Thursday Reads: Right Wing Blowhards EditionPosted: April 22, 2021 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Alan Dershowitz, Derek Chauvin, Foghorn Leghorn, George Floyd, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. John N. Kennedy, Stacey Abrams, Tucker Carlson 11 Comments
In case you missed it, Louisiana Sen. John N. Kennedy made a fool of himself again yesterday when he made the mistake of trying to put one over on Stacey Abrams. He asked her to explain what is so racist about the Georgia voter suppression law.
HuffPost: Stacey Abrams Goes Viral With 2-Minute Takedown of Georgia Voting Law.
Stacey Abrams continued her crusade against Georgia’s new voting law this week by supplying lawmakers with a laundry list of reasons why she finds the changes both restrictive and racist.
The Democratic voting rights activist has been an outspoken critic of the law, arguing it will have a disproportionate effect on voters of color. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, she came prepared to make her case.
When Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked Abrams to clarify which provisions of Georgia’s new voting law she opposed, she didn’t hold back.
Another lesser blowhard, John Cornyn of Texas, also tried it.
At another point during the four-hour meeting, Abrams got into a tense exchange with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who suggested states controlled by Democrats with similar voting laws hadn’t been subjected to the same criticism as Georgia.
Cornyn pointed to New York and Connecticut, which require that voters provide an accepted excuse ― such as being away from home or having a disability ― to be able to vote by mail, whereas Georgia has no such provision. Noting that laws in many states “need to be improved,” Abrams stated that she believed it was how laws target certain communities that make them racist.“The intent always matters, sir, and that is the point of this conversation,” she said. “That is the point of the Jim Crow narrative. That Jim Crow did not simply look at the activities, it looked at the intent. It looked at the behaviors and it targeted behaviors that were disproportionately used by people of color.”
But getting back to fake good ol’ boy John N. Kennedy, I came across this great 2019 piece at NOLA.com: Who said it: Sen. John Kennedy or Foghorn Leghorn? It’s includes a quiz where you have to guess which blowhard uttered a colorful descriptive phrase.
John Neely Kennedy is the junior U.S. senator from Louisiana who was a key member of Gov. Buddy Roemer’s staff before being elected to five terms as the state treasurer.
Foghorn J. Leghorn is an animated chicken who appeared as a featured character in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons for Warner Bros. Pictures.
Kennedy graduated magna cum laude in political science, philosophy, and economics from Vanderbilt, where he was president of his senior class and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia and his Bachelor of Civil Law degree from Oxford University in England where he was a First Class Honors graduate.
Leghorn starred in 29 cartoons from 1946 to 1964 in what is considered the Golden Age of American Animation, usually tormenting a dog named Dawg while fending off attacks from a feisty young chicken hawk named Henery Hawk.
There is practically no way to get the two confused … unless you are just reading what they have said. Then, it gets a little tricky.
Some sample questions:
“He’s about as sharp as a bowling ball.”
“That’s as subtle as a hand grenade in a bowl of oatmeal.”
“She has a billygoat brain and a mocking bird mouth.”
I urge you to take the quiz and see how you do.
While we’re talking about blowhards making fools of themselves, have you seen any of the tweets about Tucker Carlson’s show lately? The guy seems to have gone off the deep end.
The New York Daily News: Tucker Carlson cackles at, then cuts off an NYC law enforcement expert who breaks with the host’s Derek Chauvin narrative.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson cackled at, then dismissed the opinions of a New York City law enforcement veteran who strayed from the far right-wing pundit’s narrative on Tuesday’s murder conviction of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Carlson’s interview with Former New York City Deputy Sheriff Ed Gavin began with the host leading Gavin with the question “Who’s going to become a cop going forward, do you think?”\Gavin didn’t appear to see police officers as the victims in the killing of George Floyd, where video showed Chauvin kneeling on the victim’s neck for nearly 9½ minutes.
“Well, I think people will still become police officers,” Gavin said. “This really is a learning experience for everyone. Let’s face it, what we saw in that video was pure savagery.”
Carlson crunched his eyebrows as Gavin said that based on his experiences, the “emotionally disturbed” Floyd had been successfully contained — and more — during the “excessive” May 2020 traffic stop that cost him his life. Gavin also said he’d like to see more training for police.
“I’ve used force on literally over 500 people in my 21-year career in the New York City Department of Corrections, and in the New York City Sheriff’s Department,” Gavin said. “I’ve never had anybody go unconscious. That was truly an excessive, unjustified use of force.”
