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31.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

"They're doing it to us" Permalink to this item

The funny (not ha ha) thing about that phraseology from the former guy is that when you're a raging psychopath, there is no "us," there is only me me me. Also, who knew Glen Beck is still around? He asked, “Do you regret not locking [Clinton] up? And if you’re president again, will you lock people up?”

Duh. He didn't address the first question, which could have been interesting, given that Clinton was never charged with anything. Unlike his (charged and convicted) national security advisor, campaign managers, dirty tricks factotum. Before we get to the insurrection Team of Weevils in Georgia, who still enjoy the presumption of innocence (ha ha) and the prospect of a fair trial with a jury of their peers.

FG said: “The answer is you have no choice, because they’re doing it to us.”

The creepy thing is that criminal indictments and all that follows aren't supposed to be based on whims (or retribution), but rather facts, and evidence; that whole "rule of law" thing. FG was able to undo convictions on a whim when he was president; for which his former national security advisor, campaign managers, and dirty tricks factotum were very grateful.

But the rank and file prosecuted after the possibility of self-serving pardons have not been doing so well. Proud Boy Joseph Biggs just collected a 17 year booby prize for his role in the seditious conspiracy, second only to the Oath Keepers' Stewart Rhodes' 18 years. The head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and three other convicted members await their helpings.

The Capo dei capi should certainly be served equally well. In all fairness.

Jay Kuo's post in his cutely named "The Status Kuo" blog yesterday updated the D.C. doings in the case against Donald Trump for the insurrection he led: All Rise for Judge Tanya Chutkan, Presiding.

For a defendant who has lived his whole adult life weaseling his way to special privilege, it is very satisfying for his case to be handled fairly. (No matter that he rails on about being treated "so unfairly," to audiences that show no hint of recognizing irony.) And professionally, and skillfully.

30.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

In our laboratory of democracy Permalink to this item

Whatever happens to the Trumpster® Fire that is what's left of the national Republican Party, we still have the states to play out the various consequences of misgovernance. Idaho is in the antonym of the "vanguard." It's getting hard to keep up, but here are a few current items:

1. Through a combination of badly drafted legislation and end-of-session fever, our legislature managed to "seemingly inadvertently" eliminate the state's presidential primary, leaving the individual parties to re-establish the caucus system that most people thought was much less effective (and certainly less small-d democratic than voting). The push was on to move it from March to May for some reason, even though by May, Idaho's minimal influence is certain to be futher minimized. Now, some legislators are talking about a special session, which they've empowered themselves to call (by circulating positions, huh). Or, the Governor could do it, but he's been quiet on the matter, while the #idleg tries to sort out its own mess.

2. District Court Judge Jason Scott has ruled that our Attorney General is disqualified from the open meetings lawsuit his office filed against the State Board of Education. AG Raúl Labrador "must find alternative representation — either outside counsel, or an in-house lawyer from Labrador’s office." Also DQ'd were Solicitor General Theo Wold, and Deputy Attorney General Timothy Longfield. Labrador promised in his campaign to be a partisan hack (not quite that directly, but almost), rather than, you know, performing all legal services for the state and to represent the state and all departments, agencies, offices, officers, boards, commissions, institutions and other state entities in all courts and before all administrative tribunals or bodies of any nature.

3. Voters in the state are signing on to the Idaho for Open Primaries initiative to stick a fork in the close primary system that has abetted Republican extremism here. That's after our Supreme Court ruled that AG Labrador's first whack at writing ballot titles (how hard could that be?) wasn't good enough. He will continue his attempts to torpedo the effort.

4. Our scofflaw carpetbagger from Nevada (and former gubernatorial candidate) Ammon Bundy will be on trial for civil and criminal contempt starting in early October. We're not sure how many charges yet. And Bundy is facing another lawsuit, in Gem County, alleging he made fraudulent property transfers to evade collection of $26 million in damages awarded to the St Lukes hospital system in its initial lawsuit against him, People’s Rights Network, and his campaign for governor.

5. Here's good news: The chair and vice chair of the West Bonner County school board were recalled in a special election yesterday. 62.6% and 66% respectively, for allegedly failing to uphold their oaths of office to improve public schools, disrespecting their constituents and fellow board members, and showing a lack of concern for student education. They were two thirds of the 3 vote majority voting to install Branden Durst as district superintendent, in spite of him not meeting the minimimum requirements, and having no experience as a school administrator or teacher. His only qualification was being a staffer for the anti-government, anti-public education Idaho Freedom Foundation.

6. Here's bad news: The board of North Idaho College on Wednesday night hired an attorney with far-right ties who scored lowest in the college’s review of four candidates. "Colton Boyles of Boyles Law, based in Sandpoint, has no experience representing an educational institution." He does have experience in (losing) a public records lawsuit against former Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin. And appearing on far-right internet shows.

It could be worse. Tennessee's House, for example.

25.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

A call to action Permalink to this item

Conspiracy theories are a dime a dozen. Genuine conspiracies are not as common, but they're not rare. They tend to make news after the fact. Any old list will be incomplete.

The current one has been more in plain sight than any other I can remember. The House bipartisan commission to investigate it laid it out in excruciating detail, and yet the court of public opinion has remained a mere image of team loyalty, they guilty parties' supporters oblivious to fact, reason, morality, sporting their red cockades of ignorance. Winning is the only thing, it seems. Marc Elias, on his Democracy Docket, decries A Stain Not Easily Removed.

"Republican lawyers are back in the news and are bringing disgrace to the party and profession. ... The one common theme in each of Trump’s indictments is the central role that lawyers play in facilitating, excusing or covering up his malfeasance. They are his enablers, co-conspirators and now co-defendants.

"Something has gone tragically wrong in the GOP and in the legal profession....

"Without lawyers, the 65 meritless lawsuits wouldn’t have been filed after the election. Without lawyers, there would be no fake electors scheme. Without lawyers, there wouldn’t be a framework to urge then-Vice President Mike Pence to violate the U.S. Constitution. Without lawyers, there would be no abuse of the U.S. Department of Justice."

