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.
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.
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!
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
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Wow was yesterday one of those news days! I settled in under my goose-down comforter while the temperatures dropped precipitously yesterday afternoon to read some things and watch a little Nicole. The breaking news was fast and furious. We’re beginning to see the fruits of investigations into the Trump Family Crime Syndicate. It’s almost too much to digest.
There are many nefarious players in the Republican Party these days. Most seem deeply connected to the right-wing conspiracy machine that geared up during the 1990s which was an unholy alliance of right-wing political interests, extremist fundamentalist patriarchal white christianists, and a bunch of nutter greedy billionaires funding a conspiracy mill that brought us all kinds of things. It went somewhat undercover during the Dubya years but popped up with full-fury when the country elected Obama. At that point, the leftover neo confederates raised their heads and we went full throttle white nationalism. Their combined fanaticism, fury, and years of stacking courts and local political positions brought Trump into seal the deal.
You may recall that none of what happened this decade was nothing new to me having grown up in Omaha, Nebraska, and unable to get out due to circumstances of birth and then marriage. Most of my real friends spent as little time there as possible and got out as quickly as possible. I lived in fear of Southern Baptists, big Barn Evangelicals, cultish Catholics, and libertarians who worshipped Donald Segretti. In short, they did a number on me and my children to the point I was afraid to leave my house. I finally got out. But, let me tell you if there’s one person that went to my high school that personified the worst of all of this it was Ginnie Lamp. She was a few years behind me and Kurt Andersen was a few years ahead. He got out. Ginnie did too but only to inflict massive damage on the country.
Ginnie Lamp rode into the District wearing a huge black hat. She’s in it out of malice and greed. No one has ever been able to convince me that she doesn’t have undue influence over the one man on the court just about anyone can influence with the right combination of religion, malice, and greed. I was thrilled to see this article in The New Yorker today by Jane Mayer who is one of our better investigative reporters. She especially excels at finding the villain in the room. “Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to the Supreme Court? Behind closed doors, Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife is working with many groups directly involved in controversial cases before the Court.” Spoiler Alert: of course she is and Janes brought the receipts.
In 2016, Republicans in Congress, in an unprecedented act, refused to let President Barack Obama fill a vacancy on the Court. Trump subsequently pushed through the appointment of three hard-line conservative Justices. Last summer, Democrats in Congress introduced a bill that would require the Judicial Conference of the United States to create a binding code of conduct for members of the Supreme Court. They also proposed legislation that would require more disclosures about the financial backers behind amicus briefs—arguments submitted by “friends of the court” who are supporting one side in a case.
So far, these proposals haven’t gone anywhere, but Gillers notes that there are extant laws circumscribing the ethical behavior of all federal judges, including the Justices. Arguably, Clarence Thomas has edged unusually close to testing them. All judges, even those on the Court, are required to recuse themselves from any case in which their spouse is “a party to the proceeding” or is “an officer, director, or trustee” of an organization that is a party to a case. Ginni Thomas has not been a named party in any case on the Court’s docket; nor is she litigating in any such case. But she has held leadership positions at conservative pressure groups that have either been involved in cases before the Court or have had members engaged in such cases. In 2019, she announced a political project called Crowdsourcers, and said that one of her four partners would be the founder of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe. Project Veritas tries to embarrass progressives by making secret videos of them, and last year petitioned the Court to enjoin Massachusetts from enforcing a state law that bans the surreptitious taping of public officials. Another partner in Crowdsourcers, Ginni Thomas said in her announcement, was Cleta Mitchell, the chairman of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a conservative election-law nonprofit. It, too, has had business before the Court, filing amicus briefs in cases centering on the democratic process. Thomas also currently serves on the advisory board of the National Association of Scholars, a group promoting conservative values in academia, which has filed an amicus brief before the Court in a potentially groundbreaking affirmative-action lawsuit against Harvard. And, though nobody knew it at the time, Ginni Thomas was an undisclosed paid consultant at the conservative pressure group the Center for Security Policy, when its founder, Frank Gaffney, submitted an amicus brief to the Court supporting Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham specializing in legal ethics, notes, “In the twenty-first century, there’s a feeling that spouses are not joined at the hip.” He concedes, though, that “the appearance” created by Ginni Thomas’s political pursuits “is awful—they look like a mom-and-pop political-hack group, where she does the political stuff and he does the judging.” It’s hard to imagine, he told me, that the couple doesn’t discuss Court cases: “She’s got the ear of a Justice, and surely they talk about their work.” But, from the technical standpoint of judicial ethics, “she’s slightly removed from all these cases—she’s not actually the legal director.” Green feels that the conflict of interest is “close, but not close enough” to require that Thomas recuse himself.
