Mostly Monday ReadsPosted: October 24, 2022 Filed under: just because | Tags: #BlackVotesMatter, #WeWillNotGoBack #BansOffOurBodies #BodilyAutonomy #ReproductiveJustice #AbortionIsHealthcare #AbortionEqualsLiberty #LiberateAbortion #NiUnaMenos #SomosMujeresNoObjetos #AbortoLegal #AidAndAbetAborti, Access to Voting, Republican Mid Term 2022 Candidates MAGA NUTS, Trump family crime syndicate and grift rodeo, VOTE, voting rights 25 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
It’s a strange day in this country when I’m tweeting Bill Kristol quoting Liz Cheney. But here we are. Your vote really counts more than ever. Be sure you have a plan and means to do it!
This sticker is one of my favorites on my file cabinet of stickers by my desk. I have voted yet, but I will walk up Poland Avenue to the old fire station to vote as I usually do. The poll workers there know that I dedicate my vote to my Grandmothers, who could not vote until they were well into their 30s. I believe these wonderful ladies are there because they grew up when voting black meant Jim Crow laws stopped their parents and grandparents.
I’ve never felt closer to being disenfranchised as I do now. New Orleans has been a safe place to exercise all your rights, but Louisiana is quick to halt that. Nothing was more dismaying to me than passing the uptown Women’s Health Center closed down tight. We cannot take anything for granted anymore.
Vote like your life depends on it because it does!
And nothing says KKK-style voter suppression than this tweet from a Navy Veteran with his grandson asleep in the back seat.
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk, sermon, and prayer and saving my life and yours …
This is from Bob Woodward and the Washington Post: “The Trump Tapes: 20 interviews that show why he is an unparalleled danger.” It’s about what’s at stake. I may not be able to listen to that sing-songy fountain of ignorance, but I will read the transcripts.
In more than 50 years of reporting, I have never disclosed the raw interviews or full transcripts of my work. But after listening again to the 20 interviews I conducted with President Donald Trump during his last year as chief executive, I have decided to take the unusual step of releasing them. I was struck by how Trump pounded in my ears in a way the printed page cannot capture.
In their totality, these interviews offer an unvarnished portrait of Trump. You hear Trump in his own words, in his own voice, during one of the most consequential years in American history: amid Trump’s first impeachment, the coronavirus pandemic and large racial justice protests.
Much has been written about that period, including by me. But “The Trump Tapes,” my forthcoming audiobook of our interviews, is central to understanding Trump as he is poised to seek the presidency again. We spoke in person in the Oval Office and at Mar-a-Lago, as well as on the phone at varying hours of the day. You cannot separate Trump from his voice.
In the summer of 2020, for example, when the pandemic had killed 140,000 people in the United States, Trump told me: “The virus came along. That’s not my fault. That’s China’s fault.”
Voting all the way down the ticket has never been more critical. My mother’s home state of Missouri shows why. This is from the Springfield News-Leader, written by Nurse Trudy Busch Valentine: “Missouri’s extreme abortion ban is un-American.”
As a nurse, I have helped care for people during the most difficult moments of their lives, including women who had just lost pregnancies. But no matter whose bedside I was at, I knew that every patient deserved the same fundamental thing: the freedom to make their own private health care decisions, including decisions about abortion and birth control.
Tragically, here in Missouri, women and families no longer have that freedom. Just six minutes after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Eric Schmitt became the country’s first attorney general to trigger a near-total abortion ban. Missouri’s law is so extreme that it mandates women and girls who become pregnant through rape or incest stay pregnant. That kind of government overreach is un-American and a violation of all Missourians’ right to privacy and freedom.
As a nurse, mother, and grandmother, I know no one chooses to terminate a pregnancy lightly. It is a heartbreaking and personal decision made with no good alternative: rape survivors recovering from trauma, women with pregnancies that could kill them, and families devastated with news that the fetus is not viable. These are people who deserve privacy and compassion during a gut-wrenching, emotional process. The last thing they and their doctors need is fewer choices, the threat of prosecution, and politicians mandating their health care options. And we must remember Schmitt’s extreme abortion ban especially hurts those among us who have the least — people who can’t afford to take off work and who don’t have resources to get to another state.
If politicians like Eric Schmitt can take away our basic freedom to control our own bodies, what right comes next? Do we want to live in a world where politicians can reach into our private lives and dictate our most private decisions?
Florida is another state where rights are disappearing daily. This is from The Daily Beast. “Florida Puts Raging MAGA Moms on Book-Banning Council.”
In the name of “curriculum transparency,” Florida’s Republican-controlled state government has appointed several anti-gay and anti-mask conspiracy theorists to take charge of a new effort at public schools: banning books.
This hastily assembled censorship council—tasked with retraining public school librarians to abide by new restrictions—is the latest ploy in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ crusade to upend the state’s education system.
But the council was also staffed under suspicious circumstances, with the state Education Department ignoring its own call for official candidates from local school districts and instead filling most of the slots with right-wing activists who have a history of proposing book bans. One was even nominated by a religious activist with close ties to the DeSantis administration a week before the department publicly called for candidates, according to government emails, hinting at secret coordination between them.