He's got a recipe for redemption of his profession, requiring "courage to act decisively": First, "disbar all the lawyers involved in the attack on democracy following the 2020 election." Second, "significant structural changes to prevent another attack on democracy."

"Rules need to make clear that undermining democracy, inside or outside of the courtroom, is prohibited. The federal rules of procedure must be revised to provide for swift, mandatory sanctions against lawyers who bring frivolous election-related claims."

As if we needed any more motivation, consider the sordid detail of A Frame-Up in Georgia.

"By launching a campaign of lies and harassment against an innocent Georgia election worker, the Trump ["legal"] team proved how much cruelty it was willing to inflict on ordinary people who stood in its way."

(I only got as far as the "continue reading" tollbridge, but the picture is clear enough without another deep dive.)

Aaand, here's one of the Georgia co-defendants flipping. "Shawn Still, a Georgia Republican charged alongside former President Donald Trump in a racketeering conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election, says he signed false papers claiming to be a legitimate presidential elector at Trump’s direction." It's a legal strategy, trying to get his case moved to federal court, because he was following orders. So to speak.

22.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Now back to the stormy weather in Fulton Co. Permalink to this item

There's a Consent Bond Order for Defendant Donald John Trump from Judge Scott McAfee that starts by toting up a bond amount for each charge. $80 thousand for the Georgia RICO Act violation, and $10k each for the other twelve, for $200,000 total. (Michael Cohen noted the inequity of his once-upon-a-time $500,000 bond for significantly lesser offenses. "But it is what it is.")

It's a quick read, just three pages, including the signatures of the judge, the district attorney, and three lawyers for the plaintiff, Drew Findling, Marissa Goldberg, and Jennifer Little. As Heidi Li Feldmen tooted along with the link to it, "Bond is conditioned on Trump refraining from what he has never not done: publicly threatening and menacing others." In particular,

The Defendant shall perform no act to intimidate any person known to him or her to be a codefendant or witness in this case or to otherwise obstruct the administration of justice. Id. This shall include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. The Defendant shall make no direct or indirect threat of any nature against any codefendant;
  2. The Defendant shall make no direct or indirect threat of any nature against any witness including, but not limited to, the individuals designated in the Indictment as an unindicated co-conspirators Individual 1 through Individual 30;
  3. The Defendant shall make no direct or indirect threat of any nature against any victim;
  4. The Defendant shall make no direct or indirect threat of any nature against the community or to any property in the community;
  5. The above shall include, but are not limited to, posts on social media or reposts of posts made by another individual on social media...

Feldmen continues, "He seems likely to violate the agreement clearly and egregiously. This will put the onus on the court to preserve its authority and #ruleOfLaw. But you can see how the court would be reluctant to jail Trump before or during trial..."

21.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Top 10 lists Permalink to this item

Two good ones crossed my path today (while exchanging Facebook stuff with friends, about the tropical storm watering the Great Basin), the latter from the pink meme machine Audrey Loves Paris. Bears repeating.

10 attributes of a Woke mind

  1. You read books and don't burn them
  2. You embrace science
  3. You are willing to change your becomes mind when new information becomes available
  4. You understand that most issues are not black and white
  5. You believe in true equality for all people
  6. You have empathy
  7. You embrace cooperation
  8. You respect others' rights
  9. You believe culture and the arts have value
  10. You care for the planet

Oh oh here she comes Permalink to this item

Map of Hilary storm track headed through Nevada; NOAA/NYT

Not sure how much of a Maneater Hilary will be, but some trouble. (That old "official video" of the Hall & Oates song starts with the closed caption "smooth music." Delivered by the gorgeous young men in mullets. "Oh oh here she comes; watch out boys, she'll chew you up!") Not content to just have a hurricane, California threw in a magnitude 5.1 earthquake to boot. But this happy headline: California is free of extreme drought conditions for the first time in three years.

At dark thirty here in Boise, our forecast has been revised a couple times, had a flood watch and wind advisory, then just a flood watch, and now back to both of them. It's just all over wet so far, lovely petrichor and a lot of happy plants. Humid, which is a novelty. More coming:

Monday: Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. High near 78. Breezy, with a southeast wind 6 to 16 mph increasing to 16 to 26 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 38 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Nothing more than fractions of an inch coming at us, it seems, before we snap back to our usual late summer fare, sunny and lovely in the 80s by Wednesday. That's in spite of the storm track showing the remnant pointed almost straight at us. There's a lot of desert yearning for the water, and ready to absorb her energy on the way.

Update, 8:00 MDT
Light, steady rain now. Watering our world. 0.07" down at the airport gage. 0.14" at Barclay Bay by Lucky Peak reservoir up the river, added to 0.20" yesterday, from the pre-Hilary moonsonal flow.

Update #2:
From a Facebook share yesterday, Dodger stadium now surrounded by a moat, with downtown LA in the background. Reminds me of that time I rode out the Whittier Narrows earthquake on the top (35th) floor of one of the hotels there, over breakfast.

Update #3:
Put my fenders on my bike, and rode a 7 mi errand IN A HURRICANE* (* after it had been downgraded to a tropical storm and crossed most of the Great Basin).

Update #4:
In other hurricane news: Tropical Storm Emily takes shape in the Atlantic, as storm activity starts to warm up. The art and science never cease to amaze me; this newly named storm was marked closer to Africa than the "new world" and they're already predicting. My big brother passed along the mnemonic he'd heard in Florida about "hurricane season" being the "ber" months. September through December. Still lots of hatches to be battened then. We survived Hilary with a decent watering (0.22" 24h total at the airport), and luscious, cool humidity (and a bit more rain) overnight.

18.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Billion dollar Barbie Permalink to this item

I did my part to smash the patriarchy yesterday, chipping in for four of my favorite barbies to go to the movie with me. It was a lot of fun, amply over the top and a bit too loud at times. There's a car chase (in the purported "real world") I could have skipped.

It seemed an essential cultural duty to go see it, what with it breaking the $billion box office in less than 3 weeks. As luck would have it, we rewatched Gerwig's previous big hit (and the first film she directed!), Lady Bird a couple nights before. We saw it when it was new, but had forgotten enough of the details to enjoy it even more fully the second time.

