Monday Reads: Scratch and Sniff EditionPosted: August 22, 2022 Filed under: abortion rights, January 6 Committee Public Hearings | Tags: Dr. Fauci, FBI search of Mar-a-Largo, White Christianist Nationalism Patriarchy 16 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I’m late today, but the ‘scratch’ part of our title comes from me and the sudden outburst of hives I got yesterday. I’m pretty miserable at the moment, so bear with me. The ‘sniff’ part is the sniff tests coming out of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. None of the former guy’s excuses pass the sniff test. Politico has some headlines today.
First up: “Judge says FBI’s evidence for searching Mar-a-Lago is ‘reliable.’ The new order underlines the historic significance of a typically secret part of the criminal investigative process.” This is reported by Kyle Cheney.
The federal magistrate judge who authorized the warrant to search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate emphasized Monday that he “carefully reviewed” the FBI’s sworn evidence before signing off and considers the facts contained in an accompanying affidavit to be “reliable.”
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart offered his assessment in a 13-page order memorializing his decision to consider whether to unseal portions of the affidavit, which describe the evidence the bureau relied on to justify the search of the former president’s home.
Reinhart ruled last week that he would consider unsealing portions of the affidavit after conferring with the Justice Department and determining whether proposed redactions would be sufficient to protect the ongoing criminal investigation connected to the search. But in his order, Reinhart emphasized that he may ultimately agree with prosecutors that any redactions would be so extensive that they would render the document useless.
“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the Government,” Reinhart wrote.
This also comes from Politico: “Gang of 8 wants to see Trump Mar-a-Lago search docs. The request is the latest sign of Congress trying to get some insight into the FBI’s search of the former president’s home.” Andrew Desiderio reports this news.
The group of congressional leaders charged with reviewing the most sensitive intelligence information has asked the Biden administration for access to the documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s private residence in Florida, according to two people with direct knowledge of the request.
The inquiry from the so-called “Gang of 8” comes as lawmakers from both parties seek to learn more about the unprecedented investigation into the former president. And it suggests that Congress is unwilling to be a bystander in the political and legal fallout following the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.
It follows a similar request from Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Vice Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who asked the nation’s top intelligence official to draw up an assessment of possible national-security risks related to Trump’s handling of the sensitive documents.
The Gang of 8 includes the top two congressional leaders in each chamber — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — as well as the top Democrat and Republican on the House and Senate intelligence committees.
A spokesperson for the Senate Intelligence Committee declined to comment. A representative for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence also declined to comment.
Privately, Capitol Hill aides have expressed frustration about the fact that Congress has learned little about the investigation into the former president, especially since it reportedly involves matters of national security. The executive branch has historically resisted congressional inquiries about ongoing law-enforcement actions, arguing that it could compromise the investigation.
The FBI search warrant unsealed earlier this month revealed that the Justice Department was investigating potential violations of the Espionage Act, the Presidential Records Act and obstruction of justice in relation to Trump’s storage of White House materials at his home.
Dr. Fauci is stepping down from his position by the end of the year. This is from The New York Times.
This is reported by Sheryl Gay Stolberg.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said on Monday that he intended to leave government service in December to “pursue the next chapter” of his career, and that he would step down as President Biden’s top medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he has led for 38 years.
The announcement by Dr. Fauci, 81, was not entirely unexpected. He has hinted for some time that he was thinking of retiring, saying last month that he would “almost certainly” do so by 2025. In an interview Sunday evening, he said he was “not retiring in the classic sense” but would devote himself to traveling, writing and encouraging young people to enter government service.
“So long as I’m healthy, which I am, and I’m energetic, which I am, and I’m passionate, which I am, I want to do some things outside of the realm of the federal government,” Dr. Fauci said in the interview, adding that he wanted to use his experience and insight into public health and public service to “hopefully inspire the younger generation.”
In a statement on Monday, Mr. Biden thanked Dr. Fauci, whom he called a “dedicated public servant and a steady hand with wisdom and insight.” The two had worked closely together during a global outbreak of the Zika virus when Mr. Biden was vice president.
