious minority groups’ civil rights.
- And roughly a third said the federal government should be able to prosecute members of the news media who make offensive or unpatriotic statements.
- Respondents younger than 35 or with household incomes below $75,000 a year were more likely to favor strong unelected leaders and to support prosecuting the media or empowering presidents to remove judges.
The big picture: If you’re looking for good news in this poll, it is primarily that the people who embrace the anti-democratic views are still in the minority.
- But the findings are a reminder that for all of the attention and congressional hearings around the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, anti-democratic views take many forms.
What they’re saying: “There’s a lot of anti-democratic sentiment, a lot more than we might have expected,” said Justin Gest, an associate professor at George Mason University who studies the politics of demographic change and advises the project.
The survey’s questions pose “hard tests” for society, Gest said — tradeoffs between “what’s expedient and best for the individual, and what actually sustains the integrity of our political institutions.”
Values like minority rights, separation of church and state and freedom of the press are “key foundations” of democracy but “they’re far from being fully supported by Americans,” Gest said. “These are things you’d think would be universal.”
You may read more analysis at the link.
One last bit of Trump weirdness. Yesterday, Trump was seen deplaning from a private plane in Washington, D.C.” The guessing game as to why he was there is on.
Have a great week! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Finally Friday Reads: It’s time for this version of Republicanism to go the way of the WhigsPosted: August 19, 2022 Filed under: 2022 Elections, 2022 Primaries, abortion rights, Discrimination against women, Domestic Policy, Human Rights, Mitt Romney, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, religious extremists, Rep. Liz Cheney, Reproductive Justice, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, The Trump Family Crime Syndicate 12 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
The news from around the country is not good as radical republican Governors seeking the Trump base to run in 2024 grind their states into a march back to the Dark Ages. Meanwhile, the folks coming behind them may be worse. Take Louisiana’s AG Jeff Landry, please! This is a read-out of what he’s been doing to us in New Orleans because we’ve got better things to do than hunt pregnant women who may want abortions and ensure they’re forced to give birth. This is from Jezabel: “Louisiana Delays Critical Flood Response Funds to New Orleans Over Abortion Politics, AG Jeff Landry just delayed a $39 million line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board the city won’t enforce the new abortion ban.” This story is reported by Lorena O’Neil.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) successfully urged the Louisiana Bond Commission on Thursday to delay a $39 million future line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board–which the city needs for its flood response–until city officials agree to enforce the state’s abortion ban. The move comes right at the start of hurricane season, on the same day New Orleans has issued a flood advisory.
The financing that’s being held hostage would, specifically, be used to build a power station for the Sewerage & Water Board to help combat flooding. Melinda Deslatte, a research director at Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, live-tweeted today’s meeting, in which Republican politicians decided to punish New Orleans, a Democratic stronghold in the state, for defending abortion rights in the wake of a near-total ban. (Officials in New Orleans, including even the police, have vowed not to enforce the state’s new ban, which has already pushed out all three of its abortion clinics.)
Read more about the impact on the City at the link. Here’s more from investigative reporter Sam Karlin living in the city. The NOPD will not make arrests but now say they will investigate.
We currently have a police shortage typical of many big cities these days. Why put our police to work on this ridiculousness and make a big deal of it? Landry seeks to replace John Bel Edwards as Louisiana’s governor next year. Will Louisiana’s three big cities that lost their abortion clinics and the surrounding areas come out to ensure he doesn’t get into the position to Desantis/Abbott our state into White Christian Nationalism? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, a shocking story presented on MSNBC by Alex Wagner shows that “DeSantis imposes extreme culture war framing on nuanced U.S. civics.” This includes downplaying the role of slavery in the country, promoting Scalia and his strict views on originalism, showing that slave-owning founders didn’t like slavery with no citations to the quotes, and promoting the idea that the founders really wanted a country that was essentially a Christian state with no separation between that religion and the state. It even includes a cartoon of the idea of a porous and fluid fence rather than a wall. This is all wrapped up in a seminar aimed at getting Florida’s educators to join in clearly White Christian Patriarchal Nationalism propagandizing.
Please watch and see the appalling materials as a young Florida Civics Teacher reveals the material and its shortcomings. A discussion with Professor Jelanie Cobb follows.
Also, DeSantis has instigated an “election crimes” law. According to The Washington Post, “DeSantis’s new election crimes unit makes its first arrests. The targets are folks who are formerly-incarcerated individuals that voted.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the first arrests made by the state’s new elections police force Thursday: Twenty people previously incarcerated for murder or sexual assault who he said had illegally voted in the 2020 election.