“It calls into question the process that the Florida State Board of Education is trying to implement. It raises significant transparency questions,” said Megan Uzzell at Democracy Forward, which obtained those government emails.
While the “parent workgroup” is only getting started, the Education Department’s recent meeting in Orlando last week revealed how the state is positioning itself to spread those controls from school libraries to teachers’ classrooms.
As the meeting ended, Clinton McCkracken, the head of the Orange County teachers union, made a comment to another parent: “I don’t know what to tell my teachers.”
The recent episode began with an Aug. 12 memo from Education Department senior chancellor Jacob Oliva. The memo called for local school districts to nominate “parents of students in K-12 schools for representation on a workgroup”—one charged with creating mandatory “training” that would guide librarians statewide on how to follow new library censorship rules signed into law by Gov. DeSantis earlier this year. School districts had a week to submit the names of qualified nominees.
The Education Department passed on nearly 100 potentially qualified applicants with relevant experience, records show. In Brevard County alone, it ignored the five submissions made by the bipartisan local school board, including the nomination of a former elementary school assistant principal, the director of Eastern Florida State College’s tutoring centers, and the administrator of a local scholarship fund.
One of the worst Republican Candidates in the country is undoubtedly Doug Mastriano “How did Doug Mastriano publish a PhD-earning thesis that critics allege is full of problems? Critics argue Doug Mastriano received a Ph.D. from the University of New Brunswick under questionable circumstances. The school recently opened an independent review, years after academics began flagging his doctorate-earning thesis; Johanna Chisholm investigates.”
The following two stories are from The Independent.
And it’s not just Mr Mastriano’s work as a historian that’s been called out for allegedly moulding narratives to fit his own personal – and political – persuasions. His pursuit of righting the academic history of Sgt York seemed to presage his own race for the Pennsylvania governor’s mansion.
In the months before and after announcing his candidacy for governor, the GOP hopeful has acted as a megaphone for spreading Donald Trump’s Big Lie, taken to social media to amplify QAnon conspiracy theories and dispersed misinformation about Covid-19 all while sitting as an elected official in Pennsylvania.
Should he win in the November midterms, the election-denying candidate has indicated he also plans to upset the very democratic process that made him a state senator.
You may follow live updates on the Trump Crime Organization Trial today. “Trump news – live: Trump Organization trial begins as ex-president rails against ‘puppet for China’ McConnell. Ex-president faces increasing legal pressure on multiple fronts.”
Donald Trump’s business, the Trump Organization, will face trial in New York today on allegations that it helped executives avoid income taxes on their pay. The trial is part of the same case that has ensnared the organization’s CFO, longtime Trump associate Allen Weisselberg.
The trial comes just after he was officially subpoenaed by the January 6 select committee. The former president has been given until 4 November to provide the committee with documents, and it is aiming to take “one or more days of deposition testimony” circa 14 November.
Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney has vowed she will not let him turn his testimony into a “circus”.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump has railed against his favourite target Mitch McConnell, calling the Senate minority leader “old crow” and accusing him of being a “puppet” for China.
I just want them all to go away! Trump needs to be locked up in a place for the criminally insane, along with most of his followers!
Just Vote them into obscurity!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Finally Friday Reads: Republicans Breaking Bad EditionPosted: October 7, 2022 Filed under: just because | Tags: and other militia traitors, Oath-Keepers, Proud Boys, Trump family crime syndicate and grift rodeo, Trump's High Crimes and Misdemeanors 16 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
There is so much abnormality to the behavior of the Republican Party these days that it’s difficult to characterize the news that comes to light about them. We keep getting headlines that are shocking but not surprising. They all are off in the deep end. Take this headline from The Guardian: “US justice department says Trump didn’t turn over all documents. Investigators are skeptical Trump has been fully cooperative in efforts to recover documents, reports says, which will force difficult choice on next steps.” BB has covered the story in detail, and every day there’s something new.
The US Department of Justice has told lawyers for Donald Trump it thinks he has not handed back all the documents he took from the White House, the New York Times reported.
The paper said Jay Bratt, the DoJ head of counterintelligence operations, communicated with lawyers for Trump “in recent weeks”.
The news, the Times said, is “the most concrete indication yet that investigators remain skeptical that Mr Trump has been fully cooperative in their efforts to recover documents … supposed to have [been] turned over to the National Archives at the end of his term”.
Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor, said the news “looks like a major step toward an indictment of Trump by DoJ for obstruction of justice”.
The Herschel Walker stories just get juicier by the day. This is accompanied by the characteristic hypocrisy of White Evangelicals who simply do not care about his obvious brain damage, moral deficiencies, and lack of intellect. This is from The Washington Post: “GOP crisis in Herschel Walker race was nearly two years in the making. In Georgia, Republicans are stuck with a problematic Senate candidate they saw coming but decided they couldn’t stop”
In early 2021, as football star Herschel Walker considered running for Senate, he approached some of Georgia’s top Republican operatives about advising his campaign. The operatives were warned about political vulnerabilities in Walker’s past — including allegations of violence against women — that were openly discussed in the state’s political circles, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Walker’s reaction to being confronted with the allegations was also troubling, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. When the consultants would ask the candidate about incidents even in the public record, he would often get simultaneously defensive and aggressive, accusing the questioner of being a Democratic plant or ally of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the minority leader.
