Letter From An American by Heather Cox Richardson

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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 37,703
    ^^^ WOW!
    "I believe in the mystery, and I don't want to take it any further than that. Maybe what I mean by that is love."
    -John Densmore











  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     June 29, 2022 (Wednesday)

    Today, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol subpoenaed former White House counsel Pasquale “Pat” Cipollone. The lawyer, who is now in private practice, spoke to the committee on April 13 but has not talked with the members on the record.

    In a statement, committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and vice chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) noted that Cipollone’s name has come up repeatedly in the hearings as having “legal and other concerns about President Trump’s activities on January 6th and in the days that preceded.” Testimony has said Cipollone stood with then–acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to stop Trump from installing Jeffrey Clark in that spot to lie to the American people that the 2020 election was fraudulent; he also came up frequently in yesterday’s testimony as trying—and failing—to keep Trump from breaking the law on January 6.

    Thompson and Cheney wrote that they appreciated Cipollone’s previous cooperation but that the committee needs to hear from him “on the record, as other former White House counsels have done in other congressional investigations.”

    There is no doubt that Cipollone holds powerful information about what happened in the White House during that crucial time, and his testimony likely could put people in jail.

    Former federal prosecutor and co-host of the Sisters In Law podcast Joyce White Vance tweeted: “No reason Cipollone shouldn’t show up. He can always object to questions that would elicit legitimately privileged information. But at this point, who are you going to protect—the former president or the Republic?”

    That seems to be a question a lot of people, including those on the right, are asking after hearing yesterday’s testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

    In the National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy called Hutchinson’s testimony “devastating” and said, “Things will not be the same after this.” In an editorial, the Washington Examiner wrote, “Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s Tuesday testimony ought to ring the death knell for former President Donald Trump’s political career. Trump is unfit to be anywhere near power ever again…. Trump is a disgrace.” In The Dispatch, David French reviewed Hutchinson’s testimony and concluded that “the case for prosecuting Donald Trump just got much stronger.”

    At the Reagan Presidential Library tonight, Cheney warned: "[W]e are confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before—and that is a former president who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic, and he is aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man."

    "Donald Trump attempted to overturn the presidential election. He attempted to stay in office and to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power. He summoned a mob to Washington, He knew they were armed on January 6th. He knew they were angry. And he directed the violent mob to march on the Capitol in order to delay or prevent completely the counting of electoral votes. He attempted to go there with them. And when the violence was underway, he refused to take action to tell the rioters to leave. Instead, he incited further violence by tweeting that the vice president, Mike Pence, was a coward. He said ‘Mike deserves it,’ and he didn’t want to do anything in response to the ‘Hang Mike Pence’ chants. It’s undeniable. It’s also painful for Republicans to accept.”

    She concluded: “The reality that we face today as Republicans, as we think about the choice in front of us, we have to choose because Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution."

    The audience broke out in applause.

    On CNN this evening, committee member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) talked to host Anderson Cooper about witness tampering. The committee is concerned, she said, that Trump is using the hundreds of millions of dollars he raised by promising small donors he would fight the election results to pay the legal bills of those witnesses with whom he plotted. She suggested that there was “coercion” involved with that money. Witness tampering is a crime, she noted, and she said the committee is “perfectly prepared to provide any evidence we have to the proper authorities.”

    In related news, yesterday Virginia “Ginni” Thomas’s lawyer walked back her offer to testify to the January 6th committee about her role in the January 6 insurrection. Thomas has appeared in evidence the committee has collected: she texted Meadows before January 6 to call his attention to conspiracy theories about the election, wrote to Arizona lawmakers to urge them to create a new slate of electors that backed Trump rather than Biden, and communicated with lawyer John Eastman, the author of the memo detailing how then–vice president Mike Pence could overturn the election. She also attended the January 6 rally.

    Ginni Thomas is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Eastman told Pence’s top aide Greg Jacob that he thought Thomas would support Eastman’s theories. Justice Thomas has refused to recuse himself from matters before the court pertaining to the attempt to stop Biden’s election.

    After news about the emails between Eastman and Thomas surfaced, the committee on June 16 invited Thomas to testify, and Thomas told the right-wing Daily Caller she was eager “to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them.”

    Now her lawyer says he doesn’t see any reason for her to talk to the committee, saying her communications were largely boilerplate and unremarkable, simply forwarding writings by other people. He said he is worried about her testifying before a committee that intends “to continue the baseless harassment she has been subjected to since January 6.” He adds that “this has been a particularly stressful time” because of “the unprecedented assault on the conservative Supreme Court Justices and their families.”

    Longtime readers of these letters will be interested to know that today U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken sentenced Ukrainian-born businessman Lev Parnas to a year and eight months in prison and fined him $2.3 million.

    Parnas worked with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine to try to smear Hunter Biden and showed up frequently in Trump’s first impeachment, although the criminal case against Parnas did not rest on that. It centered on a fraudulent business he ran and on illegal contributions he made to U.S. politicians, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      June 30, 2022 (Thursday)

    Today at noon, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the first Black female justice on the Supreme Court.

    Before Justice Brown took her oath, the court also signaled the end of the federal government as we know it.

    In the past, the Supreme Court has operated on the basis of “stare decisis,” which literally means “to stand by things decided.” The purpose of that principle is to make changes incrementally so the law stays consistent and evenly applied, which promotes social stability. On occasion, the court does break precedent, notably in 1954 with the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, which overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that rubber stamped racial segregation. When that sort of a major change happens, both the court and elected officials work hard to explain that they are changing the law to make it more in line with our Constitution, and to move people along with that change.

    With the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision of last Friday, the court simply tore up 49 years of law and history, ending federal recognition of a constitutional right Americans have enjoyed since 1973.

    Today, the court’s decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency reversed almost 100 years of jurisprudence by arguing that Congress cannot delegate authority on “major questions” to agencies in the executive branch. At stake were EPA regulations that would push fossil fuel producers toward clean energy in order to combat climate change. The vote was 6 to 3, along ideological lines. That the court agreed to hear the case despite the fact that the rules being challenged had been abandoned suggested they were determined to make a point.

    That point was to hamstring federal regulation of business. The argument at the heart of this decision is called the “nondelegation doctrine,” which says that Congress, which constitutes the legislative branch of the government, cannot delegate legislative authority to the executive branch. Most of the regulatory bodies in our government are housed in the executive branch. So the nondelegation doctrine would hamstring the modern regulatory state.

    To avoid this extreme conclusion, the majority on the court embraced the “major questions” doctrine, which Chief Justice Roberts used today for the first time in a majority opinion.

    That doctrine says that Congress must not delegate “major” issues to an agency, saying that such major issues must be explicitly authorized by Congress. But the abuse of the Senate filibuster by Republican senators means that no such laws stand a hope of passing. So the Supreme Court has essentially stopped the federal government from responding as effectively as it must to climate change. And that will have international repercussions: the inability of the U.S. government to address the crisis means that other countries will likely fall behind as well. The decision will likely apply not just to the EPA, but to a whole host of business regulations.

    As recently as 2001, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the nondelegation argument in a decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, who said the court must trust Congress to take care of its own power. But now it has become law.

    In the dissent, written by Justice Elena Kagan, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Kagan argued that Congress had, in fact, properly given authority to the EPA to act, recognizing that agencies need to be able to respond appropriately to new and big problems. “Congress knows what it doesn’t and can’t know when it drafts a statute; and Congress therefore gives an expert agency the power to address issues—even significant ones—as and when they arise.” She noted that “[t]he Clean Air Act was major legislation, designed to deal with a major public policy issue.” “This is not the Attorney General regulating medical care, or even the CDC regulating landlord-tenant relations. It is EPA (that’s the Environmental Protection Agency, in case the majority forgot) acting to address the greatest environmental challenge of our time. She concluded: “The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decision-maker on climate policy.I cannot think of many things more frightening.”

    Kagan’s dissent noted the hypocrisy of the Republican justices claiming to be originalists when they are, in fact, inventing new doctrines to achieve the ends they wish. “The current Court is textualist only when being so suits it,” she wrote. “When that method would frustrate broader goals, special canons like the ‘major questions doctrine’ magically appear as get-out-of-text-free cards. Today, one of those broader goals makes itself clear: Prevent agencies from doing important work, even though that is what Congress directed.”

    Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) applauded the ruling, saying it limited the power of “unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.”

    The court also said today that it will consider making even greater changes to our country. It will hear Moore v. Harper, a case about whether state legislatures alone have the power to set election rules even if their laws violate state constitutions.

    The case comes from North Carolina, where the state supreme court rejected a dramatically partisan gerrymander. Republicans say that the state court cannot stop the legislature’s carving up of the state because of the “independent state legislatures doctrine.” This is a new idea, based on the clause in the U.S. Constitution providing that “[t]he times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.” Those adhering to the independent state legislature theory ignore the second part of that provision.

    Those advancing the independent state legislature theory also point to another clause of the Constitution. It says: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legis­lature thereof may direct, a Number of Elect­ors.”

    Until now, states have interpreted “legislatures” to mean the state’s general lawmaking processes, which include shared power and checks and balances among the three branches of state government. Now, a radical minority insists that a legislature is a legislature alone, unchecked by state courts or state constitutions that prohibit gerrymandering. This interpretation of the Constitution is radical and new. It caught on in 2015, when Republicans wanted to get rid of an independent redistricting commission in Arizona.

    This doctrine is, of course, what Trump and his allies pushed for to keep him in power in 2020: Republican state legislatures throwing out the will of the people and sending electors for Trump to Congress rather than the Biden electors the majority voted for.

    That doctrine would also give to state legislatures the power to control who can vote, and how and where they can do so. It would strip power from elections commissions and secretaries of state, and it would take from state courts the power to challenge gerrymandering or voter suppression. Republicans currently control 30 state legislatures, in large part thanks to the gerrymandering and voter suppression in place in a number of those states.

    Revered conservative judge J. Michael Luttig has been trying for months to sound the alarm that this doctrine is a blueprint for Republicans to steal the 2024 election. In April, before the court agreed to take on the Moore v. Harper case, he wrote: “Trump and the Republicans can only be stopped from stealing the 2024 election at this point if the Supreme Court rejects the independent state legislature doctrine (thus allowing state court enforcement of state constitutional limitations on legislatively enacted election rules and elector appointments) and Congress amends the Electoral Count Act to constrain Congress' own power to reject state electoral votes and decide the presidency.”

    And yet in March, when the Supreme Court let the state supreme court’s decision against the radical map stay in place for 2022, justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh indicated they are open to the idea that state courts have no role in overseeing the rules for federal elections.

    In the one term Trump’s three justices have been on the court, they have decimated the legal landscape under which we have lived for generations, slashing power from the federal government, where Congress represents the majority, and returning it to states, where a Republican minority can impose its will. Thanks to the skewing of our electoral system, those states are now poised to take control of our federal government permanently.

    Almost exactly 35 years ago, when President Ronald Reagan nominated originalist Robert Bork for the Supreme Court, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) recognized his legal theory for what it was: an unraveling of the modern United States.

    “Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

    “America is a better and freer nation than Robert Bork thinks,” Kennedy said.

    And yet, here we are.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 31,454
    mickeyrat said:
      June 30, 2022 (Thursday)

    Today at noon, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the first Black female justice on the Supreme Court.

    Before Justice Brown took her oath, the court also signaled the end of the federal government as we know it.

    In the past, the Supreme Court has operated on the basis of “stare decisis,” which literally means “to stand by things decided.” The purpose of that principle is to make changes incrementally so the law stays consistent and evenly applied, which promotes social stability. On occasion, the court does break precedent, notably in 1954 with the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, which overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that rubber stamped racial segregation. When that sort of a major change happens, both the court and elected officials work hard to explain that they are changing the law to make it more in line with our Constitution, and to move people along with that change.

    With the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision of last Friday, the court simply tore up 49 years of law and history, ending federal recognition of a constitutional right Americans have enjoyed since 1973.

    Today, the court’s decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency reversed almost 100 years of jurisprudence by arguing that Congress cannot delegate authority on “major questions” to agencies in the executive branch. At stake were EPA regulations that would push fossil fuel producers toward clean energy in order to combat climate change. The vote was 6 to 3, along ideological lines. That the court agreed to hear the case despite the fact that the rules being challenged had been abandoned suggested they were determined to make a point.

    That point was to hamstring federal regulation of business. The argument at the heart of this decision is called the “nondelegation doctrine,” which says that Congress, which constitutes the legislative branch of the government, cannot delegate legislative authority to the executive branch. Most of the regulatory bodies in our government are housed in the executive branch. So the nondelegation doctrine would hamstring the modern regulatory state.

    To avoid this extreme conclusion, the majority on the court embraced the “major questions” doctrine, which Chief Justice Roberts used today for the first time in a majority opinion.

    That doctrine says that Congress must not delegate “major” issues to an agency, saying that such major issues must be explicitly authorized by Congress. But the abuse of the Senate filibuster by Republican senators means that no such laws stand a hope of passing. So the Supreme Court has essentially stopped the federal government from responding as effectively as it must to climate change. And that will have international repercussions: the inability of the U.S. government to address the crisis means that other countries will likely fall behind as well. The decision will likely apply not just to the EPA, but to a whole host of business regulations.

    As recently as 2001, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the nondelegation argument in a decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, who said the court must trust Congress to take care of its own power. But now it has become law.

    In the dissent, written by Justice Elena Kagan, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Kagan argued that Congress had, in fact, properly given authority to the EPA to act, recognizing that agencies need to be able to respond appropriately to new and big problems. “Congress knows what it doesn’t and can’t know when it drafts a statute; and Congress therefore gives an expert agency the power to address issues—even significant ones—as and when they arise.” She noted that “[t]he Clean Air Act was major legislation, designed to deal with a major public policy issue.” “This is not the Attorney General regulating medical care, or even the CDC regulating landlord-tenant relations. It is EPA (that’s the Environmental Protection Agency, in case the majority forgot) acting to address the greatest environmental challenge of our time. She concluded: “The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decision-maker on climate policy.I cannot think of many things more frightening.”

    Kagan’s dissent noted the hypocrisy of the Republican justices claiming to be originalists when they are, in fact, inventing new doctrines to achieve the ends they wish. “The current Court is textualist only when being so suits it,” she wrote. “When that method would frustrate broader goals, special canons like the ‘major questions doctrine’ magically appear as get-out-of-text-free cards. Today, one of those broader goals makes itself clear: Prevent agencies from doing important work, even though that is what Congress directed.”

    Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) applauded the ruling, saying it limited the power of “unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.”

    The court also said today that it will consider making even greater changes to our country. It will hear Moore v. Harper, a case about whether state legislatures alone have the power to set election rules even if their laws violate state constitutions.

    The case comes from North Carolina, where the state supreme court rejected a dramatically partisan gerrymander. Republicans say that the state court cannot stop the legislature’s carving up of the state because of the “independent state legislatures doctrine.” This is a new idea, based on the clause in the U.S. Constitution providing that “[t]he times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.” Those adhering to the independent state legislature theory ignore the second part of that provision.

    Those advancing the independent state legislature theory also point to another clause of the Constitution. It says: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legis­lature thereof may direct, a Number of Elect­ors.”

    Until now, states have interpreted “legislatures” to mean the state’s general lawmaking processes, which include shared power and checks and balances among the three branches of state government. Now, a radical minority insists that a legislature is a legislature alone, unchecked by state courts or state constitutions that prohibit gerrymandering. This interpretation of the Constitution is radical and new. It caught on in 2015, when Republicans wanted to get rid of an independent redistricting commission in Arizona.

    This doctrine is, of course, what Trump and his allies pushed for to keep him in power in 2020: Republican state legislatures throwing out the will of the people and sending electors for Trump to Congress rather than the Biden electors the majority voted for.