David Luban, a professor of law and philosophy at Georgetown, who specializes in legal ethics, is more concerned. He told me, “If Ginni Thomas is intimately involved—financially or ideologically tied to the litigant—that strikes me as slicing the baloney a little thin.”
Read more at the link.
CNN releases a poll showing exactly unpopular the idea of overturning Roe v. Wade is among Americans. Will that stop the right-wing radicals on the Supreme Court?
Most Americans oppose overturning the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade precedent, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, with a majority saying that if the decision was vacated, they’d want to see their own state move toward more permissive abortion laws.
Just 30% of Americans say they’d like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn its Roe vs. Wade decision, with 69% opposed — a finding that’s largely consistent both with other recent polling and with historical trends. In a set of three surveys taken last autumn by different pollsters, support for overturning Roe vs. Wade stood between 20% and 31%, depending on the precise framing of the question. And in CNN’s polling dating back to 1989, the share of the public in favor of completely overturning Roe has never risen above 36%.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans say that if Roe vs. Wade were overturned, they’d like their state to set laws that are more permissive than restrictive toward abortion, a preference that stands in opposition to the prediction most make that abortions would likely be restricted or banned in the areas where they live. Another 40% say they’d like their state to set more restrictive laws.
Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, which established the constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Six in 10 Americans, including 68% of women, say they personally know someone who’s had an abortion.
Meanwhile, the crusades continue for the right-wing christianists who appear to leave the Christ out of everything. It seems that Tennessee passed a law allowing adoption agencies to refuse adoptions to SAME-SEX couples on the basis of “written religious or moral convictions or policies.” Well, of course, they couldn’t just leave it at that.
Read more at The Miami Herald.
A Jewish couple is suing the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, saying a state-sponsored adoption agency declined to help them because of their religion. At the beginning of 2021, Elizabeth and Gabriel Rutan-Ram were making plans to adopt a child from Florida, according to a news release from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the nonprofit organization that filed the lawsuit on their behalf. Before they could do so, they had to complete state-mandated foster-parent training and receive a home-study certification. The child they were hoping to adopt had a disability, and the couple wanted to provide him a “loving and nurturing home” in Knox County, the lawsuit said.
The two of them turned to the only agency near them that would help out with an out-of-state adoption. But on the day they were set to begin their foster-parent training, they were told by the agency, Holston United Methodist Home for Children, that it only provided help to prospective families that “share our [Christian] belief system,” the lawsuit said. As a result, the lawsuit said, the couple was left unable to foster or adopt the child, as no other agencies in the Knox County area could provide the services necessary for out-of-state adoptions.
Here are some of the latest findings on Trump, the Insurrection, and the Big Lie. That had me shivering beneath my comforter worse than the cold.
Betsy Woodruff Swan / Politico: Read the never-issued Trump order that would have seized voting machines — Among the records that Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to shield from Jan. 6 investigators are a draft executive order that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines and a document titled “Remarks on National Healing.”
The draft executive order shows that the weeks between Election Day and the Capitol attack could have been even more chaotic than they were. It credulously cites conspiracy theories about election fraud in Georgia and Michigan, as well as debunked notions about Dominion voting machines.
The order empowers the defense secretary to “seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records required for retention under” a U.S. law that relates to preservation of election records. It also cites a lawsuit filed in 2017 against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Additionally, the draft order would have given the defense secretary 60 days to write an assessment of the 2020 election. That suggests it could have been a gambit to keep Trump in power until at least mid-February of 2021.
If this isn’t an act of seditious conspiracy I’d be shocked. But then, there’s more.
A flurry of decisions by the Supreme Court and federal and state investigators has forced Donald Trump and his adult children to defend their conduct on multiple fronts, potentially jeopardizing their futures — or perhaps yet again allowing the former president to escape unscathed.
On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) submitted a 157-page filing detailing much of the evidence her investigators have gathered so far on the business practices of Trump and his children, focused on a possible pattern of fraud. The civil investigation is separate from a criminal probe James is running in tandem with new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D).