Those consultants passed on working with Walker, but he pressed ahead with his campaign. After all, Walker’s overwhelming name recognition in Georgia as a Heisman Trophy-winning football star and backing from former president Donald Trump instantly made him so formidable that state and national Republican leaders didn’t mount a serious challenge in the primary, despite concerns about Walker’s baggage.
Now, less than five weeks before the midterm elections, they’re stuck with him as those liabilities threaten to dominate the news and derail his campaign in a state widely viewed as a must-win for Republicans to retake the Senate.
This is a party that no longer has a platform. Their only agenda appears to be power at any cost to ensure anyone who is not a white male christianist is disenfranchised from their constitutional rights and standing. The other is ensuring taxes are only paid by poor people. They’re empowered by dark money and now a weird cult of brown-shirt militias ready and willing to commit violence to the cause of White Nationalism and patriarchy. The Oath Keepers Trial is just surreal. I’m not sure the press quite knows how to report it.
I am looking forward to Rachel Maddow’s latest podcast, “Ultra” which outlines the last time we had to deal with NAZIs in our midst.
Sitting members of Congress aiding and abetting a plot to overthrow the government. Insurrectionists criminally charged with plotting to end American democracy for good. Justice Department prosecutors under crushing political pressure. Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra is the all-but-forgotten true story of good, old-fashioned American extremism getting supercharged by proximity to power. When extremist elected officials get caught plotting against America with the violent ultra right, this is the story of the lengths they will go to… to cover their tracks. Follow now and join Rachel Maddow for the first two episodes on October 10th.
You may read the interview with her at Rolling Stone. “The MSNBC host’s eight-part series explores what the prosecution of American fascists in the WW II era can teach us about accountability for Jan. 6”. So, I’m hoping that puts all this into perspective. The article is from Maddow Blog.
As part of the proceedings, federal prosecutors revealed a recording in which Rhodes said just days after the Jan. 6 attack that his “only regret” about that day is that members of his pro-Trump paramilitary group didn’t bring rifles.
In other words, the assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to the Oath Keepers founder, wasn’t quite violent enough.
Part of what makes these developments striking is the seriousness of the details. Prosecutors have alleged that Rhodes and his confederates conspired to use force to stop the peaceful transfer of power. To that end, they not only breached the Capitol, they also stashed a significant number of weapons, including grenades, just outside of D.C. in preparation for an escalated offensive.
Federal law enforcement has also alleged that it believes Oath Keepers members intended to launch a second armed attack intended to prevent President Joe Biden from taking office.
But as Rachel noted on last night’s show, there’s also a historical dimension to this: Rhodes’ case is the largest sedition trial in the United States since World War II. Charges like these are incredibly uncommon — Americans rarely try to overthrow their own government — and hard to prove.
That said, as a New York Times report explained, “Because of the nature of the Oath Keepers’ defense — and because of the government’s wealth of evidence — the trial is less likely to focus on disputes over what the group did in the days and weeks leading up to Jan. 6 than it is to hinge on the question of why they did it.”
It is difficult for me to understand the thirst for violence, insurrection, and overall destruction of our American Democracy. It just keeps popping up. There are some already arguing that we’re in a second civil war. This is from the New York Times: “After Mar-a-Lago Search, Talk of ‘Civil War’ Is Flaring Online.” How stupid are these people?
Soon after the F.B.I. searched Donald J. Trump’s home in Florida for classified documents, online researchers zeroed in on a worrying trend.
Posts on Twitter that mentioned “civil war” had soared nearly 3,000 percent in just a few hours as Mr. Trump’s supporters blasted the action as a provocation. Similar spikes followed, including on Facebook, Reddit, Telegram, Parler, Gab and Truth Social, Mr. Trump’s social media platform. Mentions of the phrase more than doubled on radio programs and podcasts, as measured by Critical Mention, a media-tracking firm.
Posts mentioning “civil war” jumped again a few weeks later, after President Biden branded Mr. Trump and “MAGA Republicans” a threat to “the very foundations of our republic” in a speech on democracy in Philadelphia.
Now experts are bracing for renewed discussions of civil war, as the Nov. 8 midterm elections approach and political talk grows more urgent and heated.
More than a century and a half after the actual Civil War, the deadliest war in U.S. history, “civil war” references have become increasingly commonplace on the right. While in many cases the term is used only loosely — shorthand for the nation’s intensifying partisan divisions — observers note that the phrase, for some, is far more than a metaphor.
Polling, social media studies and a rise in threats suggest that a growing number of Americans are anticipating, or even welcoming, the possibility of sustained political violence, researchers studying extremism say. What was once the subject of serious discussion only on the political periphery has migrated closer to the mainstream.
But while that trend is clear, there is far less agreement among experts about what it means.
