And Marie Masferrer, a board member of the Florida Association for Media in Education and a school librarian who used to work in the Manatee County system and remains in close touch with former colleagues in that district, said they have told her that students are struggling.
Finally Friday Reads: Florida’s Road to Fascism is a Warning SignalPosted: February 3, 2023 Filed under: just because | Tags: book banning, College Board and cancel culture, erasing Black History, Racism, Ron DeSantis, The De Santos University Menstrual Patrol for Women athletes, Warren Zevon, White Christian Nationalists 14 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
The Republican Party is all in on the culture wars. They’re signaling from all levels of government that they’re ready for White Christian Nationalism even if the rest of us–and our Constitutions–are not. The sad thing is that the states are sure they have allies on the Supreme Court that will reinterpret long-standing precedents to make it so. The headlines are horrific.
Many states are enacting laws that interfere with freedom of religion, the first amendment right of free speech, the right to privacy, and just about every other constitutional notion that empowers a free democracy. No place is turning into a model of governmental overreach than the state of Florida. The state’s fanatical right-wing governor–Ron DeSantis–is hell-bent on winning his side of the culture war. This story is told by Florida Teacher Andrea Phillips at the UK Guardian. “I’m a teacher in Florida. Here’s what the DeSantis book bans look like in my classroom. A new crackdown on books in Florida schools has had a chilling effect in classrooms.” The reports of this action include small children crying about the book snatcher’s policy.”
Many schools, including my own, do not have a full time media specialist. Due to budget cuts, we have a media specialist every other week. That means we have one person to vet thousands of books in our school alone, before we can have them in our classrooms. In addition to the mountain of work now laid in her lap, she hasn’t even been given a system to vet the books with. Currently, it is a subjective process of a single person reviewing each book with a 12-point questionnaire. One of my issues is that what one person finds offensive, another may find silly. For example, the book ‘No, David’ by David Shannon. On one page an illustration of David running pantless down the street is shown. One media specialist may find this humorous, as it was intended, while another may label it as pornographic. The lack of directives and specificities makes me fear for the future of school-based libraries.
In an attempt to shield their teachers from disciplinary actions, my district issued a directive to make all classroom libraries and media center books unavailable to students until further directed. We have been told that this is a temporary move as the district works toward compliance with this law, but with only one person to vet thousands of books, it doesn’t feel very temporary.
I work in a low socio-economic neighborhood and most of my students do not have access to books at home. Last year, with the help of my family, friends, and community, I was able to start running a Little Free Library out of my classroom. When my students finished group and had free reading time they were welcome to choose a book from my library to take home. They could keep it, share it, or bring it back and trade it out. They loved it. Word got around and students from outside my groups started asking to come and get books and I welcomed them.
Last month I put a call out on social media for more books. I was running low, and people came through. Friends shared my posts and wishlists and within a week I had more than 200 new and used books to add to my library. I sorted through all of the books to make sure they were age, topic, and level appropriate for my kids. The Friday before we were told to cover our books, I was able to give away 100 plus books and I’m thankful for that.
So after a staff meeting filled with grumbling teachers complaining about our governor, the state of our state, and venting about how disrespected, unappreciated, and undermined this makes us feel, I headed back to my room to begin packing up my classroom library.
The next day my first group of students entered and immediately asked, “Where are all of our books Mrs. Phillips?” OUR books. Not mine, but theirs. My kids know that I use my time, my money, and my resources to collect these books and curate a library for them. They are meant to build a foundation in literacy and inspire a lifelong love of reading, not just for educational purposes, but for enjoyment as well.
MSNBC’s Wajahat Ali argues that it’s not only Desantis that’s all in for banning books and pushing guns. “Republicans like DeSantis and Boebert are pushing guns — and banning books.”
When given a choice between saving their voters’ lives or promoting the guns that lead to deaths, Republicans consistently tag-team with the Grim Reaper. Take America’s favorite firearms enthusiast, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., who promised to wear a Glock to Congress. In a speech on the House floor Wednesday, she said: “A recent report states that Americans own 46% of the world’s guns. I think we need to get our numbers up.”
