Lazy Caturday Reads

Raining-cats-and-dogs

Good Morning!!

It’s raining cats and dogs outside my windows this morning, so I decided to illustrate this post with cats in and out of the rain. 

In just four days, Trump will be out of the White House and headed to Florida; and, according to the Wall Street Journal (via Raw Story), even the people working in the White House can’t wait until he’s gone.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the last days of Donald Trump’s tenure as president have found him still looking for any chance of remaining in office as demoralized staffers look forward to Inauguration Day bringing the era to a close.

The Journal notes that the president has asked for information on the Republicans in the House who voted for his impeachment last week and whether they are susceptible to being primaried in 2022 while still fuming about his election loss.

d62d3ff684ba7a48945811f5a8b94d56As regarding the ongoing articles of impeachment passed by the House, Trump is still searching for attorneys to defend him if it comes to a trial after White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and attorneys who represented him during his last impeachment have let it be known they won’t take part….

According to one aide close to the president, they just want it to be over.

“It’s complete shellshock,” they explained. “People are praying for the inauguration to come and to get Trump the hell out of there.”

So much winning.

Trump’s future business prospects aren’t looking so good either. Bloomberg: Trump’s Shambolic Empire Faces Long Odds for One More Comeback.

On the day Donald Trump was getting impeached in Washington, the lobby of his New York tower at 40 Wall St. was almost silent. Few footsteps smudged the shiny marble.

But up the dark and golden elevators, trouble was stirring in one of the billionaire’s most valuable properties. Inside one law office, two partners had clashed over whether to keep paying rent to a landlord who encouraged the Capitol’s deadly riot. On the 24th floor, a nonprofit that fights tuberculosis was exploring options for leaving. On the seventh, the Girl Scouts were figuring out how to break their lease.

And in the basement, vintage bank-vault doors that weigh more than 10 tons stood wide open. There, in a club room that Trump renovated, the news was playing on a jumbo television to an audience of empty armchairs just as Congress voted against him….

thumb-1920-709311The Trump Organization, run by sons Eric and Don Jr., was struggling with the devastating consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic even before their father incited a raid on Congress. Efforts to sell his Washington hotel were shelved, his office buildings were losing value amid a glut of space in Manhattan, and his golf courses were facing the reality that younger generations aren’t so interested.

Trump entered office worth $3 billion. Despite soaring stock prices and his own tax cuts, he will leave about $500 million poorer, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

His buildings are saddled with more than $1 billion in debt, most of it coming due in the next three years and more than a third of it personally guaranteed. Refinancing would mean finding lenders and corporations willing to work with history’s only twice-impeached ex-president.

Prosecutors in New York are salivating over the chances to prosecute the disgraced “president.” AP: NY prosecutors interview Michael Cohen about Trump finances.

New York prosecutors conducted an hourslong interview Thursday of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, asking a range of questions about Trump’s business dealings, according to three people familiar with the meeting.

The interview focused in part on Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, his biggest and longest standing creditor, according to the three people, who weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

The interview, at least the second of Cohen by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, comes amid a long-running grand jury investigation into Trump’s business dealings. District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has been waging a protracted legal battle to get access to the president’s tax records.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on Trump’s request for a stay and a further appeal after he leaves office Jan. 20.

Top-10-Images-of-Cats-Avoiding-The-Rain-1-510x384-1The New York investigation is one of several legal entanglements that are likely to intensify as Trump loses power — and any immunity from prosecution he might have as a sitting president — as he departs the White House….

The Republican president also faces a civil investigation, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, into whether Trump’s company lied about the value of its assets to get loans or tax benefits. Cohen also is cooperating with that inquiry.

He previously told Congress that Trump often inflated the value of his assets when dealing with lenders or potential business partners, but deflated them when it benefited him for tax purposes.

Even in Scotland, people are looking for ways to investigate Trump. Read about it at The Scotsman: Leading QC says Scottish ministers can seek ‘McMafia’ order into Donald Trump’s finances.

Meanwhile, every day we learn more about the violent insurrection that Trump incited last week. One of the  most disturbing facts is how many law enforcement and active and former military people were involved. These are brief excerpts; I recommend following the links to read the full articles.

The Washington Post: Conspiracy theories and a call for patriots entice veterans at the Capitol.

A Washington Post analysis of individuals who breached the Capitol or were in the vicinity of the riots identified 21 people with some prior military service background. Of the 72 arrested or charged by state and federal authorities through Thursday morning, 11 have military backgrounds.