Some elements of the far right view it literally: a call for an organized battle for control of the government. Others envision something akin to a drawn-out insurgency, punctuated with eruptions of political violence, such as the attack on the F.B.I.’s Cincinnati field office in August. A third group describes the country as entering a “cold” civil war, manifested by intractable polarization and mistrust, rather than a “hot” war with conflict.
Given the idiots we see coming to politics as Trumpists, I think it’s a literal call to battle. Let’s not forget the case against the Proud Boys.
These groups go after the military, veterans, and police officers. This is from Empty Wheel.
While the Oath Keepers, like the Proud Boys, intentionally recruit law enforcement, the Proud Boys have been better at co-opting cops. Around five of the charged Proud Boys were former or still cops when charged. Tarrio had been a formal informant during a prior criminal prosecution. And several other members of the Proud Boys, including Joe Biggs, provided information to the FBI about what they claimed were Antifa.
Biggs described his own relationship with the FBI this way:
By late 2018, Biggs also started to get “cautionary” phone calls from FBI agents located in Jacksonville and Daytona Beach inquiring about what Biggs meant by something politically or culturally provocative he had said on the air or on social media concerning a national issue, political parties, the Proud Boys, Antifa or other groups. Biggs regularly satisfied FBI personnel with his answers. He also stayed in touch with a number of FBI agents in and out of Florida. In late July 2020, an FBI Special Agent out of the Daytona Beach area telephoned Biggs and asked Biggs to meet with him and another FBI agent at a local restaurant. Biggs agreed. Biggs learned after he travelled to the restaurant that the purpose of the meeting was to determine if Biggs could share information about Antifa networks operating in Florida and elsewhere. They wanted to know what Biggs was “seeing on the ground.” Biggs did have information about Antifa in Florida and Antifa networks in other parts of the United States. He agreed to share the information. The three met for approximately two hours. After the meeting, Biggs stayed in touch with the agent who had called him originally to set up the meeting. He answered follow-up questions in a series of several phone calls over the next few weeks. They spoke often.
This is the same office where an FBI Agent, in August, refused to participate in the arrest of militia-associated men who planned to bring weapons to January 6. The agent then ran to Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, bitching, after his clearance was suspended because he didn’t like the way FBI was running domestic terrorism investigations.
The single FBI informant known to have been present on January 6 appears not to have told his handlers about a meeting he was at the night before where using violence was discussed. And so DOJ has given two members of the Kansas City Proud Boy cell who were with him — Ryan Ashlock and Louis Colon — unbelievably sweet plea deals, I suspect to sustain the rest of the cases against the Proud Boys.
Both Tarrio and Biggs have made specific requests for their own communications with law enforcement — in Tarrio’s case, he claims it is Brady material. That is, they plan to argue they couldn’t be guilty of plotting against the government because they’ve been so chummy with often right wing authoritarian cops in the past.
Notice one of the rogue FBI agents ran to two Republican congressmen. We haven’t even begun to hear about the complicity of Republican elected officials in the January 6th insurrection, the fake electors scheme, and their relationships to militias and other kook cults.
Let’s dive into the Politico story. These guys do scare me because think of how many angry white men basically decide to take out innocent women and children when they finally explode. Elmer’s wife and kids have a right to be frightened.
Bertino, who previously testified to the Jan. 6 select committee, was involved in key conversations and chats with other members of the group, including national chair Enrique Tarrio and other leaders facing seditious conspiracy charges in the weeks before Jan. 6.
Tarrio is set to go on trial in December, along with Proud Boys Ethan Nordean, Joe Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola, who was the first member of the Jan. 6 mob to breach the Capitol when he shattered a Senate-wing window with a police riot shield.
Prosecutors say Tarrio and his allies developed a plan to besiege the Capitol, relying on — and in fact organizing and spurring on — members of the mob to help break through police lines and get inside the Capitol. It was part of an effort that prosecutors say was intended to disrupt the peaceful transfer of presidential power.
Kelly accepted Bertino’s plea after asking Bertino a series of standard questions to ensure, under oath, that Bertino entered it voluntarily and without being threatened or coerced.
The seditious conspiracy charges against the Proud Boys leaders are the gravest leveled by the Justice Department against any of the more than 850 defendants charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Bertino was briefly featured during video testimony aired by the Jan. 6 select committee during its first public hearing in June. He described a surge in Proud Boys membership after then-President Donald Trump urged the group to “stand back and stand by” during a debate against Joe Biden.
“Would you say that Proud Boys numbers increased after the stand back, stand by comment?” an investigator asked.
“Exponentially. I’d say tripled probably,” Bertino replied.
Several leaders of the far-right Oath Keepers, including founder Stewart Rhodes, are currently on trial for seditious conspiracy as well, just down the hall from where Bertino entered his plea. Prosecutors say they spent the weeks after Election Day fomenting an “armed rebellion” against the government and seizing on the opportunity created by the Jan. 6 mob to disrupt the transfer of power.
These cases are very interesting. As I said, I’m looking forward to listening to Maddow’s podcast. I was a history major at university, and I’d never heard this story. I hope we can get some insight into what happens as we move deeper into holding Trump and his droogies accountable.