If only Boebert felt the same way about books, American kids might have a shot at being great again. Unfortunately, they’re too busy trying to survive and avoid getting shot at school.
When given a choice between saving their voters’ lives or promoting the guns that lead to deaths, Republicans consistently tag-team with the Grim Reaper.
Boebert, along with Republican presidential hopefuls such as Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas believe that allowing more people to carry concealed guns without training or permits is the sanest and most logical choice to reduce violent crime, protect children and promote freedom.
In 2023, we’ve experienced more than 50 mass shootings in America, according to Gun Violence Archive. It’s only the beginning of February. Republican leaders don’t need to respond to mass shootings with pro-life measures, such as responsible gun control, because they know their MAGA base will continue to vote against its own interests because of racial resentment and the never-ending culture war against the libs.
Why fix what works — even if it remains broken, violent, and self-destructive?
Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz–a trust-fund baby–is about as radical as one can get. His prescription for poor and disabled Floridians and Americans who rely on Medicare is to get a job. This is from Semafor, as reported by Joseph Zeballos-Roig. “Matt Gaetz wants to make poor Americans work for their health care.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz is trying to convince his fellow Republicans to demand new work requirements for Medicaid as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling.
The Florida congressman, who has been enjoying new influence within his party after leading the surprisingly effective conservative revolt in last month’s House speaker battle, recently broached the idea on Fox News. He tells Semafor that he’s now “socializing” the concept among colleagues, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
He specifically wants to tighten Medicaid eligibility rules on “able-bodied working-age adults,” particularly in states which expanded the health insurance program for the poor under the Affordable Care Act. He said he sees it partly as a solution to recent labor shortages.
“Work requirements are proving to be a very unifying concept with my colleagues,” he said in a phone interview, adding he’s had “a very positive reception” to the idea, including from McCarthy. The speaker’s office didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
Rep. Don Bacon, a moderate Nebraska Republican, said Gaetz approached him about discussing it in-depth during the House Armed Services hearing on Thursday. “I’ll have an open mind to hear what he has to say,” he told Semafor.
Disingenuous Republicans in the House realize that the reason the deficit is getting more considerable is the Tax Cut they gave highly wealthy individuals and Big Businesses. The defense department and military are the only places to cut spending. It continues to be the most significant chunk of US spending. If you want to see President Biden’s spending priorities look no further than the Budget Publication from last year. Republicans know this and are playing coy with where they focus their spending cuts.
NBC’s Sahil Kapur reports the one area they’ve focused on. “House Republicans float one spending cut in a debt ceiling bill: Unspent Covid money. Republicans don’t have a fully fleshed-out plan yet, but it’s an early glimpse into the party’s mindset going into a potential debt ceiling crisis later this year. “
There’s no Republican plan, let alone a bill, to resolve the debt ceiling problem. But some GOP lawmakers are floating one idea to include in a package: rescinding approved but unspent Covid relief funds.
Taking back the unused pandemic response money “certainly could” be in a debt ceiling measure to avert default, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the chair of the powerful Rules Committee, said.
“I would hope we look at that,” Cole said. “It’s something that ought to be on the table.”
Rep Mike Kelly, R-Pa., who sits on the Ways and Means Committee that oversees taxes and large portions of the U.S. budget, said he’s open to it. It would be “insane” for Congress not to look at options to cut red ink by nixing unnecessary spending, Kelly said.
“There’s areas that we should not be spending and where we could actually either reposition or just not spend it, and then bring down our debt,” he said.
“We can make cuts that don’t hurt people,” Kelly added.
The idea isn’t yet ready for prime time in the GOP-run House, the Democratic-controlled Senate or the White House. But it is the most specific Republicans have gotten in terms of whatthey’d like to attach to a debt limit hike, a question that GOP lawmakers have been notably vague on, even as they demand spending cuts as a concession to pay the country’s bills. The Treasury Department has set a June 5 deadline for Congress to act or breach the debt limit.