This morning, my inbox had a nice post-viewing party in Thom Hartmann's latest Daily Take, Did Barbie Speed Up the Collapse of Trump’s Macho-Based Hate Movement? It sounds too good to be true, but hear him out (if you don't mind a mild spoiler along the way, not much worse than my opening line here).

"Whether it’s Barbie or the Trump prosecutions that have brought about what feels like the a sea-change in the American zeitgeist — or the combination of them both around the same time — I’ll take it!"

His list of Zeitgeist turners includes "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest," "Bambi," "Inherit the Wind," and more. Get this:

A recent survey reported by The Hill found that fully 85 percent of conservatives who’d seen the movie Barbie said it increased their “awareness of the patriarchy at work.”

Are we—the majority of voters in the US—ready to begin to reject hate? Let's do it.

17.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

All your bae are belong to us Permalink to this item

Third item (please note her content warning at top) in Heather Cox Richardson's Letter from an American today concerns the latest you cannot be serious opinion out of the blown fuse of American jurisprudence, as Charles P. Pierce put it in January, opining off a Washington Post analysis that Trump’s lasting legacy on the judiciary is not just at the Supreme Court.

"If you want to fast-track a truly terrible idea to the carefully engineered conservative majority on the Supreme Court, the best way to do it is to file it in Texas. If your case fails there, take it down to the 5th Circuit for some CPR. ...

"The Post particularly calls attention to Judge James Ho, a Trump appointee who once worked for Justice Clarence Thomas. Before that, he succeeded Ted “Tailgunner” Cruz as Texas' solicitor general. Ho got famous for being bughouse on the subject of "cancel culture," which he claimed had run amok at Yale Law School. But he is in the vanguard of the alumni of the Texas attorney general's office, now d/b/a the 5th Circuit."

A year earlier, Lisa Needham on Balls and Strikes mentioned Ho for "think[ing] vaccine mandates are unconstitutional if they hurt the feelings of religious conservatives." She was spot on with that. First, to set the scene, picture Ho being "sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in his billionaire benefactor Harlan Crow’s library in 2018."

"[Judge James Ho wrote that] antiabortion doctors suffer a moral injury when they are forced to help patients who have complications from the use of mifepristone, Ho wrote, because they are forced to participate in an abortion against their principles.

"Those doctors also experience an aesthetic injury when patients choose abortion because, as one said, “When my patients have chemical abortions, I lose the opportunity…to care for the woman and child through pregnancy and bring about a successful delivery of new life.”

After an even more bizarre discursion about plaintiffs who suffer[] aesthetic injury when an agency has approved a project that threatens [an] animal” they might want to look at, here you go:

“Unborn babies are a source of profound joy for those who view them,” Ho wrote. “Expectant parents eagerly share ultrasound photos with loved ones. Friends and family cheer at the sight of an unborn child. Doctors delight in working with their unborn patients—and experience an aesthetic injury when they are aborted.

16.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

The shark is yet to come Permalink to this item

Been listening to Trae Crowder and Mark Agee doing the Weekly Skews, while I go about my various computer business, just letting the banter wash over me in fake multitasking, but things pop out now and then, like when they're talking about the Georgia indictment, and the RICO statute 35 minutes in, and Agee says "When the mob was at its peak, in its heyday," which he put "20s and 30s," but "still very powerful in the 60s and early 70s," when the federal government passed the first RICO statute, "and signed by Richard Nixon," no less, I'm thinking isn't right now the heyday? Isn't this The Biggest Mob Story in history?

He also reminds us that there are 30 unindicted co-conspirators mentioned in the indictment. What can you call it if not "a mob scene"? So that shifted me into blogging mode.

Speaking of co-conspirators, I'm not generally much for talking about "the media" as if it were singular, but there's a hella disturbing trend in reportage right now of starting with the alleged criminal's point of view. It was on the Newshour last night, even, how Trump and Rudy were wailing like stuck pigs about the unfairness of it all, as if "the deep state" (another ridiculous singularity) had somehow acquired sentience and become supremely capable. Whiplash from when government couldn't accomplish anything, amirite, now it's come up with 91, count 'em, felony charges on Trump's head. (That's "an average of two per US president," it was pointed out waggishly yesterday.) It is amusing to hear D-Jr GF Kimberly "THE BEST IS YET TO COME" Guilfoyle try her vocal apparatus at projection for NEWSMAX, though.

"Um well it's a disaster and it's a sham she's really using this for her own political purposes and advancement and fundraising off of this she's [sic] one of four sham um you know investigations and indictments they you know jumped the shark and release on the docket actually the indictment before it even came out so the she had to do the dog and pony show you know last night it's just absolutely ridiculous"

Screenshot of Trae Crowder Weekly Skews, Guilfoyle on Newsmax

And in other news, unsealed court papers revealed that the Twitter warrent yielded "a trove of so-called direct messages that Mr. Trump sent others privately through his Twitter account," totes useful for a guy "who has famously been cautious about using written forms of communications in his dealings with aides and allies." That'll be nice. The company turned up both “deleted” and “nondeleted” direct messages associated with the account. The jury will have to parse out whether it was the real @realDonaldTrump twittering DMs, or a surreal one, Dan Scavino, some other pool boy with the big man's tweeter.

The NYT "News Analysis" from Nick Corasaniti has an expressive headline, After Years of Spreading Lies, Election Deniers Face Consequences. (Gift link for all y'all.) "Now the legal repercussions are arriving." Not least for the "more than 1,100 people [who] were arrested after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021," now that "more than 630 have pleaded guilty to various charges, and about 110 have been convicted at trial. Almost 600 have been sentenced and, of those, about 370 have served some amount of time behind bars." An important point vindicating the "low hanging fruit" approach that often seemed too slow, and too low:

"Legal experts say those convictions are a key reason that recent provocations by Mr. Trump after his series of indictments have not resulted in mass protests or violence."

The big fish are being lined up for the fry now. Finally. It's about time. Let us create new precedents, that “in the end will make our democracy stronger.”