Then, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s request to block the release of some of his White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
Thursday brought a double whammy: The House committee sent a letter to Ivanka Trump requesting her voluntary testimony. In the letter, the panel said witnesses have told investigators that the former White House adviser might have direct knowledge of her father’s actions before, during and after the mob of his supporters tried to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as president.
And in Atlanta, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) requested a special-purpose grand jury to aid in her investigation into whether Trump and others committed crimes by trying to pressure Georgia election officials to overturn his loss in the 2020 election.
The Daily Beast: Ivanka Ghosts Trumpland as Investigators Turn Up the Heat
Whether it’s the lawmakers on Capitol Hill plumbing the depths of last year’s failed coup, or prosecutors in New York putting former President Donald Trump’s sprawling family business under a microscope, investigators working very different probes are increasingly looking to pressure the same person: Ivanka Trump.
There’s hardly any indication the corporate heiress is under investigation herself, or that she faces possible criminal charges. But sources on both sides—in law enforcement and those close to her—say Ivanka is a key witness to a litany of alleged crimes.
And it’s all coming to a head this week.
On Tuesday, the New York attorney general filed court documents that claim Ivanka Trump played a much more insidious role in the company’s web of financial deceit than previously known. Investigators are asking a judge to enforce a subpoena that would make her testify under oath.
And on Thursday, the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection formally asked Ivanka to sit down and answer questions about her interactions with her then-president father during the hours the Capitol building was under attack. The request for a “voluntary interview” is widely perceived to be a first pass that, should it be rejected, could be followed by a congressional subpoena—and the implicit threat of a Justice Department criminal prosecution if it’s ignored.
On both fronts, Ivanka will be pressured to explain her father’s crooked tactics—tactics that Ivanka appears desperate to distance herself from now.
Why does anyone want to involve themselves with these absolute vile people? Remind me to write Rudi G in Jail. This is from CNN: “Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, oversaw fake electors plot in 7 states” BB has written extensively about this. Rachel Maddow has been on top of it too.
Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, oversaw efforts in December 2020 to put forward illegitimate electors from seven states that Trump lost, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the scheme.
The sources said members of former President Donald Trump’s campaign team were far more involved than previously known in the plan, a core tenet of the broader plot to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory when Congress counted the electoral votes on January 6.Giuliani and his allies coordinated the nuts-and-bolts of the process on a state-by-state level, the sources told CNN. One source said there were multiple planning calls between Trump campaign officials and GOP state operatives, and that Giuliani participated in at least one call. The source also said the Trump campaign lined up supporters to fill elector slots, secured meeting rooms in statehouses for the fake electors to meet on December 14, 2020, and circulated drafts of fake certificates that were ultimately sent to the National Archives.
Trump and some of his top advisers publicly encouraged the “alternate electors” scheme in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico. But behind the scenes, Giuliani and Trump campaign officials actively choreographed the process, the sources said.
When I was a sophomore at the High School I shared with Kurt Andersen and Ginnie Lamp, we spent a good amount of English class on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. We watched the 1953 black and white edition even though a remake was around from 1970. My favorite quote is this one spoken by Mark Antony as played by Marlon Brando.
“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
My thought today is there isn’t one person in the Trump Family Crime syndicate that will have enough good to take to the grave with them.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Today’s pictures are of women artists and their self portraits from the National Geographic and other sources.
There’s some very good news out of the Supreme Court today for Louisiana Women and women every where in the country! From NBC News: “Supreme Court, in 5-4 ruling, strikes down restrictive Louisiana abortion law. The measure would have required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of a clinic.”
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Louisiana’s tough restriction on abortions violates the Constitution, a surprising victory for abortion rights advocates from an increasingly conservative court.
The 5-4 decision, in which Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court’s four more liberal justices, struck down a law passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2014 that required any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Its enforcement had been blocked by a protracted legal battle.
Two Louisiana doctors and a medical clinic sued to get the law overturned. They said it would leave only one doctor at a single clinic to provide services for nearly 10,000 women who seek abortions in the state each year.
The challengers said the requirement was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. With the vote of then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing any medical benefits. Kennedy was succeeded by the more conservative Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by President Donald Trump, who was among the four dissenters Monday.
Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the Texas decision, also wrote Monday’s ruling. The law poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking an abortion, offers no significant health benefits, “and therefore imposes an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have an abortion.”