The military personnel and veterans involved in the demonstrations and riot at the Capitol range in age from 33 to 62. A handful of the veterans served in combat or with front-line infantry units in the Army and Marine Corps and spoke regularly of a coming revolution or the need for violent action to purge their country of unspecified enemies. Other veterans at the Capitol on Jan. 6 served for only short stints in the military or were focused more on clerical tasks than preparing for combat. Like many at the riots, they were swept up in conspiracy theories that have taken hold among some of Trump’s most fervent supporters and felt called to action by the president’s repeated insistence without evidence that the election had been stolen.

unnamedThe Pentagon hasn’t said how many active-duty troops or reservists are under investigation for any role in the protest or the riots, but homegrown militants and white supremacist groups have long targeted veterans for recruitment.

And some analysts who track extremist groups warn that the military has been slow to recognize the problem.

“They are behind in having the capacity to investigate these issues,” said Michael Edison Hayden, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. “They don’t have the proper tools to identify symbols and tattoos and that kind of thing, so it has allowed it to fester for a really long time.”

The Los Angeles Times: Why veterans of the military and law enforcement joined the Capitol insurrection.

An Air Force veteran from Southern California and ardent conspiracy theorist bent on war against the government. An Army psychological operations officer at Ft. Bragg, N.C. A decorated, retired Air Force officer of 18 years from Texas who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 attracted a variety of far-right extremists who shared a devotion to President Trump and his insistence on a false belief that the November election had been stolen from him through fraud.

Many rioters also had something else in common as they sought to upend the government in an insurrection that bristled with Confederate flags, racist symbols and conspiracy theories: They were ex-members of the military and police or actively employed by the armed services and law enforcement.

“It’s an incredibly disturbing trend,” retired U.S. Army Col. Jeffrey D. McCausland, a professor of national security at Dickinson College and former dean at the U.S. Army War College, said in an interview. “These are people who are supposed to uphold the Constitution and the law, yet they were doing the exact opposite.”

Top-10-Images-of-Cats-Avoiding-The-Rain-9-510x395-1Gizmodo: Leaked Parler Data Points to Users at Police Stations, U.S. Military Bases.

Location data gleaned from thousands of videos posted on the social network Parler and extracted in the days before Amazon restricted access to app this week, reveal its users included police officers around the U.S. and service members stationed on bases at home and abroad.

The presence on Parler of active military and police raises concerns, experts said, about their potential exposure to far-right conspiracy theories and extremist ideologies enabled by the platform’s practically nonexistent moderation and its stated openness to hate speech. Military officials have long considered infiltration and recruitment by white supremacist groups a threat. Groups that endorsed a wide range of racist beliefs appear to have been operating openly on Parler, the experts said, with the de facto permission of its owners. The FBI has likewise raised concerns over law enforcement agents adopting radical views and being recruited—viewing their access to secured buildings, elected officials, and other VIPs as a singular threat.

Slate: Sheriffs Helped Lead This Insurrection.

On Jan. 6, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb made a promise. Delivering a speech in Phoenix during the ongoing mob attack on the nation’s Capitol, Lamb accused former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of unnamed crimes and repeated President Donald Trump’s false claims about election fraud. “Now I’m limited to what I can do as the sheriff, but if you live in Pinal County, I assure you I can fight for your freedom,” he said before exhorting his followers to “be vigilant” and to “fight for the Constitution, freedom, and the American way of life.” (The video has since been deleted from social media.)

In the past week, it’s become clear that many members of law enforcement from across the country participated in the siege on the Capitol. That includes former and current sheriffs and their deputies. Ex–Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway was at the Trump rally but says he didn’t march to the Capitol. He described the crowd as “a cross between tailgating at a football game and a NASCAR race—families, dogs, children. Everyone being nice. I mean, it was like a family reunion without some of the hatefulness you can find at family reunions. It was a very good crowd.”

Top-10-Images-of-Cats-Avoiding-The-Rain-10-510x334-1At least one current sheriff admits he was at the riot: Sheriff Chris West of Canadian County, Oklahoma, says he marched toward the Capitol building but did not enter. But long before Jan. 6, sheriffs have been helping to lay the groundwork for violence by the far-right movement. As political leaders in their communities, they have been sowing dissent at home, encouraging their own armed militias to prepare themselves to take back the government just as Lamb suggested.