Update:
Then I got to the guest essay by Andrew Kirtzman and David Holley, Rudy, Revealed, with a 38-years younger Giuliani standing in front of an org chart for "The Commission" of La Cosa Nostra. The Weekly Skews episode pointed out that at one point, the five bosses on that chart and Donald Trump all had the same lawyer: Roy Cohn.

“It’s a rare individual in public office who does not eventually become personally corrupt,” Giuliani said in 1988. Presciently.

15.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Home of the Whopper Permalink to this item

Everyone was on pins and needles last night for Georgia's unsealing, but we didn't wait up. This morning, there's a smörgåsbord of reports to choose from. Surfing Mastodon, what I found first was Matt Tait's PwnAllTheThings on substack: The Georgia Indictment, a quick summary. (And a link to the whole thing, with copyable text, yay.)

No small feat whipping that up, what with the caption alone running just over three pages. 41 charges spread over 19 defendants. Donald John Trump gets top billing, of course, indicted on 13 (lucky!) of the 41 counts. Tutti-frutti oh right-hand man Rudi also has 13, and on down the line. They all get charge #1, VIOLATION OF THE GEORGIA RICO (RACKETEER INFLUENCED AND CORRUPT ORGANIZATIONS) ACT. One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, you might say. Their surrender deadline for arraignment is August 25.

The also-rans are mostly lawyers, listed in order of increasing obscurity, from my point of view. Jeffrey Bossert Clark and Jenna Lynn Ellis are only on the hook for two counts, tied in last place. His kicker is CRIMINAL ATTEMPT TO COMMIT FALSE STATEMENTS AND WRITINGS, hers SOLICITATION OF VIOLATION OF OATH BY PUBLIC OFFICER. Here's the cast of characters in the +rumpian gang that couldn't shoot straight:

Photo of children and a circus wagon

RUDOLPH WILLIAM LOUIS GIULIANI
JOHN CHARLES EASTMAN
MARK RANDALL MEADOWS
KENNETH JOHN CHESEBRO
JEFFREY BOSSERT CLARK
JENNA LYNN ELLIS
RAY STALLINGS SNIITH III
ROBERT DAVID CHEELEY
MICHAEL A. ROMAN
DAVID JAMES SHAFER
SHAWN MICAH TRESHER STILL
STEPHEN CLIFFGARD LEE
HARRISON WILLIAM PRESCOTT FLOYD
TREVIAN C. KUTTI
SIDNEY KATHERINE POWELL
CATHLEEN ALSTON LATHAM
SCOTT GRAHAM HALL
MISTY HAMPTON AKA EMILY MISTY HAYES

Tait breaks down the team by groups, starting with "The Core Conspirator" headliners: Rudy, Eastman, Ray Smith III, Chesebro, Jenna Ellis, Robert Cheeley, and Sidney "release the Kraken" Powell. John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark for Corrupting the U.S. Department of Justice to falsely allege election fraud, and so on. The fake elector schemers, the Raffensperger call (hello Mark Meadows!), going after Ruby Freeman (includes Stephen Lee, "Illinois pastor"), stealing the ballot machines from Coffee Co. Then by "Main Events," the charges regrouped "to make them a bit more understandable."

"The Raffensperger call" on January 2, 2021 includes a link to the full audio, and a transcript. The list continues through "Hoping to rollback the election long after Biden was inaugurated," on September 17, 2021 (!), and to an even dozen with "Perjury during investigation of the false electors," David Shafer and Robert Cheeley bringing up the rear with FALSE STATEMENTS AND WRITINGS, and plain old PERJURY, respectively.

Whew.

Update:
Chris Greidner's Law Dork blog slices into some detail of the 161 "acts" described in the 98-page indictment. "[A] close read shows that many of them are simple, factual statements of things that either are easily proven — like sending an email or placing a call — or were done in public, often on camera, and known in real time."

Act 94 reminded Greidner of Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley's creepy "misinterpretation" on January 5, 2021 that "we don't expect [the Vice President] to be there, I will be presiding over the Senate."

Act 94.

On or about the 23rd day of December 2020, JOHN CHARLES EASTMAN sent an email to KENNETH JOHN CHESEBRO and unindicted co-conspirator Individual 3, whose identity is known to the Grand Jury, with the subject "FW: Draft 2, with edits'." In the e-mail, JOHN CHARLES EASTMAN attached a memorandum titled "PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL -- Dec 23 memo on Jan 6 scenario.docx" and stated, "As for hearings, I think both are unnecessary. The fact that we have multiple slates of electors demonstrates the uncertainty of either. That should be enough. And I agree with Ken that Judiciary Committee hearings on the constitutionality of the Electoral Count Act could invite counter views that we do not believe should constrain Pence (or Grassley) in the exercise of power they have under the 12th Amendment. Better for them just to act boldly and be challenged, since the challenge would likely lead to the Court denying review on nonjusticiable political question grounds." This was an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.

As an aside, it's my considered and experienced technical opinion that you will come to regret spaces in filenames sooner or later. Q.E.D.

Update #2:
H/t to Greidner also for the link to, yes, the actual home of these whoppers of felonious acts ("as alleged," do I have to say?), and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution where you can read all the way down to this final paragraph:

"The Fulton case, however, could ultimately have some of the most staying power if Trump is convicted. That’s because unlike the federal cases, which could be dismissed by a future Republican president, Georgia’s pardon process is in the hands of an independent board, not the governor. Under the state’s rules, a person needs to wait five years after they serve any prison sentences before they can be considered for a pardon."

14.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Demand this clown Permalink to this item

Danny Hakim and Richard Fausset report from Atlanta for the NYT: Two Months in Georgia: How Trump Tried to Overturn the Vote. It's a hell of a story, even without the infamous line from the guy who lost the 2020 election in that state by 11,779 votes:

"I just want to find—ah—eleven thousand—seven hundred eighty—votes, which is one more than we have."

Even when the truth escapes his addled brain, it's perverted into nonsense. 11,780 votes was one more than he didn't have, of course. And we all heard him saying this (stumbling into the weird pauses) on January 4, 2021, when the upstander who recorded the "perfect" phone call released it to the media. That was the day after the new Congress was sworn in, and there was the fatuous Ted Cruz, saying "We have an obligation to the Constitution to ensure that this election was lawful," he said, without a hitch. As if.