Don’t forget! Trump asked the Supreme Court to intervene in his documents case, which is sitting on Uncle Clarence Thomas’ desk. What do you want to bet Ginnie’s fingerprints are all over it now? Is it a Trump stall play? A Hail Mary? All I know is the Supreme Court and Judge Loose Cannon have gone to the dogs now.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Caturday Reads (kat edition)Posted: January 22, 2022 Filed under: just because | Tags: Racism, religious extremists, Sexism, Trump family crime syndicate and grift rodeo, white nationalism 24 Comments
Happy Saturday Sky Dancers!
BB is still having issues with her sciatica so I’ll be sitting in the catbird seat today again!
An interesting article showed up today in The Washington Post suggesting that one day in 1973 changed our country. I was a junior in high school and remember the day and events. However, I never viewed it as being that significant. See what you think. “Jan. 22, 1973: The day that changed America” written by James D. Robenalt.
It was a day unlike any other in U.S. history. Jan. 22, 1973, was the day Henry Kissinger flew to Paris to end the Vietnam War for the United States. It was the day the Supreme Court issued its opinion on abortion rights in Roe v. Wade. And it was the day the nation’s 36th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, died of a heart attack in Texas at 64.
Few days have represented such a turning point in the trajectory of our history, and what happened that day started a chain reaction that turned politically nuclear, leaving us with the current landscape of unbridgeable divides.
Less than a decade earlier, the American populace had seemed as united as ever in a time of landslide elections and political consensus. The disintegration of that unity began well before Jan. 22, 1973, but no date more fully captures the end of the spirit of the ’60s and the start of a darker era of seemingly permanent political schism.
More than anything, the Roe ruling drew an enduring red line through American politics, where compromise was impossible and opponents were not only wrong but wicked. Every year since 1973, D.C. has been flooded in the days around Jan. 22 with antiabortion protesters for what has become known as the March for Life. (Last year’s events were called off because of the coronavirus, yet many still came to Washington. This year, despite the ongoing pandemic, the gathering took place Friday.) Promoters refer to the event as “the world’s largest annual human rights demonstration.”
The vaccine requirements for certain events at this year’s march sparked a vicious online battle, with many abortion opponents asserting that vaccines cause abortions or are produced using fetal cells. “It is tragic that a PRO-LIFE organization would be coerced into promoting ground-up murdered baby injections!” one person posted in the comments on the March for Life website. “This is evil.”
The radicalization of our politics would not have seemed possible to the actors who made Jan. 22, 1973, such a fateful day.
I do have to say that after a few years of just being relieved that women were no longer subjected to state control I had no idea there was a group of hardcore fanatics that would twist and turn every reality about the human reproduction process and gestation period into something unrecognizable and so focused on protohumans and unaware that viable 3rd term babies are simply born. For me, it was just my first introduction to hard-core idiots. We just used to call them “holy rollers” and got a good laugh at them if we saw their tents anywhere between our trips from Omaha to Kansas City on the backroads.
You can read the rest at the link including a triggering walk down Nixon Lane.
Mississippi Today reports that “Every Black Mississippi senator walked out as white colleagues voted to ban critical race theory. The historic, unprecedented walkout came over a vote on the academic theory that state education officials and Republican lawmakers acknowledge is not even taught in Mississippi.” This is reported by Bobby Harrison. The theory is clearly the new black welfare queen with a Cadillac trope. It’s another example of hard-core idiots. The struggle continues.
Every Black Mississippi senator walked out of the chamber Friday, choosing not to vote on a bill that sponsors said would prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in the state’s public schools and colleges and universities.
The historic, unprecedented walkout came over a vote on the academic theory that state education officials and Republican lawmakers acknowledge is not even taught in Mississippi. Republicans hold supermajority control of the Senate, meaning they can pass any bill without a single Democratic vote.
“We walked out as a means to show a visible protest to these proceedings,” state Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson, said of the unprecedented action.
In 1993, Black caucus members left before then-Gov. Kirk Fordice delivered his State of the State speech in protest of his policies. But no Capitol observer could recall an instance of members leaving en mass in protest before a vote on a bill.
“We felt like it was a bill that was not deserving of our vote,” said Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville. “We have so many issues in the state that need to be addressed. We did not need to spend time on this.
“Even the author of the bill (Michael McLendon, R-Hernando) said this was not occurring in Mississippi,” Simmons continued.
Yes, it is also now the partial-birth abortion myth of Racism. It’s yet another law designed to signal hard-core idiots to panic over a nonexistent situation also. And speaking of hard-core idiots, let’s see today’s reads on The Oath Keepers.
Erin Mansfield / Stars & Stripes: Leaked Oath Keepers list names 20 current military members
When they enlisted in the military, they swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, and to obey the orders all the way up to those from the president of the United States.
But then, while still in the service, they went on to swear a different allegiance — one to the now extremist, anti-government Oath Keepers. Dozens of military members vowed they would never obey potential government orders that group leaders considered acts of war or cause for a revolution.
At least 20 are still serving.
USA TODAY confirmed with all five branches of the U.S. military that 81 people signed up for the Oath Keepers while in uniform. The names are from a hacked list that a watchdog group shared with journalists last fall. The military members are in addition to the 40 current and former law enforcement officers USA TODAY confirmed in October 2021.