After a bit more of this, Carlson flipped out and claimed that American cities are locked down and boarded up because of nonviolent Black Lives Matter protests.
“Well, yeah, but the guy that did it looks like he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison so I’m kind of more worried about the rest of the country, which thanks to police inaction, in case you haven’t noticed, is, like, boarded up,” Carlson complained before letting loose a shrill, maniacal laugh.
“So that’s more my concern. But I appreciate it, Gavin, thank you,” Carlson quickly added.
The flummoxed officer tried to further illustrate his point, but Carlson ended the segment.
“Nope, done!” the host exclaimed before moving on to his next guest — an author who’d penned a book called “The War on Cops.”
Greg Sargent wrote about Carlson’s weird fantasy about America being shut down by the protests: Opinion: The disturbing link between Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Greene and Carlson agree that Armageddon is gripping U.S. cities and that protests against police brutality are causing it.
Yet Greene’s depiction, too, is false. As Philip Bump demonstrates, Tuesday in D.C. was generally normal despite people feeling tense over the coming verdict, and any police presence in D.C. is a holdover from the threat of right-wing violence after Jan. 6.
Read the rest at The Washington Post.
Alan Dershowitz is also upset about the treatment Derek Chauvin is getting. The Daily Beast: Dershowitz Wants Derek Chauvin Free on Bail: ‘He’s Not Going to Endanger Anybody.’
Appearing on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle on Wednesday night, Dershowitz—who is currently advising pro-Trump pillow magnate Mike Lindell as he faces a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems—first took issue with the White House saying that the “bar for convicting officers is far too high” and reform is still needed.
“We need to apply the same standard to police and ordinary citizens except we have to understand that ordinary citizens have no obligation to risk their lives to prevent an ongoing crime,” he said, adding: “So the rules have to defer and understand and recognize the risks that police take. When it comes to the elements of actual crimes, you can’t bury them. You can’t raise the bar for certain groups of people over other groups of people.”
Host Laura Ingraham then turned to Chauvin, expressing concern that it’s been reported that he’s currently in solitary confinement while also wondering aloud why he’s even in prison.
“Do you think that given what the judge said about an appeal that he probably shouldn’t have even been remanded back into custody?” Ingraham asked, referencing Judge Peter Cahill’s criticism of Rep. Maxine Waters’ protest remarks as potential grounds for appeal.
Acknowledging that “different states have different rules” when it comes to bail for convicted murderers, Dershowitz said that the judge provided “good appellate issues” to the defense.
“He should be released on bail,” Dershowitz declared. “There is no reason why he should be remanded. He’s not going to flee. He wants to have an appeal. He’s not going to endanger anybody. His face is well known.”
How many people who have been convicted of murder get out on bail pending appeals? Is that a regular practice?
People who actually had to deal with Chauvin in the past feel differently, according to this piece from Reuters, via Yahoo News: ‘No sympathy’ for Chauvin, say those who had run-ins before Floyd.
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – For some of those who encountered Derek Chauvin’s policing or witnessed his use of force as an officer there is no sympathy for the man convicted of killing George Floyd.
Chauvin was the subject of at least 17 complaints during his career, according to police records, but only one led to discipline. Prosecutors sought permission to introduce eight prior use-of-force incidents, but the judge would only allow two. In the end the jury heard none.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, has defended his client’s use of force as appropriate in potentially dangerous situations.
“I don’t have no sympathy for him. I think he got what he deserved,” Julian Hernandez, 38, a carpenter now working in Pennsylvania, told Reuters.
Hernandez said he never heard anything from the Minneapolis police after submitting a complaint about Chauvin, who he said “choked him out” during an encounter in a Minneapolis night club in 2015. A spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department declined to comment.
According to Chauvin’s police report, Hernandez failed to follow orders and resisted arrest when Chauvin, who was working as an off-duty security guard, tried to escort him out of a night club. Chauvin’s report said this prompted him to apply “pressure toward his Lingual Artery” to subdue Hernandez.
Hernandez said Chauvin picked him out of the crowd for no reason and quickly escalated to violence. He said Chauvin should have been removed from the police force.
Read more examples at the link.
Sorry this is such an unserious post. That’s just the mood I’m in today, I guess. As always, this is an open thread.