Fast forward to today, and here's the former president trying to witness tamper his way out of deep trouble in Georgia. On the day the grand jury went into overtime for additional testimony. You could hardly make this stuff up.

If you don't have time for the whole Brian Tyler Cohen segment, jump to 3:30 in, Andrew Weissman, saying this:

In Georgia, for the statute that may apply, the defendant has with burden of rebutting [] that he will not commit crimes, that he's not a risk of flight... and "that the defendent poses no risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice."

Thanks to John Pionke for spelling out our current status with a simple quickmeme, on Facebook:

12.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Turn the other what now? Permalink to this item

Thom Hartmann's Saturday report covers wide territory, including the "Trump is disqualified" item (below). And that part about him planning to use the military against protesters. Moreso than for the Lafayette Square-clearing Bible stunt. Wikipedia reminds us that

"Just before visiting the church, Trump delivered a speech in which he urged the governors of U.S. states to quell violent protests by using the National Guard to "dominate the streets," or he would otherwise "deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem."

Hartmann talks about the need for a Psychological Defense Agency, and the Hunter Biden disinformation campaign (I mean, the Steele dossier's got nothing on the Trojan Horse dropped off at the blind computer guy’s shop, who just happened to be a friend of Rudy’s).

But his (buried) lede is Are “Christians” trying to remove Jesus because he was too liberal? Reported in Mediaite: Russell Moore, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, is sounding an alarm.

“It was the result of having multiple pastors tell me, essentially, the same story about quoting the Sermon on the Mount, parenthetically, in their preaching — ‘turn the other cheek’ — to have someone come up after to say, ‘Where did you get those liberal talking points?’” Moore told Detrow during the interview.

“And what was alarming to me is that in most of these scenarios, when the pastor would say, ‘I’m literally quoting Jesus Christ,’ the response would not be, ‘I apologize.’ The response would be, ‘Yes, but that doesn’t work anymore. That’s weak.’ And when we get to the point where the teachings of Jesus himself are seen as subversive—to us, then we’re in a crisis,” he conclude.

Here's the link to the full NPR segment (8:23).

When you lose the Federalist Society... Permalink to this item

Professors William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen "studied the question for more than a year and detailed their findings in a long article to be published next year in The University of Pennsylvania Law Review."

Next year?? But at least we don't have to wait for the punchline (or to read the article. See below).

“Donald Trump cannot be president — cannot run for president, cannot become president, cannot hold office — unless two-thirds of Congress decides to grant him amnesty for his conduct on Jan. 6.” ...

There is, the article said, “abundant evidence” that Mr. Trump engaged in an insurrection, including by setting out to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, trying to alter vote counts by fraud and intimidation, encouraging bogus slates of competing electors, pressuring the vice president to violate the Constitution, calling for the march on the Capitol and remaining silent for hours during the attack itself.

“It is unquestionably fair to say that Trump ‘engaged in’ the Jan. 6 insurrection through both his actions and his inaction,” the article said.

Professor Timothy Snyder agrees with Bause and Paulsen, too. We can have the Constitution... And, he provides a link to the article, where I find the PDF version can be downloaded for free. From its abstract, my emphasis added:

"Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment forbids holding office by former office holders who then participate in insurrection or rebellion. ...

"First, Section Three remains an enforceable part of the Constitution, not limited to the Civil War, and not effectively repealed by nineteenth century amnesty legislation. Second, Section Three is self-executing, operating as an immediate disqualification from office, without the need for additional action by Congress. It can and should be enforced by every official, state or federal, who judges qualifications. Third, to the extent of any conflict with prior constitutional rules, Section Three repeals, supersedes, or simply satisfies them. This includes the rules against bills of attainder or ex post facto laws, the Due Process Clause, and even the free speech principles of the First Amendment. Fourth, Section Three covers a broad range of conduct against the authority of the constitutional order, including many instances of indirect participation or support as “aid or comfort.” It covers a broad range of former offices, including the Presidency. And in particular, it disqualifies former President Donald Trump, and potentially many others, because of their participation in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election."

11.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

That didn't take long Permalink to this item

The Supreme Court of the State of Idaho gave our Attorney General 24 hours to rewrite the titles for the initiative from Idahoans for Open Primaries and Reclaim Idaho. And retained jurisdiction, in case Raúl Labrador and his partisan team take another whack at semantic sabotage. In the background section of the unanimous opinion, my emphasis added:

Upon receiving the May initiative petition, the Secretary of State filed it in his office and transmitted it to Idaho’s Attorney General, Raúl R. Labrador, for his review. The same day, the Attorney General posted a statement on Twitter opposing the May initiative petition by stating, “[l]et’s defeat these bad ideas coming from liberal outside groups.” Theodore J. Wold, an employee of the Attorney General designated as Idaho’s Solicitor General, then posted a similar statement on Twitter: “State AGs are the strongest line of defense against the Left’s national campaign to force ranked choice voting on our elections. Leave this failed idea in NYC and Oakland.”

But wait, there's more.

On June 30, the Attorney General hand delivered “short” and “general” ballot titles to the Secretary of State. With the ballot titles, the Attorney General included a cover letter, which stated that, although he furnished ballot titles as required by Idaho law, he believed the Initiative violated Idaho’s constitution for the reasons identified in his Certificate of Review and was therefore ineligible to be placed on the ballot. The Attorney General stated his intention to litigate the issue if the sponsors of the Initiative sought to have it enrolled on the ballot.

The SCOTSOI decision did not give the petitioners extended time to make up for what's been lost in the first round of AG sabotage, but they did at least award them attorney fees.

The new-to-Idaho position of "Solicitor General" that Labrador created was filled by Theo Wold, who was an acting assistant attorney general in the DOJ under Trump, and a deputy assistant to the former guy. He only recently passed the Idaho Bar, and is relatively unfamiliar with Idaho's law and history. That showed in his incomplete argument to deny standing to the petitioners, and his misstatement about the currently still-open Democratic primary elections. The AG had one job, described in Idaho Code section 34-1809(2)(e):

"In making the ballot title, the attorney general shall, to the best of his ability, give a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the measure and in such language that the ballot title shall not be intentionally an argument or likely to create prejudice either for or against the measure."