“Because of Dr. Fauci’s many contributions to public health, lives here in the United States and around the world have been saved,” the president said.
Few scientists have had as large or as long-lasting an impact on public policy. Dr. Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968, when Lyndon B. Johnson was president; he was appointed the director of its infectious disease branch in 1984, when the AIDS epidemic demanded attention.
Dr. Fauci has advised every president since Ronald Reagan — seven in all — and has been adept at navigating the nexus of science and politics. Among his proudest accomplishments, he said, was his work with President George W. Bush in developing a global program to combat H.I.V./AIDS, known as PEPFAR, which has saved an estimated 21 million lives. Mr. Bush — whose father, George Bush, called Dr. Fauci a hero during a 1988 presidential debate — awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.
As reported by the AP, back to the Republican’s continuing legal mishaps. They think they are above the law, I swear.
A South Dakota ethics board on Monday said it found sufficient information that Gov. Kristi Noem may have “engaged in misconduct” when she intervened in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license that it could take action against her.
The three retired judges on the Government Accountability Board determined that “appropriate action” could be taken against Noem, though it didn’t specify the action.
The board voted unanimously to invoke procedures calling for a contested case hearing that would give Noem, who has denied wrongdoing, a chance to publicly defend herself against the allegations related to “conflicts of interest” or “malfeasance.”
The retired judges also referred a complaint that Noem flew on state-owned airplanes to political events to the state attorney general’s office for further investigation. That puts the investigation under the oversight of the interim attorney general, Mark Vargo, who was appointed by Noem.
Where are the screams of “lock her up”?
Laura Gambino has this lede for an exciting read from The Guardian: “‘The world flipped upside down’: will end of Roe galvanize Democrats’ base in midterms?” We certainly hope so! Any reasonable Republicans left and smart Independents should feel free to join the bandwagon!
For years, Democrats warned that abortion rights were under grave threat. Across the US, anti-abortion activists in red states chipped away at access and pushed for conservative judges to secure their gains. Yet for many Americans, the prospect of losing the constitutional right to abortion that had existed since 1973 remained worrying but remote.
That all changed in June, when in Dobbs v Jackson, the supreme court overturned Roe v Wade, the 49-year-old ruling which had established the right.
Since then, bans have taken effect in at least 10 states. Republicans are rushing ahead with new restrictions and stirring fears that other rights, including same-sex marriage and access to contraception, could be vulnerable too.
And yet, from rural Minnesota to ruby red Kansas and a conservative corner of Nebraska, there are signs of a brewing backlash that Democrats believe will reshape the battle for control of Congress and statehouses this fall.
Republicans are “the dog that caught the bus”, said Cecile Richards, a former head of Planned Parenthood. “This is what they’ve been wanting for years. Now they own it.”
White House officials, Democratic candidates and party strategists say the loss of reproductive choice has not only galvanized their once-disillusioned base but is strengthening Democrats’ appeal among independent and Republican-leaning women in suburbs who were key to the party’s recent victories.
The landslide vote to protect abortion rights in conservative Kansas earlier this month further emboldened Democrats – and emphasized that Republicans risk overreaching on one of the most emotionally charged issues in American life.
“The world just completely flipped upside down after the Dobbs decision,” said Richards, now co-chair at American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal Super Pac. “We’re no longer defending a right. We now actually have to fight to get a right back.”
Grid News reports that Republicans are gearing up to target the IRS again with age-old lies and conspiracy theories. Have they nothing else?
A strange, false claim is all over conservative cable TV, right-wing social media and in the halls of Congress, where it’s been repeated by dozens of Republican lawmakers: President Joe Biden, the warning goes, is going to hire and arm 87,000 Internal Revenue Service agents to target everyday Americans.
As the head of the Republican National Committee hyperbolically tweeted recently: “How long until Democrats send the IRS ‘SWAT team’ after your kids’ lemonade stand?”