Ninety percent of American sheriffs are white men, and in recent years they’ve become strongly affiliated with white supremacist groups. Across the country, sheriffs have declared that they will not enforce laws they deem “unconstitutional,” like COVID-19 public health orders or gun laws limiting weapons possession and permits. Their influence has only grown since the pandemic began, as mask wearing became affiliated with progressive liberals and a bare face was a sign of Trump support.

A few more reads about the Capitol attack:

David Graham at The Atlantic: We’re Just Finding Out How Bad the Riot Really Was.

The New York Times: Capitol Attack Could Fuel Extremist Recruitment For Years, Experts Warn.

Politico: Top FEMA official attended Trump’s ‘Stop the Steal’ rally.

NBC News: Online far-right movements fracture in wake of Capitol riot.

That’s all I have for you today. Have a nice long weekend, and please stop by and leave a comment if you have the time and inclination.


Lazy Saturday Reads: Trump’s Cringe-Inducing European Adventure and Other News

Good Afternoon!!

Trump in Scotland

Trump is at his golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland, and protesters are out in force there as they were in England. The Guardian:

Trump and his wife Melania arrived in Scotland on board Air Force One on Friday evening, before travelling by motorcade to his Trump Turnberry resort in Ayrshire.

By lunchtime, about 50 protesters had congregated on Turnberry beach. Just before 2pm, the US president appeared on the golf course and waved at the gathering on the beach, to be met with booing and chants of “no Trump, no racist USA”. Meanwhile, close to 10,000 marchers were streaming through the streets of Edinburgh, ending up in the Meadows park to the south of the city centre, where families sat in the sunshine and enjoyed picnics, music and speeches from local activists….

Towards the back of the crowd, the six-metre Trump baby balloon was straining against its tethers in the wind. Organiser Leo Murray described how a crew of “babysitters” had travelled up from London overnight on the sleeper train to fly the blimp at Saturday’s protest.

Murray had originally hoped to fly the balloon, which depicts Trump as an angry baby wearing a nappy, at his Turnberry course, but Police Scotland denied permission on security grounds.

Nevertheless, a Greenpeace protester managed to breach the no-fly zone on a hang glider with a sign reading ““Trump: well below par #resist” (see photo at the top of this post). Thank you to the people of Scotland for standing in solidarity with the U.S. resistance. I’m proud of my Scottish heritage today.

And while we’re talking about Trump’s Scottish golf course, be sure to check out this piece by Adam Davidson at The New Yorker: Where Did Donald Trump Get Two Hundred Million Dollars to Buy His Money-Losing Scottish Golf Club?

Between meeting the Queen of England and Vladimir Putin, President Trump will spend this weekend at Turnberry, the golf course he bought in 2014 and rechristened Trump Turnberry. This property has not received the attention it deserves. It is, by far, the biggest investment the Trump Organization has made in years. It is so much bigger than his other recent projects that it would not be unreasonable to describe the Trump Organization as, at its core, a manager of a money-losing Scottish golf course that is kept afloat with funds from licensing fees and decades-old real-estate projects.

No doubt, the President will be excited to visit. After buying the property for more than sixty million dollars, he then spent a reported hundred and fifty million pounds—about two hundred million dollars total—remaking the site, adding a new course, rehabbing an old one, and fixing up the lodgings. It is possible, though, that he will have some harsh words for his staff. The Turnberry has been losing an astonishing amount of money, including twenty-three million dollars in 2016. The Trump Organization argued that these losses were the result of being closed for several months for repair. However, revenue for the months it was open were so low—about $1.5 million per month—that it is hard to understand how the property will ever become profitable, let alone so successful that it will pay back nearly three hundred million dollars in investment and losses….

President Trump has proclaimed himself the “king of debt,” a proud master of “doing things with other people’s money.” So it was quite surprising when Jonathan O’ConnellDavid A. Fahrenthold, and Jack Gillum revealed in a Washington Post story in May that Trump had abruptly shifted strategies and begun spending hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to fund projects. In the nine years before he ran for President, the Post reported, the Trump Organization spent more than four hundred million dollars in cash on new properties—including fourteen transactions paid in full. In fifteen years, he bought twelve golf courses (ten in the U.S., one in Ireland, and a smaller one in Scotland), several homes, and a winery and estate in Virginia, and he paid for his forty-million-dollar share of the cost of building the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.—a property leased to Trump by the U.S. government. But his largest cash purchase was the Turnberry, followed by tens of millions of dollars in additional cash outlays for rehabbing the property.