Tuesday Reads: Today’s Blizzard of NewsPosted: November 13, 2018 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Amy Totenberg, arlington cemetery, CNN, Dana Rohrabacker, Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron, Harley Rouda, helicopters and weather, Jim Acosta, Kyrsten Sinema, Marine One, Matthew Whitaker, Stacey Abrams, Ted Olson, veteran's day 22 Comments
We’ve gone through two years with an unfit, incompetent “president,” but I don’t know how much longer we as a country can deal with this quickly worsening situation. Thank goodness the Democrats won the House and will be able to exert some control over this maniac beginning on January 3, 2019. In the meantime, the government is likely going to continue getting more dysfunctional; and every day we’re hit with so much news that it’s impossible to process all of it.
As comic relief, I’m illustrating this post with photos of dogs’ facial expressions when they’re getting treats. Click the link to Vieler Photography to learn more.
Here is some of what’s going on today.
Robin Wright at The New Yorker: Trump Completes a Shameful Trip to Paris, Just as He Needs the Global Stage.
In unrelenting rain, more than sixty world leaders—Presidents and Prime Ministers, kings and princes, from a third of all the nations on Earth—shared big black umbrellas as they marched together down the Champs-Élysées, in Paris, on Sunday. They gathered to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that ended the fighting of the First World War, and to express global unity. Donald Trump was not among them. He drove to the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in the dry comfort of his limousine. Aides cited security. The only apparent threat was from an unarmed topless activist, with the words “Fake Peacemaker” emblazoned across her chest, who tried to run near his motorcade.
The President did the same thing the previous day, calling off a trip to honor the more than two thousand Americans buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, some fifty miles outside of Paris. (All told, fifty thousand Americans died in the First World War.) The White House cited foul weather. The response was fast and furious on the President’s favorite medium. Nicholas Soames, the grandson of the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and a Conservative Party member of the British Parliament, tweeted, “They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen.” He added the hashtag “#hesnotfittorepresenthisgreatcountry.” Michael Beschloss, the Presidential historian, tweeted a picture of President John F. Kennedy and the French President Charles de Gaulle getting soaked (without umbrellas) in Paris when they honored the war dead, in 1961. There were numerous jibes on Twitter, including one from @votevets, about whether the decision had something to do with Trump’s hair. The same day, despite the rain, the leaders of France and Germany managed to visit Compiègne—also fifty miles from Paris—where the Armistice was signed in a railway car a century ago.
Trump flew his entourage almost four thousand miles for the commemoration but showed little interest in most of it. He lunched with his counterparts and offered brief remarks at a second American cemetery. But, otherwise, it was a dud of a trip. His disdain was all the more striking for the fact that he needs the rest of the world more than ever. The U.S. midterm elections produced a divided Congress, limiting movement on major domestic issues for the next two years. As he mounts his reëlection bid for 2020 Trump will need foreign-policy breakthroughs to appear either productive or Presidential. Yet he seems, instead, to be withdrawing further.
And back in Washington, Trump also failed to visit Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day. Today, he’s on Twitter making excuses for his behavior.
At the Atlantic, James Fallows questions the “helicopter can’t fly in the rain” excuse:
Why, exactly, did Donald Trump not join Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, and Justin Trudeau at Saturday’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the original Armistice Day? I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone outside the White House does at this point.
What I do know is that one hypothesis that has shown up in many stories about his no-show—that Marine One, the presidential helicopter, “can’t fly” in the rain—doesn’t make sense.
As you’re looking for explanations, you can dismiss this one. Helicopters can fly just fine in the rain, and in conditions way worse than prevailed in Paris on November 10.
Fallows is a licensed pilot and flew on Marine One when he worked for Jimmy Carter. Click on the link to read why Trump’s excuse is complete bullshit. I hope someone in the Marines speaks up about this.
Trump is also busy trolling Emmanuel Macron on Twitter. The Washington Post: In a morning tweetstorm, Trump takes repeated aim at France’s Macron.
In the first of several barbs Tuesday on Twitter, Trump again misrepresented what Macron had said during last week’s radio interview and reminded him of the U.S. military’s role in aiding France in World War I and II.
“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia,” Trump wrote. “But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two — How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along.”
Trump also inaccurately summarized Macron’s comments when he initially tweeted about them Friday while on Air Force One arriving in Paris. Trump said he found Macron’s comments “very insulting” and said that France should “first pay its fair share of NATO.”
In his tweet on Tuesday, Trump again referenced France’s spending, writing: “Pay for NATO or not!”
I won’t bore you with anymore of the “president’s” churlishness, but there’s more at the link.
Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting AG is being challenged in court. Charlie Savage at The New York Times:
The State of Maryland is expected to ask a federal judge on Tuesday for an injunction declaring that Mr. Whitaker is not the legitimate acting attorney general as a matter of law, and that the position — and all its powers — instead rightfully belongs to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein.