Roberts said he thought the court was wrong to strike down the Texas law, but he voted with the majority because that was the binding precedent. “The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”
Even small victories based on stare decisis are still victories.
Well, Iran always makes things interesting. You have to give them that. From The Sydney Morning Herald: “Iran issues arrest warrant for Donald Trump, requests help from Interpol.”
Tehran: Iran has issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol to help detain US President Donald Trump and others it believes carried out a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, a local prosecutor reportedly says.”
While Trump faces no danger of arrest, the charges underscore the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said Trump and more than 30 others whom Iran accuses of involvement in the January 3 strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad face “murder and terrorism charges,” the state-run IRNA news agency reported on Monday.
Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed that Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends.
From BuzzFeed News: “Democrats Won’t Let Republicans Speak In Coronavirus Hearings If They Won’t Wear Masks. “We’re not going to have another meeting in a confined space if we’re not going to abide by this,” Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn told Republicans.”
Democrats on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis are threatening to bar Republican members from participating future meetings in-person after they showed up to a hearing on Friday without masks.
Subcommittee Chair Jim Clyburn is sending a letter to ranking member Steve Scalise, warning he would not recognize members in hearings and meetings without proper face coverings; the chair must recognize members to speak and participate in committee business.
“Going forward, as long as the Attending Physician’s requirement to wear masks is in place, I will not recognize any Member of this Subcommittee to participate in person in any Subcommittee meeting or hearing unless the Member is wearing a mask and strictly adheres to the Attending Physician’s guidance,” Clyburn said in a letter to Scalise. The letter further recommends members participate remotely if they insist on not wearing masks.
The letter comes after a monthslong debate in Congress where Republicans have repeatedly disregarded recommendations and then a requirement from Capitol health experts to wear face coverings. The disagreement on the topic came to a head at the end of a Friday hearing when Clyburn reminded his Republican colleagues they were in violation of a mandate handed down by the attending physician, even as disposable masks were stationed outside the hearing room for members to use.
“For the United States House of Representatives meetings, in a limited and closed space such as a committee hearing room for greater than 15 minutes face coverings are required,” Clyburn said, reading the Capitol health official’s order. “And we’re not going to have another meeting in a confined space if we’re not going to abide by this. I will stay in the safety of my home as I would ask all you to do.”
Scalise responded to Clyburn by saying members of the House are following guidelines on how to social distance just fine, suggesting mask-wearing is an additional precautionary measure.
From Kyle Cheney at Politico: “House Dems propose strengthening Congress’ contempt power to break administration stonewalls. “We’ve seen unprecedented and illegal obstruction by the Trump administration to Congress,” Ted Lieu said.”
House Democrats increasingly frustrated by the Trump administration for defying subpoenas are proposing legislation that would ratchet up their power to punish executive branch officials who reject their requests.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), and five other membersof the House Judiciary Committee, unveiled a rule change Monday to formalize and expand Congress’ power of “inherent contempt” — its authority to unilaterally punish anyone who defies a subpoena for testimony or documents.
Though Congress has long had inherent contempt power, it has been in disuse since before World War II. This power, upheld by courts, has included the ability to levy fines and even jail witnesses who refuse to cooperate with congressional demands.
But such extreme measures have fallen out of favor over the years, as Congress has relied instead primarily on litigation to enforce its subpoenas and officials across government have acknowledged the unappetizing prospect of using force to impose its will. It’s even trickier when applied to a coequal branch of government, which may have its own privileges and protections to assert.
More news is coming forth about the Russian bounties. This is from WAPO: “Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, according to intelligence assessments.”
Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members, according to intelligence gleaned from U.S. military interrogations of captured militants in recent months.
Several people familiar with the matter said it was unclear exactly how many Americans or coalition troops from other countries may have been killed or targeted under the program. U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered a total of 10 deaths from hostile gunfire or improvised bombs in 2018, and 16 in 2019. Two have been killed this year. In each of those years, several service members were also killed by what are known as “green on blue” hostile incidents by members of Afghan security forces, which are sometimes believed to have been infiltrated by the Taliban.
The intelligence was passed up from the U.S. Special Operations forces based in Afghanistan and led to a restricted high-level White House meeting in late March, the people said.
This is really unfolding in a particularly quick way. Here’s an opinion from Greg Sargent at WAPO’s Plum Line: “As Trump’s corruption gets worse, some Democrats want a tougher response.”