It’s a ludicrous claim, repeatedly debunked by nonpartisan experts and outlets.
The tale of how the tale of 87,000 armed agents made it into mainstream political dialogue began last May on the website of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative advocacy group run by anti-tax fixture, Grover Norquist. And while it was repeated occasionally from then to now, it exploded in recent weeks following relentless efforts by a cross-section of the Republican firmament to promote the false claim on social media, in right-wing broadcasts and in the halls of Congress.
Political discourse is impossible when one Party insists that something baseless is the biggest problem of the century. How do we make this stop?
Meanwhile, John Pavlovitz has this to say about the folks that embrace nothing but Conspiracy Theories.
Every day I see Christians lamenting the “Cancel Culture;” claiming whenever they face accountability for their words or their conduct, or for the policies or politicians they support—that they are being systematically silenced.
This is irony of biblical proportions.
The Evangelical Church in America doesn’t hate cancel culture, it invented it.
Ask LGBTQ human beings, who have been continually bullied into silence by pastors and youth leaders: who are berated and marginalized and excluded from spiritual community if they speak their truest truth or desire to marry the person they love or want to serve in ministry. Ask them how welcome or heard they feel in the Evangelical Church and how much of a presence they have if they want to be both out and included.
Ask women, who in most Conservative denominations are still not allowed to become pastors or to lead Bible Studies in mixed gender classes; who are still theologically treated as less-than and expected to be silent and submissive, relegated to the kitchen and the bedroom. Ask them how their claims of sexual abuse or domestic violence have been received and how much of a voice they have if they question authority or seek opportunity.
Ask people of color, whose most passionate opposition to equality still comes from white Evangelicals; people who daily face discrimination from a religious entity that is steeped in white supremacy and whose cries for justice in the face of unspeakable brutality by law enforcement are greeted with sustained resistance.
There’s a pretty long list but I’d say these folks canceled The Beatitudes along with a list of other things they should embrace if they are who they say they are.
So, I’m going to go lather up in more anti-itch cream. Y’all have a great start to the week!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
and is “justice” “just ice”?
Monday Reads: Change is ImperativePosted: August 31, 2020 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Climate change, Mueller Report and probe, White Christianist Nationalism Patriarchy 23 Comments
Good Day Sky Dancers!
There are so many things right now that you think we should’ve figured out by now that seem to be worsening because there is no leadership in Washington. We’ve known about global climate change making weather patterns worse for decades now. We’ve known at least that long about the insidious institutional racism and misogyny that makes it nearly impossible for large swarths of our country to live up to their potential and be protected under the law. We have a global pandemic that is mostly out of control in places like Brazil and then the United States because we simply do not have the people in office willing to make tough decisions based on evidence to do what’s best for the country. They are either overlords of chaos and greed themselves or serving said said overlords as underlords. Also, lessons of history should have warned us that another Nixon would try to grab power and yet, so many have ignored what’s going on and actively thwarted oversight designed in our U.S Constitution.
We should know better and the rest of the world watches us struggle with disbelief and horror as we repeat all our mistakes of history and science over and over.
This important segment on Climate Change on the 15th anniversary of Katrina is worth watching. Our government did not learn anything from our experience from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and another set of people are reliving much of the same horror.
Folks in the know continue to warn us about the impact of Global Climate Change. This is from US News and World Report: “Climate Change Bigger Economic Risk Than Pandemic, ECB’s Schnabel Says.” How can an institution like the European Central Bank help prioritize a risk that obviously will cost lives and fortunes?
The coronavirus pandemic demonstrates in the clearest terms why central banks must take a bigger role in fighting climate change even if the issue at first appears unrelated to monetary policy, European Central Bank board member Isabel Schnabel said.
Initially just a health crisis, the pandemic has set off economic shockwaves around the globe, affecting every nation and forcing central banks to provide unprecedented support to underpin economic activity.
With climate change posing an even bigger risk, the ECB must keep this issue high on its agenda as it reviews its policy framework, Schnabel told Reuters in an interview.