Read the rest at The New Yorker.

Trump meets Queen Elizabeth

Yesterday, just as Rod Rosenstein was preparing to announce indictments of the 12 Russians who were responsible for hacking the DNC, DCCC, and Clinton campaign email servers and disseminating embarrassing information designed to hurt Hillary and help Trump during the 2016 election, Donald Trump was meeting with the Queen of England. And he managed to turn that into a clusterfuck just as he has everything else on his disastrous European trip.

The Washington Post: ‘Did Donald Trump just WALK IN FRONT OF THE QUEEN?’

It’s generally quite difficult to upstage the queen of England, but President Trump might have managed to do so.

Trump and Queen Elizabeth II met Friday as part of his working visit to the United Kingdom….

Trump’s walk with the queen during an inspection of guardsmen quickly became a hot topic.

Described as “cringeworthy” and “uncomfortable” viewing on social media, footage of their walk together came under intense scrutiny. While touring the castle grounds, Trump maintained a relatively brisk walk, which saw the queen, at times, fall behind him as he led the way.

At one point, the queen can be seen gesturing to Trump, although it’s unclear what exactly she may have been referring to. On social media, some speculated that Trump was being instructed on which side of her he should walk.

If that was the case, the president didn’t grasp the message.

The Trumps also arrived late for tea, making the Queen wait, and they did not bow or curtsy when they met her. That’s considered optional, but most people don’t opt to simply shake hands as the Trumps did. At least Trump didn’t do his vise grip and pull handshake with her. Then the Queen gave the Trumps the bum’s rush, ending the meeting after about half an hour.

Trump is a crude, crass, and classless pig. What an embarrassment that he is “president.” The Russians got exactly what they wanted. By contrast, the Obama’s got the full royal treatment.

Two great reads on the Mueller indictment released yesterday

Dan Friedman at Mother Jones: Mueller’s Indictment of 12 Russian Spies is Very Bad for Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday obtained an indictment of 12 members of a Russian military intelligence agency for hacking Democratic party emails during the 2016 election—a rebuke to President Trump, who has refused to fully acknowledge Russia’s election interference, just three days before his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland.

The indictment, announced Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, will probably not lead to immediate prosecutions—it doesn’t accuse any Americans of crimes, as the White House was quick to point out, and it’s unlikely that Russia will allow extradition of its own officials—but the charges are still a big deal in the Trump-Russia investigation and they offer extensive new details on how the Russian hacking effort actually worked.

Click on the link to read the “key takeaways.”

Emptywheel: The Russian Hack.

Mueller’s team just announced (and announced the transfer, as I predicted) of the Russian hack indictment, naming 12 GRU officers for the hack of the Hillary campaign, the DNC, and the DCCC. This will be a working thread.

Rod Rosenstein, as he did with the Internet Research Agency, made clear there are no Americans named in this indictment (and that those who interacted with Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks did not know they were interacting with Russians). That said, here are some of the interesting nods in it.

Again, click on the link to read the “interesting nods.” and Emptywheel’s timeline.

Trump’s Immigration Mess

Foreign Policy: White House Official Who Advocated for Refugees Sacked and Escorted From Office.

Jennifer Arrangio (center)

A senior White House official, Jennifer Arangio, was fired Thursday and escorted from her office, ending a turbulent tenure that saw her clashing with President Donald Trump’s most hard-line advisors over human rights and refugee issues, according to several current and former U.S. officials.

The officials said Arangio, a senior director for international organizations and alliances at the National Security Council, had fallen out of favor with Trump aide Stephen Miller over the number of refugees who should be allowed to enter the United States.

She had also sparred with Miller over continuing U.S. participation in international negotiations on a global migration compact, insisting that the United States could better shape international policies on migration from inside the tent.

She lost the argument, but Miller remained embittered by the rift, the officials said. When Arangio sought his endorsement for a position in the State Department, he refused to take a meeting with her.

Adding to the tension, Arangio had defended the State Department’s embattled refugee bureau amid campaigns by other top Trump aides to dismantle or defund it — efforts that were ultimately rebuffed by Congress.

“This is a disaster for the bureau,” one State Department official said. “She is really a good ally.”