The GOP-led Florida legislature passed a bill creating the Office of Election Crimes and Security earlier this year at DeSantis’s behest. While the 2020 election went smoothly in Florida — DeSantis called it the “gold standard” for elections — the governor has said there are still issues and conservative lawmakers have sought to further tighten voting regulations.
The governor — widely considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate — heralded the arrests, saying the unit had “sprung into action to hold individuals accountable for voter fraud.” DeSantis said they had been arrested for violating the rules of a constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters in 2018 that allows formerly incarcerated people to register to vote — except for those who committed felony sexual assault or murder.
“This is just the opening salvo,” DeSantis said. “This is not the sum total of 2020.”
But voting groups and experts said that if anything the initial arrests indicate Florida’s election system is robust and crimes rare. Some expressed concern that the new unit could have a chilling effect, particularly on vulnerable groups of voters, such as formerly incarcerated people who are legally entitled to vote.
“It’s 20 people out of millions of voters,” Michael McDonald, an expert on voting and a professor of political science at the University of Florida. “These arrests are inconsequential to the integrity of the electoral system.”
DeSantis made the announcement flanked by law enforcement officers in Broward County, which has the most registered Democrats of any county in Florida. The arrests came about six weeks after the office opened and five days before the state’s primary election.
A Florida judge has stopped parts of DeSantis’ “Stop Woke” Act. This is from The Insider: “Florida judge blocks parts of DeSantis-backed ‘Stop WOKE Act,’ saying the state has turned into the upside-down world from ‘Stranger Things’.” Kimberly Leonard is the reporter on this piece.
A federal judge has suspended partial enforcement of Florida’s “Stop WOKE Act,” a bill that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed that restricts how companies and schools discuss race.
DeSantis signed the bill into law in April. It would limit race-based teachings in schools, and the way that private companies carry out mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings. Companies that have 15 employees or more could face civil lawsuits if someone accuses them of violating the law.
In his opinion, Chief US District Judge Mark Walker blocked the employer portion of the law, saying it violated free speech. He compared the law to Netflix’s blockbuster science-fiction hit, “Stranger Things.”
“In the popular television series Stranger Things, the ‘upside down’ describes a parallel dimension containing a distorted version of our world,” Walker, a nominee of then-President Barack Obama, wrote in his opinion. “Recently, Florida has seemed like a First Amendment upside down.”
“Normally, the First Amendment bars the state from burdening speech, while private actors may burden speech freely,” Walker continued. “But in Florida, the First Amendment apparently bars private actors from burdening speech, while the state may burden speech freely.”
The governor’s press office told Insider on Friday that it planned to appeal the decision.
“Judge Walker has effectively ruled that companies have a first amendment right to instruct their employees in white supremacy,” said communications director Taryn Fenske. “We disagree and will be appealing his decision.”
The law targeted what many Republicans call “critical race theory.” Formally, critical race theory examines racism in US institutions stemming from slavery and the Jim Crow era. Democrats have argued it’s mostly taught in law schools, and defenders of DEI trainings say it’s necessary to prevent implicit bias, discrimination, and racism.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your future Orwellian Republican State!
There are three articles today that show a disturbing future for anti-Trump Republicans like Liz Cheney. This first one is from Ben Jacobs writing for VOX. “The Never Trump wing of the GOP never had a chance. Liz Cheney’s loss made clear Trump’s GOP detractors have little electoral sway.”
The bad news for Never Trump Republicans this week wasn’t just that Liz Cheney lost the primary for her Wyoming congressional seat on Tuesday. It wasn’t even that she lost by such an overwhelming margin. It was that her loss fit a pattern in which the GOP’s voters have roundly rejected Republican after Republican who voted to impeach Trump. Only two of the 10 House Republicans who did so will even be on the ballot in November — one of whom is running in a district that Joe Biden won by more than 10 percentage points in 2020.
It’s clear at this point that the Republican Party is a pro-Trump party, and that its voters recoil from candidates who are ardently opposed to the former president. The results of this primary season — and Cheney’s loss in particular — show a Never Trump wing on the verge of extinction.
Cheney’s loss follows those this year of Reps. Peter Meijer of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and Tom Rice of South Carolina, among those Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. Another four Republican House members who voted to impeach — Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, John Katko of New York, and Fred Upton of Michigan — opted against even running for reelection.
This continues a trend within the GOP since Trump took office, as Republican critics like Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona have opted not to seek reelection, while others, like Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, lost their primaries.