    That doctrine would also give to state legislatures the power to control who can vote, and how and where they can do so. It would strip power from elections commissions and secretaries of state, and it would take from state courts the power to challenge gerrymandering or voter suppression. Republicans currently control 30 state legislatures, in large part thanks to the gerrymandering and voter suppression in place in a number of those states.

    Revered conservative judge J. Michael Luttig has been trying for months to sound the alarm that this doctrine is a blueprint for Republicans to steal the 2024 election. In April, before the court agreed to take on the Moore v. Harper case, he wrote: “Trump and the Republicans can only be stopped from stealing the 2024 election at this point if the Supreme Court rejects the independent state legislature doctrine (thus allowing state court enforcement of state constitutional limitations on legislatively enacted election rules and elector appointments) and Congress amends the Electoral Count Act to constrain Congress' own power to reject state electoral votes and decide the presidency.”

    And yet in March, when the Supreme Court let the state supreme court’s decision against the radical map stay in place for 2022, justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh indicated they are open to the idea that state courts have no role in overseeing the rules for federal elections.

    In the one term Trump’s three justices have been on the court, they have decimated the legal landscape under which we have lived for generations, slashing power from the federal government, where Congress represents the majority, and returning it to states, where a Republican minority can impose its will. Thanks to the skewing of our electoral system, those states are now poised to take control of our federal government permanently.

    Almost exactly 35 years ago, when President Ronald Reagan nominated originalist Robert Bork for the Supreme Court, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) recognized his legal theory for what it was: an unraveling of the modern United States.

    “Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

    “America is a better and freer nation than Robert Bork thinks,” Kennedy said.

    And yet, here we are.

    “Normal.”
    09/15/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/29/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield, MA; 08/18/08, O2 London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA;

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    Libtardaplorable©. And proud of it.

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 1, 2022 (Friday)

    It has been a very long seven days, a week that will certainly show up in the history books. What may not make such a splash in the books, though, is how freaking exhausting it is to be living through this moment.

    I, anyway, am ready for a good night's sleep.

    Sending you all a picture I snapped from the kayak a couple of weeks ago when we went inland for a change.

    It was such a calm moment....

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 37,703
    ^^^ WOW!
    mickeyrat said:
      July 1, 2022 (Friday)

    It has been a very long seven days, a week that will certainly show up in the history books. What may not make such a splash in the books, though, is how freaking exhausting it is to be living through this moment.

    I, anyway, am ready for a good night's sleep.

    Sending you all a picture I snapped from the kayak a couple of weeks ago when we went inland for a change.

    It was such a calm moment....


    Heather's most disturbing (yet point on) letter ever.  I was incredible depressed last night after reading it.
    "I believe in the mystery, and I don't want to take it any further than that. Maybe what I mean by that is love."
    -John Densmore











  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 2, 2022 (Saturday)

    Summer 1964 was known as the “Freedom Summer.”

    Americans, Black and white, southern and northern, eager to defend the right of all Americans to vote, planned to register Black people for the upcoming election. Because only 6.7% of Black Mississippians were registered, Mississippi became a focal point. Under Bob Moses, a New York City teacher who began voting work in Mississippi in 1961, volunteers set out. Just as they were getting underway, on June 21, three voting rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, disappeared near Philadelphia, Mississippi.

    No one knew where they had gone, but although some white people tried to argue they had chosen to disappear simply to call attention to their cause, no one with a grip on reality in that racially charged era imagined they had gone anywhere good.

    President Lyndon B. Johnson, who as Senate majority leader had wrestled the Civil Rights Act of 1957 through Congress, was determined to pass the stronger civil rights bill his predecessor President John F. Kennedy had advocated in 1963. Indeed, just five days after Kennedy’s murder, Johnson had told Congress: ​​"No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long.”

    Southern white men passionately defended their right to rule over their Black neighbors through state legislation, but Johnson, for all that he hailed from Texas, wanted none of that. "We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. We have talked for one hundred years or more. It is time now to write the next chapter, and to write it in the books of law."

    The House of Representatives had been considering a civil rights bill since June 1963 but had left for winter recess without its being moved out of the Rules Committee, where the chair, staunch segregationist Howard Smith (D-VA), bottled it up. During the recess, so many congressmen heard from constituents angry the bill hadn’t passed that Smith backed down and let it out of committee. The House passed the bill on February 10 and sent it on to the Senate, where everyone knew the southern segregationists would not give up easily.

    And they didn’t. The Senate began to debate the bill on March 30, and southern Democrats launched a filibuster. In those days before the Senate rules change, filibusters required that senators actually hold the floor to talk a bill to death, so they made up squads of senators who rested and spoke in teams. The head of the southern bloc, Richard Russell (D-GA), said: “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our states.”

    Meanwhile, the northern Democrats in favor of the bill held their own. At stake were the votes of those Republicans who liked the idea of civil rights in principle but didn’t want to increase the power of the government, whose business regulation they opposed.

    As the spring wore on, Black people and their white neighbors demonstrated their support for civil rights by integrating formerly segregated spaces, while opponents of the bill attacked them. On June 18, when Black and white people jumped into a whites-only swimming pool at the Monson Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida, the hotel’s owner, James Brock, poured acid into the pool. While the water diluted the acid enough that the swimmers were not injured, law enforcement arrested them. News crews covered the incident. Seeing a white man pour acid into a swimming pool to drive out Black people was the last straw.  

    The next day, Republican Everett Dirksen (R-IL), the Senate minority leader, managed to deliver enough Republican votes to Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT) to break the filibuster. Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who said, “I am unalterably opposed to discrimination or segregation on the basis of race, color or creed, or on any other basis,” voted against ending the filibuster, saying he believed it was “a grave threat to the very essence of our basic system of government, namely, that of a constitutional republic in which 50 sovereign states have reserved to themselves and to the people those powers not specifically granted to the central or Federal Government.”  

    The Senate passed the bill on June 19 and sent their version back to the House. Meanwhile, rage over the three missing voting rights workers grew, and Johnson used that anger to pressure the House to pass the bill.

    It did. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law on July 2.

    Just before he wrote his name, Johnson addressed the American people on television “to talk to you about what that law means to every American.”

    Keenly aware of the bill’s timing, he noted: “One hundred and eighty-eight years ago this week, a small band of valiant men began a long struggle for freedom. They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor not only to found a nation, but to forge an ideal of freedom—not only for political independence, but for personal liberty; not only to eliminate foreign rule, but to establish the rule of justice in the affairs of men.”

    That was a triumph, but “those who founded our country knew that freedom would be secure only if each generation fought to renew and enlarge its meaning…. Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom. Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities. Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders.”

    Johnson celebrated that the bill had bipartisan support of more than two thirds of the lawmakers in Congress and that it enjoyed the support of “the great majority of the American people.”

    “The purpose of the law is simple. It does not restrict the freedom of any American, so long as he respects the rights of others. It does not give special treatment to any citizen…. It does say that…those who are equal before God shall now also be equal in the polling booths, in the classrooms, in the factories, and in hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places that provide service to the public.”

    “Its purpose is not to punish. Its purpose is not to divide, but to end divisions—divisions which have lasted all too long. Its purpose is national, not regional. Its purpose is to promote a more abiding commitment to freedom, a more constant pursuit of justice, and a deeper respect for human dignity.”

    “We will achieve these goals because most Americans are law-abiding citizens who want to do what is right,” he said. “My fellow citizens, we have come now to a time of testing. We must not fail.”

    It was indeed a time of testing. When the American people came together to push Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, opponents of it saw a call to arms. Two weeks after Johnson signed the bill, a little more than three weeks after Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner disappeared and while they were still missing, Goldwater strode across the stage at the Republican National Convention to accept the nomination. On July 16, he told delegates that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And…moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” The votes of the delegates from South Carolina were the ones that put him over the top for the nomination.

    On August 4, the U.S. had a powerful example of what certain Americans thought of as "extremism in the defense of liberty" when the missing bodies were found buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi, and it turned out that Ku Klux Klan members, at least one of whom was a law enforcement officer, had murdered them.

    Voters in the 1964 election continued to back Johnson’s vision of the world, rejecting Goldwater by a landslide. And those voters perhaps took false hope that their will had triumphed when Goldwater won only his own state of Arizona and five states of the Deep South—Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. They didn’t see there was a shift underway that would transform first the Republican Party, and then the nation itself.

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     July 3, 2022 (Sunday)

    And on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

    For all the fact that the congressmen got around the sticky little problem of Black and Indigenous slavery by defining "men" as "white men," and for all that it never crossed their minds that women might also have rights, the Declaration of Independence was an astonishingly radical document. In a world that had been dominated by a small class of rich men for so long that most people simply accepted that they should be forever tied to their status at birth, a group of upstart legislators on the edges of a continent declared that no man was born better than any other.

    America was founded on the radical idea that all men are created equal.

    What the founders declared self-evident was not so clear eighty-seven years later, when southern white men went to war to reshape America into a nation in which African Americans, Indigenous Americans, Chinese, and Irish were locked into a lower status than whites. In that era, equality had become a "proposition," rather than "self-evident."

    "Four score and seven years ago," Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans, "our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." In 1863, Lincoln explained, the Civil War was "testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

    It did, of course. The Confederate rebellion failed. The United States endured, and Americans began to expand the idea that all men are created equal to include Black men, men of color, and eventually to include women.

    But just as in the 1850s, we are now, once again, facing a rebellion against our founding principle, as a few people seek to reshape America into a nation in which certain people are better than others.

    The men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 pledged their "Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor" to defend the idea of human equality. Ever since then, Americans have sacrificed their own fortunes, honor, and even their lives, for that principle. Lincoln reminded Civil War Americans of those sacrifices when he urged the people of his era to "take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

    Words to live by in 2022.

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  • Halifax2TheMaxHalifax2TheMax Posts: 31,454
    mickeyrat said:
      June 30, 2022 (Thursday)

    Today at noon, Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the first Black female justice on the Supreme Court.

    Before Justice Brown took her oath, the court also signaled the end of the federal government as we know it.

    In the past, the Supreme Court has operated on the basis of “stare decisis,” which literally means “to stand by things decided.” The purpose of that principle is to make changes incrementally so the law stays consistent and evenly applied, which promotes social stability. On occasion, the court does break precedent, notably in 1954 with the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, which overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that rubber stamped racial segregation. When that sort of a major change happens, both the court and elected officials work hard to explain that they are changing the law to make it more in line with our Constitution, and to move people along with that change.

    With the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision of last Friday, the court simply tore up 49 years of law and history, ending federal recognition of a constitutional right Americans have enjoyed since 1973.

    Today, the court’s decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency reversed almost 100 years of jurisprudence by arguing that Congress cannot delegate authority on “major questions” to agencies in the executive branch. At stake were EPA regulations that would push fossil fuel producers toward clean energy in order to combat climate change. The vote was 6 to 3, along ideological lines. That the court agreed to hear the case despite the fact that the rules being challenged had been abandoned suggested they were determined to make a point.

    That point was to hamstring federal regulation of business. The argument at the heart of this decision is called the “nondelegation doctrine,” which says that Congress, which constitutes the legislative branch of the government, cannot delegate legislative authority to the executive branch. Most of the regulatory bodies in our government are housed in the executive branch. So the nondelegation doctrine would hamstring the modern regulatory state.

    To avoid this extreme conclusion, the majority on the court embraced the “major questions” doctrine, which Chief Justice Roberts used today for the first time in a majority opinion.

    That doctrine says that Congress must not delegate “major” issues to an agency, saying that such major issues must be explicitly authorized by Congress. But the abuse of the Senate filibuster by Republican senators means that no such laws stand a hope of passing. So the Supreme Court has essentially stopped the federal government from responding as effectively as it must to climate change. And that will have international repercussions: the inability of the U.S. government to address the crisis means that other countries will likely fall behind as well. The decision will likely apply not just to the EPA, but to a whole host of business regulations.

    As recently as 2001, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the nondelegation argument in a decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, who said the court must trust Congress to take care of its own power. But now it has become law.

    In the dissent, written by Justice Elena Kagan, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Kagan argued that Congress had, in fact, properly given authority to the EPA to act, recognizing that agencies need to be able to respond appropriately to new and big problems. “Congress knows what it doesn’t and can’t know when it drafts a statute; and Congress therefore gives an expert agency the power to address issues—even significant ones—as and when they arise.” She noted that “[t]he Clean Air Act was major legislation, designed to deal with a major public policy issue.” “This is not the Attorney General regulating medical care, or even the CDC regulating landlord-tenant relations. It is EPA (that’s the Environmental Protection Agency, in case the majority forgot) acting to address the greatest environmental challenge of our time. She concluded: “The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decision-maker on climate policy.I cannot think of many things more frightening.”

    Kagan’s dissent noted the hypocrisy of the Republican justices claiming to be originalists when they are, in fact, inventing new doctrines to achieve the ends they wish. “The current Court is textualist only when being so suits it,” she wrote. “When that method would frustrate broader goals, special canons like the ‘major questions doctrine’ magically appear as get-out-of-text-free cards. Today, one of those broader goals makes itself clear: Prevent agencies from doing important work, even though that is what Congress directed.”

    Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) applauded the ruling, saying it limited the power of “unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.”

    The court also said today that it will consider making even greater changes to our country. It will hear Moore v. Harper, a case about whether state legislatures alone have the power to set election rules even if their laws violate state constitutions.

    The case comes from North Carolina, where the state supreme court rejected a dramatically partisan gerrymander. Republicans say that the state court cannot stop the legislature’s carving up of the state because of the “independent state legislatures doctrine.” This is a new idea, based on the clause in the U.S. Constitution providing that “[t]he times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.” Those adhering to the independent state legislature theory ignore the second part of that provision.

    Those advancing the independent state legislature theory also point to another clause of the Constitution. It says: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legis­lature thereof may direct, a Number of Elect­ors.”

    Until now, states have interpreted “legislatures” to mean the state’s general lawmaking processes, which include shared power and checks and balances among the three branches of state government. Now, a radical minority insists that a legislature is a legislature alone, unchecked by state courts or state constitutions that prohibit gerrymandering. This interpretation of the Constitution is radical and new. It caught on in 2015, when Republicans wanted to get rid of an independent redistricting commission in Arizona.

    This doctrine is, of course, what Trump and his allies pushed for to keep him in power in 2020: Republican state legislatures throwing out the will of the people and sending electors for Trump to Congress rather than the Biden electors the majority voted for.

    That doctrine would also give to state legislatures the power to control who can vote, and how and where they can do so. It would strip power from elections commissions and secretaries of state, and it would take from state courts the power to challenge gerrymandering or voter suppression. Republicans currently control 30 state legislatures, in large part thanks to the gerrymandering and voter suppression in place in a number of those states.

    Revered conservative judge J. Michael Luttig has been trying for months to sound the alarm that this doctrine is a blueprint for Republicans to steal the 2024 election. In April, before the court agreed to take on the Moore v. Harper case, he wrote: “Trump and the Republicans can only be stopped from stealing the 2024 election at this point if the Supreme Court rejects the independent state legislature doctrine (thus allowing state court enforcement of state constitutional limitations on legislatively enacted election rules and elector appointments) and Congress amends the Electoral Count Act to constrain Congress' own power to reject state electoral votes and decide the presidency.”

    And yet in March, when the Supreme Court let the state supreme court’s decision against the radical map stay in place for 2022, justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh indicated they are open to the idea that state courts have no role in overseeing the rules for federal elections.

    In the one term Trump’s three justices have been on the court, they have decimated the legal landscape under which we have lived for generations, slashing power from the federal government, where Congress represents the majority, and returning it to states, where a Republican minority can impose its will. Thanks to the skewing of our electoral system, those states are now poised to take control of our federal government permanently.

    Almost exactly 35 years ago, when President Ronald Reagan nominated originalist Robert Bork for the Supreme Court, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) recognized his legal theory for what it was: an unraveling of the modern United States.