Anyway, back to Florida’s Fascist-in-Charge. This article from Vanity Fair by Betsey Levin. “A Comprehensive Guide to Why a Ron DeSantis Presidency would be as terrifying as a Trump One. His bigoted policies and authoritarian behavior make him just as bad a pick for the top job in Washington.”
According to people who know him, he’s awful and has been for many years.
A former college teammate, who simultaneously praised DeSantis’s intelligence, described him like this to The New Yorker: “Ron is the most selfish person I have ever interacted with. He has always loved embarrassing and humiliating people. I’m speaking for others—he was the biggest dick we knew.” We’ll repeat that for emphasis: “He has always loved embarrassing and humiliating people.” Great qualities to have in an elected official!
When I saw the latest crap coming out of the College Board, the first thing I saw in the blueprint was Rotten Ron. I must admit to taking AP classes every day and taking AP exams. It’s a clear path to skipping many freshman classes and getting a better chance at a good school. So, if we can study the short history of Italian and Irish Americans, why can’t we get a shot at learning about Black Americans and their history here from the early 17th century forward?
This is by Nicholas Goldman, an LA Time columnist. This is what “cancel culture” looks like.
After reviewing the College Board’s draft curriculum for its new Advanced Placement course in African American studies, Florida Gov. (and presidential wannabe) Ron DeSantis loudly lambasted it last month — and declared that he would ban the course in Florida’s schools.
On Wednesday, less than two weeks later, the College Board came out with a revised plan, omitting or downgrading some of the more controversial pieces of the curriculum, including sections on reparations, the Black Lives Matter movement, incarceration and “Black Queer Studies.”
All this has caused great uproar. Conservatives say that the original curriculum was “woke” and “lacked educational value” and was “pushing an agenda.” Their opponents argue that the College Board now has cravenly watered down the curriculum in response to conservative bullying.
This much is unquestionable: DeSantis and other conservatives have been on a misguided mission to bar certain subjects in schools, including those they think normalize gay and transgender “lifestyles” and those perceived as promoting critical race theory, their latest bête noire. Some Republicans insist that teachers must stop teaching “toxic propaganda” about the United States.
These attempts at educational censorship are outrageous. And if the College Board made concessions in its revised curriculum because of pressure from Republicans, that was cowardly and unprincipled. (The College Board denies that it changed the curriculum due to criticism from DeSantis.)
To me, though, the chief point is not whether schools get to teach about Black Lives Matter or Black queer studies or Black conservatism or Afrofuturism or Black feminism. It’s not whether Kimberlé Crenshaw or Angela Davis has been included or excised. Even with the changes to the curriculum, there’s still plenty to learn about African American history and culture.
What matters most in my view are two fundamental principles. One is that politicians shouldn’t dictate what gets taught; academics and teachers should. We don’t want grandstanding Republican (or Democratic) politicians with no expertise in Black studies pandering to their constituents’ prejudices and forcing their politicized versions of events on educators and students. That goes for DeSantis as well as for legislators in states like California, who have over the years sometimes sought to push curricula to the left.
Since Fox and other media outlets are pushing De Santis as a Trump alternative, we need to be ready to tell folks he is not an option.
Try to slog through some of this because it’s shocking and needs to be stopped. It may get thrown out in many courts, but Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch are just bloodthirsty to make this law. And don’t forget Rotten Ron not only has used police to chase possible election fraud, but he’s also going for The Period Police for young women athletes. His hostility to women and reproductive rights knows no end.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
So, this is what I consider good news, and I’m leaving it here. Also, I have had this earwig since Saturday night, thanks to the Werewolves of London Krewe at IKOc. Thought I’d share it with you along with the news that Zevon got nominated (about time) to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. Evidently, we can thank Billy Joel for this.
Warren Zevon was an artist’s artist. One of the most talented and significant singer-songwriters to emerge in the 1970s, Zevon wrote poetic but offbeat songs, often with darkly humorous and acerbic lyrics, and delivered them with a dry wit and a twisted energy like no other performer could. Throughout his career, Zevon built a devoted fan base and earned the respect of his greatest peers, including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young.