The big revelations of the moment — the reports that Russia may have paid bounties for the killing of U.S. troops, and the news that a U.S. attorney was ousted after investigating Trump cronies — are a reminder that Trump has found a gaping hole in our system.
If a president refuses to cooperate with congressional oversight in just about every conceivable way — and if that president has the near-total backing of a party that controls one chamber of Congress — any such scrutiny can basically be ground to a halt, with no repercussions.
But a group of House Democrats is now calling on its chamber to get a lot tougher in this regard.
This group of Democrats — which is led by Rep. Ted Lieu of California and includes other high-profile lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee — is introducing a resolution Monday that, if successful, would dramatically increase the House’s ability to compel compliance with oversight.
This resolution would create a new, modernized mechanism by which the House could seek to levy stiff fines on officials who defy subpoenas for testimony or documents. It would in effect bring into the 21st century a power that Congress has used only rarely in the past — the power to enforce its own subpoenas.
“The administration can simply choose not to have witnesses appear and not produce documents, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Lieu told me, noting that “we’ve seen the Trump administration getting worse, not better, in terms of both obstruction and engaging in reckless conduct.”
One last OpEd piece from WAPO by Elizabeth Spiers: “Trump’s ‘silent majority’ isn’t a majority, and it’s far from silent. But the rhetoric lays the groundwork for crying foul when the true majority wins.”
The Trump team’s declaration that a silent majority lurks, ready to return Trump to the White House, is at odds with almost everything else the president says and does. His efforts to make it harder to vote by opposing voting by mail in the middle of a pandemic, and his repeated claims that Democrats are plotting election fraud, suggest a distinct nervousness about the majority’s true will. He appears to be laying the groundwork for explaining away a Democratic victory in November, as the result of deception and trickery. On June 22 he tweeted, in typical fashion: “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” In a system where success usually depends on grasping what a majority of the electorate wants, the sound strategy might be to reach out from one’s base to voters in the middle. Trump instead is heavily invested in the assumption that his enthusiastic minority will determine the outcome — even if it means that the people who don’t like him are prevented from voting.
These are hopeful signs in a fight to stop some of the most disturbing trends of the Trumpist Regime. However, the fight is on so many levels and we battle the rich and powerful and the firmly entrenched like Mitch McConnell. Take this idiot as an great example. He’s not on the front pages like Police Reform and Abortion Restrictions. And we still don’t make enough noise about voter restrictions in so many Republican-controlled states.
They’re killing our land, our children, our hopes and dreams, our democracy, our economy, our climate and its ecosystems, our indigenous peoples, Black Men, and just about everything with their greed, racism, misogyny, and rigid theocratic ideologies that punish women, the GLBT community, and science and rational thought.
We just have to hang in there.
Remember we have leadership that will stand up to it all
Have a great week Sky Dancers! Do be safe! Stay home if possible! Wear a mask! Be kind, gentle, and giving to yourself and others!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
The Chaotic Trumpist Regime continues to wreak havoc on the peace, health, and stability of our Democracy. Looking at headlines today creates the impression that we are under attack from within in so many ways that it’s hard to understand and counter them all. It’s also difficult to prioritize what we should be reading about. Here’s my list and I know there’s more!
Trump has cut funding to Doctors and Scientists working on a Covid 19 vaccine and insisting this pandemic will go away without a vaccine.
Meanwhile, back in reality, Sarah Owermohle of Politico writes: “Why the U.S. isn’t prepared to meet overwhelming demand for a coronavirus vaccine. The nation’s supply chain isn’t anywhere close to ready. What I want to know is how could we possibly be preparing for this when Trump thinks we don’t need a vaccine?
The nation is already grappling with a shortage of the specialized glass used to make the vials that will store any vaccine. Producing and distributing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses will also require huge quantities of stoppers — which are made by just a handful of companies — as well as needles and refrigeration units. Low stocks of any one of these components could slow future vaccination efforts, much as shortfalls of key chemicals delayed widespread coronavirus testing.
A massive manufacturing effort is already gearing up to produce hundreds of millions of doses of promising vaccines now in late-stage trials, as scientists and the government gamble that at least one of the shots will prove safe and effective. The effort could rival the urgent national campaign to vaccinate children against polio in the 1950s.