    “Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

    “America is a better and freer nation than Robert Bork thinks,” Kennedy said.

    And yet, here we are.

    “Normal.”
    09/15/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/29/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield, MA; 08/18/08, O2 London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA;

    "If you're looking down on someone, it better be to extend them a hand to lift them up."

    Libtardaplorable©. And proud of it.

    Brilliantati©
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     July 4, 2022 (Monday)

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 5, 2022 (Tuesday)

    Traditionally, Americans have celebrated the Fourth of July with barbecues, picnics, celebrations, and parades as people come together to celebrate our democracy without regard to political party. In Highland Park, Illinois, yesterday morning, a gunman opened fire on a Fourth of July parade with a high-powered rifle, killing 7, physically wounding at least 47 others, and traumatizing countless more. There were more than a dozen other mass shootings over the holiday weekend, as well. All told, mass shootings this weekend caused at least 15 deaths and injured at least 91.

    Police arrested the alleged Highland Park shooter, a white 21-year-old, without incident, inspiring comparisons to the police shooting of 25-year-old Jayland Walker of Akron, Ohio, last week after a stop for a minor traffic violation. Walker fled from the scene in his car and then fled from the car. Officers shot him, saying now they believed he was reaching for a gun. A medical examiner found 60 bullet wounds (not a typo) in Walker’s body, which a medical examiner said was handcuffed when it arrived at the coroner’s office. Walker was unarmed. He was Black.

    Today, prosecutors charged the suspect in the Highland Park shooting with 7 counts of murder and said more charges will be forthcoming.

    Last month, in the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and 2 teachers, Congress passed the first gun safety law in almost 30 years. The law provides incentives to encourage states to expand background checks before people aged 18 to 21 can buy a gun. It prohibits those who have been convicted of domestic violence from owning a gun, although it clears their record after 5 years without incident. It sets aside money for mental health resources and incentivizes states to create red flag laws. It also clarifies who requires a federal license to sell firearms.

    Republicans rejected the reinstatement of an assault weapon ban such as we had between 1994 and 2004, federal background checks, and the law shielding gun manufacturers from being sued when their guns cause deaths. But enough Republicans joined the Democrats to break a filibuster, and the bill passed, 65 to 33, with all Republicans in the minority.

    President Biden signed the law on June 25, saying, "While this bill doesn't do everything I want, it does include actions I've long called for that are going to save lives.”

    Meanwhile, New York legislators responded to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc., v. Bruen, which struck down the state’s 100-year-old law for concealed-carry permits and newly asserted that individuals have a constitutional right to carry a gun in public, by tightening gun safety laws. A new New York law prohibits concealed carry on private property unless property owners explicitly say it’s okay. It also makes it a crime to carry a concealed weapon in “sensitive locations,” which include schools, hospitals, demonstrations, bars, and Times Square, among other places. It requires background checks, training, and good moral character, and it provides an appeals process for applicants whose requests for a concealed carry license are denied.

    The Supreme Court said the old New York law was not sufficiently uniform; the new one is designed to work within the court’s parameters. New York governor Kathy Hochul signed the law on Friday. It will go into effect on September 1, 2022.

    New Jersey governor Phil Murphy today signed a package of more stringent gun laws for his state, too. Seven new laws, passed largely along party lines, regulate and track the sale of ammunition, require those moving to New Jersey to register their guns within 60 days, permit the attorney general to sue gun industry participants, and so on.

    Today, a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, issued a stack of subpoenas as part of the investigation into whether Trump and his allies illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in that state. Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation after a recording of Trump pressing Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger came to light in early 2021.

    The grand jury subpoenaed Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesebro, Jacki Pick Deason, and Jenna Ellis, who is now working for Trump-endorsed Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. In 2021, Ellis declared she was leaving the Republican Party because it was no longer “conservative” enough for her.

    The grand jury is looking at the creation of the fake electors from Georgia and at the various fake claims Trump allies put forward about the election being “stolen.” Eastman’s subpoena refers to his December 3, 2020, appearance before the Georgia State Senate, where he told lawmakers “that they had both the lawful authority and a ‘duty’ to replace the Democratic Party’s slate of presidential electors, who had been certified as the duly appointed electors for the States of Georgia after the November 2020 election, due to unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud within the state. There is evidence that the Witness’s appearance and testimony at the hearing was part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”  

    At least two phone calls Graham made to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger or his staff in which Graham apparently asked about “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump,” are at the heart of the subpoena to Graham.  

    Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Liz Cheney (R-WY) of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol said this weekend that more witnesses have come forward since Cassidy Hutchinson testified last week. The aide to Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows offered explosive testimony directly tying Trump and Meadows to planned violence on January 6.

    Sarah Matthews, deputy press secretary in the Trump administration, will testify at a future hearing. Matthews jumped to Hutchinson’s defense after her testimony last week, tweeting, "Anyone downplaying Cassidy Hutchinson's role or her access in the West Wing either doesn't understand how the Trump (White House) worked or is attempting to discredit her because they're scared of how damning this testimony is." Matthews resigned on January 6, saying in a statement, “I was honored to serve in the Trump administration and proud of the policies we enacted. As someone who worked in the halls of Congress I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today. I’ll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power.”  

    After Hutchinson’s testimony, we learned that the Trump organization and his allies have been paying for lawyers to represent those called by the January 6 committee as witnesses. Hutchinson offered much more information to the committee when she got rid of the lawyer Trump’s team provided and engaged her own lawyer. Immediately, Trump complained that “[h]er story totally changed!” suggesting that the Trump team might be pressuring witnesses not to cooperate with the committee.

    “What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I’m on the team, I’m doing the right thing, I’m protecting who I need to protect, you know, I’ll continue to stay in the good graces in Trump world,” one witness told the committee. “And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just keep that in mind as I proceed through my depositions and interviews with the committee.”

    The committee has planned the next public hearing for July 12 at 10:00 am.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 6, 2022 (Wednesday)

    Eighteen months ago today, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from counting the electoral votes that would make Democrat Joe Biden president. Thanks to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are learning more about just how deep that plot ran, and more evidence is dropping almost daily.

    Yesterday, for example, Politico revealed a two-minute trailer for the documentary about the Trump family by British filmmaker Alex Holder. With extraordinary access to the family, Holder witnessed what the trailer portrays as the attempt of the Trump family to create an American dynasty, and its determination to hold onto power even if it meant the destruction of American democracy.    

    Today, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater of the New York Times reported that the committee has secured an agreement with Trump’s White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone to testify in a videotaped, transcribed interview. Last week’s testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson put great pressure on Cipollone to testify. She said that she and Cipollone had had several conversations about the illegality of the things Trump and his chief of staff Mark Meadows were doing.

    She recounted Cipollone’s determination to prevent Trump from going to the Capitol with the rioters he sent there, alleging that if Trump went, Cipollone said, “We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.” He also insisted that Trump must call off the rioters, even after Meadows said the president didn’t want to.

    He will testify privately the day after the January 6 committee’s next public hearing.

    There is movement on other issues surrounding the attempt to overturn the 2020 election, as well. Yesterday, a Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury issued a subpoena for Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), among others, and today Graham’s lawyers said they will challenge the subpoena. They say the investigation is a “fishing expedition” and that any information it turns up would go straight to the January 6th committee. They assert that as then-chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham “was well within his rights to discuss with state officials the processes and procedures around administering elections.”

    The subpoena refers not to processes and procedures around administering elections, of course, even if it were in fact appropriate for a senator from South Carolina to ask questions about such procedures in Georgia. It refers to at least two phone calls Graham made to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger or his staff in which Graham apparently asked about “reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.” And, in November 2021, Graham admitted he reached out not only to officials in Georgia, but to those in Arizona and Nevada as well.

    This outreach had nothing to do with the Senate Judiciary Committee; Graham was plainly working for Trump’s campaign. Further undercutting this argument is that it is not the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversees elections; it is the Senate Rules Committee.

    Former federal prosecutor Shanlon Wu tweeted that Graham is challenging the subpoena on the grounds that the grand jury is working for the congressional committee, and thus the subpoena will “erode the constitutional balance of power and the ability of a Member of Congress to do their job.” Wu said the legal course is as follows: Graham’s challenge will lose in state court and then his lawyers will try to get a federal court to stop the enforcement of a state subpoena. Wu said that the Supreme Court is unlikely to agree that the state of Georgia is a branch of the federal government. He called it “an arrogant[,] pompous and legally weak argument from Graham [that] should be slam-dunk rejected by any court that hears it.”

    Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) was more succinct. He tweeted: “It’s a subpoena. Not a request to RSVP.”

    There are more subpoenas in the news. Today, New York state judge Arthur F. Engoron held Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate firm that valued the Trump properties under investigation by New York attorney general Letitia James, in contempt of court for failing to comply with subpoenas about the valuation of certain Trump properties. A spokesperson for the company says that the company has gone to “extreme lengths” to comply with the subpoena, although it has not managed to produce the documents yet. The delay of the documents is crucial because Trump and two of his children are scheduled to testify about the valuations next week under oath.

    The firm will be fined $10,000 a day until it provides the documents the subpoenas require.

    What all these demands for information under oath do is establish what really happened, in contrast to the false narratives political operatives have spun in front of television cameras and on the internet, where they are not bound by any requirement to tell the truth.

    The slow accumulation of facts over fiction might well become a financial crisis for those who participated in Trump’s narrative. The Fox News Corporation, One America News Network, and Newsmax are currently facing multibillion dollar lawsuits from Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, a voting machine company and an election software company, that those channels claimed had stolen the 2020 election for Biden.

    Smaller companies OAN and Newsmax are financially vulnerable to lawsuits alone, to say nothing of an adverse judgment, but according to an article by Adam Gabbatt in The Guardian, FNC has more to worry about than money. We already know that FNC hosts and White House officials were in contact about the January 6 insurrection, and in the discovery phase of a lawsuit, FNC could have to hand over documents that might tell us more about that connection.

    Angelo Carusone, chief executive officer of Media Matters for America, told Gabbatt: “I think once you start to pull the discovery material, what you’re going to find is there was a lot of communication between the Trump people both internally and externally about pushing very specific lies and narratives.”

    The role of fact versus narrative is on display elsewhere in our government as well.

    Both the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association, the flagship organizations of professional historians in the U.S., along with eight other U.S. historical associations (so far), yesterday issued a joint statement expressing dismay that the six Supreme Court justices in the majority in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision that overturned Roe v. Wade ignored the actual history those organizations provided the court and instead “adopted a flawed interpretation of abortion criminalization that has been pressed by anti-abortion advocates for more than thirty years.” Although the decision mentioned “history” 67 times, they note, it ignored “the long legal tradition, extending from the common law to the mid-1800s (and far longer in some states, including Mississippi), of tolerating termination of pregnancy before occurrence of ‘quickening,’ the time when a woman first felt fetal movement.”

    The statement focuses less on politics than on the perversion of history, noting that “[t]hese misrepresentations are now enshrined in a text that becomes authoritative for legal reference and citation in the future,” an undermining of the “imperative that historical evidence and argument be presented according to high standards of historical scholarship. The Court’s majority opinion…does not meet those standards.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     July 7, 2022 (Thursday)

    Today, President Joe Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 17 individuals who Biden says “demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation—hard work, perseverance, and faith. They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities—and across the world—while blazing trails for generations to come.”

    The seventeen appear to have been chosen quite deliberately to provide a snapshot of a multicultural, nonpartisan society in which people work to overcome hardship and contribute to the public good.

    Biden praised decorated gymnast Simone Biles, who has won 19 World Championship gold medals and 4 Olympic gold medals, for her advocacy for the mental health and safety of athletes, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault.

    Sister Simone Campbell is “a prominent advocate for economic justice, immigration reform, and healthcare policy.” Dr. Julieta García “was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president and dedicated her career to serving students from the Southwest Border region.” Former Member of Congress Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate and later a U.S. representative, survived gun violence and co-founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to gun violence prevention.

    Attorney Fred Gray “represented Rosa Parks, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King, who called him ‘the chief counsel for the protest movement.’” Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, led both Apple, Inc., and Pixar. “His vision, imagination and creativity led to inventions that have, and continue to, change the way the world communicates, as well as transforming the computer, music, film and wireless industries.” Father Alexander Karloutsos has been a Greek Orthodox priest for more than 50 years, “providing counsel to several U.S. presidents.” Khizr Khan is a Gold Star father (which means he lost his son Captain Humayun Khan in the military service of the U.S.) and “is a prominent advocate for the rule of law and religious freedom.”

    Sandra Lindsay was prominent in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, working as a critical care nurse in New York. She was “the first American to receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials and is a prominent advocate for vaccines and mental health for health care workers.” Senator John McCain, who died in 2018, was a prominent Republican politician from Arizona, famous as an independent thinker who often bucked his party to do what he considered right. Diane Nash helped to found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) that “organized some of the most important civil rights campaigns of the 20th century.”

    Olympic and two-time World Cup champion soccer player Megan Rapinoe works “for gender pay equality, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights.” Former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson, a Republican, has been “a prominent advocate on issues including campaign finance reform, responsible governance, and marriage equality.” Richard Trumka, who died in 2021, led the AFL-CIO for more than a decade and worked for social and economic justice. Brigadier General Wilma Vaught broke gender barriers as she rose through the ranks of the U.S. Air Force. “When she retired in 1985, she was one of only seven women generals in the Armed Forces.” Award-winning actor, director, and producer Denzel Washington has “served as National Spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for over 25 years.”

    And civil rights advocate Raúl Yzaguirre, who was a U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, led the National Council of La Raza for 30 years.

    “Decorated athletes and military heroes, artists, civil rights giants, activists and trailblazing representatives, intellectuals, and innovators,” Biden tweeted. “That's America. And these are our 2022 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.”
     
    President John F. Kennedy established these awards for ​​”especially meritorious contributions to… [t]he security or national interests of the United States, or…world peace, or…cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” “In a period when the national government must call upon an increasing portion of the talents and energies of its citizens,” Kennedy said, “it is clearly appropriate to provide ways to recognize and reward the work of persons, within and without the Government, who contribute significantly to the quality of American life.” And yet for all their apparent civic-minded origins, a 2018 study by political scientists E. Fletcher McClellan, Christopher Devine, and Kyle C. Kopko showed that the medals have become increasingly political since 1981 as presidents seek to reward donors and associate their presidencies with individuals who will appeal to their voters or show their administrations in a good light.

    The difference between Biden’s first 17 award recipients and those former president Trump honored reflects their different visions of the country. Trump favored white people and focused on athletes, especially golfers; cultural icons (Babe Ruth and Elvis Presley); or icons in the Republican Party’s rightward swing (media figure Rush Limbaugh, economist Arthur Laffer, jurist Antonin Scalia). Trump also awarded a medal to Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) on January 4, 2021, and, on January 11, 2021, to Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH).  

    That vision of the government as a way to reward loyalists might have moved past legal boundaries. New York Times journalist Michael S. Schmidt yesterday reported that both former FBI director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe were tapped for extremely rare invasive tax audits by the Internal Revenue Service during the Trump administration. Those audits are supposed to be random, and the chances that both Comey and McCabe, whom Trump singled out as enemies for their role in the Russia investigation, were randomly chosen seem small. The two men were unaware the other had gone through the deep audit until a reporter told them.

    Today, the IRS director Charles Rettig, the Trump appointee under whom the audits took place, asked the inspector general of the Treasury Department to investigate the matter.  

    There was international condemnation of right-wing policies in the U.S. today, when the European Parliament voted 324 to 155, with 38 abstaining, to condemn the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the constitutional right to abortion. It also demanded that the European Union recognize the right to abortion in its charter, and to provide "safe, legal and free abortion services, pre-natal and maternal healthcare services, voluntary family planning, youth-friendly services, and HIV prevention, treatment and support, without discrimination."