Have your handkerchiefs ready for this one at The New York Times: Cleaning Toilets, Following Rules: A Migrant Child’s Days in Detention.

Adan Galicia Lopez, 3, was separated from his mother for four months.

Do not misbehave. Do not sit on the floor. Do not share your food. Do not use nicknames. Also, it is best not to cry. Doing so might hurt your case.

Lights out by 9 p.m. and lights on at dawn, after which make your bed according to the step-by-step instructions posted on the wall. Wash and mop the bathroom, scrubbing the sinks and toilets. Then it is time to form a line for the walk to breakfast.

“You had to get in line for everything,” recalled Leticia, a girl from Guatemala.

Small, slight and with long black hair, Leticia was separated from her mother after they illegally crossed the border in late May. She was sent to a shelter in South Texas — one of more than 100 government-contracted detention facilities for migrant children around the country that are a rough blend of boarding school, day care center and medium security lockup. They are reserved for the likes of Leticia, 12, and her brother, Walter, 10.

The facility’s list of no-no’s also included this: Do not touch another child, even if that child is your hermanito or hermanita — your little brother or sister.

Leticia had hoped to give her little brother a reassuring hug. But “they told me I couldn’t touch him,” she recalled.

This is a must read, even though the stories of these children are heartbreaking. Trump and his minions must be held accountable for this outrage.

 


Evening News Reads: Let the slugfest begin!

Hey, women can be assholes too...

Good Evening

We had a taste of summer here in Banjoland today…the sun was baking the cow patties and the top floor rooms of our house were getting hot like bun warmers.

Hmmm…speaking of bullshit. (Like how I slid into the first news link of the night?)  Limbaugh’s Misogynistic Attack On Georgetown Law Student Continues With Increased Vitriol

And it is awful and vile:

Rush Limbaugh is not backing down after widespread condemnation over his misogynistic attack on Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University Law School student who testified before Congress recently about the problems caused when women lack access to contraception.

If anything, Limbaugh has increased the vitriol, at one point asking Fluke: “Who bought your condoms in sixth grade?”

Yesterday, Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

Today he stepped it up a notch…

Opening his show Thursday, Limbaugh characterized the criticism of his comments as “a conniption fit,” which he called “hilarious.” He offered what he said was a “compromise” to contraception coverage: purchasing “all the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as possible.”

Limbaugh returned to the controversy later, claiming to have “run some numbers” on contraception costs and arguing that contraception coverage was “flat-out thievery” that would force taxpayers to pay to “satisfy the sexual habits of female law students at Georgetown.”

Limbaugh later dismissed concerns over lack of access to contraception coverage and mocked Fluke’s congressional testimony, affecting a baby’s voice and pretending to cry, saying: “I’m going broke having sex. I need government to provide me condoms and contraception. It’s not fair.”

Limbaugh later questioned why insurance should cover contraception and played a portion of Fluke’s testimony laying out the problems many college-age women face paying for contraception. He asked, “Ms. Fluke, have you ever heard of not having sex? Have you ever heard of not having sex so often?”

After saying that the Washington, D.C., Department of Health “will send you free condoms and lube,” Limbaugh said: “So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

Horrid, what is this asshole doing on the air? Can someone tell me? Any lawyers out there, please tell me this douchbag can be sued…

You can read more on this here: Limbaugh Doubles Down, Demands Sandra Fluke Post Sex Tapes Online

Let’s move on to another “Douche” in the news today, this one is a dead Douche…uh…those are Matt Taibbi’s words, but if the shoe fits…Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche

So Andrew Breitbart is dead. Here’s what I have to say to that, and I’m sure Breitbart himself would have respected this reaction: Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.

I say this in the nicest possible way. I actually kind of liked Andrew Breitbart. Not in the sense that I would ever have wanted to hang out with him, or even be caught within a hundred yards of him without a Haz-Mat suit on, but I respected the shamelessness. Breitbart didn’t do anything by halves, and even his most ardent detractors had to admit that he had a highly developed, if not always funny, sense of humor.

You can read the rest of the memorial at the link.

Funny how assholes like Limbaugh and Breitbart are described as “nice” guys when dealing with people away from the cameras or microphones. Women Voter mentioned in the comments that she had a twitter disagreement with Breitbart and he was never out of line…Then you have this “exclusive” from The Hollywood Reporter: Andrew Breitbart Talked Politics in L.A. Bar an Hour Before Dying (Exclusive)

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sando says he arrived at the bar in the tony Brentwood section of L.A. around 10 p.m. and soon the empty seat next to his was filled by a man with a familiar face.