Trained as a classical pianist, Zevon began his career in the 1960s as a composer of commercial jingles, a writer of pop songs (including two recorded by the Turtles), and a singer in the folk-pop duo Lyme & Cybelle, followed by several years doing session work and touring with musicians including the Everly Brothers. Zevon’s self-titled album, released in 1976 and produced by his friend Jackson Browne, won glowing reviews from critics and admiration from artists including Linda Ronstadt, who covered four of its songs. The followup album Excitable Boy (1978) featured the smash hit “Werewolves of London,” which climbed the singles charts and earned Zevon a cult following that remained for his entire career.
Tuesday Reads: Stormy WeatherPosted: January 31, 2023 Filed under: abortion rights, Afternoon Reads, Donald Trump, SCOTUS | Tags: Black history, book banning, Dobbs decison, Durham investigation, George Santos, LGBT rights, public health emergency, Republican antiabortion proposals, Roe v. Wade, Ron DeSantis, U.S. Supreme Court 11 Comments
We can all agree that the right-wingers on the Supreme Court have created problems not only for women, but for all of American society. They seem determined to turn this country into a theocracy dominated by so-called “christians” who don’t follow Jesus’s teachings. In fact, they don’t seem interested in the New Testament at all. They prefer the fire and brimstone god of the Old Testament.
Linda Greenhouse, who reported on the Court for The New York Times for many years before leaving in 2021, has returned with an important op-ed.
The New York Times: The Latest Crusade to Place Religion Over the Rest of Civil Society.
Federal civil rights law requires employers to accommodate their employees’ religious needs unless the request would impose “undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.” Congress didn’t bother to define “undue hardship,” so 46 years ago the Supreme Court came up with a definition of its own.
An accommodation requiring an employer “to bear more than a de minimis cost” — meaning a small or trifling cost — need not be granted, the court said in Trans World Airlines v. Hardison. In that case, an airline maintenance worker claimed a legal right to avoid Saturday shifts so he could observe the tenets of the Worldwide Church of God, which he had recently joined. Ruling for the airline, the court noted that if one worker got Saturdays off for religion reasons, the burden would fall on other workers who might have nonreligious reasons for wanting to have the weekend off.
“We will not readily construe the statute to require an employer to discriminate against some employees in order to enable others to observe their Sabbath,” the court said.
Treating religion as nothing particularly special, the decision reflected the spirit of the times but was deeply unpopular in religious circles. There have been many attempts over many years to persuade Congress to amend the law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to shift the balance explicitly in favor of religiously observant employees. Between 1994 and 2019, more than a dozen such bills were introduced. None emerged from Congress.
And so now, a very different court from the one that ruled 46 years ago is about to do the work itself.
Now the Court has agreed to hear a case that may move us further away from the separation of church and state.
The appeal was brought by a conservative Christian litigating group, First Liberty Institute, on behalf of a former postal worker, Gerald Groff, described as a Christian who regards Sunday as a day for “worship and rest.”
Mr. Groff claimed a legal right to avoid the Sunday shifts required during peak season at the post office where he worked. Facing discipline for failing to show up for his assigned shifts, he quit and filed a lawsuit. The lower courts ruled against him, with the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit expressing no doubt that the disruption and loss of morale Mr. Groff’s absences caused in the small rural post office where he worked exceeded the de minimis threshold that the Supreme Court’s 1977 precedent requires an employer to demonstrate.
The decision to hear his appeal brings the Supreme Court to a juncture both predictable and remarkable. It is predictable because Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch have all called for a case that would provide a vehicle for overturning a precedent that is clearly in tension with the current court’s privileging of religious claims above all others, whether in the context of public health measures during the Covid-19 pandemic or anti-discrimination claims brought by employees of religious organizations.
The court in 1977 worried about the burden on nonreligious workers from accommodations granted to their religious colleagues. To today’s court, as Justice Alito has repeatedly expressed it, the real victims of discrimination are those who take religion seriously.