The Defense Department has known for decades that its members were joining extremist groups but often did not punish them, instead keeping in place a vague policy that banned their active participation, such as through fundraising or recruiting.
In December, the Defense Department clarified more than a dozen examples of active participation, but it’s unclear whether joining the Oath Keepers and remaining a member of the militia would run afoul of the new rules.
CNN: Videos show ‘Stop the Steal’ rally organizer saying he would work with extremist groups
An organizer of the “Stop the Steal” rallies that preceded the attack on the US Capitol a year ago said he would work with two extremist groups, who later had members charged in the attack, about providing security and housing for the January 6, 2021, rally in Washington.
In previously unreported videos from the social media platform Periscope reviewed by CNN’s KFile, Ali Alexander, a leader of the “Stop the Steal” rally and a central figure in the House select committee’s investigation of January 6, said he would reach out to the right-wing Proud Boys and Oath Keepers on providing security for the event. Both groups later had members charged in the attack on the Capitol, including conspiracy. Last week, the Justice Department charged the Oath Keepers leader and 10 others with seditious conspiracy related to the attack.
Alexander has not been charged or implicated in any unlawful act. He has denied working with anyone, including lawmakers or extremist groups, to attack the Capitol.
In other videos removed from Periscope — it’s unknown who removed the videos, when and why — Alexander claimed to describe further details of his communications and coordination with several Congressional Republicans pushing to overturn the election result. The lawmakers have denied planning rallies or coordinating with Alexander in any way.
And finally, from Lawfare: What Does the Seditious Conspiracy Indictment Mean For the Oath Keepers?
Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke at length recently on the Justice Department’s expansive efforts to prosecute “all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law—whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.” President Biden pointedly referred to the events of the day as “an armed insurrection … looking to subvert the Constitution.” Indeed, the prosecution of Rhodes and his co-defendants serves to elevate these Oath Keepers to a new tier of criminal conduct, into territory far more significant than trespassing, assault or obstruction of a congressional proceeding. This indictment may also serve as a warning to other high-level members of domestic violent extremist movements who allegedly engaged in similar conspiracies, including Proud Boys leaders such as Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs and potentially Proud Boys president Enrique Tarrio.
The arrest of Stewart Rhodes is likely to serve as a short-term blow to the operational activities of the Oath Keepers as a formal entity. The indictment against him makes it clear how important he is to the organization. He allegedly ran point on creating online encrypted groups where he pushed out orders to his followers. In one chat, entitled “Leadership intel sharing secured,” he noted two days after the November election, “We aren’t getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit[.]” Four days later, he led an online go-to meeting with fellow Oath Keepers where he “outlined a plan to stop the lawful transfer of presidential powers,” according to charging documents. While Oath Keepers general counsel Kellye SoRelle announced she is taking over as acting president, it is unclear what a post-Rhodes Oath Keepers organization will look like, or whether it will enjoy the same significance in anti-government circles without Rhodes. Rhodes played an outsized role in the organization and, in many ways, was the glue that kept the group together.
As the prosecution of Rhodes and hundreds of other Capitol Hill Siege defendants continues, it is more crucial than ever to ensure the government’s efforts to combat domestic violent extremism focus not only on the individual hierarchical groups and brands like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys but also on their ideological adherents who may not formally join organized groups. The government’s indictment makes it apparent that Rhodes felt the events of Jan. 6 were far from a final crescendo of anti-government activity in the United States, noting that after the inauguration, Rhodes “messaged others to organize local militias to oppose President Biden’s Administration.”
This is from The Mother Jones link cited in the above Tweet. You can read the precise details there.
In court filings this week, the Justice Department further revealed the scope of the alleged plot by Oath Keepers to mobilize a heavily armed “quick reaction force” (also known as a “QRF”) just outside of downtown Washington, part of a plan to unleash violence in the nation’s capital and stop the lawful transfer of the presidency to Joe Biden. One filing, a detention memo in the case against Oath Keeper Edwards Vallejo of Arizona, hints that more people could yet be charged in connection with the conspiracy. Evidence it contains also shows that extremists have embraced Trump’s most recent rhetoric reinforcing the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him through fraud, messaging that continues to fuel a violent far-right movement.
Ed Pilkington–writing for The Guardian–elucidates the troubles of the Trump Family Crime Syndicate. “House of Trump is crumbling’: why ex-president’s legal net is tightening”.
In a new filing released this week designed to pressure Trump and two of his children – Ivanka and Donald Jr – into facing questioning, James forensically dissects how such strikingly large valuations came about. The 2011 estimate for the Scottish property, her investigators discovered, included an estimated £75,000 ($120,000 at 2011 exchange rates) for undeveloped land at the site.
Investigating deeper, they found that the figure had been created for an article in Forbes magazine. The revelation prompted a line in this week’s filing that must be among the tartest in US financial history.
“It thus appears,” James writes, “that the valuation of Trump Aberdeen used for Mr Trump’s financial statement was prepared for purposes of providing information to Forbes magazine in a quote.”