“Climate change is probably the biggest challenge we are facing, much bigger than the pandemic,” Schnabel said.
“Even though this health shock was entirely unrelated to monetary policy, it nevertheless has huge implications for monetary policy,” she said. “The same is true for climate change and this is why central banks cannot ignore it.”
Through its supervisory arm the ECB could require banks to provide a climate risk assessment, which could then affect their access to central bank funding if this assessment has a direct implication on collateral valuations, Schnabel said.
The central bank should also push the European Union to add a green element to its long-delayed project to set up a capital markets union as a focus on green finance could give the bloc a competitive advantage, she argued.
This new poll from STAT shows how politicized basic non-partisan policies should be in this country. “Poll: Most Americans believe the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is driven by politics, not science.”
Seventy-eight percent of Americans worry the Covid-19 vaccine approval process is being driven more by politics than science, according to a new survey from STAT and the Harris Poll, a reflection of concern that the Trump administration may give the green light to a vaccine prematurely.
The response was largely bipartisan, with 72% of Republicans and 82% of Democrats expressing such worries, according to the poll, which was conducted last week and surveyed 2,067 American adults.
The sentiment underscores rising speculation that President Trump may pressure the Food and Drug Administration to approve or authorize emergency use of at least one Covid-19 vaccine prior to the Nov. 3 election, but before testing has been fully completed.
How have we come to this place where the most important decisions in policy are being driven by the most base aspects of governance? Why is everything a culture issue now? Why is everything played like some team that you root for even though what they is completely wrong?
Why are so many invested in a White Nationalist Christianist future where truly there is no hope for the planet or democracy for that matter? Did we not settle this last century?
This is a story from Minnesota that should be told around the world.
Since last fall, Minnesota State Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, has taken a keen interest in a book called Bronze Age Mindset. The self-published tome has captivated many on the American right while trafficking in neo-fascism, racism and misogyny. The writer is an anonymous internet figure who goes by the pen name “Bronze Age Pervert” and has 45,000 Twitter followers.
The book argues that equality and human rights are unnatural; that most people form a vast, inferior class who will only find “solace and meaning” through “submission” — and that the proper rulers of the world are white men.
A passage claims, “Life appears at its peak not in the grass hut village ruled by nutso mammies” — using a racial slur to refer to Black women — “but in the military state.”
Chamberlain, the influential chairman of the upper chamber’s Taxes Committee, tweeted at the author, Bronze Age Pervert, on April 30, thanking him for an introduction to Bach’s “Fugue in G-minor;” likely a reference to Pervert’s podcast, which uses classical compositions as bumper music. (The podcast is even more overtly white supremacist.)
“The most obvious form of hatred in this book is misogyny,” said Curtis Dozier, a Vassar College professor of classics who documents appropriations of Greco-Roman antiquity by hate groups. “His ideal of masculinity is racialized.”
Dozier has analyzed the book’s appropriations — and misappropriations — of ancient literature.
Dozier said the title’s “Bronze Age” refers to an imagined era when a glorious warrior culture overthrew female tribal rulers and spread the Indo-European language — and male domination — from Iceland to southern India. Pervert identifies these conquerors as the Aryans, borrowing the ideas of Nazis, eugenicists and contemporary white supremacists, Dozier said.
Unlike most peddlers of hate online, however, Pervert does not disavow violence to soften the historic image of white supremacism and fascism — he glorifies it.
But, it’s not only Minnesota. Try Kansas City on for size.
It started as soon as her family, along with all of their belongings and their dog Kingston, arrived in Kansas City from Southern California not quite two months ago, Maureen Roland says: The smiles that froze and then disappeared when her new Northland neighbors, near Parkville, caught a glimpse of her Black husband and biracial children. The woman down the street who put her hand up and said, “No, thank you,” when Maureen introduced herself. The slurs shouted from across the way, the pointing, the pretending to retch.
