Mostly Monday Reads: The Republican Grinch Awards

Deer in the Snow, Franz Marc,1911

It’s warming up here, and I feel like a wet noodle.  My body has just gone limp from the current temperatures in the house.  It got pretty cold in the front two rooms, but I managed to head off any pipe bursts. It’s headed toward the 70s, and that’s fine for me! I can only imagine what the banana trees in the backyard look like because I’m not going there right now.  I’m going to deal with the sideyard gardens first.

This year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis won “The Republican Grinch” award.  This reporting is by Noah Gray at CNN. “More migrants dropped off outside vice president’s home in freezing weather on Christmas Eve.”  Greg Abbot represents the worst of our country and of humanity. I’m sure he’s got a hot meal and acting all smug about his religion. Probably even went to church to be all joyous. But, really, is this what it’s about America? Is this what White American Christian nationalists are all about?

Several busloads of migrants were dropped off in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in Washington, DC, on Christmas Eve in 18 degree weather late Saturday.

An initial two busloads were taken to local shelters, according to an administration official. More buses arrived outside the vice president’s residence later Saturday evening. A CNN team saw migrants being dropped off, with some migrants wearing only T-shirts in the freezing weather. They were given blankets and put on another bus that went to a local church.

Amy Fischer, a volunteer with the Migrant Solidarity Mutual Aid Network, which has been receiving migrants sent to DC since the spring, said the organization had been prepared for Saturday night’s arrivals, having been informed about it earlier by an NGO working at the border in Texas.

The arrivals included asylum seekers from Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Peru and Colombia, according to Fischer, who told CNN the buses were supposed to go to New York but were diverted to DC due to the weather. Busloads of migrants have been arriving in Washington weekly since April.

“The DC community has been welcoming buses from Texas anytime they’ve come since April. Christmas Eve and freezing cold weather is no different,” Fischer said. “We are always here welcoming folks with open arms.”

SAMU First Response, a nonprofit that has been assisting migrants since the buses began coming to Washington earlier this year, was also on the ground Saturday night helping arrivals. The organization’s managing director, Tatiana Laborde, described the stunt as “extremely inhumane,” but said, if done properly, it could provide a road map to easing tensions at the southern border.

Siberian Dogs in the Snow, 1909-1910, by Franz Marc

Twitter was acting cranky all weekend.  Maybe, this is why. The Economic Times of Indiana reports,”‘Threat actor’ puts 400 million Twitter users’ data up for sale. If you still have an active account there, I suggest you use 2FA and immediately change your password. I really can’t take much of the place. I’ve already bumped into more right-wing trolling than I ever want to experience, and my feed looks like bedlam.

Data belonging to about 400 million Twitter users have been obtained through an exploit in Twitter up to early 2022 and put on sale by a “threat actor”.

Going by the username Ryushi, the person posted a sample database of 1,000 users with private information of well-known personalities such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Brian Krebs, Vitalik Buterin, Kevin O’Leary and Donald Trump Jr, as well as the account of India’s information and broadcasting ministry.

The person warned Twitter and its chief executive Elon Musk of the consequences, including hefty fines under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), of such a sizeable data breach.

He wrote: “Twitter or Elon Musk, if you are reading this, you are already risking a GDPR fine over 5.4 million breach. Imagine the fine for a 400 million users breach.”

The threat actor was referring to the hefty fines that might be coming Musk’s way after a top privacy regulator in the European Union opened a probe into reports of a suspected data breach that compromised the personal details of 5.4 million users last year.

He added: “Your best option to avoid paying $276 million in GDPR breach fines like Facebook did (due to 533 million users being scraped) is to buy this data exclusively.”

Friends of the Wind, by Oksana Kravchenko, is for sale here.

Washington Post has this informative report on the runners-up to the Fascist Grinch awards this year. “Here’s who helped Elon Musk buy Twitter. Who pulls the financial strings at Twitter? These are Musk’s backers.” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud tops the list at a cool $2 billion. We also know about The Qatar Investment Authority, that’s estimated to have contributed $375. The really interesting part of the list includes many of the US’ worst vulture capitalists, many of the worst parasite companies, and then Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and Barclays.

Andreessen Horowitz, for example, chipped in around $400 million.

One of the most famous venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, this firm has invested in Airbnb, Lyft and Coinbase. Co-founder Marc Andreessen was one of the people who privately messaged Musk about the Twitter deal, according to court filings. “If you are considering equity partners, my growth fund is in for $250 [million] with no additional work required,” Andreessen wrote. His firm would go on to give even $400 million. He has cheered on Musk in recent weeks on Twitter, particularly during the release of the “Twitter Files,” a string of releases on behavior inside the company before the takeover.

The other co-founder, Ben Horowitz, said in several tweets that the venture capital firm believes in “Elon’s brilliance” to make Twitter “what it was meant to be.” Horowitz went on to say that Twitter suffers from a range of issues, including censorship. He said that Musk was “perhaps the only person in the world” who could build the public square people hoped for, echoing the praise that conservatives have directed toward Musk, who they see as a champion of free speech.