    U.S. Secret Service director James Murray announced his retirement from the agency today to take a position as security chief at Snapchat’s parent company, Snap. Former president Trump appointed Murray to the head of the Secret Service in May 2019. Questions about the loyalties of certain Secret Service agents have swirled since January 6, but the White House said the resignation was not connected to the recent testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, who mentioned hearing of a physical altercation between Trump and an agent after Trump spoke at the Ellipse on January 6.  

    In the U.K. today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stepped down as head of the Conservative Party after dozens of officials in his government resigned over repeated scandals. He says he will step down as prime minister when the party chooses his replacement, likely this fall. Party leaders may force him out sooner. In a statement, Biden said that “the special relationship between our people remains strong and enduring…. I look forward to continuing our close cooperation with the government of the United Kingdom, as well as our Allies and partners around the world, on a range of important priorities. That includes maintaining a strong and united approach to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Putin's brutal war on their democracy, and holding Russia accountable for its actions."

    Tonight, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot in the chest while he was giving a campaign speech in the city of Nara. His condition is critical. Police have arrested a male suspect in the shooting. Washington Post Tokyo/Seoul bureau chief Michele Ye Hee Lee tweeted: “Can't overstate how shocking this shooting is—not only because Abe is very popular and prominent, but also because gun violence is extremely rare incident in Japan, a country with some of the world's strictest gun laws.”

    President of the European Council Charles Michel tweeted that Abe is “a true friend, fierce defender of multilateral order & democratic values.” He promised that the European Union stands with Japan and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

    Finally, former president Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary today. Theirs is the longest presidential marriage in our history. They were married in Plains, Georgia, on this date in 1946.

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    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
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    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     July 8, 2022 (Friday)

    Today, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to protect access to reproductive health care services two weeks after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. For almost 50 years, that decision protected the constitutional right of women to make health care decisions without the interference of the state. Without that protection, the president noted, states across the country have outlawed abortion, threatening the lives and health, as well as the economic security, of women across the country, especially women of color, poor women, and rural women.  

    Both the president and the Department of Justice have come out strongly for legislation to protect reproductive rights, saying that the government should not interfere in such a personal decision. Until the Democrats have enough senators to break a Republican filibuster in the Senate, though, Republicans will prevent any such measure from passing. In the meantime, Biden says he will use the power of the executive branch to protect women’s constitutional rights.

    The executive order requires the Department of Health and Human Services to protect and expand access to abortion medication that the Food and Drug Administration approved more than 20 years ago. It will try to ensure that all patients have access to emergency medical treatment and to birth control. It will work to inform people about their right to reproductive health services, and convene volunteer lawyers to protect the rights of pregnant patients to travel from one state to another for medical care.

    It will protect patient privacy by asking the Federal Trade Commission to fight the exchange of health-related data, including guiding consumers on how to protect their health care data on mobile apps.

    It will protect those seeking access to doctors and clinics and will provide an additional $3 million in funding for them. It will provide leave for federal workers who need to travel for health care, and will continue to provide health care for military families and Department of Defense workers.

    Today was a fitting day for Biden’s executive order, since tomorrow is the anniversary of the day in 1868 that Americans changed the U.S. Constitution for the fourteenth time, giving the federal government power to guarantee that state governments could not pass laws that treated some people worse than others.

    The background to this constitutional amendment was that in the wake of the Civil War, former Confederates in the southern states had done their best to force their Black neighbors back into subservience. Through a series of laws known collectively as the “Black Codes,” state legislators in summer 1865 regulated how Black Americans worked, lived, worshiped, and conducted themselves, without any recourse to the law for protection when they were robbed, assaulted, raped, and killed.
     
    But there was no way northern members of Congress were going to permit southern lawmakers, who only months before had been shooting at U.S. soldiers, to discriminate against the very men who had fought to save the United States.

    Their solution was the Fourteenth Amendment.

    The amendment overturned the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision that, in addition to declaring that Black men were not citizens and did not have the rights of citizens, declared that democracy was created at the state level by those people in a state who were allowed to vote. In 1857, this meant white men, almost exclusively. If those people voted to do something widely unpopular—like adopting human enslavement, for example—they had the right to do so. People like Abraham Lincoln pointed out that such state power would eventually mean that an unpopular minority could take over the national government, forcing their ideas on everyone else, but defenders of states’ rights stood firm.
     
    And so, the Fourteenth Amendment gave the federal government the power to protect individuals even if their state legislatures had passed discriminatory laws. “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” it said. And then it went on to say that “Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

    But the amendment had to be ratified. In the midterm elections of 1866, the driving issue was the election of state legislators who would either pass or reject the Fourteenth Amendment. President Andrew Johnson, who had stepped into the presidency when an actor had murdered President Abraham Lincoln the year before, stood against the amendment and backed throwing power to the state legislatures. His support gave southern terrorists the confidence to attack formerly enslaved people not only in private, but also in deadly public riots that killed as many as 1000 people before the election.

    For their part, the Republicans who wanted federal protection of equal rights also turned to the people, but appealed to voters' commitment to the principle of equality before the law. Senator James G. Blaine, Republican of Maine, later recalled, “The one…point…echoed and re-echoed by every speaker…was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. It was evidently the unalterable determination of the Republicans to make that the leading feature of the campaign…to urge it though the press, to present it on the stump, to proclaim it through every authorized exponent of public opinion.”

    Voters sided with the Republicans and the Fourteenth Amendment by a landslide against Johnson and the Black Codes. The Republicans won 143 representatives to Congress to the Democrats’ 49. The Republicans maintained similar control over the state houses.

    “The importance…of the political struggle of 1866 cannot be overestimated,” Blaine recalled. “If the contest had ended [differently] the history of the subsequent years would…have been radically different. There would have been no further amendment to the Constitution,” and southern legislators would “sustain all the State laws already passed for the practical re-enslavement” of Black Americans, “with such additional enactments as would have made them cruelly effective…. [T]he result must have been a deplorable degradation of the National character and an ignoble surrender to the enemies of the Union,” who would then direct the government.
     
    The state legislatures ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and added it to the Constitution in 1868, and in 1870 the federal government set out to enforce national equality before the law with the creation of the Department of Justice, whose first job was to bring down the Ku Klux Klan terrorists in the South who were assaulting and murdering their Black neighbors.
     
    In the post–World War II era, the federal government again used the Fourteenth Amendment to protect citizens against discrimination at the state level when the Supreme Court began to use the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment aggressively to apply the protections in the Bill of Rights to the states. The civil rights decisions of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, including the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that outlawed segregation in public schools and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, come from this doctrine. Under it, the federal government took up the mantle of protecting the rights of individual Americans in the states from the whims of state legislatures.
     
    Opponents of these new civil rights protections quickly began to object that such decisions were “legislating from the bench,” rather than permitting state legislatures to make their own laws. They began to call for “originalism,” the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted only as the Framers had intended when they wrote it, an argument that focused on the creation of law at the state level. That theory is now dominant in the Supreme Court. Two weeks ago, on June 24, 2022, it rejected the federal government’s power to protect civil rights in the states, and more than a dozen state legislatures have rushed to outlaw abortion procedures.

    Today, Biden reached for the power embodied by the Fourteenth Amendment for the federal government to overrule state laws discriminating against citizens within their borders. But he also echoed the electoral fight to put that amendment in place when he told Americans: “We need two additional pro-choice senators and a pro-choice House to codify Roe as federal law. Your vote can make that a reality. I know it's frustrating, and it made a lot of people very angry. But the truth is this.... [The] women of America can determine the outcome of this issue."

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     July 9, 2022 (Saturday)

    I started this clear but somewhat chilly summer day reading a young adult novel on a sunny corner of the porch with my coffee, pitted about a gazillion cherries for pies, worked for a few hours on the new book, and then my sister and I kayaked up the Sound until we almost got eaten by a giant blue whale... or--depending on your version of events, and mine most definitely involves the mythic blue whale-- we saw from a distance quite a large fish rising as it chased a school of mackerel. And then we paddled home for pizza as the sun set.

    And now, to make the day perfect, I'm going to go to bed and sleep for a week, and so will leave you with another of Buddy's sunrises, taken when he's hitting the office, just about the time I'm hitting the bed.

    I'll see you tomorrow.

    [Photo by Buddy Poland.]

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     July 10, 2022 (Sunday)

    With the recent Supreme Court decisions gutting federal enforcement of civil rights and business regulation and the public hearings of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, economic news has been pushed out of the center of public conversation. That’s a shame for two reasons.

    First, Democratic president Joe Biden appears to be centering his presidency around the idea of rebuilding the middle class through government investment in ordinary Americans. This is a major shift—a sea change—from the past 40 years of Republican policy saying that the economy would prosper if only the government slashed taxes and regulation, leaving more money and power in the hands of business leaders, those “makers” who would invest in new industries and provide more jobs. Watching the effect of his policies is a window into what works and what doesn’t.

    Second, the Republicans are counting on anger over inflation, shortages, and gas prices to win control over the House of Representatives and the Senate in the fall elections. It’s worth paying attention to what’s really going on with those issues, as well as to what policies the Democrats and the Republicans are putting on the table to address them.

    On the first point: Biden has focused on rebuilding the American middle class that has been so terribly hollowed out in the past 40 years. While he appears to be driven by his belief in the dignity of all Americans and their right to be able to make ends meet with a decent job, historians will tell you that in the U.S., race and gender tensions are significantly lower when income and wealth are more evenly distributed than when a few people at the top of the economic ladder control most of the nation’s capital. The rise of lynching in the U.S. in the late 1880s, just as trusts came to monopolize the economy, was not a coincidence.

    The Republican economic promise since Reagan has been that cutting regulation and taxes would create a healthy economy in which everyone who is willing to work can thrive. But political commentator Thom Hartmann marshaled the statistics in a crystal clear Twitter thread a week ago, revealing just how badly that argument has failed.

    Hartmann noted that after World War II, “the nation had hummed along for 40 years on a top income tax bracket of 91% and a corporate income tax that topped out around 50%.” Business was growing faster than at any other previous time, and businessmen stayed out of politics. The country had great public schools, research laboratories, trade schools, airports, interstate highways, and small businesses, as well as unions that protected America’s workers.

    The election of Ronald Reagan meant radical tax cuts (from a top marginal rate of 74% in 1980 to the 27% it is today), business deregulation, and the gutting of social safety nets. Forty-two years later, Hartmann notes, more than $50 trillion has been transferred from the bottom 90% to the top 1%. In 1980, 60% of us were in the middle class; now fewer than half of us are. Republicans promised that permitting business concentration would lead to innovation and opportunity; instead, we have seen an end to competition, along with price gouging and profiteering from the giant companies that choke out small business. Stock buybacks were supposed to mean that senior executives would care more about the future of their companies, but instead they have become a means for them to pocket cash.

    Since the beginning of his term, Biden has tried to take on the concentration of wealth and power among a few elites. Biden’s investment in the U.S. economy through the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill has produced significant results. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the nonfarm job numbers for June, which show that employment continues to rise. The economy added 372,000 jobs in June, mostly in “professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and health care.” We are still 524,000 jobs down from February 2020, before the pandemic. Unemployment remains at 3.6%, with about 5.9 million folks unemployed.

    There were some interesting trends in the data. There are 880,000 more jobs in business, computer design, administration, and research than there were in February 2020. There are 260,000 more jobs in outpatient health care now than in February 2020, but hospitals have lost 57,000 workers, and nursing and residential care have lost 379,000. Leisure and hospitality—restaurants, for example—have lost a whopping 1.3 million jobs, or 7.8% of their workers, since February 2020 (although the sector is growing again).

    But look at this: transportation and warehousing have grown fast, with 759,000 more jobs than in February 2020. Manufacturing is back to where it was in February 2020, suggesting that President Joe Biden’s emphasis on repairing supply chains is paying off.

    And in the past year, wages have gone up 5.1%. That, along with increased pressure for unionization, suggests workers have more power than they did before the pandemic.

    This data suggests that people are moving away from work in restaurants, leisure, and nursing—all professions hit terribly hard during the pandemic—and toward transportation and office work. The increase in wages reflects more bargaining power on the part of employees. All of this is hardly rocket science, I know, but it does suggest that the economy is reorganizing at least temporarily into new forms since the pandemic.

    This is of interest as we try to figure out what’s going on with inflation, which is currently afflicting not just the U.S. but the rest of the world as well. That story tells us something about the success of the Republican program Hartmann identified.

    One of the reasons for inflation has been the concentration of corporate power since the 1980s. A June report by three economists for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston noted that “[t]he US economy is at least 50 percent more concentrated today than it was in 2005,” and that such concentration amplifies the degree to which companies pass price hikes onto consumers as businesses overcompensate for rising production costs. In the oil industry, the report notes, as prices have spiked, companies have posted jaw-dropping profits.

    The price of gasoline has been coming down from its crazy high for the past 25 days. In the past two weeks, the average price of gas has dropped 19 cents a gallon, and as the price of crude oil continues to fall, consumers can expect to see prices continue to fall as well, although they fall more slowly than they rise in a phenomenon researchers call “rocket and feathers.” That term refers to the fact that gas prices go up like a rocket along with the cost of crude oil but fall more slowly as the cost of crude oil comes down, in part because consumers are so happy to see any relief at the pump that they don’t shop around to drive prices lower.  

    One of the reasons for the crazy highs is speculation by largely unregulated energy traders that creates massive volatility in prices. Lack of regulation is in the news today in another industry, too, as journalists from media organizations including the Guardian, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and the Washington Post revealed how Uber evaded regulators by using a “kill switch” that shut down regulators’ access to the files they needed to monitor the company.

    There is a coming showdown between the Democrats’ approach to the economy and the old Republican approach. Biden and the Democrats are trying to pass a $52 billion U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) that would invest in U.S. science and technology to boost American industry, support research, and fund the manufacture of semiconductor chips to free the U.S. from relying on Chinese products. But Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has vowed to kill the measure unless the Democrats back off on a budget package that would fund Medicare by placing a 3.8% tax on income “pass throughs” taken by individuals making more than $400,000 a year and would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, significantly lowering costs to consumers.

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    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 11, 2022 (Monday)
     
    Tomorrow’s public hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET, will be managed by Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). It will focus on domestic violent extremists, members of Congress who joined Trump’s pressure campaign on legislators to overturn the election, and Trump’s activity focusing on January 6 itself.

    That activity includes the infamous tweet of December 19, 2020, in which Trump announced: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” According to The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell, investigators will demonstrate that the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, as well as other activists, interpreted Trump’s tweet as a signal to come to Washington for the counting of the certified ballots on January 6.

    The tweet came the day after a White House meeting in which Trump allies, including former national security advisor Michael Flynn and Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, urged then-president Trump to seize voting machines and make Powell a special counsel to look into alleged voter fraud. Instead, Trump focused on January 6 and called supporters to the city. By December 20, Proud Boys leaders and Oath Keepers made plans for military training and stockpiling weapons. Activists applied for a permit in Washington to protest.
     
    As we gear up for tomorrow’s public hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, there are more stories about the days surrounding that event.
     
    Last Friday, July 8, Trump’s White House counsel Pat Cipollone testified before the committee for more than 8 hours under oath, privately but on video. According to Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who is a member of the committee, Cipollone did not contradict anything that Cassidy Hutchinson, aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, said in her explosive testimony. Those who have suggested they disagree with that testimony have not, so far, testified under oath. Lofgren also suggested that Cipollone had given the committee new information that it would produce for the public later in a later hearing.
     