In order for Labrador to do his job—serving the people of Idaho without prejudice, and not just furthering the agenda of the extreme wing of the Republican Party—he would first have to want to do that. I don't think we've reached that threshold. The issue of his competence is further down the road.

Check back at 4pm.

10.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

This isn't the Walmart parking lot, Toto Permalink to this item

And it sure as hell ain't Kansas, either. ProPublica totes up the secretly reaped "benefits from a network of wealthy and well-connected patrons" in supreme corruption, "steady access to a lifestyle most Americans can only imagine." Clarence Thomas’ 38 Vacations: The Other Billionaires Who Have Treated the Supreme Court Justice to Luxury Travel

Clarence Thomas, Alex Bandoni/ProPublica

"At least 38 destination vacations, including a previously unreported voyage on a yacht around the Bahamas; 26 private jet flights, plus an additional eight by helicopter; a dozen VIP passes to professional and college sporting events, typically perched in the skybox; two stays at luxury resorts in Florida and Jamaica; and one standing invitation to an uber-exclusive golf club overlooking the Atlantic coast."

The researches modestly note their tally "is almost certainly an undercount." Thomas may have violated the law by not disclosing "flights, yacht cruises and expensive sports tickets."

Perhaps even more significant, the pattern exposes consistent violations of judicial norms, experts, including seven current and former federal judges appointed by both parties, told ProPublica. “In my career I don’t remember ever seeing this degree of largesse given to anybody,” said Jeremy Fogel, a former federal judge who served for years on the judicial committee that reviews judges’ financial disclosures. “I think it’s unprecedented.”

I like the part where the Thomases are fishing, rafting on the Snake River, sitting by a campfire overlooking the Tetons with three other "lucky couples," and "the Paolettas serenaded the justice with a song they wrote about him," summer of 2019.

Mark Paoletta also did not disclose the trip on his yearly financial filings, while he occupied the position of general counsel and the designated ethics official at the Office of Management and Budget. (He said he had reimbursed the host.) And this scene from Wayne Huizenga's Floridian golf club back in the day:

"[A] former waitress and concierge said she once served Thomas and Huizenga, who were wearing golf attire, as they dined alone in the enormous waterfront clubhouse for lunch. “Have you met a Supreme Court justice?” Huizenga asked the waitress before she took their order. “This is Clarence Thomas.”

I can only imagine her saying "How do you do?" How do you do.

Update:
Heather Cox Richardson started her Aug. 10 Letter from an American quoting David Kurtz of Talking Points Memo: “Good Lord, Who Among Us Hasn’t Paid For A Clarence Thomas Vacation?”

After a hearty LOL, the plain answer settles in. We're all paying for his living the high life.

9.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

From both sides now Permalink to this item

Thanks to "an appeal by Twitter challenging a part of the judge’s decision to issue the warrant," it's now in the news that the Special Counsel investigating our former president and crime lord obtained a search warrant for his old Twitter account, sur-@realDonaldTrump, and that

prosecutors got permission from the judge not to tell Mr. Trump for months that they had obtained the warrant for his account. The prosecutors feared that if Mr. Trump learned about the warrant, it “would seriously jeopardize the ongoing investigation” by giving him “an opportunity to destroy evidence, change patterns of behavior, [or] notify confederates.”

Brian Snyder photo of Trump on Jumbotron

The X files' whinging and foot-dragging earned them a contempt finding and a $350,000 fine. Nice to have some of the people's expenses covered.

Of course the target "quickly responded" on Truth Social, wailing about being "secretly attacked." But that's not enough; he's positioning himself as a martyr, taking the hits on behalf of the members of his base. Lorraine Rudd, for example, who has, um, attended a rally? The New York Times is on it.

[A]fter his third indictment last week, in a point-by-point 45-page account of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, [she said] she felt that she, too, could be wrongly prosecuted.

“If they can do it to him and take him down, they can come for me,” Ms. Rudd, a 64-year old Massachusetts resident, said. She said she firmly agreed with Mr. Trump’s false claim that he won the 2020 election. “What, am I next?” she said.

Probably not, ma'am. Of course, it will depend on what you've been up to lately.

Meanwhile, the guy complaining about his First Amendment rights being curtailed is mighty free to shout all sorts of stupid (and false) things. “I am your retribution.” “Essentially, I’m being indicted for you.” “I am being arrested for you.”

Wake us up when you're going to prison for us.

A Tale of Two Skeevies Permalink to this item

Take a moment to appreciate the Dickensian quality of the stories being told right now. A guy named "Trump" had a lawyer named "Chesebro" who hatched a plot to turn the government on its head with a spawn of lawyers across seven states, our very own bleak House (and Senate) populated with the likes of Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Tommy Tuberville, and on an on.

Layers of lawyers blossomed in the conspiracy, eager to serve the psychopath in his quest to liquidate every national asset that wasn't sufficiently bolted down. Most of the lawyers are not responding to requests for comment at the moment, but you can Get To Know the Six Likely Co-Conspirators in Trump’s Jan. 6 Indictment, thanks to Democracy Docket.

Photo of 'The Gospel Coach' at the Old Pen in Boise

The drama has been unfolding in plain sight. It was ten months ago that "several dozen prominent legal figures submitted an ethics complaint to the Supreme Court of New York’s attorney grievance committee, calling Mr. Chesebro “the apparent mastermind behind key aspects of the fake elector ploy” and accusing him of conspiring “with Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Eastman and others to subvert our democracy.” Not seeing how that turned out anywhere, but maybe this news will perk up the dead case.

Meanwhile, it was Sunday front page news that the least worthy justice on the Supreme Court, Peter Principled all the way to its leading light in the fullness of time, has been tootling about in a quarter of a million dollar RV that he bought with a friend's money, but whoops, forgot to report any of the details. Other than the $1,200 deep-cycle batteries "some former clerks" gifted him, and another $1,200 worth of freebie tires out of Nebraska. Deep in the weeds, this supremely equisite sub-grift jumped out at me:

"The title history records held by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles do not contain detailed information about the loan itself. What they show is that when the Thomases drove their motor coach back home to Virginia, they registered it in Prince William County, which does not charge personal property tax on R.V.s stored there, unlike Fairfax County, where they live."