James’s legal document is packed with similarly juicy titbits. The 2014 value of the Scottish golf club was based in part on the projected sale price of 2,500 houses on the land, even though none of the houses actually existed and the company had planning permission for only half that number.
In 1995 the Trump Organization bought a parcel of land in Westchester, New York, known as the Seven Springs Estate, for $7.5m. By 2004 it was valued at $80m and by 2014 at $291m. That 2014 figure, James notes in another exquisitely tart reference, included a valuation of $161m for “seven non-existent mansions”.
The juiciest titbit of all concerns Trump’s former home, the gilded Fifth Avenue temple to his own ego dubbed “Versailles in the sky”, in which he lived before moving into the White House. James’s investigators were puzzled to find the Trump Tower triplex in Manhattan was listed at $327m in 2015, based on the apartment’s size, allegedly 30,000 sq feet.
In fact the property is 11,000 sq feet, which produces a value of $117m. That’s an overstatement in Trump’s official financial statements of more than $200m.
You might think this family of hard-core idiots was talking about the size of fish caught or the length of the family jewels.
James is pursuing her investigation as a civil case, which means that were Trump to be found liable it could cost him heavily in fines and penalties. More seriously, James is working in coordination with the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, a similarly tenacious and relentless prosecutor equipped with a large and highly experienced team of investigators.
Bragg is asking exactly the same questions as James: did the Trump Organization commit accounting, bank, tax or insurance fraud? The critical difference is that Bragg’s investigation is criminal, threatening Trump not with fines but prison time.
“Trump could end up in an orange jumpsuit at the end of that one,” said Timothy O’Brien, a senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.
So, history rolls on and rolls over a lot of people. Just remember, we’ll shortly enter the Year of the Tiger.
The Year of the Rat (2020) was about survival, and the Year of the Ox (2021) was about anchoring ourselves in a new reality. The Year of the Tiger will be about making big changes. This will be a year of risk-taking and adventure. We’re finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everyone is fired up, generosity is at an all-time high and social progress feels possible again.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Friday Reads: The party of kooks and nuttersPosted: June 4, 2021 Filed under: fundamentalist Christians, Israel, religious extremists | Tags: Grifters gotta Grift, Republican Jesus, Trump family crime syndicate and grift rodeo 5 Comments
Hi Sky Dancers!
I really was looking for something meaty to post about today but there seems to be mostly about the slide of the Republican Party into abject delusion and insanity. Last night, on Brian Williams, I had to look twice at the sight of Rudy Guiliani basically being a hype man for the My Pillow psycho. Guiliani evidently has a youtube channel and last night’s performance of abject fellating of a man that could help him with his legal bills was eye-opening. I thought it resembled that old Dan Ackroyd SNL character.
This is from Newsweek: “Rudy Giuliani Features MyPillow Ads as Mike Lindell Says Donald Trump Will Be President in August’.
Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for Republican former President Donald Trump, is running advertisements for MyPillow on his YouTube show. Meanwhile, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has publicly said that Trump will return to the White House in August despite losing the 2020 election.
“I’m been sleeping on MyPillows for some time. I love them. They’re simply the very best pillows ever made,” Giuliani said in the most recent episode of his YouTube show, Rudy Giuliani’s Common Sense. The 53-minute episode asked whether UFOs are real, in reference to a forthcoming Pentagon report on UFOs.
Giuliani continued the ad by stating that he “just found out” that MyPillow also offers other non-pillow products. When mentioning their slippers, he brandished a pair at the camera.
BB talked about some of this craziness yesterday. I think he’s doing his usual signalling to the hounds of hell to give him another coup attempt in August. This is Amanda Marcotte’s take:”How do we report on Trump’s dastardly schemes without amplifying his lies and incitement? Trump’s blog failed, so he’s inciting followers through media leaks. Does that make journalists his accomplices?”
It is likely no coincidence that right around that time, stories based on claims by anonymous sources “close to Trump” (which often means Trump himself) started to tick up. It began when New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, a longtime outlet for Trump “leaks”, tweeted that Trump has been telling people close to him that he believes he’ll reinstated as president in August. This tweet echoed a conspiracy theory from the QAnon and Q-adjacent world, and coincided with an uptick in far-right chatter about how the American right should look to Myanmar’s February military coup for inspiration.
After Haberman’s tweet, the Washington Post strengthened this narrative with a story about how Trump is “increasingly consumed with the notion that ballot reviews pushed by his supporters around the country could prove that he won” and is peddling the idea that such “audits” — which are deliberately messy and nonsensical affairs — “could result in his return to the White House this year.” The Daily Beast confirmed that “the ex-president had begun increasingly quizzing confidants about a potential August return to power.” This reporting gave Fox News all the excuse they needed to amplify the message. Even though that came in the form of Lara Trump, his daughter-in-law, denying the reporting, the end result was another round of news stories reinforcing the basic concepts: August is the month. A violent coup. Trump’s miraculous reinstatement.
This is entirely too similar to the way Trump got the message out to his followers to stage a revolt on Jan. 6, through winking and nudging. So far, the big difference is that no exact date and location, as far as I can tell, has been established for a MAGA uprising.