“I’m unaware of any Republican primary where the organizing principle that Trump is a bad guy was ever successful,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a close Trump ally in Congress who had been campaigning against Cheney since days after her impeachment vote, told Vox. “Republicans might have squeaked through who were not pro-Trump, but those candidates had some other organizing principle. Liz Cheney didn’t, and that’s why she lost so badly.”
Even an ardent Never Trumper like Tim Miller, a former top Republican operative and author of a recent New York Times bestseller, Why We Did It, conceded that Trump won the battle for the soul of the GOP. “A lot of people misunderstand what is happening in this moment and think the Republican Party might somehow go back to being the party of Liz Cheney and Paul Ryan,” Miller said. “It’s never going back — at least not any time on the horizon.”
Wait! There’s more! Susan Glasser says it’s “Trumpism vs Hopium”.
By Wednesday, Eric Trump was bragging about his father as one of the all-time great political assassins. “Last night, my father killed another political dynasty, and that’s the Cheneys,” he told the Newsmax host Eric Bolling. “He first killed the Bushes, then he killed the Clintons. Last night, he killed the Cheneys. He’s been rino hunting ever since he got into politics, and last night he was successful again.” Trump’s story, as narrated by his son, is that of a political axe murderer—a grim reaper of the “Republican in Name Only” establishment. In the Trump lexicon, “killer” is a compliment. Donald Trump himself has bragged about this, explaining that the term constituted high praise from his ruthless father, Fred, who taught him to be one.
The family must be so proud. Trump has zealously stuck to the paternal creed. From the start, he has been an almost uniquely destructive force in American politics, a leader not only willing to blow anything up that stands in his path but one who glories in the act. The result has been a Republican Party transformed almost entirely into Trump’s Republican Party. Nearly all of those who stood against him have been purged or defeated or have cravenly renounced their previous views. “She may have been fighting for principles,” Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesperson, said, after Cheney’s loss, “but they are not the principles of the Republican Party.” Which is as close to an inarguably true statement as has ever been issued by the Mar-a-Lago government in exile. The Republican Party’s ideology these days is simply whatever-Trump-wants-ism, as it made clear when it did not even bother to issue a new policy platform at its 2020 convention, settling instead for a simple resolution saying that it was for Trump. Being a classy winner, though, is clearly not part of the emerging party doctrine. After the Wyoming results came in, Budowich posted to Twitter a video compilation of Trump dancing, set to the tune of “na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye,” along with the message “Bye bye, @Liz_Cheney.”
The results of this midterm season so far have shown how nearly complete Trump’s Republican triumph already is. Dozens of election deniers who have adopted the former President’s lies about his 2020 election loss have won Republican nominations, up and down the ballot. Only two of the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6th insurrection are still in the running to remain in Congress. And, of course, polls show that Trump himself remains a strong front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024. The headlines after Tuesday’s voting would have been inconceivable in the immediate aftermath of his failed effort to hold onto power: “Trump’s dominance in GOP comes into focus,” the Washington Post said. “Cheney’s Wyoming defeat is a win for Trump and a decisive blow to fading GOP establishment,” the Los Angeles Times declared. “Cheney’s defeat end of an era for GOP; Trump’s party now,” the Associated Press said. So why are Trump’s opponents—at least some of them—feeling in any way optimistic?
May I have some hopium, please? Like, lots of it?
But, over the summer, a new school of what might be called “Trumptimism” has taken hold among some Democratic strategists and independent analysts. In the mess of our current politics, they discern a case for optimism—history-defying, experience-flouting optimism that maybe things won’t work out so badly after all in November. “In the age of Trump, nothing is normal,” Simon Rosenberg, the president of the liberal think tank the New Democrat Network and a veteran strategist, told me, on Thursday. “Nothing is following traditional physics and rules, so why would this midterm?”
Follow the link to read the rationale behind the assertion. Meanwhile, the Republican with the most fluid values ever discourages Liz Cheney from running for President. “What Mitt Romney says about Liz Cheney possibly running for president”. If this man ever had a hope to make any of us sorry he couldn’t hold any higher office he’s blown it now.
As Rep. Liz Cheney contemplates her next move after losing the Republican primary in Wyoming this week, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney says he wouldn’t encourage her to run for president.
“I’m not going to encourage anyone to run for president. I’ve done that myself, and that’s something I’m not doing again. I don’t know if she really wants to do that. She would not become the nominee if she were to run. I can’t imagine that would occur,” Romney told the Deseret News on Thursday.
Cheney, he said, might run for other purposes but “I’m not in collaboration with that effort.”
Remember, this is from the man that put his dog on the top of his car while driving fast. He’s all in it for the convenience.