    Also on Friday, a Justice Department court filing revealed that the Oath Keepers had extensive plans for violence in the days surrounding January 6. Prosecutors say that at least three chapters of the gang held military training camps focusing on “military-style basic” training, “unconventional warfare,” and “hasty ambushes.” At least one of the Oath Keepers brought explosives, including grenades, to the quick reaction force (QRF) site outside Washington, D.C. One of the gang, Thomas Caldwell, had a “DEATH LIST” that included the name of a Georgia election official and that person’s family member, both of whom had been falsely targeted as part of alleged voter fraud. (Caldwell told CNN that it was a “100% false and disgusting lie” that he “sought to assassinate election workers.”)
     
    Nine of the Oath Keepers have been charged with seditious conspiracy. At least seven of the gang’s members, three of whom pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and who were close to those under indictment, are cooperating with the government.

    On Saturday, Trump confidant Steve Bannon, who is facing a trial for contempt of Congress on July 18, says he is now willing to testify before the committee. To add drama to that statement, former president Trump made a statement waiving the executive privilege Bannon has cited in his refusal to cooperate. This was pure theater: Trump no longer exercises executive privilege—President Joe Biden does—and since Bannon wasn’t an employee, he couldn’t have been covered anyway. Nonetheless, some media outlets fell for it and repeated it breathlessly, as if we might now hear honest testimony from Bannon.

    Not happening.

    Bannon’s “offer” to testify seemed clearly to be an attempt to muddy the increasingly clear waters of the committee’s hearings. In the first impeachment hearings, Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) and John Ratcliffe (R-TX) used their positions to shout and badger witnesses and to create sound bites for right-wing media that put forward a completely misleading narrative of what the hearings were actually showing. As Josh Kovensky of Talking Points Memo pointed out today, Trump has complained bitterly that his people are unable to get their own narrative out, even as evidence against the president and his allies coming from his own inner circle is painting a damning picture of an attempt to overturn our democracy.

    Public “testimony” would enable loyalists like Bannon to “flood the zone with sh*t,” as he has called his method of disinformation. Not only Bannon, but also the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, has offered to “testify.” So, too, has Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL). In each case, though, the men have tried to put limits on what they will talk about and the conditions under which they will talk, revealing both an attempt to demonstrate that they still have power to make demands (they don’t) and that they are not making good faith offers. Rhodes’s lawyer told Politico: “He wants to confront them.”  

    As CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane tweeted, their determination to skew the narrative also undermines the argument that no one is paying attention to the hearings.

    Today, the Department of Justice pulled the rug out from under the whole scene when it filed a document revealing that Trump’s attorney, Justin Clark, had confirmed to the department on June 29 that Trump had never made an attempt to invoke executive privilege over Bannon’s testimony or documents. After a long litany of Bannon’s antics, the department said that “[a]ll of the above-described circumstances suggest the Defendant’s sudden wish to testify is not a genuine effort to meet his obligations but a last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability.”

    Bannon’s moves lately were almost certainly designed to delay his trial for contempt of Congress, due to start next Monday. He vowed to make the case the “misdemeanor from hell,” for the Justice Department, and he tried to subpoena House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the January 6 committee. Bannon’s lawyers were in court today to try to postpone his trial for three months. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, who was appointed by Trump, ruled against Bannon across the board. “It seems clear that Mr. Bannon’s trying to turn this into a circus that cannot be allowed,” House counsel Douglas Letter said, and the judge apparently agreed. Bannon’s trial will begin as scheduled.

    Bannon is not the only one who has wanted to avoid legal procedures. A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, has subpoenaed Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and seven other witnesses to testify about the attempt to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. Graham allegedly made at least two phone calls to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger asking him to find votes for Trump. Graham vowed to fight the subpoena. Today, Fulton County Superior Judge Robert McBurney ordered him to testify, saying he was a “necessary witness” to the investigation. He is supposed to testify on August 2 but will continue to battle the order.

    And today, news broke that Cushman & Wakefield, the company that appraised some of Trump’s New York properties, has struck a deal with New York attorney general Letitia James, who has subpoenaed documents in her investigation of the Trump organization. The company will hand over “priority” overdue documents by midnight Monday and has until July 20 to deliver more of the documents James wants. If they do so, both sides will ask the judge to get rid of the $10,000-a-day fine the company incurred by missing past deadlines.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 12, 2022 (Tuesday)

    Today the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol held its seventh public hearing. This one focused on how former president Trump summoned right-wing extremists to Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, in a last ditch effort to overturn the 2020 election.

    Committee members reiterated that Trump’s advisors had told him repeatedly that there was no evidence for his claims that the election had been corrupt. Again and again, White House officials demanded of Trump’s allies that they produce evidence of their accusations of fraud, and they never produced anything, choosing instead to attack those demanding evidence as disloyal to Trump. There is no doubt that Trump knew quite well there had been no fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election, and that he was lying when he continued to insist the election had been stolen.

    Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), the committee’s co-chair, began the hearing by noting that there had been a change recently in those defending Trump’s actions as it has been established that Trump’s advisors had made it clear to him the election was not stolen. From arguing that he didn’t know the election was fair, they have switched to suggesting that he was misled by bad actors like John Eastman, who articulated the plan to have Vice President Mike Pence refuse to count certain of Biden’s electors, or Trump lawyer Sidney Powell.

    But, Cheney said in words carefully calculated to infuriate the former president: “This is nonsense. Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child. Just like everyone else in this country, he is responsible for his own actions…. [He] [c]annot escape responsibility by being willfully blind.”

    The focus in today’s hearing was on Trump’s actions between December 14, when the Electoral College met in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia to certify the ballots that elected Democrat Joe Biden, and the morning of January 6, when Trump pointed the rally-goers at the Ellipse toward the U.S. Capitol.

    With the electoral votes certified for Biden on December 14, even then–Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Biden publicly on his election, and numerous White House officials, including White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Attorney General Bill Barr, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, either urged Trump to concede or began looking for new jobs on the assumption the White House would change hands on January 20.

    But Trump and his allies looked to January 6, when those electoral votes would be counted, as the last inflection point at which they might be able to overturn the election.

    On December 18, 2020, four days after the electors met, Trump’s outside advisors, including lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and Patrick Byrne, former chief executive officer of Overstock, got access to the White House through a junior staffer and met with Trump. They brought an executive order that had been drafted on December 15, the day after the electors had certified the votes for Biden. It called for Trump to order the Defense Department to seize state voting machines, and it appointed Powell as special counsel to investigate voter fraud, giving her broad powers. They wanted Trump to implement it.

    Cipollone got wind of the meeting and crashed it about 15 minutes in. Over the next six hours, White House officials and the Trump team members who insisted the election was stolen faced off, exchanging personal insults, accusations of disloyalty to the president, even challenges to fight physically. Cipollone, White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, and their team demanded evidence to support the theories Trump’s outside team insisted were true. In turn, the outside team repeated conspiracy theories and accused the others of being wimps: Powell told the committee the White House team all should have been fired, and Giuliani told the committee he told them all they were “a bunch of p*ssies.”

    In the end, Trump was convinced not to follow the direction of the outside advisors. But he didn't take the advice of those officials telling him to concede, either. Instead, shortly after the meeting broke up, Meadows walked Giuliani out of the White House to make sure he didn’t sneak back into Trump’s company. Then, at 1:42 on the morning of December 19, Trump reiterated to followers that the election had been stolen and that there was no statistical way that he could have lost.

    Then he typed the words: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6. Be there, will be wild!”

    Immediately, his most loyal supporters recognized this tweet as a call for armed resistance. “Trump just told us all to come armed,” one tweeted. “F*cking A, this is happening.”

    Far-right media, including Alex Jones of InfoWars, amplified Trump's tweet with calls to violence. The committee introduced testimony from a former Twitter moderator who said: “We had not seen that sort of direct communication before” in which Trump was speaking directly to supporters and inciting them to fight. After the December 19 tweet, it was clear, the person said, “not only were these individuals ready and willing, but the leader of their cause was asking them to join him in this cause and in fighting for this cause in DC on January 6 as well.”

    Supporters wrote comments like: “Why don’t we just kill them? Every last democrat, down to the last man, woman, and child?” and, making the link between Trump’s determination to stay in office and white supremacy: “It’s time for the DAY OF THE ROPE! WHITE REVOLUTION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION!”

    As Trump continued to post about January 6 on Twitter and continued to insist he had won the election, militias, white supremacists, and conspiracy theorists began to work together to coordinate an attack on the Capitol. The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, along with other extremists groups, worked with Trump allies to plan the attack. Those allies included Michael Flynn and Patrick Byrne.

    Another ally was Trump confidant Roger Stone, who talked both to the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers “regularly.” The committee got access to an encrypted chat of the “Friends of Stone,” or “FOS,” including Stone, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and agitator Ali Alexander. Kelly Meggs, the leader of the Florida Oath Keepers, spoke directly with Stone about security on January 5 and 6. Stone was guarded on January 6 by two Oath Keepers who have been indicted for seditious conspiracy.

    Stone was also close enough to the Proud Boys to have “taken their so-called fraternity creed required for the first level of initiation to the group.” The clip of that oath shows him saying: “Hi, I’m Roger Stone. I’m a Western chauvinist, and I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”

    The committee made it clear that Trump deliberately created the crisis on January 6. Katrina Pierson, organizer of the Ellipse rally, was so worried about Stone, Jones, and Alexander as speakers at the rally, that she talked to Meadows on January 2 about them, warning a fellow organizer that Trump “likes the crazies.” On that same day, Meadows warned his assistant Cassidy Hutchinson that things could get “real, real bad” on January 6.

    The committee produced evidence from a number of emails and tweets from Trump and other organizers saying that after the rally, Trump would urge attendees to march to the Capitol, undercutting the argument that the move was spontaneous. In fact, it was long planned.

    The committee also introduced evidence that the White House coordinated with members of Congress to encourage the Big Lie and to fight the election results. Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL) set up a meeting between members of Congress (and one member-elect) on December 21, with the subject line: “White House meeting December 21 regarding January 6.” That meeting included Trump, Pence, Meadows, Giuliani, and ten representatives: Brian Babin (R-TX), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Harris (R-MD), Jody Hice (R-GA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Scott Perry (R-PA), and recently elected Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

    This sheds light on Trump’s comment to officials from the Department of Justice in which he asked them just to say the election was corrupt and leave the rest up to him and the Republican congress members. A number of those involved in the meeting later asked for presidential pardons.

    Some in Trump's inner circle were excited about what was to come. Phone logs show Trump spoke to confidant Steve Bannon at least twice on January 5. After the first call, Bannon said on his podcast that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.” “It’s all converging and now we’re on…the point of attack.” “I’ll tell you this: it’s not going to happen like you think it’s going to happen…. It’s going to be quite extraordinarily different and all I can say is strap in.”

    That night, as supporters gathered at Freedom Plaza to hear the extremist speakers who had been excluded from the event of January 6, including Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Alex Jones, and Ali Alexander, Trump was in a notably good mood for the first time in weeks. Stone told the crowd it was in an “epic struggle for the future of this country between dark and light, between the godly and the godless, between good and evil. And we will win this fight or America will step off into a thousand years of darkness.”

    In his speech the next day at the Ellipse, Trump insisted on inserting attacks on Pence and urging his supporters to “fight like hell [or] you’re not going to have a country anymore.” That rhetoric, former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told Pierson, had caused people to die.

    Today’s hearing ended with the testimony of former Oath Keepers social media manager Jason Van Tatenhove, who warned that the Oath Keepers are a danger to the country, and a Trump supporter, Stephen Ayers, who was not affiliated with any right-wing groups but who stormed the Capitol after Trump told him to. Both of them blamed themselves for being misled by Trump and extremism. Van Tatenhove warned that the danger is ongoing.

    As if on cue, Cheney dropped the information that since the last hearing, Trump has tried to reach a witness with a personal phone call. The witness avoided the call and contacted a lawyer instead. This attempt smacks of desperation on Trump’s part, as well of isolation: no one would do the dirty job of intimidating a witness for him. The committee sent the information about this attempt, which involves someone the public has not yet seen testify, to the Department of Justice.

    More and more, witnesses seem to be siding with transparency and the committee rather than with Trump. Today, Dan Friedman of Mother Jones published a tape of Bannon on October 31, 2020, laughing as he explains to a private audience that Trump will “win” in 2020 simply by declaring he won, even if he didn’t.  

    Trump knew that Democratic mail in ballots would show up in the vote totals later than Republican votes cast on election day, “[a]nd Trump’s going to take advantage of it,” Bannon said. “That’s our strategy. He’s gonna declare himself a winner…. So when you wake up Wednesday morning, it’s going to be a firestorm,” he said. “You’re going to have antifa, crazy. The media, crazy. The courts are crazy. And Trump’s gonna be sitting there mocking, tweeting sh*t out: ‘You lose. I’m the winner. I’m the king.'”

    And, Bannon continued: “Here’s the thing. After then, Trump never has to go to a voter again…. He’s gonna say ‘F*ck you. How about that?’ Because…he’s done his last election. Oh, he’s going to be off the chain—he’s gonna be crazy.”

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
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    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 37,703
    That last little paragraph gives me the chills and led me to think, "What if he had had won and knew it was his last hurrah and could pull out all the stops and do whatever the f he wanted?"  I also got to thinking that despite things being bad right now, they could have been way worse.   Scary thoughts.
    "I believe in the mystery, and I don't want to take it any further than that. Maybe what I mean by that is love."
    -John Densmore











  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 13, 2022 (Wednesday)

    There are some follow-up stories today from yesterday’s public hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

    Patrick Byrne, the former chief executive officer of Overstock, who was mentioned in the hearing yesterday as having attended the December 18 meeting in which lawyer Sidney Powell and former national security adviser Michael Flynn called for Trump to seize voting machines, will talk with the committee on Friday.

    Byrne ran Overstock for twenty years before having to resign in 2019 after admitting to an affair with Maria Butina, an apparent guns rights activist from Russia who ingratiated herself with Republican politicians and who later pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as a Russian agent without registering with the Department of Justice. She now sits in the Russian parliament, or Duma, which critics say is a reward from the Kremlin.

    Byrne has trafficked in conspiracy theories, and after the 2020 election, he became increasingly convinced that Trump was right when he claimed to have been cheated of victory.

    Former White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah Griffin, who now works for CNN, told CNN today that when she told Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that she was resigning after the election to move on as Trump’s term ended, Meadows said to her: “What if I could tell you that we’re actually going to be staying?”

    In a different story, CNN reported that the recipient of the phone call Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) called attention to yesterday from Trump to a witness was a White House support staff member who could corroborate the testimony provided by Meadows’s aide Cassidy Hutchinson. This person didn’t usually communicate with Trump and was concerned about the call.

    Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) continues to fight his subpoena from a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, that wants to hear from him about at least two phone calls he made to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to talk about the 2020 election. As of tonight, a judge has stayed the subpoena and on July 20 will hear arguments on whether to reject it.

    The editorial board of the Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier today ran an editorial titled: “Just testify, Sen[ator] Graham.” It says Graham’s claim that the calls were about election procedures “never made sense.” Now his lawyers say that he was talking about elections to do his job as the chair of the U.S. Judiciary Committee—a top-ranking committee, by the way—which makes even less sense. The board says it doesn’t think Graham did anything illegal, but asserted that it is the duty of every U.S. citizen to “comply with a subpoena to testify.”

    “We expect and deserve better from our senator,” it concluded.

    And that’s just it, isn’t it? We are hearing now, 18 months after the fact, that our president tried to overturn our democracy, forcing his own will onto unwilling voters. And, at the time, no one in the White House said anything to the public or to our law enforcement officials to stop this deadly attack.

    Worse, it appears that a number of our lawmakers were complicit in the attempt to overturn our democracy. The committee has named at least ten representatives who conspired with the president, and another, Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), who gave a tour through the Capitol complex on January 5, but there have been hints that others knew something was up as well, and that some might have been helping with the scheme.

    There is still the question of which senators and representatives saw a presentation of the 38-page PowerPoint titled “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN,” referred to by the committee in mid-December 2021. That anyone went to the trouble of making a 38-page PowerPoint suggests they expected a decent-sized audience.

    Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top aide to Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified that House minority leader Kevin McCarthy called her, angry, when he thought Trump was going to go to the Capitol.

    “‘[T]he president just said he’s marching to the Capitol,” McCarthy allegedly told Hutchinson. “You told me this whole week you aren’t coming up here, why would you lie to me?’”

    Why had McCarthy been hearing for a week about Trump’s plans with regard to the Capitol?

    On January 5, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who was the president pro tempore of the Senate, the second highest-ranking person in the Senate after the vice president, told reporters about the next day: “Well, first of all, I will be—if the Vice President isn’t there and we don't expect him to be there, I will be presiding over the Senate.” His office immediately clarified that Grassley meant only that he would preside over counting of the Electoral Votes only if Vice President Mike Pence “had to step away during Wednesday’s proceedings,” and that “‘[e]very indication we have is that the vice president will be there.” But considering everything we know now about the plans to get Pence out of the way, Grassley’s comment continues to bother me.

    The silence from Republicans over what we have been hearing from the January 6th committee is deafening.

    It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that they were willing to permit Trump to overturn the will of the voters—to overturn our democratic form of government—if it meant they could retain power.

    We ignore this willingness to destroy our democracy at our peril.

    Two days ago, a spokesperson for Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán announced that the Conservative Political Action Conference has invited Orbán to give an opening address at their gathering in Dallas, Texas, next month. Trump, who has endorsed Orbán in his recent election, will also be speaking.

    America’s self-styled “conservatives” have gotten increasingly close to Orbán, thanks in part to the enthusiasm of Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson for the Hungarian leader. This spring, Carlson broadcast his show from Hungary, which, with fewer than 10 million people, is about the size of Michigan. (It always strikes me as exceedingly odd that the same people who claim to champion America are using this small central European country as a model for the United States.) In April, CPAC met in Hungary, where Orbán gave a long address.  

    Orbán has eroded democracy in his country, replacing it with what he calls “illiberal democracy,” or “Christian democracy.” His country still holds nominal elections, but their outcome is preordained because the government controls all the media and has silenced opposition. Illiberal democracy rejects modern liberal democracy because the equality it champions means an acceptance of immigrants, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights and an end to traditionally patriarchal society. Orbán’s model of minority rule promises a return to a white-dominated, religiously based society, and he has pushed his vision by eliminating the independent press, cracking down on political opposition, getting rid of the rule of law, and dominating the economy with a group of crony oligarchs.

    When he spoke at CPAC in April, Orbán told the attendees that the right wing in Europe and the United States must fight together to “reconquer” institutions in Brussels and Washington, D.C., before the 2024 election because those “liberals” who currently control them are destroying western civilization.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
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    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     July 14, 2022 (Thursday)

    Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, a Trump appointee, yesterday sent a surprising letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and its House counterpart. The letter said that the Department of Homeland Security had notified Cuffari’s office that “many U.S. Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device-replacement program. The USSS erased those text messages after OIG [Office of Inspector General] requested records of electronic communications from the USSS, as part of our evaluation of events at the Capitol on January 6.” Further, the letter said, DHS personnel had repeatedly refused to produce records without first showing them to attorneys, which had created long delays and confusion over “whether all records had been produced.”  

    In other words, an inspector general thought the Secret Service had deleted texts from agents on January 5 and 6 after being instructed to produce them. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) chairs both the House Homeland Security committee and the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. Cuffari’s letter sent the information about deleted texts directly to the top.

    The Secret Service immediately responded that “the insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false. In fact, the Secret Service has been fully cooperating with the OIG in every respect—whether it be interviews, documents, emails, or texts.”

    But this information raises questions about the role of Secret Service members in the events of January 6. Trump blurred the lines between the Secret Service and the presidency when he appointed Secret Service assistant director Anthony Ornato his deputy chief of staff in December 2019. We know Vice President Mike Pence refused to get into a car driven by a Secret Service agent on January 6, apparently concerned that the driver might not follow his instruction, and that President-elect Biden had to be assigned a new Secret Service team out of concerns that the presidential detail was allied with Trump. And last week, the Trump-appointed director of the Secret Service, James Murray, resigned.

    The only good news here for Republicans is that the outrage over these deleted (or lost) texts has distracted from the firestorm over the 10-year-old child from Ohio forced to travel to Indiana for an abortion after being raped. That story, reported by the doctor who performed the abortion, was picked up by national news and by President Joe Biden, who asked people to “imagine being that little girl” in a speech about abortion rights.

    Ohio’s attorney general Dave Yost told the Fox News Channel that he doubted the story because he had not heard that there had been any report of a rape, although as journalist Magdi Semrau noted on Twitter, sexual assault, especially sexual assault of a child, is rarely reported. Yost later said “there is not a damn scintilla of evidence” that such a thing happened. Right-wing media immediately began to assert that the story was false, and the Indiana attorney general, Todd Rokita, went further, telling Fox News Channel host Jesse Watters that his office would investigate the doctor who provided abortion care to the child, suggesting she had not filed a report on the case as legally required.

    Today, law enforcement officers in Columbus, Ohio, arrested a 27-year-old man who confessed to raping the child. In addition, Politico found the required report filed correctly. A lawyer for the doctor released a statement saying the doctor “took every appropriate and proper action in accordance with the law and both her medical and ethical training as a physician. She followed all relevant policies, procedures, and regulations in this case, just as she does every day to provide the best possible care for her patients. She has not violated any law, including patient privacy laws, and she has not been disciplined by her employer. We are considering legal action against those who have smeared my client.”

    When this Supreme Court, packed by former president Trump and the Republican Senators with three new “originalists,” handed down the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision on June 24, 2022, many people observed that the dog had caught the car. Republicans have turned out evangelical voters for years with the promise of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationally, but the truth is that Roe was popular, and legal abortion hid the many terrible events that led to its legalization in the first place. According to one estimate, in the 1960s there were between 200,000 and 1.2 million illegal abortions annually, which created such a public health crisis that doctors set out to decriminalize abortion and keep that medical issue between a woman and her doctor.

    Now, right off the bat of the Dobbs decision, Americans have to grapple with precisely the sort of case that dramatically illustrates why people require abortion rights.

    In response, some anti-abortion activists have doubled down on the idea that no abortion is acceptable. Lawyer Jim Bopp, who is the general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, told Megan Messerly and Adam Wren of Politico that under the laws he would like to enact, the 10-year-old victim “would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child.”

    Since few people can stomach the idea of a 10-year-old rape victim forced to bear a child, other anti-abortion activists are suddenly saying that such an abortion is not an abortion at all because it is necessary to save the life of the mother, although many of the new state laws make no such exception. They have also suddenly begun to say that abortion care for an ectopic pregnancy, which is never viable and which poses a deadly threat to the pregnant person, is not an abortion either. In both cases, this is a sudden carve out that is inaccurate: both of these medical procedures are abortion, and both are illegal now in certain states.

    President Biden responded to the Dobbs decision with federal rules clarifying that under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, doctors in hospitals that use federal money must provide appropriate treatment to patients experiencing ectopic pregnancy, pregnancy loss, or other life-threatening conditions, or transfer them to places that will, “irrespective of any state laws or mandates that apply to specific procedures.”  

    But Republicans are pushing for even greater restrictions over abortion. Today, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, who was indicted seven years ago for felony securities fraud but has yet to stand trial, sued the Biden administration over that rule, claiming that it is an “attempt to use federal law to transform every emergency room in this country into a walk-in abortion clinic.”

    Meanwhile, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today blocked an attempt by Senate Democrats to pass a law protecting the right of women to cross state lines to get abortion care. Apparently unaware that one of the key hallmarks of an authoritarian state is its refusal to let citizens cross borders, Lankford indicated he was willing to keep pregnant people from crossing state lines. “Does that child in the womb have the right to travel in their future?” Lankford said. “Do they get to live?”

    And although the Supreme Court justified the Dobbs decision with the argument that it would simply send the question of abortion back to the states, a federal abortion ban is already on the table. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) has introduced HR 705, the so-called Heartbeat Protection Act, to make abortion illegal everywhere.

    Today, when asked if Democrats would compromise over abortion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “We’re not going to negotiate a woman’s right to choose.” She added, “Republicans have sometimes said on the floor that Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the Pope. Yes I do, and I think any Pope would agree.”

    Pelosi has five children.

    That the extremism of those now in charge of the Republican Party might convince voters to crush the party in the midterms is evident in today’s responses to that extremism. On the same day that Trump teased the idea that he might announce that he’s running for president in 2024 before the midterms, a group of conservative intellectuals released a document proving with extensive evidence that the 2020 election was not stolen, Trump lost it.

    That document, “Lost, Not Stolen,” destroys the Big Lie but does not call for getting rid of the many new state laws based on that lie, laws that seem designed to cement the rule of Republicans in certain states regardless of the will of the majorities in those states. It also doesn’t discuss the independent state legislature doctrine, which would enable state legislatures to name whatever slate of presidential electors they wished, regardless of the will of the voters, a doctrine that would have given Trump a second term and that the Supreme Court has said it will consider.

    It appears that old-line conservatives would like to push Trump offstage, but his role in the January 6 insurrection got more attention today when a police officer from Washington, D.C., corroborated the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows’s aide, who said she had heard that Trump attacked a Secret Service agent on January 6.

    Trump and his children Don Jr. and Ivanka were scheduled to testify under oath tomorrow in New York City in the New York attorney general’s investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, but that testimony will be put off because of the death today of Ivana Trump, Trump’s first wife and mother of his three eldest children. Ivana Trump, 73, was found dead at the foot of a stairway. Trump announced her death on his social media network, calling her “a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life.”

    At the bottom of the announcement was a button to donate to Trump’s political action committee.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 37,703
    mickeyrat said:
     July 14, 2022 (Thursday)

    Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, a Trump appointee, yesterday sent a surprising letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and its House counterpart. The letter said that the Department of Homeland Security had notified Cuffari’s office that “many U.S. Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device-replacement program. The USSS erased those text messages after OIG [Office of Inspector General] requested records of electronic communications from the USSS, as part of our evaluation of events at the Capitol on January 6.” Further, the letter said, DHS personnel had repeatedly refused to produce records without first showing them to attorneys, which had created long delays and confusion over “whether all records had been produced.”  

    In other words, an inspector general thought the Secret Service had deleted texts from agents on January 5 and 6 after being instructed to produce them. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) chairs both the House Homeland Security committee and the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. Cuffari’s letter sent the information about deleted texts directly to the top.

    The Secret Service immediately responded that “the insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false. In fact, the Secret Service has been fully cooperating with the OIG in every respect—whether it be interviews, documents, emails, or texts.”

    But this information raises questions about the role of Secret Service members in the events of January 6. Trump blurred the lines between the Secret Service and the presidency when he appointed Secret Service assistant director Anthony Ornato his deputy chief of staff in December 2019. We know Vice President Mike Pence refused to get into a car driven by a Secret Service agent on January 6, apparently concerned that the driver might not follow his instruction, and that President-elect Biden had to be assigned a new Secret Service team out of concerns that the presidential detail was allied with Trump. And last week, the Trump-appointed director of the Secret Service, James Murray, resigned.

    The only good news here for Republicans is that the outrage over these deleted (or lost) texts has distracted from the firestorm over the 10-year-old child from Ohio forced to travel to Indiana for an abortion after being raped. That story, reported by the doctor who performed the abortion, was picked up by national news and by President Joe Biden, who asked people to “imagine being that little girl” in a speech about abortion rights.

    Ohio’s attorney general Dave Yost told the Fox News Channel that he doubted the story because he had not heard that there had been any report of a rape, although as journalist Magdi Semrau noted on Twitter, sexual assault, especially sexual assault of a child, is rarely reported. Yost later said “there is not a damn scintilla of evidence” that such a thing happened. Right-wing media immediately began to assert that the story was false, and the Indiana attorney general, Todd Rokita, went further, telling Fox News Channel host Jesse Watters that his office would investigate the doctor who provided abortion care to the child, suggesting she had not filed a report on the case as legally required.

    Today, law enforcement officers in Columbus, Ohio, arrested a 27-year-old man who confessed to raping the child. In addition, Politico found the required report filed correctly. A lawyer for the doctor released a statement saying the doctor “took every appropriate and proper action in accordance with the law and both her medical and ethical training as a physician. She followed all relevant policies, procedures, and regulations in this case, just as she does every day to provide the best possible care for her patients. She has not violated any law, including patient privacy laws, and she has not been disciplined by her employer. We are considering legal action against those who have smeared my client.”

    When this Supreme Court, packed by former president Trump and the Republican Senators with three new “originalists,” handed down the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision on June 24, 2022, many people observed that the dog had caught the car. Republicans have turned out evangelical voters for years with the promise of overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationally, but the truth is that Roe was popular, and legal abortion hid the many terrible events that led to its legalization in the first place. According to one estimate, in the 1960s there were between 200,000 and 1.2 million illegal abortions annually, which created such a public health crisis that doctors set out to decriminalize abortion and keep that medical issue between a woman and her doctor.

    Now, right off the bat of the Dobbs decision, Americans have to grapple with precisely the sort of case that dramatically illustrates why people require abortion rights.

    In response, some anti-abortion activists have doubled down on the idea that no abortion is acceptable. Lawyer Jim Bopp, who is the general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, told Megan Messerly and Adam Wren of Politico that under the laws he would like to enact, the 10-year-old victim “would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child.”

    Since few people can stomach the idea of a 10-year-old rape victim forced to bear a child, other anti-abortion activists are suddenly saying that such an abortion is not an abortion at all because it is necessary to save the life of the mother, although many of the new state laws make no such exception. They have also suddenly begun to say that abortion care for an ectopic pregnancy, which is never viable and which poses a deadly threat to the pregnant person, is not an abortion either. In both cases, this is a sudden carve out that is inaccurate: both of these medical procedures are abortion, and both are illegal now in certain states.

    President Biden responded to the Dobbs decision with federal rules clarifying that under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, doctors in hospitals that use federal money must provide appropriate treatment to patients experiencing ectopic pregnancy, pregnancy loss, or other life-threatening conditions, or transfer them to places that will, “irrespective of any state laws or mandates that apply to specific procedures.”  

    But Republicans are pushing for even greater restrictions over abortion. Today, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, who was indicted seven years ago for felony securities fraud but has yet to stand trial, sued the Biden administration over that rule, claiming that it is an “attempt to use federal law to transform every emergency room in this country into a walk-in abortion clinic.”

    Meanwhile, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today blocked an attempt by Senate Democrats to pass a law protecting the right of women to cross state lines to get abortion care. Apparently unaware that one of the key hallmarks of an authoritarian state is its refusal to let citizens cross borders, Lankford indicated he was willing to keep pregnant people from crossing state lines. “Does that child in the womb have the right to travel in their future?” Lankford said. “Do they get to live?”

    And although the Supreme Court justified the Dobbs decision with the argument that it would simply send the question of abortion back to the states, a federal abortion ban is already on the table. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) has introduced HR 705, the so-called Heartbeat Protection Act, to make abortion illegal everywhere.

    Today, when asked if Democrats would compromise over abortion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “We’re not going to negotiate a woman’s right to choose.” She added, “Republicans have sometimes said on the floor that Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the Pope. Yes I do, and I think any Pope would agree.”

    Pelosi has five children.

    That the extremism of those now in charge of the Republican Party might convince voters to crush the party in the midterms is evident in today’s responses to that extremism. On the same day that Trump teased the idea that he might announce that he’s running for president in 2024 before the midterms, a group of conservative intellectuals released a document proving with extensive evidence that the 2020 election was not stolen, Trump lost it.