Read the rest at the NYT link.
The wingnuts on the Supreme Court have already dealt a terrible blow to women’s rights by giving “christian” evangelicals what they long dreamed of–overturning nearly 50 years of women’s rights to make their own reproductive choices. The reversal of Roe v. Wade also drove a truck through the wall of separation between church and state, since the anti-abortion movement is largely based on “christian” evangelical “values.” Ever since that decision, republicans in state legislatures have worked to make getting an abortion more difficult than ever–in some ways more difficult than before Roe.
Abigail Tracy at Vanity Fair: Republicans Are Only Getting Sneakier With Their Antiabortion Proposals.
Kansans may have resoundingly rejected an antiabortion referendum last year, by a striking double-digit margin, to ensure reproductive rights remain enshrined in the state constitution, but that wasn’t deterrence enough for the state’s Republican legislators. Nor was, apparently, the Republican Party’s relatively poor performance this past midterm cycle—one largely defined by the fall of Roe v. Wade. “I’m hearing a lot from my constituents who believe we should continue to do more to help the unborn,” Wichita state senator Chase Blasi told reporters earlier this month, proposing a law that would allow cities and counties to regulate abortions, in spite of state protections.
These first few weeks of 2023 suggest it’s not that Republican lawmakers missed the abortion memo—they simply don’t seem to care. In Washington, a newly empowered Republican House passed an antiabortion bill during its first full week in the majority. And across the country, Republican state lawmakers continue the crusade against reproductive rights, attempting to find ways to circumvent popular opinion, and even statutory protections.
“We knew all along that they weren’t going to be satisfied with overturning Roe v. Wade,” Abby Ledoux, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, says of antiabortion lawmakers and activists in an interview with Vanity Fair. Reflecting on the slew of legislation that has been introduced in state houses across the country so far this year, Ledoux adds, “They’re not done and they’re coming for more rights.”
Since the start of the year, across 27 states, more than 105 bills that would restrict abortion have been filed or prefiled—(meaning, not all of them have been formally introduced), according to Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Many of these bills would ban abortion—some at fertilization; six bills—filed in Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Texas, Wyoming, and West Virginia—would specifically target medication abortions, according to the fund; others would impose harsh criminal penalties for doctors and abortion-seekers. Of course, not all of these bills are expected to pass, but they do lay bare the ever changing legal and political landscape in post-Roe America.
It isn’t just the overt attempts at restricting abortion access that concern reproductive rights activists. But also what Ledoux refers to as “underhanded attempts” and “work-arounds” that have the potential to “subvert democracy, to thwart the will of the people, and to really rig the game” in pursuit of unpopular political agendas. For instance, in Ohio, Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would require a supermajority threshold of 60%, as opposed to a simple majority of voters, to pass ballot measures to amend the state constitution. Similar legislation was also introduced in Arizona.
According to Axios, the Biden administration is considering fighting back with actions they previously shied away from: Biden administration mulls public health emergency declaration on abortion.
The Biden administration is weighing a plan to declare a public health emergency that would free up resources to help people access abortions.
….Both abortion rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers have urged the Department of Health and Human Services and President Biden to take such a step in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which they say has created a “full-scale reproductive health crisis” across the U.S.
The lawmakers argued that such a move would allow the administration to help support states that protect abortion, deploy Public Health Services Corps teams and give the government “the ability to accelerate access to new medications authorized for abortion.”
….”There are discussions on a wide range of measures … that we can take to try to protect people’s rights,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra told Axios during a pair of Monday public events that touched on reproductive health access.
“There are certain criteria that you look for to be able to declare a public health emergency. That’s typically done by scientists and those that are professionals in those fields who will tell us whether we are in a state of emergency and based on that, I have the ability to make a declaration,” Becerra added, when asked about a public health emergency declaration on abortion.
He said that there hasn’t been a “full assessment” on what a declaration on abortion would look like and whether conditions merit it, but there’s still “an evaluation” on the topic.
More details at the Axios link.