And yet, the Biden Administration really tries to get us all back in to America he envisions. He’s even thrown us a “United We Stand” Summit so leaders can show that it’s possible. “Statement by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on The White House “United We Stand” Summit.”
On Thursday, September 15, President Biden will host at the White House the United We Stand Summit to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and public safety, highlight the response of the Biden-Harris Administration and communities nationwide to these dangers, and put forward a shared vision for a more united America.
President Biden decided to run for president after the horror of the hate-fueled violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Since taking office, his Administration has consistently taken steps to counter hate-motivated violence — from signing the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, to releasing the first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, to signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant legislation in three decades to reduce gun violence.
Even as our nation has endured a disturbing series of hate-fueled attacks, from Oak Creek to Pittsburgh, from El Paso to Poway, from Atlanta to Buffalo, Americans remain overwhelmingly united in their opposition to such violence. The United We Stand Summit will bring together heroes from across America who are leading historic work in their communities to build bridges and address hate and division, including survivors of hate-fueled violence. The summit will include a bipartisan group of federal, state, and local officials, civil rights groups, faith and community leaders, technology and business leaders, law enforcement officials, former members of violent hate groups who now work to prevent violence, gun violence prevention leaders, media representatives, and cultural figures. It will feature a keynote speech from President Biden as well as inclusive, bipartisan panels and conversations on countering hate-fueled violence, preventing radicalization and mobilization to violence, and fostering unity.
As President Biden said in Buffalo after the horrific mass shooting earlier this year, in the battle for the soul of our nation “we must all enlist in this great cause of America.” The United We Stand Summit will present an important opportunity for Americans of all races, religions, regions, political affiliations, and walks of life to take up that cause together.
Is this possible given that the states that have more wildlife and vacant land still control entire states and send 2 senators to the District? Will, this 30% that includes Racists, Gun Toting Militias, White Christian Militias, Incels, and folks that hate independent women and the GLBT community really coming around to uniting with the rest of us?
This is from the HRC link above. It’s from The Washington Post.
Biden will deliver a keynote speech at the gathering, which the White House says will include civil rights groups, faith leaders, business executives, law enforcement, gun violence prevention advocates, former members of violent hate groups, the victims of extremist violence and cultural figures. The White House emphasized that it also intends to bring together Democrats and Republicans, as well as political leaders on the federal, state and local levels to unite against hate-motivated violence.
Biden, a Democrat, has frequently cited 2017’s white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, with bringing him out of political retirement to challenge then-President Donald Trump in 2020. He promised during that campaign to work to bridge political and social divides and to promote national unity, but fulfilling that cause remains a work in progress.
Sindy Benavides, the CEO of League of United Latin American Citizens, said the genesis of the summit came after the Buffalo massacre, as her organization along with the Anti-Defamation League, the National Action Network and other groups wanted to press the Biden administration to more directly tackle extremist threats.
But how do we solve a problem like Greg Abbott, Marjorie Taylor Green, Ron DeSantis, Jeff Landry, Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, and all the the other Trump Zombies?
Vote them out if we can! I’m not sure his voters can be shamed into embracing the American Dream ever again.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Monday Reads: “The Wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine”Posted: August 15, 2022 Filed under: The Trump Family Crime Syndicate, U.S. Politics | Tags: The US Justice System 42 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I’m not sure what made me think of this Sun Tzu quote exactly. I’ve been hearing “justice delayed is justice denied” more frequently. That’s a more recent quote from William Gladstone. It’s quiet this morning on the news front. So quiet, you might just hear a grinding sound.
This is from Politico: “Judge orders Graham to testify in Atlanta-area Trump probe. Investigators intend to query Graham about two phone calls with Georgia election officials that included a discussion of the process for counting absentee ballots.” I keep wondering if the FBI will find the kompromat on Lady Lindsey in one of those leatherbound boxes found in the basement of Mar-a-Lago.
A federal judge on Monday turned down Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bid to throw out a subpoena compelling him to testify before the Atlanta-area grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.
“[T]he Court finds that the District Attorney has shown extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham’s testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2022 elections,” U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May wrote in a 22-page opinion rejecting Graham’s effort and sending the matter back to state courts for further proceedings.