“Probably the biggest challenge will be scaling up the actual vaccine. It’s one thing to have clinical trial samples and materials in lab quantities,” said George Zorich, a pharmacy expert and CEO of ZEDPharma. “It’s another challenge actually scaling that up effectively.”
Potentially making it even harder is that the U.S. is striking out on its own. The administration has snubbed an international collaboration spearheaded by the World Health Organization, while the president readies for a November election that could be a referendum on his coronavirus response.
This is really no way to run a country or a response to a nationwide threat.
The Flynn Travesty has caused a number of former DOJ employees to call for investigation by Congress and for judicial action.
This is probably even scarier than the Pandemic. As I said before. this is truly Banana Republic territory.
You’ll just love the Republican plan for any more monetary help to people hold on to their lives. Hand them your social security and you’ll get diddles for now. So, your choice on when to fall of the financial cliff.
And we still have to deal with angry Trumpist mobs wanting access to strip clubs, nail salons, and gun stores. From Steve Neavling / News & Views of the9 Detroit Metro Times: “Gov. Whitmer becomes target of dozens of threats on private Facebook groups ahead of armed rally in Lansing”
Dozens of angry Michiganders, fueled by conspiracy theories and disinformation about the coronavirus, are promoting violence and mobilizing armed rallies against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Facebook, in violation of the social media company’s policies.
Metro Times gained access to four private Facebook groups that can only be seen by approved members. The pages, which have a combined 400,000 members, are filled with paranoid, sexist, and grammar-challenged rants, with members encouraging violence and flouting the governor’s social-distancing orders.
On Sunday, after being contacted by Metro Times, Facebook removed one of the groups, Michigan United for Liberty, and deleted posts on others for violating the company’s policy against inciting violence. Facebook announced last month that it will remove groups and events that encourage people to defy social-distancing measures. Facebook also is investigating the other groups.
“We removed one group for violating our policies and will remove any other violations as we continue our review,“ a Facebook spokesperson tells Metro Times.
Assassinating Whitmer is a common theme among members of the groups. Dozens of people have called for her to be hanged.
“We need a good old fashioned lynch mob to storm the Capitol, drag her tyrannical ass out onto the street and string her up as our forefathers would have,” John Campbell Sr. wrote in a group called “People of Michigan vs. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” which had nearly 9,000 members as of Monday morning.
Steve Doxsie had the same idea: “Drag that tyrant governor out to the front lawn. Fit her for a noose.”
“Either President Trump sends in the troops or there is going to be a midnight lynching in Lansing soon,” Michael Smith chimed in.
Others suggested she be shot, beaten, or beheaded.
“Plain and simple she needs to eat lead and send a statement to the rest of the democrats that they are next,” James Greena, of Fennville, wrote.
Chris Rozman said, “She needs her ass beat. Most of these politicians need a good ass whooping. Just. Punch there lights out.”
When someone suggested the guillotine, Thomas Michael Lamphere responded, “Good ol’ fashioned bullets work better, but I like the enthusiasm.”
“Wonder how long till she’s hit with a shotgun blast,” Chris Parrish wrote.
Matthew Woodruff had another idea: “Can we please just take up a collection for an assassin to put that woman from Michigan down,” he asked.
Lynching seems to be the “in” remedy with Trumpists these days. Black Americans are still the primary target and there is no lack of it in the news these days either.
I continue to wonder how we can rid ourselves of all of these Trumpists even if we do rid ourselves of Trump. It is truly discouraging that such a vile minority could overtake our government. The Pandemic Mismanagement chaos is being used by many Republican States to suppress the rights and well being of minority citizens.
The majority of Americans continue to support Public Health measures taken to make every one safe and are appalled by the Open Up Demonstrations. (Via The AP)
A majority of Americans disapprove of protests against restrictions aimed at preventing the spread the coronavirus, according to a new poll that also finds the still-expansive support for such limits — including restaurant closures and stay-at-home orders — has dipped in recent weeks.
The new survey from the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 55% of Americans disapprove of the protests that have popped up in some states as some Americans begin chafing at public health measures that have decimated the global economy. Thirty-one percent approve of the demonstrations.
How many will continue to all prey to Trumpist Gas Lighting? (Via WAPO an Greg Sargent.) Certainly more folks can see9 he’s really the Psycho in Chief.
The news that the novel coronavirus has invaded President Trump’s inner circle — and that the White House is implementing aggressive testing and tracing to combat it — is a devastating story on an obvious and immediate level, but also on a deeper and longer-lasting one.