Mr. Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office,” the plaintiffs said in a draft filing obtained by The New York Times.
The legal action escalates the uproar surrounding Mr. Trump’s installation of Mr. Whitaker as the nation’s top law-enforcement officer, from criticism of his basic credentials and his views on the Russia investigation to challenges to the legality of his appointment. Last week, Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate’s top Democrat, sent a letter demanding to know why Mr. Trump chose an “unconfirmed political appointee” as acting attorney general, rather than follow the Justice Department’s statutory line of succession.
Maryland is asking a judge — Ellen L. Hollander of the Federal District Court for the District of Maryland, a 2010 Obama appointee — to rule on who is the real acting attorney general as part of a lawsuit in which it sued Mr. Sessions in his official capacity. Because Mr. Sessions is no longer the attorney general, the judge must substitute his successor as a defendant in the litigation, so she has to decide who that successor legally is.
The stakes are extraordinary. The acting attorney general is the most powerful law enforcement official in the United States and wields tremendous influence, from overseeing criminal and national-security investigations to deciding how to enforce immigration, environmental and civil rights laws.
Rep. Adam Schiff, who will likely chair the House Intelligence Committee next year warns Whitaker in today’s Washington Post: Matthew Whitaker, we’re watching you.
The president and Whitaker should heed this warning: The new Democratic majority will protect the special counsel and the integrity of the Justice Department. Should Whitaker fail to recuse himself — all indications are that he plans not to — and seek to obstruct the investigation, serve as a back channel to the president or his legal team or interfere in the investigations in any way, he will be called to answer. His actions will be exposed.
It is no mystery why the president chose Whitaker, an obscure and ill-qualified official never confirmed by the Senate, which many legal experts believe makes the appointment itself unconstitutional. Trump chose him to protect himself, his family and his close associates from the special counsel’s investigation and other investigations within the Justice Department.
Though I had many profound disagreements with Sessions, he was correct to follow the rules meant to ensure public confidence in the fair administration of justice and recuse himself, even though the president viewed Sessions’s compliance as a singular act of disloyalty. We must demand the highest ethical standards of everyone at the Justice Department, including the attorney general.
There is no indication that Whitaker has likewise consulted with ethics officials, as his past public statements, associations and the manner of his appointment make clear that he should have no role in overseeing the special counsel’s investigation or any matter related to the president and his campaign.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
CNN has decided to quit playing around with Trump and Sarah Huckleberry. NBC News: CNN files lawsuit against Trump administration over Jim Acosta’s press credentials.
CNN has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for revoking correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials, the network said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” a statement from CNN reads.
The network filed the suit in a Washington, D.C., district court, according to the statement, saying they have asked for “an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned” to Acosta.
Listed as defendants in the suit are Trump in addition to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, and the U.S. Secret Service and its director Randolph Alles and an unnamed Secret Service agent….
The lawsuit says that Acosta and CNN have been favorite targets of the administration, adding that they intend this suit to “ensure that the press remains free to question the government and to report the business of the nation to the American people.”
A number of derogatory tweets and comments made by Trump about CNN are mentioned in the suit. The suit noted that Trump retweeted “a video depicting him tackling and punching a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his face, adding the comments ‘#FraudNewsCNN’ and ‘#FNN.'”
Read more at NBC News. Interestingly, CNN is represented by legendary conservative attorney Ted Olson, who turned down Trump’s attempts to hire him.
Counting of votes from last Tuesday’s election continues in several states. Yesterday, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner of Jeff Flake’s Senate seat in Arizona. Russia-friendly Dana Rohrabacher lost to Democrat Democrat Harley Rouda. The Florida recounts continue, and Democrat Stacey Abrams is still holding out in Georgia.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Judge orders review of provisional ballots in Georgia election.
A federal judge on Monday ordered election officials to review thousands of provisional ballots that haven’t been counted in Georgia’s close election for governor.
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg’s order calls for a hotline for voters to check if their provisional ballots were counted, a review of voter registrations, and updated reports from the state government about why many voters were required to use provisional ballots.
The court decision comes as votes are still being counted in the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams trails Kemp and would need to gain more than 20,000 additional votes to force a runoff election.
Totenberg said she’s providing “limited, modest” relief to help protect voters. The order preserves Tuesday’s deadline for county election offices to certify results and the Nov. 20 deadline for Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden to certify the election. The ruling enjoins Crittenden from certifying the election before Friday at 5 p.m.
Amy Totenberg is the sister of NPR’s SCOTUS reporter Nina Totenberg.
That’s it for me. What stories are you following today?