As one does. The Thomas' Prevost Le Mirage XL Marathon has its own little tax haven, one county south.

7.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Two quick laps around the DMV Permalink to this item

In the not too recent past, there were horror stories about painfully long waits at DMV offices here in Idaho, especially in the most populous counties. "New software" was the culprit, and I don't suppose the pandemic helped.

With my driver's license renewal coming around, I received a postcard from our state transportation department reminding me, and inviting me to Skip the Trip. Save Time. Go Online! "You may be eligible..." Seemed like a good thing to check. I was delighted to see that I am eligible, and proceeded to create an account, get my email verified, find out that they know my address and my vehicle registrations (of course), and with an easy-peasy 6 or 7 steps through forms, I could click here with a credit card and boom. Except...

Processing Error
Unfortunately your transaction did not complete. Your credit card has been refunded. Please contact us at 208-334-8000 to complete your transaction.

My email inbox had the receipt, and the refund receipt. The latter suggested I "Please attempt this transaction again at your earliest convenience."

I called, got routed to the right guy without too much trouble. He did not give any hint of being willing or able to complete my transaction, but he did say they yeah, they know they've got a software problem, but they haven't been able to figure out just what it is, or how to fix it. He stopped the initial payment process (didn't mention stopping the refund process, so that'll be interesting), and said yeah, I should just try again. What are the odds it'll work on the next try, I asked him. He said he hardly ever gets these calls, so pretty good.

And indeed, it did work on the 2nd try, they took my money and sent me a receipt to carry around with me until they mail me the new plastic card. If it had whooshed through the first time, it would have been under half an hour all told. Even with the glitch and retry, it was done in under an hour, zero miles, and zero gallons of gas. Yipee.

Idaho DMV 'Skip the Trip'

James Comer is a despicable liar Permalink to this item

The current chairman of the House Oversight Committee is fundraising off his committee "work." Pulling out all the stops for every "Patriot" on his email list. He claims that, and I quote,

"The Biden family, the Democrats in Congress, and their propagandists in the corporate press have only one option to save Joe Biden from the reckoning that's coming: destroying my credibility through a vicious character assassination campaign."

So, send money, because "I'm a God-fearing, country-loving patriot and I'm going to stand up and defend my good name with every ounce of strength I have."

His subject line is "Devon Archer," who, if you've been following along the Hunter Biden witch hunt, you'll know was once a business associate of Biden's. The little lie (and breezy libel) is that he has "a gravely serious update on my investigation into the Biden Crime Family." The big lie to grab at your wallet:

"Star Witness Devon Archer delivered BOMBSHELL testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee."

And a kicker:

"No wonder Biden's DOJ tried to throw him in jail before he could testify."

Committee member Daniel Goldman (D-NY) pushed back on Comer's b.s. a week ago, urging the chairman to release the transcript. Once we could read that for ourselves, the "takeaways" were a tempest in a teapot. Here's how the USA Today outlined it:

  1. Joe Biden did not talk business on calls, Archer claims
  2. Archer says he saw no evidence Joe Biden steered policy to help Hunter and Burisma
  3. Hunter Biden delivered the Biden 'brand'
  4. Joe Biden went to dinner with his son and associates twice; a birthday dinner in 2014 and another dinner in 2015, for the World Food Program USA, for which Hunter served as board chairman.
  5. Republican claims of 'bribery' not corroborated by testimony

So what about this accusation about the DOJ trying to put Archer in jail? It seems a jury convicted him of two felonies back in 2018, and a year ago February, he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison "for defrauding a Native American tribal entity and various investment advisory clients of tens of millions of dollars in connection with the issuance of bonds by the tribal entity and the subsequent sale of those bonds through fraudulent and deceptive means." Archer was also ordered to forfeit $15.7 million, and to make make $43.4 million restitution. The scheme was carried out from March 2014 through April 2016; the wheels of justice grind slowly. There has been "a long-running series of appeals" according to Politico's recent report. (Archer is still considering "further appeals.")

"On [July 29], the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York wrote to trial judge Ronnie Abrams and asked her to schedule a date for Archer to report to prison, after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals finalized an order days earlier upholding his one-year sentence.

"The court isn’t expected to make a decision before Archer will meet behind closed doors with the House Oversight Committee, meaning that even if the court ultimately sides with the request Archer wouldn’t have to report to prison before the meeting. And his attorney said in a statement that he will move forward with his planned appearance Monday. ...

"Matthew Schwartz, Archer’s attorney, also rejected the notion that there’s any connection between Archer’s tiff with the Justice Department and his potentially imminent jail time."

The GOP House is working So Hard to find dirt on the "Biden Crime Family," I wonder why that would be? Especially when there's an alternate crime family that's at least as prominent, and way more crimey. It's a mystery.

Anyway, here's Philip Bump's deconstruction from Aug. 3, with a gift link to the WaPo column: Devon Archer said the opposite of what Republicans claimed. Comer's perfidious fundraising email is dated Aug. 6, days after his "bombshell" fizzled under scrutiny.

"There was never a good reason to believe that the bribe allegation was legitimate, and Comer’s repeated claims about it have done enormous damage to his credibility. ...

"Comer and Jordan and others hype claims of Joe Biden’s involvement in Hunter Biden’s work only to see those claims collapse as more information is made public. Devon Archer’s testimony was hailed as a central breakthrough in implicating Joe Biden. Instead, it has a top ally of Hunter Biden stating under penalty of perjury that Joe Biden was not involved in Hunter Biden’s business and that Biden’s trip to Ukraine in 2015 was not centered on protecting Burisma at all."

Bump's column mentions that a WaPo reporter recieved Comer's fundraising spam too, on Thursday morning, Aug. 3. I guess I'm lower on the list.