“I tried to figure out how I knew him,” says Sando, a veteran publicity and marketing executive who has worked at CBS, King World Prods and Turner Broadcasting. “He was on his BlackBerry. And I said ‘Andrew?’ I told him I had seen his work.”

Sando says the duo quickly struck up a conversation that would last a little less than two hours.

“He was friendly and engaging,” Sando recalls. “I said, ‘You can’t be very happy with the slate of Republican candidates’ and he said, ‘Why would you say that?’ I said, ‘Well, they’re talking about contraception,’ and he said, ‘The conversation is being framed by the liberal media.’ I said, ‘Well, the media isn’t writing Rick Santorum’s speeches for him.’ We had a back-and-forth for awhile until we said we weren’t going to agree on some things.”

The friendly debate continued in the bar as Breitbart sipped red wine, says Sando. “We just hit it off, he was delightful. There were other people who sat down and joined the conversation.”

I have heard similar stories about Rush…I mean, isn’t Elton John a friend of his?

When Rush did the voice over for a Family Guy episode, Seth MacFarlane said Rush is a really cool, decent guy. (I know that is one misogynist calling the other cool and decent.)

And that Chris Christie is another one…who makes terrible comments about women and so many other things…yet he jokes about himself, and seems like he could be a “nice guy” when he wants to be…I just don’t understand it all.

Eeek, I better move on. I have a lot of stories about other assholes to get to.

I think this makes the third asshole I am writing about today…Sheriff Joe: ‘Probable cause’ Obama certificate a fraud

An investigative “Cold Case Posse” launched six months ago by “America’s toughest sheriff” – Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County – has concluded there is probable cause that the document released by the White House last year as President Obama’s birth certificate is a computer-generated forgery.

Number four…anyone guess who? If you said Roy Blunt, you’d win the boobie prize. Thankfully the Blunt amendment was defeated in Senate

The Senate defeated Sen. Roy Blunt’s amendment to allow employers to refuse to cover health services Thursday, dealing Republicans a high-profile setback in the fight over the Obama administration’s contraception coverage mandate.

The vote is unlikely to end the fight over the contraception rule, though, as Blunt said the issue won’t go away until the administration backs down and gives a broader religious exemption to the coverage mandate.

Numbers five, six and seven if you please:

Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania joined Republicans in support of the amendment.

Number eight is a nice turtle asshole: GOP Struggles To Contain Birth Control Fallout

Yet despite a growing sense that the GOP has veered into politically dangerous territory, a full-scale retreat would embarrass the party, and alienate a powerful segment of its conservative base. And that’s left Republicans little choice but to press ahead, illustrating the dangers they’ll face if election year politicking turns further from the economy toward culture war fights that voters thought were settled decades ago.

The man really looks like a turtle.

Okay, I have lost count…but here is something from a Peach State asshole: Georgia Right-To-Life Strongarms On 20-Week Ban While OB Calls Bill “Heartless”  I have to quote the short post because it all is just to important.

Debate continues in Georgia over a proposed 20-week abortion ban pushed by anti-choice advocates based on the erroneous claim that a fetus can feel pain at that point in its development.  But Georgia Right-to-Life, a key supporter of the bill, is getting concerned that some of the votes they need for passage may be slipping away.

And they aren’t going to let that happen.

Via the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Dan Becker, the president of Georgia Right to Life, is facing off with state House Republicans whom he believes might waver on supporting a bill that would cut the time for elective abortions and tighten medical exemptions for treating pregnant women. His confrontation with Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, who has anti-abortion credentials, left her flustered and complaining near noon Wednesday. Cooper said Becker threatened her political career.

Threats are apparently necessary in order to keep Republican votes in line.  The bill is being panned by numerous doctors who worry that they will not be able to perform life-saving procedures on women with medical complications due to a rule stating that a fetus “must be delivered in a way that tries to keep it alive.”

One anonymous OBGYN who specializes in later terminations calls it heartless to not allow women to abort “medically futile pregnancies.”