Speaking of politicians trying to take away our rights, Ron DeSantis is going further than almost any other governor. He really doesn’t want school children to learn anything about LGBT issues or about the history of African Americans in the U.S.; and he’s banning so many books that the library shelves in schools are nearly empty.
This is from a guest essay at The New York Times by Janai Nelson, president and director-counsel of the Legal Defense Fund: Ron DeSantis Wants to Erase Black History. Why?
An unrelenting assault on truth and freedom of expression in the form of laws that censor and suppress the viewpoints, histories and experiences of historically marginalized groups, especially Black and L.G.B.T.Q. communities, is underway throughout the country, most clearly in Florida. The state’s Department of Education recently rejected a pilot Advanced Placement African American studies course from being offered in Florida’s public high schools.
Under Gov. Ron DeSantis’s “Stop WOKE” law — which would limit students and teachers from learning and talking about issues related to race and gender — Florida is at the forefront of a nationwide campaign to silence Black voices and erase the full and accurate history and contemporary experiences of Black people. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., the American Civil Liberties Union, the A.C.L.U. of Florida and Ballard Spahr filed a lawsuit on behalf of university professors and a college student opposing the “Stop WOKE” law and, along with a second lawsuit, won a preliminary injunction blocking Florida’s Board of Governors from enforcing its unconstitutional and racially discriminatory provisions at public universities.
Florida’s rejection of the A.P. course and Mr. DeSantis’s demand to excise specific subject areas from the curriculum stand in stark opposition to the state-issued mandate that all students be taught “the history of African Americans, including the history of African peoples before the political conflicts that led to the development of slavery, the passage to America, the enslavement experience, abolition and the contributions of African Americans to society.” [….]
Mr. DeSantis’s “Stop WOKE” law relegates the study of the experiences of Black people to a prohibited category. The canceling of any students’ access to accurate, truthful education that reflects their diverse identities and that of their country should chill every American. Not only do these laws offend First Amendment freedoms of speech and expression; to the extent they harm certain groups on the basis of race, gender or other protected status, they also violate principles of equal protection. And they are a chilling precursor to state-sponsored dehumanization of an entire race of people.
This disturbing pattern of silencing Black voices and aggressive attempts to erase Black history are one of the most visible examples of performative white supremacy since the presidency of Donald Trump.
There’s much more at the NYT link.
On DeSantis’s book banning project:
Hannah Natanson at The Washington Post: Hide your books to avoid felony charges, Fla. schools tell teachers.
Students arrived in some Florida public school classrooms this month to find their teachers’ bookshelves wrapped in paper — or entirely barren of books — after district officials launched a review of the texts’ appropriateness under a new state law.
School officials in at least two counties, Manatee and Duval, have directed teachers this month to remove or wrap up their classroom libraries, according to records obtained by The Washington Post. The removals come in response to fresh guidance issued by the Florida Department of Education in mid-January, after the State Board of Education ruled that a law restricting the books a district may possess applies not only to schoolwide libraries but to teachers’ classroom collections, too.
House Bill 1467, which took effect as law in July, mandates that schools’ books be age-appropriate, free from pornography and “suited to student needs.” Books must be approved by a qualified school media specialist, who must undergo a state retraining on book collection. The Education Department did not publish that training until January, leaving school librarians across Florida unable to order books for more than a year.
Breaking the law is a third-degree felony, meaning that a teacher could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for displaying or giving students a disallowed book.
I can just imagine the kinds of people who would take one of those “media specialist” jobs and then undergo “state retraining.”
The efforts to conceal titles in Manatee and Duval have stirred outrage from educators and parents, many of whom shared images of bare wooden shelves or books veiled behind sheets of colored paper. Teachers wrote in Facebook posts and text messages that they are angry and disheartened. District officials in both counties have emphasized that the removals are temporary and will last only until staff can determine whether the titles meet the standards imposed by Florida law.
Michelle Jarrett, president of the Florida Association of Supervisors of Media, which assists school library administrators and programs statewide, said that “closing and covering up classroom libraries does nothing to ensure Florida’s students remain on track for reading success.” [….]