    That document, “Lost, Not Stolen,” destroys the Big Lie but does not call for getting rid of the many new state laws based on that lie, laws that seem designed to cement the rule of Republicans in certain states regardless of the will of the majorities in those states. It also doesn’t discuss the independent state legislature doctrine, which would enable state legislatures to name whatever slate of presidential electors they wished, regardless of the will of the voters, a doctrine that would have given Trump a second term and that the Supreme Court has said it will consider.

    It appears that old-line conservatives would like to push Trump offstage, but his role in the January 6 insurrection got more attention today when a police officer from Washington, D.C., corroborated the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows’s aide, who said she had heard that Trump attacked a Secret Service agent on January 6.

    Trump and his children Don Jr. and Ivanka were scheduled to testify under oath tomorrow in New York City in the New York attorney general’s investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, but that testimony will be put off because of the death today of Ivana Trump, Trump’s first wife and mother of his three eldest children. Ivana Trump, 73, was found dead at the foot of a stairway. Trump announced her death on his social media network, calling her “a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life.”

    At the bottom of the announcement was a button to donate to Trump’s political action committee.


    Wow, that last sentence in conjunction with what came before it.  Yet more proof that 45 is a dirt-bag extraordinaire.
    "I believe in the mystery, and I don't want to take it any further than that. Maybe what I mean by that is love."
    -John Densmore











  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     July 15, 2022 (Friday)

    A late news dump tonight: the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed from the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) the text messages between agents on January 5 and January 6, 2021, that it learned Wednesday had been deleted. Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told Secret Service director James Murray, who recently announced his upcoming resignation, that the committee wants all the texts by July 19, 2022.

    Politico legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney noted that this is the first time the committee has subpoenaed an agency in the executive branch, at least publicly.

    That joins other legal news today.

    Trump confidant Steve Bannon tried again today to get his trial for contempt of Congress dismissed, arguing that because the court has refused to let him subpoena members of Congress, he cannot have a fair trial. That trial is due to start Monday.

    Fani Willis, the Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutor, today told the chair of the Georgia Republican Party, David Shafer, as well as two state senators, that they could be indicted for their participation in the attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

    And the Department of Justice requested that the first defendant from the January 6 insurrection to be convicted at trial, Guy Reffitt, be sentenced to 15 years in prison. This is an upward adjustment of sentencing guidelines because the department is asking the judge to consider Reffitt’s actions as terrorism, since the offense for which he was convicted “was calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct.”

    Reffitt was a leader of the Texas Three Percenters militia gang, which calls for “rebellion” against the federal government. He came to Washington, D.C., for January 6. He attacked U.S. Capitol Police officers and encouraged others to do so before entering the Capitol armed with a handgun, where he targeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and then–Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

    A camera on his helmet recorded Reffitt’s words that day. “I’m taking the Capitol with everybody f*cking else,” Reffitt told the people around him. “We’re all going to drag them m*therf*ckers out kicking and screaming. I don’t give a sh*t. I just want to see Pelosi’s head hit every f*cking stair on the way out. (Inaudible) F*ck yeah. And Mitch McConnell too. F*ck ‘em all. They f*cked us too many g*dd*mn years for too f*cking long. It’s time to take our country back. I think everybody’s on the same d*mn wavelength. And I think we have the numbers to make it happen…. [W]e’ve got a f*cking president. We don’t need much more. We just get rid of them m*therf*ckers and start over.”

    Afterward, he boasted, “We took the Capital [sic] of the United States of America and we will do it again.”

    Back in Texas, Reffitt deleted a thread of messages between him and another planner—the FBI was able to recover it—and threatened to hurt his teenaged children if they reported him. Reffitt has a history of domestic violence, including threatening his wife with a gun.  

    The hefty sentence request for Reffitt is likely to convince others implicated in the insurrection to cooperate.

    The timing of today’s legal news highlights that the prosecution of those who tried to destroy our government is imperative to uphold the rule of law.

    On this date in 1870, Congress voted to readmit Georgia to the United States after the Civil War. So far as the people living through that era thought, this ended Reconstruction, which they conceived of as the reconstruction of the U.S. government.

    And that was it. While there were military tribunals for those who had committed war crimes– most of them concerning the treatment of prisoners of war—there was never a legal reckoning for even the leaders of those who had tried to destroy the nation, although their efforts had led to the deaths of 620,000 soldiers and sailors and cost the country more than $5 billion.

    In an attempt to be magnanimous, U.S. officials gave former Confederates no reason to abandon their loyalty to their failed nation. They clung to it through Lost Cause mythology, convincing themselves that theirs was the true version of America despite their defeat, and that their cause was noble. Georgia’s return to the Union depended on the state’s ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing Black men the right to vote, but within a year of Georgia’s readmission, white southerners were already undermining Black voting. Within a decade, they had regained control of their states and were pushing their Black neighbors into second-class citizenship.

    Without any cost for adherence to the Lost Cause, there was no reason for Confederate symbols to disappear. They have continued to play an astonishingly large role in our society, and not just in the South. They have inspired those eager to dismantle the government ever since the Civil War. They have made a spectacular comeback since the 1980s until finally, on January 6, 2021, the Confederate battle flag flew in the U.S. Capitol.

    This time, though, there is a chance to change the story. Prosecutions have January 6 participants like Reffitt trying to hide their actions, and jail time will almost certainly dampen the enthusiasm of those who were happy to be part of an insurrection until they discovered there was a legal cost. While U.S. leaders after the Civil War thought their best hope of building a nation based on racial equality was to avoid prosecutions, scholars who study the restoration of democracy after an authoritarian crisis are very clear: central to any such restoration is enforcing the rule of law.

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  • static111static111 Posts: 3,742
    It makes me kind of sick to realize that a guy like Julian Assange who helped expose the corruption of our government and military and the massive surveillance state, will likely spend more time in prison and has had a worse life because of exposing corruption, than any of the 1/6 insurrectionists that tried to actually topple our government through violent force.
    Scio me nihil scire
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 16, 2022 (Saturday)

    Guessing I'm not the only one who needs a good night's sleep after the last week.

    Let's regroup tomorrow, ready to pick it all up again.

    H.

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 17, 2022 (Sunday)
     
    On July 18, 1863, at dusk, the Black soldiers of the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry of the U.S. Army charged the walls of Fort Wagner, a fortification on Morris Island off Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. Because Fort Wagner covered the southern entrance to the harbor, it was key to enabling the U.S. government to take the city.

    The 600 soldiers of the 54th made up the first Black regiment for the Union, organized after the Emancipation Proclamation called for the enlistment of African American soldiers. The 54th's leader was a Boston abolitionist from a leading family: Colonel Robert Gould Shaw.

    Shaw and his men had shipped out of Boston at the end of May 1863 for Beaufort, South Carolina, where the Union had gained an early foothold in its war to prevent the Confederates from dismembering the country. The men of the 54th knew they were not like other soldiers: they were symbols of how well Black men would fight for their country. This, in turn, would be a statement of whether Black men could truly be equal to white men under the country’s laws, once and for all, for in this era, fighting for the country gave men a key claim to citizenship.

    The whole country was watching...and the soldiers knew it.

    In the dark at Fort Wagner, the Massachusetts 54th proved that Black men were equal to any white men in the field. They fought with the determination that made African American regiments during the Civil War sustain higher losses than those of white regiments. The assault on the fort killed, wounded, or lost more than 250 of the 600 men and made the formerly enslaved Sergeant William Harvey Carney the first African American to be awarded a Medal of Honor. Badly wounded, Carney nonetheless defended the United States flag and carried it back to Union lines. United States soldiers did not take the fort that night, but no one could miss that Black men had proved themselves equal to their white comrades.

    The Battle of Fort Wagner left 30 men of the 54th dead on the field—including Colonel Shaw—and hurt 24 more so badly they would later die from their wounds. Fifteen were captured; 52 were missing and presumed dead. Another 149 were wounded. Confederates intended to dishonor Colonel Shaw when they buried him in a mass grave with his men; instead, the family found it fitting.

    In 2017 I had the chance to spend an evening in the house where the wounded soldiers of the 54th were taken after the battle.

    It is a humbling thing to stand in that house that still looks so much as it did in 1863 and to realize that the men, carried hot and exhausted and bleeding and scared into it a century and a half before were just people like you and me, who did what they felt they had to in front of Fort Wagner, and then endured the boat ride back to Beaufort, and got carried up a flight of steps, and then lay on cots in small, crowded rooms, and hoped that what they had done was worth the horrific cost.

    I am not one for ghosts, but I swear you could feel the blood in the floors.

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
     July 18, 2022 (Monday)

    On Saturday, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater of the New York Times reported that yet another right-wing lawyer was urging former president Trump to overturn the election in late 2020. William J. Olson, who now represents MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell, a conspiracy theorist and key Trump ally, wrote to Trump on December 28. In his letter, he referred to a call between himself and Trump on the afternoon of Christmas Day and to a call between Trump and Mark Martin, the former chief justice for the state of North Carolina, who Olson said backed the filing of a lawsuit to withhold the certified votes from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin because those states had changed their election procedures during the pandemic.

    The case, Texas v. Pennsylvania, argued that those four states, whose voters had chosen Biden and whose electoral votes would give Biden the presidency, had violated the novel “independent state legislature doctrine,” which says state legislatures alone have the right to determine election procedures. This doctrine defies history by saying that when the Framers of the Constitution said that “[t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing [sic] Senators,” they literally just meant the legislatures, without any check by the state constitutions or courts. This would enable a legislature to override the will of the people entirely, but, its adherents insist, that was the Framers’ plan.

    In fact, the Framers were so leery of state legislatures’ oversight of elections that James Madison insisted on giving Congress the power to overrule them. Since the Civil War, until very recently, the word “legislatures” has been interpreted to mean the state government, so that a state’s legislature cannot, for example, act in ways that the state courts find violate the state constitution. But since the 2000 Bush v. Gore case, in which the Supreme Court overruled the Florida Supreme Court to stop a recount of the votes in four Florida counties when Chief Justice William Rehnquist suggested limits to the power of state judges, those interested in reducing the power of the voters in favor of the state legislatures have focused on honing this argument.

    In his December letter, Olson maintained that the election had been stolen from Trump, and he insisted that “the very existence of our Constitutional Republic is slipping away.” Olson’s plan, which he called “Preserving Constitutional Order,” called for Trump to fire the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, who had replaced William Barr when he resigned on December 23. Then, the document suggests, Trump could use “the powers of the Presidency…to ensure that the People receive a fair election count…. The media will call this martial law, but…that is ‘fake news,’” Olson wrote.

    In other words, Olson called for Trump to dissolve the federal judiciary and for the president “armed with all of the executive power vested in the office of the presidency…to act decisively to ‘preserve, protect, and defend’ the U.S. Constitution from threats, whether they be domestic, foreign, or both.”

    This was noble language for an effort pushed by fringe theorists and rejected by state and federal courts, as well as by the Supreme Court, more than 60 times. But this new piece of evidence suggests just how deep the antidemocratic impulse in this country currently runs.

    Now, of course, Trump’s allies appear to be concerned that the information turned up by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol shows them in a less noble light. Today Representative Ronny Jackson (R-TX), formerly Trump’s White House physician and the man mentioned by the Oath Keepers on January 6, today tweeted: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the WITCH HUNT Committee of unselects needs to be DISSOLVED!” On January 6, a group text message among the Oath Keepers said of Jackson: “Needs protection. If anyone inside cover him. He has critical data to protect.”

    Yesterday, Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley of Rolling Stone reported that Trump says he wants to run again to avoid criminal indictments. They say the former president has spoken to at least four associates “about how when you are the president of the United States, it is tough for politically motivated prosecutors to ‘get to you.’... He says when [not if] he is president again, a new Republican administration will put a stop to the [Justice Department] investigation that he views as the Biden administration working to hit him with criminal charges—or even put him and his people in prison.”

    Today, Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney Fani Willis subpoenaed Trump ally Representative Jody Hice (R-GA) for testimony before the special grand jury in the investigation into the attempt to overturn the Georgia 2020 election results and declare that Trump had won the state’s electors. As a federal official, Hice has filed to move his case to federal court, where he will challenge it.

    It’s important to remember that Republicans who were willing to sign on to Trump’s attempt to overturn our democracy are attempting to enforce minority rule on the majority in the U.S. It is no accident that in the election of 1860, there was only one state whose legislature chose electors directly: the state of South Carolina. And as soon as those legislators realized that Abraham Lincoln had won the election, they promptly called for secession from the United States.

    The extremism of today’s Republican Party shows most clearly in the party’s stance after the Supreme Court—itself packed with extremists by former president Trump and then–Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell—overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

    The overturning of settled law itself was radical. That it tries to strip away a constitutional right for the first time in our history is radical. And the way it is playing out demonstrates just how radical the current Republican Party is. The recent case in Ohio in which a 10-year-old rape victim could not obtain an abortion, horrific as it was, only started the firestorm, as Republican lawmakers first denied the case was real—it was—and then called for prosecuting the Indiana doctor who performed the procedure, which she did entirely legally.

    Some lawmakers went on to say they wanted legislation that would have prohibited the child from traveling across state lines to get medical treatment.

    Since then, we have seen exactly what the 62% of Americans who supported Roe v. Wade said would happen: women are unable to get medical care after miscarriages, leaving them in pain, or with developing infections, or with dangerous blood loss. And yet, on Friday, by a 4-to-1 margin, delegates to the Republican Party convention in Idaho rejected an amendment to their platform that would have permitted an abortion to save the life of the mother. The platform considers any fertilized egg a person from the moment of fertilization, even before implantation, and criminalizes abortion from that moment on as murder. The delegates did agree to exempt miscarriage from criminalization.

    In an echo of the past, they also declared that “Idaho has the sovereign authority to defy the federal judiciary should they once again propose the fiction that abortion is a federal constitutional right.”

    For their part, Mothers Against Greg Abbott, a political action committee of Democrats, Independents, and moderate Republicans, has recorded a viral video suggesting that there is significant pushback from those who recognize the extremism of today’s Republican Party, embodied by those like the Texas governor.

    “They say nothing changes in Texas politics until it does,” the video begins. Women call out the state’s failed electric grid, the removal of Black and Brown history from the classroom, the permitless and open carry laws that put guns on the streets, the $10,000 bounty for turning in anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion, the investigation of parents who seek gender-affirming care for transgender children as child abusers, the banning of books by Black and LGBTQ authors, and the deaths of loved ones after lawmakers lifted mask mandates during the worst pandemic in 100 years. “We want real change for Texas, now,” they say, “and we’re ready to fight.” “We live in suburbs, in big cities, and on farms and ranches,” they warn. “We are the Mothers Against Greg Abbott. Let’s make Texas a safe place where all families can thrive again.”

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
      July 19, 2022 (Tuesday)

    Last week, the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, Joseph Cuffari, told the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol that the U.S. Secret Service had erased text messages between agents on January 5 and January 6, 2021, during the time of the attack. Last Friday, July 15, the committee subpoenaed those records from the U.S. Secret Service.

    Today, the Secret Service said it had only one new text to provide and that any other texts from its agents around January 6 have been deleted and cannot be recovered. Agents were supposedly told to upload their messages to an internal agency drive before a general reset of cell phones, but many did not do so. A Secret Service spokesperson said that the deletion was not on purpose, but the phone reset began on January 27, eleven days after Congress requested the information be preserved.

    Because its agents protected then-president Trump and then–vice president Mike Pence on January 6, their text messages could provide important context for the events of that day including, for example, Pence’s apparent reluctance to get into a vehicle driven by a Secret Service agent, or why agents apparently permitted Trump to record a video outside the White House while the Capitol was under attack.

    Like every other branch of government, the Secret Service is required to preserve its records. Today, the chief records officer of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Laurence Brewer, sent a letter to Damian Kokinda, the records officer of the Department of Homeland Security, about “the potential unauthorized deletion” of the texts. Brewer asked the Secret Service to investigate and to send all information about deleted records to NARA within 30 days.