Story Told by My Mother, 1955, Carroll Cloar

Read more and be prepared to get mad.  Next up on the Grinch wannabe list is Florida’s Ron Desantis, whose Election Police antics keep coming up against Judges who are not amused.  This is from ABC News. “3rd case brought by DeSantis’ election police dismissed.  A third case of a defendant who was arrested by an elections police unit created by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and a Republican-controlled Florida Legislature has been thrown out”

Terry Hubbard, 63, was among 20 people arrested last August on criminal charges of illegal voting in 2020 in what was the first major action taken by the the Republican’s controversial new Office of Election Crimes and Security.

A judge in Broward County this week tossed out the case on the grounds that the Office of Statewide Prosecution does not have jurisdiction to prosecute since it can only prosecute crimes that occurred in two or more counties. Two other cases were dismissed on similar grounds.

The elections police unit drew widespread criticism from Democrats and voting rights groups who feared it would serve as a political tool for the governor.

The arrests of the 20 defendants last August targeted people who were convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense and therefore exempt from a constitutional amendment that restores voting rights to some felons. Most of those charged were from Broward, Miami-Dade or Palm Beach counties, all Democratic strongholds.

DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, pushed the state legislature to create the election police unit to address voter fraud concerns that have proliferated in the GOP following former President Donald Trump’s false claims that his reelection was stolen.

Tiger in the Snow, by Katsushika Hokusai, 1849

Lawyers, Journalists, and the politically curious are still sifting through the January 6th Committee’s final report.  Here’s more on the winner of the Fascist Grinch’s attempt to use Fraudulent Electors to overturn democratic election results. The analysis is from Philp Rotner’s writing for The Bulwark.  ” What the Jan. 6th Report Says About the Fake Electors Scheme.”  “Freaking Trump idiots want someone to fly original elector papers to the senate President.”

The fake electors were hardly the worst of what Trump visited on us. For sheer journalistic sex appeal, a scheme by a bunch of unknown, bumbling state functionaries to phony up some documents just can’t compete with a president siccing an armed mob on the Capitol. But the fake elector scandal, while not the most shocking of Trump’s predations, has long looked like the straightest route to cracking open the entire 2020 election scheme, and to getting Donald Trump indicted and convicted of a crime (at least until the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents scandal was revealed, but that’s another story). If Trump was a knowing participant in the scheme (more on that later), his reasons for doing so would make absolutely no difference. Even if he really, truly believed the election was stolen, it would not be a defense to criminal charges for participating in a fraudulent scheme to submit forged documents as the official results of state presidential elections. To the contrary, his belief that he was stealing back a stolen election would be highly incriminating proof of his motive, not a defense.

Contrast that, for instance, with a potential charge that Trump tried to corruptly alter the result in Georgia in his infamous phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. When Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to flip the Georgia election, was he asking him to legitimately root out and disqualify votes that he honestly believed were fraudulent, or was he asking him to manufacture votes?

Snow Horses, Chen Yong, 2008

The Guardian‘s Peter Stone writes this. “January 6 panel’s body of work boosts DoJ case against Trump, experts say. Former prosecutors say exhaustive report from Capitol attack committee ‘amounts to a detailed prosecution memo.’”

The wealth of evidence against Trump compiled by the panel spurred its unprecedented decision to send the DoJ four criminal referrals for Trump and some top allies about their multi-track planning and false claims of fraud to block Joe Biden from taking office.

Although the referrals do not compel the justice department to file charges against Trump or others, the enormous evidence the panel amassed should boost its investigations, say ex-federal prosecutors.

The massive evidence assembled by the panel was the basis for accusing Trump of obstruction of an act of Congress, inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the US and making false statements

“The central cause of January 6 was one man, former president Donald Trump, who many others followed,” the committee wrote in a detailed summary of its findings a few days before the release of its final 800-plus-page report on Thursday.

The panel’s blockbuster report concluded that Trump criminally plotted to nullify his defeat in 2020 and “provoked his supporters to violence” at the Capitol with baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.

Former prosecutors say the committee’s detailed factual presentation should boost some overlapping inquiries by DoJ including a months-long investigation into a fake electors scheme that Trump helped spearhead in tandem with John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who was also referred to the justice department for prosecution.

“The January 6 committee’s final hearing and lengthy executive summary make out a powerful case to support its criminal referrals as to Trump, Eastman, and unnamed others,” former DoJ inspector general Michael Bromwich told the Guardian.

“Although the referrals carry no legal weight, they provide an unusual preview of potential charges that may well be effective in swaying public opinion,” Bromwich said.

There are more interviews with former prosecutors at the link.

I’m off to do some dishes and other exciting stuff.  Hopefully, the New Year that starts next Sunday will bring tidings of comfort and joy to us and many subpoenas to these law-breaking Republicans.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today? How about an animated Frank Sintra singing Jingle Bells?


or Some Keb’ Mo’?