At one school, “the kids began crying and writing letters to the principal, saying, ‘Please don’t take my books, please don’t do this,’” Masferrer said.
If DeSantis runs for president in 2024 against Trump, we are going to witness a Republican shit show that will be far worse than 2016 and 2020. DeSantis may be pandering to the crazies, but Trump has truly gone over the edge.
Former President Donald Trump in 2018 had an infamous press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital of Helsinki in which he signaled that believed Putin’s denials about having interfered in the 2016 election despite assessments to the contrary from American intelligence agencies.
Four-and-a-half years later, Trump is now touting his trust of Putin over American intelligence agencies as a source of pride.
In a post on his Truth Social account, the former president attacked former officials at the FBI and CIA whom he accused of trying to undermine his presidency by investigating his campaign’s multiple contacts with Russian agents during the 2016 presidential race.
“Remember in Helsinki when a 3rd rate reporter asked me, essentially, who I trusted more, President Putin of Russia, or our ‘Intelligence’ lowlifes,” he wrote. “My instinct at the time was that we had really bad people in the form of James Comey, McCabe (whose wife was being helped out by Crooked Hillary while Crooked was under investigation!), Brennan, Peter Strzok (whose wife is at the SEC) & his lover, Lisa Page. Now add McGonigal & other slime to the list. Who would you choose, Putin or these Misfits?”
I’m getting a headache just reading all this stuff. I hope I’m not giving you one too.
Last Friday, Dakinikat wrote about the New York Times article on the failure of the Barr/Durham so-called investigation of the origins of Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian influences on the 2016 Trump campaign. This is a reaction from Greg Sargent at The Washington Post: Awful new details about the Durham probe demand a serious response.
The New York Times disclosed extraordinary new revelations this past week about prosecutor John Durham’s years-long quest to delegitimize the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In 2019, this obsession of President Donald Trump was initiated by his attorney general, William P. Barr, but as the Times found, Durham’s effort was itself profoundly tainted.
Now, because Democrats have 51 Senate seats after gaining one in the midterm elections, they have subpoena power on Senate committees that were previously divided. That means the Judiciary Committee is in a position to investigate the Barr-Durham escapades.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the Judiciary Committee chair, is signaling such an intent. In an emailed statement, Durbin said that reports of Durham’s “abuses” are “outrageous,” and “one of many instances” in which Trump and Barr “weaponized the Justice Department.”
Durbin added that his committee “will do its part and take a hard look at those repeated episodes, and the regulations and policies that enabled them, to ensure such abuses of power cannot happen again.”
That’s encouraging, but how far will this investigation go? The Times report finds that Barr relentlessly pushed Durham to substantiate Trump’s theory that the Russia investigation was a conspiracy by intelligence and law enforcement against him. But Durham’s effort petered out “without uncovering anything like the deep state plot” invented by Trump and Barr.
Worse, the Times also found bizarre irregularities. Durham relied on Russian intelligence memos to access emails of an adviser to financier George Soros, in hopes of finding evidence of improper collaboration between law enforcement and the Hillary Clinton campaign. It never materialized.
That, plus Barr’s habit of publicly hinting that Durham was on the trail of major wrongdoing — unscrupulously serving Trump’s political interests — were strongly opposed internally by Durham’s top deputy, the Times reports. Similarly, Durham leaned on the department’s inspector general to change his 2019 conclusion that the Russia probe was not politically motivated.
More at the WaPo.
And speaking of corruption, George Santos has decided to recuse himself from House committees. The Washington Post: Rep. George Santos is stepping down from committees amid fabrications about his biography.
Embattled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) told House Republicans on Tuesday that he will step down temporarily from his committee assignments amid multiple investigations into his campaign finances after he lied about key aspects of his biography.
It sounds like it wasn’t really Santos’ decision, lol. I guess McCarthy was sick and tired of the press hounding him about Santos.
That’s all I have for you today. Have a great Tuesday, everyone!