The ruling is a victory for District Attorney Fani Willis, who is leading the grand jury probe that resulted in a subpoena for Graham (R-S.C.) to appear for an Aug. 23 interview. Investigators intend to query Graham about two phone calls with Georgia election officials, at the same time Trump was attempting to subvert his defeat, that included a discussion of the process for counting absentee ballots.“
Senator Graham has unique personal knowledge about the substance and circumstances of the phone calls with Georgia election officials, as well as the logistics of setting them up and his actions afterward,” May wrote. “And though other Georgia election officials were allegedly present on these calls and have made public statements about the substance of those conversations, Senator Graham has largely (and indeed publicly) disputed their characterizations of the nature of the calls and what was said and implied. Accordingly, Senator Graham’s potential testimony on these issues … are unique to Senator Graham.”
“In a statement issued later Monday through his Senate office, Graham indicated he would appeal the ruling.
Whatever gravitas Senator Graham may have had is now gone. Donald Trump has hung his ass as a trophy somewhere on some Golf Club wall.
More information is being released and reported on the attempted murder of author Salman Rushdie. This is from The Washington Post. It’s written by Jennifer Hassan. “Iran denies involvement in Rushdie attack, says he brought it on himself.”
Iran denied any involvement Monday in last week’s attack that left author Salman Rushdie with severe injuries after he was stabbed in the neck and abdomen onstage at an event in western New York.
In its first public reaction to the stabbing, Iran said Rushdie and his supporters were to blame for the attack, more than three decades after Tehran issued a directive for Muslims to kill Rushdie because of his book “The Satanic Verses,” published in 1988.
“We do not blame, or recognize worthy of condemnation, anyone except himself and his supporters,” Nasser Kanaani, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said of the stabbing, which has been condemned by world leaders and has rocked the literary world.
Kanaani told reporters that through his writing,the Indian-born British American novelisthad insulted “the holiness of Islam” and crossed “the red lines of more than 1½ billion Muslims.”
Mitchell Prothero–writing for Vice–believes this statement to be false. “Salman Rushdie Stabbing Suspect ‘Had Contact With Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.’ Intel officials told VICE World News Hadi Matar had been in contact with members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. There’s no evidence Iran was involved in organising the attack.”
The 24-year-old man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie had been in direct contact with members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on social media, European and Middle Eastern intelligence officials told VICE World News.
Hadi Matar has been charged with attempted murder after Rushdie, 75, was repeatedly stabbed on stage ahead of a speaking event in Chautauqua, New York, on Friday. On Sunday, Rushdie’s son Zafar Rushdie said his father was in a critical condition and had sustained “life-changing” injuries but had been taken off a ventilator and had been able to speak.
A NATO counterterrorism official from a European country said the stabbing had all the hallmarks of a “guided” attack, where an intelligence service talks a supporter into action, without direct support or involvement in the attack itself.
“Close scrutiny needs to be paid to his communications,” said the NATO official, who was not authorised to speak on the record. “More investigation will reveal more information on the exact nature of the links.”
There’s no evidence Iranian officials were involved in organising or orchestrating the attack on Rushdie. Security officials who confirmed the social media contact would not elaborate on the nature of the communications because investigations are ongoing. They would not disclose who initiated the contact, when it took place, or what was discussed.
And this is interesting in terms of the Department of Justice investigations and the former guy. There are two separate warrants now that we know about.
The last we heard of Trump, he threatened the DOJ if they didn’t let him “help” the investigation. This is from a blog post of Katelyn Caralle, the U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com.
Donald Trump confirmed that he told the DOJ he would ‘do whatever I can to help the country’ after outrage ensued after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate
‘People are so angry at what is taking place,’ Trump told Fox. ‘Whatever we can do to help—because the temperature has to be brought down in the country’
Added a warning: ‘If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen’
A report Sunday revealed Trump had a representative tell a DOJ official he had a message for Attorney General Merrick Garland
‘The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?’ was the message
That sounds like one of those thinly veiled threats Trump makes when he goes all Mafia on us. Trump once again is hoisted on his own petard. (Oh, now I’m referencing Shakespeare, what kind of Monday trip am I on?) This is from Raw Story and Brad Reed: “Trump’s DOJ won a 2018 case that undermines claims about his broad declassification powers.”
Allies of former President Donald Trump have claimed that he unilaterally declassified every single government document that he took with him to Mar-a-Lago on his way out of the White House in 2021.
Many legal experts have cast doubt on claims that Trump can simply will documents declassified without going through any kind of formal process, and New York Times reporter Charlie Savage points to a case won by Trump’s own Department of Justice in 2018 that rebuts the theory that presidents have near-omnipotent declassification powers.
The case in question involved a New York Times request for documents relating to covert operations in Syria that Trump had revealed in a tweet by criticizing “massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels” made by the United States government.