    While this seems a bit like locking the door after the horse has left the barn, let me just say that no one with any brains at all messes with archivists. That Secret Service members were willing to purge texts that they knew by law they had to preserve suggests that they calculated it would be better to face the fallout for deleting the texts than the fallout from whatever was in those texts.  

    In Georgia, legal filings today revealed that the 16 people who created a false slate of electors for Trump have been told they are targets of the grand jury’s investigation into the attempt to steal the 2020 election in that state. Those false electors are trying to quash subpoenas for their testimony, claiming the subpoenas are “unreasonable and oppressive.” Despite reports that a Trump campaign official urged them to operate in “complete secrecy,” they claim they did not know how “certain high level members of the Trump team” intended to use those false electors, and had provided the slate only in case the real slate of electors was rejected.

    Thus, they say, they did nothing wrong. But they did sign their names to a document saying they were the “duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Georgia,” and they submitted that document to NARA (archivists, again).

    In an interview today, Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly Robin Vos said that earlier this month (not a typo), Trump called him to ask him to decertify the 2020 election, a plan some Republicans in the legislature are backing. Vos notes that the legislature does not have the authority to “reclaim” electors. After Vos declined to join Trump’s effort, Trump posted a message saying: “The Democrats would like to sincerely thank Robin, and all of his fellow RINOs [Republicans in Name Only], for letting them get away with ‘murder.’ A Rigged & Stolen Election!”

    On Thursday, the January 6 committee will hold another public hearing, this one in prime time. Today, committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) announced he has Covid, so the vice chair, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), will run the hearing.

    The topic will be Trump’s behavior on January 6, 2021—what he did do and what he didn’t—and former deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger and former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews are scheduled to testify. Both Pottinger and Matthews resigned immediately after January 6. Pottinger said that he decided to quit when he read Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet attacking Pence as not having “the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” even while Pence’s life was in danger.  

    Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who testified before the January 6 committee, has been formally censured by the Arizona Republican Party. Tonight, the chair of the party announced the censure over a number of “offenses." The censure called for voters to throw Bowers out of office.

    While Trump’s people try to evade the law and establish minority rule, others are trying to change it to reflect the wishes of the majority of Americans.

    Capitol Police today arrested 34 people, including 17 Democratic members of Congress, for engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience as they protested in front of the Supreme Court in support of abortion rights. Sitting on the street, they were blocking traffic, so police immediately ordered them to leave. When they refused, they were arrested.

    Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who at 76 has seen all this before, later said: “There is no democracy if women do not have control over their own bodies and decisions about their own health, including reproductive care. I have the privilege of representing a state where reproductive rights are respected and protected—the least I can do is put my body on the line for the 33 million women at risk of losing their rights. The Republican Party and the right-wing extremists behind this decision are not pro-life, but pro-controlling the bodies of women, girls, and any person who can become pregnant. Their ultimate goal is to institute a national ban on abortion. We will not let them win. We will be back."

    On Friday, Lauren Robel, the former dean of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, filed a misconduct complaint with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission against Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita. Rokita’s inflammatory statements about the physician who provided abortion care to the ten-year-old rape victim forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana to obtain an abortion after the Supreme Court’s June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision overturning Roe v. Wade, put her in danger. Rokita made baseless claims on the Fox News Channel that the physician had not reported the case properly as child abuse, and he began to investigate her medical license. In fact, the physician had reported the abuse as Indiana law required.

    This afternoon, the House of Representatives passed a bill to protect gay marriage. The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. The 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges overrode DOMA, but in case this Supreme Court goes after Obergefell, as it has suggested it might do, members of the House want to make sure DOMA doesn’t again become the law of the land.

    The bill passed by a vote of 267 to 157. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo noticed something about the vote. Not surprisingly, all Democrats voted in favor. Also not surprisingly, 157 Republicans– 77% of the caucus– voted no. The surprise is that 47 Republicans joined the Democrats to vote yes on the measure, and another 7 did not vote. These Republicans were likely willing to vote in favor in part because the new law defers to states to permit them to deny same-sex marriage licenses– although it requires them to recognize marriages from other states– and Republicans tried hard to argue that such a measure was unnecessary.  

    But in the end, 54 Republicans were unwilling to go on record against gay marriage, which a whopping 70% of Americans—including 55% of Republicans—support.

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  • static111static111 Posts: 3,742
    mickeyrat said:
      July 19, 2022 (Tuesday)

    Last week, the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, Joseph Cuffari, told the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol that the U.S. Secret Service had erased text messages between agents on January 5 and January 6, 2021, during the time of the attack. Last Friday, July 15, the committee subpoenaed those records from the U.S. Secret Service.

    Today, the Secret Service said it had only one new text to provide and that any other texts from its agents around January 6 have been deleted and cannot be recovered. Agents were supposedly told to upload their messages to an internal agency drive before a general reset of cell phones, but many did not do so. A Secret Service spokesperson said that the deletion was not on purpose, but the phone reset began on January 27, eleven days after Congress requested the information be preserved.

    Because its agents protected then-president Trump and then–vice president Mike Pence on January 6, their text messages could provide important context for the events of that day including, for example, Pence’s apparent reluctance to get into a vehicle driven by a Secret Service agent, or why agents apparently permitted Trump to record a video outside the White House while the Capitol was under attack.

    Like every other branch of government, the Secret Service is required to preserve its records. Today, the chief records officer of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Laurence Brewer, sent a letter to Damian Kokinda, the records officer of the Department of Homeland Security, about “the potential unauthorized deletion” of the texts. Brewer asked the Secret Service to investigate and to send all information about deleted records to NARA within 30 days.

    While this seems a bit like locking the door after the horse has left the barn, let me just say that no one with any brains at all messes with archivists. That Secret Service members were willing to purge texts that they knew by law they had to preserve suggests that they calculated it would be better to face the fallout for deleting the texts than the fallout from whatever was in those texts.  

    In Georgia, legal filings today revealed that the 16 people who created a false slate of electors for Trump have been told they are targets of the grand jury’s investigation into the attempt to steal the 2020 election in that state. Those false electors are trying to quash subpoenas for their testimony, claiming the subpoenas are “unreasonable and oppressive.” Despite reports that a Trump campaign official urged them to operate in “complete secrecy,” they claim they did not know how “certain high level members of the Trump team” intended to use those false electors, and had provided the slate only in case the real slate of electors was rejected.

    Thus, they say, they did nothing wrong. But they did sign their names to a document saying they were the “duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Georgia,” and they submitted that document to NARA (archivists, again).

    In an interview today, Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly Robin Vos said that earlier this month (not a typo), Trump called him to ask him to decertify the 2020 election, a plan some Republicans in the legislature are backing. Vos notes that the legislature does not have the authority to “reclaim” electors. After Vos declined to join Trump’s effort, Trump posted a message saying: “The Democrats would like to sincerely thank Robin, and all of his fellow RINOs [Republicans in Name Only], for letting them get away with ‘murder.’ A Rigged & Stolen Election!”

    On Thursday, the January 6 committee will hold another public hearing, this one in prime time. Today, committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) announced he has Covid, so the vice chair, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), will run the hearing.

    The topic will be Trump’s behavior on January 6, 2021—what he did do and what he didn’t—and former deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger and former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews are scheduled to testify. Both Pottinger and Matthews resigned immediately after January 6. Pottinger said that he decided to quit when he read Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet attacking Pence as not having “the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” even while Pence’s life was in danger.  

    Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who testified before the January 6 committee, has been formally censured by the Arizona Republican Party. Tonight, the chair of the party announced the censure over a number of “offenses." The censure called for voters to throw Bowers out of office.

    While Trump’s people try to evade the law and establish minority rule, others are trying to change it to reflect the wishes of the majority of Americans.

    Capitol Police today arrested 34 people, including 17 Democratic members of Congress, for engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience as they protested in front of the Supreme Court in support of abortion rights. Sitting on the street, they were blocking traffic, so police immediately ordered them to leave. When they refused, they were arrested.

    Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who at 76 has seen all this before, later said: “There is no democracy if women do not have control over their own bodies and decisions about their own health, including reproductive care. I have the privilege of representing a state where reproductive rights are respected and protected—the least I can do is put my body on the line for the 33 million women at risk of losing their rights. The Republican Party and the right-wing extremists behind this decision are not pro-life, but pro-controlling the bodies of women, girls, and any person who can become pregnant. Their ultimate goal is to institute a national ban on abortion. We will not let them win. We will be back."

    On Friday, Lauren Robel, the former dean of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, filed a misconduct complaint with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission against Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita. Rokita’s inflammatory statements about the physician who provided abortion care to the ten-year-old rape victim forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana to obtain an abortion after the Supreme Court’s June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision overturning Roe v. Wade, put her in danger. Rokita made baseless claims on the Fox News Channel that the physician had not reported the case properly as child abuse, and he began to investigate her medical license. In fact, the physician had reported the abuse as Indiana law required.

    This afternoon, the House of Representatives passed a bill to protect gay marriage. The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. The 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges overrode DOMA, but in case this Supreme Court goes after Obergefell, as it has suggested it might do, members of the House want to make sure DOMA doesn’t again become the law of the land.

    The bill passed by a vote of 267 to 157. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo noticed something about the vote. Not surprisingly, all Democrats voted in favor. Also not surprisingly, 157 Republicans– 77% of the caucus– voted no. The surprise is that 47 Republicans joined the Democrats to vote yes on the measure, and another 7 did not vote. These Republicans were likely willing to vote in favor in part because the new law defers to states to permit them to deny same-sex marriage licenses– although it requires them to recognize marriages from other states– and Republicans tried hard to argue that such a measure was unnecessary.  

    But in the end, 54 Republicans were unwilling to go on record against gay marriage, which a whopping 70% of Americans—including 55% of Republicans—support.

    Aren't there supposed to be programs for data retrieval that can get any data that was "deleted" short of being wiped out by an EMP?  I would think we see those text messages eventually.
    Scio me nihil scire
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 25,790
    edited July 20
    static111 said:
    mickeyrat said:
      July 19, 2022 (Tuesday)

    Last week, the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, Joseph Cuffari, told the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol that the U.S. Secret Service had erased text messages between agents on January 5 and January 6, 2021, during the time of the attack. Last Friday, July 15, the committee subpoenaed those records from the U.S. Secret Service.

    Today, the Secret Service said it had only one new text to provide and that any other texts from its agents around January 6 have been deleted and cannot be recovered. Agents were supposedly told to upload their messages to an internal agency drive before a general reset of cell phones, but many did not do so. A Secret Service spokesperson said that the deletion was not on purpose, but the phone reset began on January 27, eleven days after Congress requested the information be preserved.

    Because its agents protected then-president Trump and then–vice president Mike Pence on January 6, their text messages could provide important context for the events of that day including, for example, Pence’s apparent reluctance to get into a vehicle driven by a Secret Service agent, or why agents apparently permitted Trump to record a video outside the White House while the Capitol was under attack.

    Like every other branch of government, the Secret Service is required to preserve its records. Today, the chief records officer of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Laurence Brewer, sent a letter to Damian Kokinda, the records officer of the Department of Homeland Security, about “the potential unauthorized deletion” of the texts. Brewer asked the Secret Service to investigate and to send all information about deleted records to NARA within 30 days.

    While this seems a bit like locking the door after the horse has left the barn, let me just say that no one with any brains at all messes with archivists. That Secret Service members were willing to purge texts that they knew by law they had to preserve suggests that they calculated it would be better to face the fallout for deleting the texts than the fallout from whatever was in those texts.  

    In Georgia, legal filings today revealed that the 16 people who created a false slate of electors for Trump have been told they are targets of the grand jury’s investigation into the attempt to steal the 2020 election in that state. Those false electors are trying to quash subpoenas for their testimony, claiming the subpoenas are “unreasonable and oppressive.” Despite reports that a Trump campaign official urged them to operate in “complete secrecy,” they claim they did not know how “certain high level members of the Trump team” intended to use those false electors, and had provided the slate only in case the real slate of electors was rejected.

    Thus, they say, they did nothing wrong. But they did sign their names to a document saying they were the “duly elected and qualified Electors for President and Vice President of the United States of America from the State of Georgia,” and they submitted that document to NARA (archivists, again).

    In an interview today, Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly Robin Vos said that earlier this month (not a typo), Trump called him to ask him to decertify the 2020 election, a plan some Republicans in the legislature are backing. Vos notes that the legislature does not have the authority to “reclaim” electors. After Vos declined to join Trump’s effort, Trump posted a message saying: “The Democrats would like to sincerely thank Robin, and all of his fellow RINOs [Republicans in Name Only], for letting them get away with ‘murder.’ A Rigged & Stolen Election!”

    On Thursday, the January 6 committee will hold another public hearing, this one in prime time. Today, committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) announced he has Covid, so the vice chair, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), will run the hearing.

    The topic will be Trump’s behavior on January 6, 2021—what he did do and what he didn’t—and former deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger and former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews are scheduled to testify. Both Pottinger and Matthews resigned immediately after January 6. Pottinger said that he decided to quit when he read Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet attacking Pence as not having “the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” even while Pence’s life was in danger.  

    Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who testified before the January 6 committee, has been formally censured by the Arizona Republican Party. Tonight, the chair of the party announced the censure over a number of “offenses." The censure called for voters to throw Bowers out of office.

    While Trump’s people try to evade the law and establish minority rule, others are trying to change it to reflect the wishes of the majority of Americans.

    Capitol Police today arrested 34 people, including 17 Democratic members of Congress, for engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience as they protested in front of the Supreme Court in support of abortion rights. Sitting on the street, they were blocking traffic, so police immediately ordered them to leave. When they refused, they were arrested.

    Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who at 76 has seen all this before, later said: “There is no democracy if women do not have control over their own bodies and decisions about their own health, including reproductive care. I have the privilege of representing a state where reproductive rights are respected and protected—the least I can do is put my body on the line for the 33 million women at risk of losing their rights. The Republican Party and the right-wing extremists behind this decision are not pro-life, but pro-controlling the bodies of women, girls, and any person who can become pregnant. Their ultimate goal is to institute a national ban on abortion. We will not let them win. We will be back."

    On Friday, Lauren Robel, the former dean of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, filed a misconduct complaint with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission against Indiana attorney general Todd Rokita. Rokita’s inflammatory statements about the physician who provided abortion care to the ten-year-old rape victim forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana to obtain an abortion after the Supreme Court’s June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision overturning Roe v. Wade, put her in danger. Rokita made baseless claims on the Fox News Channel that the physician had not reported the case properly as child abuse, and he began to investigate her medical license. In fact, the physician had reported the abuse as Indiana law required.

    This afternoon, the House of Representatives passed a bill to protect gay marriage. The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages. The 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges overrode DOMA, but in case this Supreme Court goes after Obergefell, as it has suggested it might do, members of the House want to make sure DOMA doesn’t again become the law of the land.

    The bill passed by a vote of 267 to 157. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo noticed something about the vote. Not surprisingly, all Democrats voted in favor. Also not surprisingly, 157 Republicans– 77% of the caucus– voted no. The surprise is that 47 Republicans joined the Democrats to vote yes on the measure, and another 7 did not vote. These Republicans were likely willing to vote in favor in part because the new law defers to states to permit them to deny same-sex marriage licenses– although it requires them to recognize marriages from other states– and Republicans tried hard to argue that such a measure was unnecessary.  

    But in the end, 54 Republicans were unwilling to go on record against gay marriage, which a whopping 70% of Americans—including 55% of Republicans—support.

    Aren't there supposed to be programs for data retrieval that can get any data that was "deleted" short of being wiped out by an EMP?  I would think we see those text messages eventually.
    hard phone reset , you lose all your shit. trade in programs tell you to transfer whatever data from your phone or lose it. those phones then filter into the replacement or resell programs.

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
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