“Kansas City nice” is real, but so is Kansas City not-so-nice. There are people in our town who yell, “You’re disgusting!” at the Rolands’ house as they walk by, and who have gotten out of line at the Best Buy to avoid them.
The Rolands have lived all over the world, so it’s not a revelation that there’s racism in it. But “I have not experienced it to this degree,” she says. “I have not experienced it this much. I have not experienced it this vocally.”
Or, try Lafayette Louisiana …
We have welcomed thousands of evacuees here in New Orleans to hotels and the Mayor of Lafayette says no to any shelters at all. His reason is something that should warn us all that Republicans are emboldened to be openly and nakedly racist. Black Lives Matters is not a terrorist operation. Any local “militia” group is definitely on the FBI watch list for domestic terrorism.
Officials with the Josh Guillory administration have asked local churches to stop trying to set up shelters for evacuees from Laura because of the “serious threat” of recent protests
I wanted to advise you that I have officially asked local churches to take a pause on any action to establish a shelter at this time. As you probably know, we have had some serious, concerning activities pop up today with armed protestors in the streets. Many from out of town.
This is a serious threat and we must handle this issue before we can care for our neighbors. It goes against what we believe and how we usually respond after a disaster but it would be irresponsible to potentially put others in harms way.
We are not in a position to safeguard people displaced by Laura with this serious, local security threat. We know that bad actors will take our hospitality and use it against us.
And, that really is disgusting.
Here’s the latest on how the national campaign is turning us against one another via Politico. “Biden forced to play on Trump’s turf as campaign turns to racial strife. The Democratic nominee wanted to talk about Trump’s performance on the coronavirus. Instead, he’s having to straddle a line on civic unrest. ” Of course, they don’t want to talk about the policies we need to actually do something for the big issues. Let’s focus on pitting the first and second amendments against each other in strictly racist terms. After Trump’s horrid visit to Louisiana and Texas, he wants to head to Kenosha today.
The chaotic scenes in Kenosha, Wis. and Portland, Ore., are redefining the contours of the presidential race — shifting the immediate debate over how to quell the clashes, who should own the unrest and which candidate is better suited to lead the nation through strife.
Donald Trump, who’s planning to visit Kenosha on Tuesday, is claiming the mantle of law and order even as he stokes conflict between protesters and his supporters. Trump is trying to take credit for restoring order by loudly calling for an influx of National Guard troops and painting Democrats as too fearful of alienating their base to denounce violence.
Joe Biden last week called for a halt to the violence, though it took him longer than many Democrats wanted. The Democratic nominee decided over the weekend that he would not travel to the pivotal battleground state on Monday ahead of Trump’s visit. Instead, the Biden campaign plans to ramp up messaging that Trump’s rhetoric has only inflamed hostilities on the streets, beginning with a speech in Pennsylvania Monday.
“It’s a very difficult argument to make when he is president of the United States that the unrest and chaos that’s happening on the ground is somehow not his responsibility,” Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield told POLITICO. “He owns it. He’s the president of the United States and he owns it. People are seeing a president who is failing to lead and that will be a big focus for us as we move forward.”
“We will continue to put this at his feet and hold him accountable for it because it’s hard to make a law and order argument when you’re an incumbent.”
The balancing act over the riots and police misconduct marks a new, intensifying phase of the election. Both campaigns are preparing for a burst of activity: Biden plans to break his month slong hold on travel to swing states in the coming weeks, with stops expected initially in Wisconsin and Michigan in addition to Pennsylvania. He’s also looking to appear in Minnesota and Arizona soon.
And the on going battle should really be against the Rule of Law as seen within the Justice Department. Here’s some headlines to read on that.
So, this all should keep you busy today. I’m sorry it’s all so alarming but seriously, thing’s have to change. We owe it to all of us that have lived and will live in this country. These policy challenges should be faced head on with regard to our laws, science, and getting the best results we can from the political process. We cannot take an administration whose goal is to tear us all apart, tear our country down, and ruin the gifts of nature around us.
What’s on your blogging and reading list today?