By talking about the matter publicly, argued the New York Times, Trump had in essence declassified the existence of the program, which would then make documents about it available to reporters through requests via the Freedom of Information Act.
The Trump DOJ pushed back on this, however, and successfully argued that mere presidential proclamations are insufficient to formally declassify documents.
“The Times cites no authority that stands for the proposition that the President can inadvertently declassify information and we are aware of none,” wrote the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in its decision against the Times. “Because declassification, even by the President, must follow established procedures, that argument fails.”
Excuse me while I chuckle.
Jennifer Rubin has much to say about Trump and how he easily absconded with Federal Documents, including Top Secret National Security Matters. Rubin writes this for The Washington Post: “Leaving with nuclear secrets would be Trump’s dumbest, scariest stunt yet.”
A defeated former president who was at the center of a failed coup allegedly walks out the door with nuclear secrets, refuses to give them back and then leaves a creepy, semi-threatening message for the attorney general — that’s apparently where we are. Donald Trump and his apologists are as dangerous to our national security as spies and traitors who would spirit away our most closely held secrets.
The documents at issue supposedly include material so confidential it merits a top secret rating (TS/SCI) that no president — let alone an ex-president — can wish away.
Former FBI special agent and lawyer Asha Rangappa dismisses Trump’s assertion that he declassified everything: “The claim is bogus because clearly the current position of the United States government is that these documents are classified. This is controlling, whatever he did before he left office.” She adds, “He has no classification authority as of Jan. 20, 2021. Trump forgets that whatever awesome powers and immunities he held as president now belong to [President] Biden.”
Indeed, this nondefense bolsters the conclusion that Trump knew the documents were classified. “It is an admission because it would mean Trump had knowledge of the content of the documents, and that he apparently planned to remove them once relabeled,” observes Ryan Goodman, national security law expert and co-editor of Just Security.
The more facts we know, the worse it gets. According to New York Times reporting, “At least one lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump signed a written statement in June asserting that all material marked as classified and held in boxes in a storage area at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club had been returned to the government.” Perhaps Trump, a compulsive liar, and his counsel were less than honest.
Even more stunning, just before Attorney General Merrick Garland’s public announcement regarding the search, a close Trump associate reached out to DOJ with a message for Garland. Trump wanted Garland “to know that he had been checking in with people around the country and found them to be enraged by the search,” the Times reported. A threat? A plea? Maybe both, but it certainly reflects Trump’s telltale mix of ignorance, arrogance, lawlessness, narcissism and recklessness.
I hope we get more justice on this than we got from Richard Nixon’s lawlessness.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Finally Friday Reads: Warrant Watch EditionPosted: August 12, 2022 Filed under: 2022 Elections, 2022 Primaries, abortion rights, American Gun Fetish, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, court rulings, Criminal Justice System, Department of Homeland Security, Inflation Reduction Act, Republican politics, The Insurrectionists Club, The Trump Family Crime Syndicate, Treason and Sedition Republican Style, Trump Documents Scandal 33 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
So, we’re on watch today to see exactly if the Search Warrant and property list from the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago stash are as disturbing as leaks imply. This headline is from WAPO: “FBI searched Trump’s home to look for nuclear documents and other items, sources say. The former president said on social media that he won’t oppose a Justice Dept. request to unseal the search warrant.” It describes the Garland Presser as well.
Late Thursday night, Trump said on social media that he agreed the document should be made public. In another post early Friday, he called the nuclear weapons issue a “hoax” and accused the FBI of planting evidence, without offering information to indicate such a thing had happened. Trump said agents did not allow his lawyers to be present for the search, which is not unusual in a law enforcement operation, especially if it potentially involves classified items.
One former Justice Department official, who in the past oversaw investigations of leaks of classified information, said the type of top-secret information described by the people familiar with the probe would probably cause authorities to try to move as quickly as possible to recover sensitive documents that could cause grave harm to U.S. security.
“If that is true, it would suggest that material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” said David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, which investigates leaks of classified information. “If the FBI and the Department of Justice believed there were top secret materials still at Mar-a-Lago, that would lend itself to greater ‘hair-on-fire’ motivation to recover that material as quickly as possible.”
Cable News lit up last night with analysis and news.
This is from the tweet above and Steve Benen.
It’s worth emphasizing that the new motion filed by the DOJ isn’t to disclose everything, but it would bring to light the materials Team Trump already has in its possession, which would make clear key details of the search.
It’s why Marcy Wheeler noted, in response to today’s statement, “Garland is calling Trump’s bluff.”