As a prominent Atlanta obstetrician told me this week, consider a woman who at 20 weeks discovers that her fetus suffers from anencephaly, which means it’s missing part of its head. The goal of his practice is to see high-risk pregnancies through to a healthy, successful live birth, but sometimes that just isn’t possible.
“The fetus has no skull,” he explained. “I don’t think many of us walk around without a skull. It is not going to survive no matter what you do. We tell the mother what we found, and we let her go through full counseling, grief counseling. And at the end of that, we give her the option of carrying that pregnancy or not.”
Under HB 954, that option would no longer be available.
That fetus will be carried to full term, under the false excuse of sparing it pain, and the result will be a baby “condemned to writhe in agony” as it dies shortly after birth.

Despite listening to the objections of many in the medical profession, the bill was left with no exceptions for a woman’s health or for nonviable pregnancies.

No exceptions…like so many other asshole sponsored bills throughout the country.

Some of this anti-abortion religious conscience crap has been knocked down in the courts over in Scotland. Midwives lose abortion duties case

Two senior midwives have lost a legal case in which they argued that having to supervise staff who carried out abortions violated their human rights.
The two women were challenging a decision by Greater Glasgow Health Board that neither was entitled to refuse to support colleagues involved in abortion procedures.
Judge Lady Smith ruled they were sufficiently removed from direct involvement to afford respect for their beliefs.

Video report at the link, take a look.

This next article is really going to piss some of you off.

Albany Bill Would Bar Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution –  Read the article and tell me WTF is wrong with this crap…

When she worked the streets, Yvette Gonzales said, she frequently saw other prostitutes working without condoms. But they were not having unprotected sex at the request of their customers.
Often, Ms. Gonzales said, the police would confiscate condoms when making a prostitution arrest so they could be used as evidence. And as soon as the prostitutes were released from jail, she said, they would go right back to work without protection; or refrain from carrying condoms at all, for fear of being arrested.
“It breaks my heart,” said Ms. Gonzales, who now works for a nonprofit group, the Positive Health Project, that counsels prostitutes, tests them for infection and provides them with free condoms. “The police need to understand: Don’t take their condoms. You’re taking someone’s health from them.”
Assemblywoman Barbara M. Clark, Democrat of Queens, and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Democrat of Brooklyn, have sponsored a bill to keep the possession of condoms from being used in criminal court as evidence of prostitution. The bill was first introduced in 1999 and has been re-introduced every year since, but has consistently died in committee. This year, its backers express optimism.

When is a crime to carry condoms?

The New York Police Department did not respond to questions about the proposal, but prosecutors said they wanted the option of including condom evidence at trial. “I oppose any law that would restrict our use of evidence,” said Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney. “Prosecutors in my office assess evidence on a case-by-case basis, determining what is appropriate in each situation.”

Excluding certain types of evidence from criminal court is rare, but not unprecedented. One example is the rape shield law, which limits evidence or questions in rape trials about a complainant’s previous sexual conduct.

Ms. Baskin said her organization had become involved in the issue because of the confusion on the issue that sex workers expressed during free legal workshops the group provided. “They’d ask us, ‘How many condoms can I legally carry?’ ” Ms. Baskin said, adding, “That’s a disturbing question, because it’s not a crime to carry condoms.”

I guess when you are a woman…it seems outrageous that a condom, and we are talking unused condoms, in the wrapper…can be used as evidence.

Most criminal cases end with plea deals. But in one that went to trial last year in Manhattan, the defense lawyer, Kate Mogulescu of the Legal Aid Society, tried to have the court exclude from the trial a condom that had been found in her client’s purse. The police said her client had confessed, but that alone was not enough to win a conviction. So prosecutors were using the condom, along with other evidence to corroborate the confession.

The judge, Richard M. Weinberg of Manhattan Criminal Court, said he would take the evidence for what it was worth, but his opinion became apparent when he added, “I’ll tell you again, in the age of AIDS and H.I.V., if people are sexually active at a certain age and they are not walking around with condoms, they are fools.” He acquitted the woman.

Damnit, what kind of society are we living in? I saw a tweet sometime this week that said it is illegal to purchase a dildo in Alabama, yet they are trying to make women have one fitted with an ultrasound device shoved up their vaginas if they want to have an abortion…

It makes me so mad. I want to scream.

Alright, one last link for you…how many assholes have I talked about tonight? Well I can add three more in one shot. ‘Fox & Friends’ Expanding by an Hour

Ay Dios Mio! As if three hours with the gang of bungholes weren’t enough.

That is it, I am off to enjoy a piece of apple pie à la mode. It’s the only thing that will make me feel better. See you later in the comments.