Most palpably, it has revealed the sort of glaring double standard that’s catnip to political media: The White House is taking extensive steps to protect Trump and his top advisers with resources that are largely unavailable to the rest of us, in part due to his own dereliction.
But new reporting about the White House’s handling of this points to something more fundamental. How will Trump persuade the country we are returning to a normalcy that makes it safe to resume economic activities when his own advisers are panicked about its invasion of their own spaces, even as they can protect themselves in a way we cannot?
According to CNN, Trump’s advisers grasp that this story has become a deadly problem for them. But note why they have concluded this:An official said there is extreme sensitivity inside the White House at the current state of affairs with officials recognizing the contradiction in telling states to reopen while the White House enhances protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The problem isn’t just that this story is revealing that Trump and his advisers benefit from testing and tracing that the rest of us mostly do not enjoy, though that’s damning enough.
It’s also that this shatters the larger illusion Trump is trying to weave with his magical reality-bending powers — that the coronavirus has been so tamed by his stupendous leadership that it’s now safe to reopen the country, setting the stage for an equally spectacular Trump-marshaled comeback.
The most interesting office pool game right now is which of this gang of feckless nitwits is now under quarantine and which ones are still running around coughing on people? This tool is obviously following the example of his master.
It appears Dr Fauci and a few others may be the only ones in the administration following its own guidelines but this also seems pretty convenient.
So, there’s plenty more headlines out there today if your mental health and blood pressure can handle it. Just check out the ones on SCOTUS then light a candle for the health of Notorious BRG
Be safe! Be kind to yourself and others! Stay your ass home as much as possible!
Dakinikat, not afraid to wear a mask and still not afraid to speak out against injustice!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Lessee … High unemployment rate (14.7%)…. check. Unchecked Pandemic clearly botched with high levels of death … check … Cronyism and Nepotism out the wazoo …. check. State News channel aiding and abetting all of it using propaganda … check. Focused hate on scientists and reliance on sham science, lava level hate for journalists, people of varying religions, ethnicities, and race … check … stacked judiciary … check ... Ugly ass thug who doesn’t speak coherently about anything but shouts a lot about people out to get him …check
Am I leaving anything out?
Well, feel free to add to the list. because I’m undoubtedly leaving out how quickly Trumpists, McConnell, and Barr have let our country slide into chaos so they can stack the courts and rewrite the Constitution into something it was never supposed to be. And all those links are fresh today. We continue our path to Banana Republic. No where is this clearer today than in the revival of crazy ass, lying General Flynn. The only thing that comes between him returning to the West Wing after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his associations with the Russians and breaking a slew of lobbying laws including being an unregistered foreign agent is one Judge. This is why Mitch McConnell is intent on getting rid of as many prudent, qualified judges on any federal court. Judges have stopped their coup a helluva lot more times than the opposition party.
The notoriously independent-minded federal judge who once said he was disgusted by the conduct of Michael Flynn could block the administration’s bid to drop criminal charges against the former adviser to President Donald Trump, legal experts said.
The Department of Justice on Thursday told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington it wants to drop the case against Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, following a pressure campaign by the Republican president and his political allies.
While judges typically sign off on such motions, Sullivan could refuse and instead demand answers from the DOJ about who requested the sudden about-face, said Seth Waxman, a former federal prosecutor now at the law firm Dickinson Wright.
“If Judge Sullivan wanted to he could conduct an inquiry and start asking a lot of questions,” said Waxman.
Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who served as an adviser to Trump during the 2016 election campaign, had been seeking to withdraw his 2017 guilty plea in which he admitted to lying to the FBI about interactions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in the weeks before Trump took office.
Flynn’s lawyers, both in court and in public, had argued that he was ambushed as part of a plot by biased investigators and that the case should be dismissed. Trump said in March that he was considering a pardon for Flynn.
The Justice Department said in a court filing on Thursday it is no longer persuaded that the FBI’s January 2017 interview with Flynn that led to the charges was conducted with a “legitimate investigative basis” and does not think Flynn’s statements were “material even if untrue.”
While the judge still has to rule on the submission, elated supporters of Flynn said there was no way Sullivan could force the department to prosecute if it did not want to. But the judge could stop Flynn from withdrawing his guilty plea and impose sentence. In that case, Trump could pardon Flynn.