As much as liberals resist the idea that Trump has any wits at all, what he’s doing is not exactly mysterious. He wants to get this particular message out, vaguely claiming that a glorious revolution will restore him to power later this year, and he’s using the mainstream press to do it. To make things worse, he’s exploiting the liberal desire to point at him and laugh to spread the message further. Every time a liberal shares one of these stories and calls Trump and his followers “delusional” for thinking that some extra-constitutional return to power is possible, they help spread the word — while also reminding Trump supporters how “owned” liberals would be if there really were a “storm” that swept Trump back into the White House in August.
Is it to avoid this too?
But the nutter parade continues with the ever-shrinking numbers of screeching, hateful, white nationalist evangelical Christians. This is good news. Their numbers are shrinking. This is from NPR: “How Is The GOP Adjusting To A Less Religious America?” My days in that party got limited the minute they come in riding the tails of Ronnie Raygun and Pat Rob’em all Robertson. Talk about another grift operation. No wonder they grabbed onto Mister Two Corinthians.
In fact, the U.S. recently passed a religious milestone: For the first time, a majority of Americans are not church members, Gallup found this spring.
Over the last decade, the share of Republicans who are church members fell from 75% to 65%, according to Gallup. That’s a solid majority but also a sizable fall.
The key bloc of white evangelicals is also shrinking as a share of the population, while the share of religiously unaffiliated Americans grows.
This makes religion one key part of a looming, long-term demographic challenge for Republicans, says Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.
“Republicans clearly have a stronger hold among the religiously affiliated, especially evangelical Protestants. And consequently, any decline in evangelical Protestant affiliation is not good news for the GOP,” he said.
The upshot, to Ayres, is that a party still deeply entwined with conservative Christianity and, particularly, white evangelicals will eventually have to win over more Christian conservatives — for example, among the growing Hispanic electorate — or make gains among substantially less-religious groups, like young voters.
Already, they’re directly inserting themselves in the Israeli ousting of Bibi. This is from All Israel News. “Will Christians support new Israeli government? Many will. But one prominent Evangelical has declared war on Naftali Bennett, sent scathing letter denouncing him with profanity – ‘I will fight you every step of the way'”. They just can’t seem to stick to clothing and feeding the poor and homeless.
The apparently imminent demise of the Netanyahu government is coming as a shock to the 60 million pro-Israel Evangelical Christians in the United States.
In recent days, I have received many concerned emails and text messages from Evangelical leaders asking me what is happening, why, and what the implications of this political earthquake are likely to be.
By and large, Evangelicals have come to love and respect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest serving premier in the history of modern Israel.
By contrast, most have never heard of Naftali Bennett, the right-wing former chief of staff to Netanyahu and former defense minister in Netanyahu’s Cabinet, who now appears poised to replace Netanyahu as the nation’s next prime minister.
Most have not heard of Yair Lapid, the centrist former finance minister and incoming foreign minister, either.
But they will soon.
To be clear, it is far too early to be sure that Bennett and Lapid and their colleagues will actually be sworn into office.
They have many opponents, who are working feverishly to derail their nascent new government.
But if they do come to power, one key question is whether Bennett and Lapid can quickly build relationships and trust with American Evangelicals – and Evangelicals worldwide – who are among the most important strategic allies that the State of Israel has.
There’s also one less congregation in Tennessee. This former California TV star–who I never heard of–and his now late wife preached fat people could not get into heaven because of the sin of gluttony. Their schtick was a diet. I think if you see the pictures you’ll see this poor woman had body dysmorphia. These kinds of things really confuse me. Guess where they were going?
You have to wonder what the discussions these days are between George and brother Jeb Bush on this. From WAPO: “George P. Bush is running for attorney general in Texas — and courting Trump.” Trump was brutal during the first primary and “low energy Jeb” took a lot of hits.
George P. Bush’s campaign video does not mention the Republican political dynasty that preceded him. Not his father, the former governor of Florida. Nor his uncle, the 43rd president of the United States. Nor his grandfather, the 41st.
The video does pay homage to former president Donald Trump.
“Under the leadership of President Trump our country was strong and vibrant again, but because of the failed leadership of liberal ideas, our country is suffering,” said George P. Bush, who this week launched a 2022 bid to become Texas attorney general. The state land commissioner is channeling and courting Trump despite the 45th president’s past attacks on elder members of the Bush family — a sign of Trump’s still-strong hold on a transformed GOP.
Scholars of Texas politics said the Bush name can still be a plus in the state, but also saw Trump’s endorsement as a big prize in the GOP primary for attorney general, where George P. Bush will face incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton is staunchly pro-Trump and last year.
Okay, enough of this! Hopefully, you’ll see me on Monday with something newsy and less sleazy! Have a great weekend! I’m still feral but going to get my eyes checked this afternoon. My post-vaccine life means catching up with doctor appointments, etc. Have you dressed up and gone out into civil society yet?
Oh, wait, one more idiot before I go.
Evidently, you pay $19.99 to Direct Message him and he may or may not answer. Cocaine is a helluva drug. It’s also not cheap and neither are lawyers. So, we’ve got the grift going. Enjoy the laugh!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
And now, not going down the “Send in the Clowns” road!