The attorney general went on to note that he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant” in this case — something that was widely assumed, but not confirmed before this afternoon. He added that the Department of Justice “does not take such actions lightly” and first pursues “less intrusive” means.
But before wrapping up, Garland also took about a minute to defend federal law enforcement from “recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors.”
“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly
The New York Times focused on the possibilities that beyond-Top Secret Material was sitting around the basement of the Club. My worst thoughts are that he already shipped it off to his buddy in North Korea, his man-crush in Russia, or Bonesaw. “Trump Search Said to Be Part of Effort to Find Highly Classified Material. The former president said he will not object to the Justice Department’s move to release the search warrant used to carry out the search of his Florida home.”
While the inventory provided to Mr. Trump’s team after the search is unlikely to reveal details about the specific documents he kept, it refers to an array of sensitive material, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Judge Bruce Reinhart, the federal magistrate in the Southern District of Florida who approved the search warrant and is handling the motion to unseal it, had issued an order requiring the Justice Department to serve a copy of its motion to Mr. Trump’s lawyers. It said the department would have to tell the judge by 3 p.m. on Friday whether Mr. Trump opposed the motion.
Mr. Garland’s statement amounted to a challenge to Mr. Trump, who has been free to release the search warrant and the list of items taken during the search on his own, but has declined to do so. Many Trump allies and Republicans have also called on Mr. Garland to explain his decision, adding political complexity — or hypocrisy — to any decision by Mr. Trump to oppose making the search warrant public.
The Justice Department did not seek to release the affidavits — which contain much more information about the behavior of Mr. Trump and evidence presented by others — that were used to obtain the warrant.
The public statement by Mr. Garland came at an extraordinary moment, as a sprawling set of investigations into the former president on multiple fronts gained momentum even as Mr. Trump continued to signal that he might soon announce another run for the White House.
Republican Elected officials and right-wing New Sources are doing everything to stir the empty pot of Trump’s latest Big Lie. This is from The Guardian: “Republicans dust off familiar playbook to weaponise Mar-a-Lago FBI search. Analysis: GOP accusations of ‘deep state’ and politicization of justice department likely to foment an intense backlash.”
But Republicans responded furiously to the development, following Trump’s lead in claiming that the search showed the justice department waging a politically motivated witch-hunt. Their florid rhetoric will do little to assuage fears that a prosecution of Trump could lead to social unrest and even political violence.
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, said: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Countless times we have examples of Democrats flouting the law and abusing power with no recourse.
“Democrats continually weaponize the bureaucracy against Republicans. This raid is outrageous. This abuse of power must stop and the only way to do that is to elect Republicans in November.”
Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader in the House, claimed in a statement that the justice department had reached “an intolerable state of weaponized politicization” and vowed that, when Republicans take back the House, they will conduct immediate oversight of the department.
He said ominously: “Attorney General Garland: preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”
Lindsey Graham, a US senator for South Carolina and Trump ally, noted that midterm elections are about a hundred days away and Trump is likely to run for president again in 2024. “Time will tell regarding this most recent investigation. However, launching such an investigation of a former President this close to an election is beyond problematic.”
Bob Good, a Republican congressman, wrote on Twitter: “The continued weaponization of the federal government against its citizens and political opponents continues under the Biden/Garland march toward a police state.”
Congressman Ronny Jackson added: “Tonight the FBI officially became the enemy of the people!!!”
Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, denounced the search as “un-American”, while Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) – which hosted an event in Dallas, Texas, last week with speakers including Trump and the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán – also joined the condemnation.
“The Deep State will do anything in its power to slime President Trump,” Schlapp said. “Americans need to keep growing the big Red Wave and save the country from these corrupt fascists.”
Mike Pompeo, a former secretary of state under Trump, tweeted: “Executing a warrant against ex-POTUS is dangerous. The apparent political weaponization of DOJ/FBI is shameful. AG must explain why 250 yrs of practice was upended w/ this raid.”
Biden has repeatedly stressed his belief that the justice department must work independently of the White House and that he will not interfere in its investigations. Merrick Garland, the attorney general, insisted last week that no one was above the law.
The FBI is directed by Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee.
Meanwhile, a member of the Trump Cult tried to shoot up an FBI office in Cinncinatti. He was spurred on by the Republican responses.
The gunman who fired at police and engaged in an hours-long standoff in a corn field after trying to enter the FBI’s office in Cincinnati on Thursday has been identified in multiple media reports as someone who was present at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
The man also apparently left a trail of posts on Truth Social, the social media platform created by former president Donald Trump, announcing his plans to attack the FBI office and indicating that his actions were a direct response to the FBI’s search Monday of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.