And Trump wants him back in the West Wing! This is from the Daily Beast: “Team Trump Wants Flynn Back for 2020, Sees Him as Its ‘Nelson Mandela’”.
With the Justice Department announcing Thursday that it would drop the case against Michael Flynn, officials close to President Donald Trump are already gaming out ways to bring the former national security adviser back onto the national political stage.
Of the nine senior Trump administration officials, campaign staff, outside advisers, and longtime associates of the president reached on Thursday, all said that they wanted Flynn to assume some public-facing role in service of the president, including potentially as an official Trump surrogate as Election Day inches closer. One even compared the ex-general, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, to one of history’s greatest human rights icons.
“Years ago when Nelson Mandela came to America after years of political persecution he was treated like a rock star by Americans,” John McLaughlin, one of President Trump’s chief pollsters, told The Daily Beast on Thursday evening. “Now after over three years of political persecution General Flynn is our rock star. A big difference is that he was persecuted in America.”
We’re due for another slaughter at the FBI now.
President Trump voiced uncertainty Friday over the future of his FBI director, Christopher A. Wray, a day after the Justice Department moved to throw out the guilty plea of the president’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.
The president’s comments in a phone interview with Fox News highlight the ongoing distrust between the White House and some senior law enforcement officials in the wake of a nearly two-year investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into the Russia’s 2016 election interference and the Trump campaign.
“It’s disappointing,” Trump said when asked about Wray’s role in the ongoing reviews of the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation. “Let’s see what happens with him. Look, the jury’s still out.”
Trump faulted the FBI director for “skirting” the debate surrounding the Russia investigation, although the agency and the Justice Department have insisted it has cooperated fully with officials reviewing the case.
And nothing says Kim Jong Il like dragging out elderly veterans during a pandemic that is likely to kill them if they get it just for a display of jingoism. On full display is his maskless face and Melania’s highly sculpted ass.
None of the secret service or the military guards–including the color guard–are wearing masks. Meanwhile, it looks like we may have another “hotspot”. It’s the damn West Wing which may actually give us all a break from Trumpist insanity.
I’m just hoping we can some how get rid of JarVanka for awhile. This is from WAPO: “I worked for Jared Kushner. Of course he says his covid-19 failure is a success. President Trump’s son-in-law always casts himself as the genius cleaning up someone else’s problems.”
Kushner’s lack of experience and expertise has not been remedied in any way during his now three-plus years in the White House. After bungling many high-profile efforts to address various problems and often making them worse (see, Middle East, peace in), he keeps being handed more responsibilities with higher stakes. He has wasted taxpayer resources and endangered lives trying on policy roles usually reserved for the country’s top experts with the sophistication of a child playing dress-up, cavalierly discarding them when he can’t fit into them.
There have been no consequences. In any normal administration, an adviser with Kushner’s string of failures would be fired, but Kushner, like his father-in-law, keeps crediting himself with imaginary successes. Most recently, he declared the administration’s coronavirus response “a great success story,” a mind-boggling assertion that raises the question of what, if anything, Kushner thinks failure looks like. He has also continued to bash the actual experts, disputing their assessments and implying that they, not he, are the amateurs, and he is here to clean up their mess.
This is basically Kushner’s modus operandi, and it’s painfully familiar to me because he was my boss when I was the editor in chief of the New York Observer, which he had bought when he was 25. (I’ve written before about what he was like as a businessman.) One of the more memorable instances of this I witnessed was at a memorial service for a beloved longtime Observer staffer, Tyler Rush, who’d joined the paper well before Kushner bought it. When it came time for Kushner to say a few words, he launched into a supercilious monologue crediting himself with finally getting the paper published on time after what he described as chaos when he arrived. He also told an anecdote about Rush approaching him when he bought the paper to note that his staff was underpaid, which was true at the time, and true when I took the editor job years later. Kushner congratulated himself during the memorial for giving Rush and his production team the only raise that year because “unlike everyone else,” Rush hadn’t been lying to Kushner.
Let’s see if any of their religionist craziness or white wing nationalist views can protect them now. Having all of them sick would actually be a nice ending for the week and I say that fully knowing that it sounds harsh. But, what a better fate for the crew that has introduced us to living in a banana republic hell realm of their making.
An they can take their little dogs McConnell and Barr with them …
However, for the non Magrats in our country, be safe, be kind and gentle to yourself and others, and stay your asses home!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?