The suspect is Ricky Walter Shiffer, according to NBC News and the New York Times, which reported that Shiffer was under investigation for having “ties to extremist groups,” including the Proud Boys, which he apparently mentioned on social media.
The standoff suspect was shot and killed by police on Thursday afternoon, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said, but his identity has not been confirmed.
The 42-year-old Shiffer reportedly posted on Facebook on Jan. 5, 2021, showing him attending a pro-Trump rally at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington the night before the Capitol was stormed, according to the Times.
The week’s events have spurred a new addition to the Dark Brandon memes. We now have Dark Merrick.
I really want to focus on this, though, because it ties all of the shit we’ve been through since Trump started with the Obama wasn’t born here lies. I’d love to have sat in on this discussion between the President and a group of the nation’s premier Historians.
The conversation during a ferocious lightning storm on Aug. 4 unfolded as a sort of Socratic dialogue between the commander in chief and a select group of scholars, who painted the current moment as among the most perilous in modern history for democratic governance, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.
Comparisons were made to the years before the 1860 election when Abraham Lincoln warned that a “house divided against itself cannot stand” and the lead-up to the 1940 election, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt battled rising domestic sympathy for European fascism and resistance to the United States joining World War II.
We’ve seen this analysis from various Historians that appear on TV News. Here’s some additional reading material,
I somehow missed that publication in the dark years of the Trump Presidency.
No matter how and when the Trump presidency ends, the specter of illiberalism will continue to haunt American politics.
At this point, I’d just like to see Trump himself stop haunting us.
If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. Like Hitler’s conservative allies, he and the Republicans have prided themselves on the early returns on their investment in Trump.
Mitch has calmed down some, but the rest of the Republicans have not. This just broke.
This scoop comes from Lisa Rein.
The White House has faced mounting questions about a decision by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s office to abandon attempts to recover missing Secret Service texts from Jan. 6,2021. President Biden, in response, has signaled his intention to stay out of the process as an independent watchdog investigates the inspector general.
But Joseph V. Cuffari and his staff have refused to release certain documents and tried to block interviews, effectively delaying that probe, which has now stretched for more than 15 months and evolved into a wide-ranging inquiry into more than a dozen allegations of misconduct raised by whistleblowers and other sources, according to three people familiar with the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation.
Some Republican senators have also raised stiff resistance to the investigation — which is being overseen by a panel of federal watchdogs fromthe Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) — questioning the need for a full probe into the Trump administrationappointee.
It just seems we’ve lost our way.
There is some good news. The House is on the verge of sending the Inflation Reduction Act to the President for his signature.
There’s also this from the AP: “Kansas abortion vote shows limits of GOP’s strength.”
An increase in turnout among Democrats and independents and a notable shift in Republican-leaning counties contributed to the overwhelming support of abortion rights last week in traditionally conservative Kansas, according to a detailed Associated Press analysis of the voting results.
A proposed state constitutional amendment would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban abortions outright. But Kansas voters rejected the measure by nearly 20 percentage points, almost a mirror of Republican Donald Trump’s statewide margin over Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to repeal a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, the threat of new restrictions in the state galvanized Democrats and independents more than anticipated. At the same time, Republicans showed less interest in turning out to support the measure.
The findings reinforce a sense in both parties that the Supreme Court’s decision may have altered the dynamics of this year’s midterm elections.
Even Fox News polling supports the tightening of the race to maintain control of Congress,
“Between passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, killing al Qaeda’s leader, less pain at the pump, and the Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices taking away abortion rights, the political landscape is less horrible for Democrats,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox surveys with Republican Daron Shaw. “There are successes Democrats can point to that didn’t exist in the spring, but the biggest single change I see in this poll is the increased disapproval of the Supreme Court and suspect that is a significant factor.”
Fifty-five percent disapprove of the Supreme Court’s job performance, up from 48% in June.
Meanwhile, the shift in vote preference mainly comes from women. They preferred the GOP candidate by 1 point in May and now go for the Democrat by 6.
Okay, we’ll keep you updated on the release of the warrant.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Wednesday Reads: DumbbellsPosted: August 10, 2022 Filed under: 2024 Elections, abortion rights, Black Women Lead, Discrimination against women, Donald Trump, FBI raids, hate crimes, morning reads, open thread, Political and Editorial Cartoons, QAnon Queen Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rape Culture, Reproductive Rights, the GOP, The Trump Family Crime Syndicate, White Christian Nationalism, white nationalists, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights 18 Comments
Hello…and so we begin with the cartoons, via Cagle:
This is an open thread.