My RNC medal

P.S. My spam bucket is quite the cesspool these days, thanks to that one time I registered Republican to keep my primary voting options open here in Idaho. Some of the other lowlights include "Jim Jordan," "The jig is up," paid for by McCarthy for Congress; Loren Boebert wanting to "Force Kevin McCarthy to Impeach Biden" (at least she's fundraising for herself); Kash Patel, on behalf of "The Kash Foundation" (not making that up), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, he claims, "all donations are tax-deductible." Ronna McDaniel informs me that I've earned the status of a REPUBLICAN LIVING LEGEND, remarkably. I just need to accept the nomination, and send some money.

Love the gold dust sprinkled under my gold medal.

6.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Three days' grace Permalink to this item

On October 1, 2019, the Boise Public Library system did away with fines for overdue books. At the time, it seemed a remarkable leap of faith, but I see from that the KTVB report at the time that the Eagle, Caldwell, and Meridian libraries had already done away with late fees. (And "back in the 1970s and early '80s," Boise wasn't charging fines, who knew?)

In almost 4 years, I hadn't had occasion to push the limit, before this week. Most books have a one month due date, and automatic renewals can stretch that to two, or three. New books are on a shorter leash, two weeks, and if there's a request queue, you can't renew. I needed a little more than two weeks to polish off The Big Myth (next item). When I returned another book early this week, I saw a sign that our local branch would closed from Tuesday afternoon through Sunday. And my due date was Thursday. I figured they wouldn't be dealing with returns until Monday anyway, so why not take a few free days? The book was on interlibrary loan from the Meridian Library, and I didn't know they'd ended fines as wll, but I figured Boise's policy would be transitive.

Apologies to whoever is waiting in line for this copy, but thanks to the libraries for those three extra days. For one book out of the last 30 I've checked out.

Course correction needed Permalink to this item

Cover image of 'The Big Myth'

THE BIG MYTH; How American Business Taught us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway (2023) is a worthy, thick read. Spoiler alert! The “how” of the subtitle was a century-long propaganda campaign that richly rewarded its proponents, even as it brought us to the verge of planetary ecological failure.

It really is about that verge, in the end, even though most of the 416 pages cover the history of the campaign, launched in the time of the deadliness of late 19th century American capitalism. “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) was founded in 1895 when six hundred [!] manufacturers met in Cincinnati to formulate a plan for economic recovery from the Panic of 1893 and the depression that followed.” They started with an interest for government intervention (protectionism) but then rallied to the causes of opposing unionization, and federal taxation, and eventually all, and any government regulation. So it takes a while to catch up to the present day, even though they tell us about their primary motivation in the introduction:

“In our first book, Merchants of Doubt, we wanted to explain why intelligent, educated people would deny the reality of man-made climate change. … The [] answer was ideology: market fundamentalism.”

In a nutshell: only the “magic” of “the free market” can be trusted to solve problems, is the First Principle. Government can only makes things worse. And if we let the government rein in “the free market” with regulation, we will be on the slippery slope to totalitarianism. The Zeroth Principle is that there are only two economic choices: freedom, or unfreedom.

You don’t need a whole big book to recognize how nonsensical either of those principles are; you just need to be aware of some actual history, and readily available facts. But if we’re going to undo the damage that’s been done (and that we face), it will help to recognize how long the project has been working on the nation’s awareness, and how thoroughly embedded its falsehoods have become. From the conclusion:

“The deification of markets and demonization of government has deprived us of the tools and the insights we need to address the challenges before us: to live long and healthy lives, to generate prosperity, and to coexist in concord with each other and with the nonhuman inhabitants of our planet. It is time we rejected the myth of market fundamentalism and re-embraced the proven tools we have at our disposal. It takes governance to address the problems that people, pursuing our self-interest, create....

“Ronald Reagan was wrong. Our most consequential problems have arisen not because of too much government, but because of too little. Government is not the solution to all our problems, but it is the solution many of our biggest ones.”

5.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Lock. Him. Up. Permalink to this item

Our Agent Orange psychopath didn't make it 24 hours without violating the conditions of his release. So... remand to custody? Take away his internet privileges, at least.

Says here that experts were stunned to have the judge admonish Trump not to commit any more crimes. "Some experts think the conditions of Trump's release may prove too "complicated" for the former president."

Complicated, what? The judge told him that it's a crime to 'influence a juror or try to threaten or bribe a witness or retaliate against anyone' connected to the case. Trump said he understands."

And then... he "truthed" this: "IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I'M COMING AFTER YOU!"

It's a dare. Can our justice system contain him?

4.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

News about breaking Permalink to this item

Let's see who all is fundraising off the former guy's accountability: Team Elise ("BREAKING: President Trump [sic] has been ARRESTED"). Again. I love the pitch. "Stand with President [sic] Trump" by sending me money. There's the NRCC, now sending as "Witch Hunt Updates via House GOP." It's like the hit parade.

Team Emmer, as in Tom Emmer, the House Majority Whip you never heard of, "a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Emmer for Congress and Electing Majority Making Effective Republicans (Emmer PAC). Oh how cute! "[A] donation of any amount RIGHT NOW [will] help me lead the change to bring accountability back to Washington." Do tell. (The "team" is firing off a lot of spam right now.)

The NRSC has a nice banner with President [sic] Trump INDICTED AGAIN, and shown behind bars. Getting a little ahead of themselves. The black background has a little smoke around the edges. Lingering from J6?

President [sic] Trump INDICTED AGAIN

And of course the counter-attack on the other supposed "crime family," never mind that they're still struggling to find credible evidence (a) on Hunter, and (b) connecting Hunter to Joe. It's just marketing, so all that counts is flapping the lies. Ted Cruz is doing it. Lauren Boebert, working her impeachment concept.

Back in the reality-based community, the release of the transcript from the closed-door hearing of Hunter Biden's business associate, Devon Archer, had a dull thud to it. As quoted in Heather Cox Richard's daily,

"Archer testified that he had never seen Hunter Biden involve his father in business discussions and that he had no evidence that then–vice president Biden changed U.S. policy to help Hunter. He said he knew nothing about the $5 million bribe to each Biden Republicans have been alleging.

"He testified that he had no knowledge of wrongdoing by Biden senior, who was not involved with the Ukrainian company Burisma on whose board Hunter sat, and that he believed it was important to Hunter Biden to follow the law."

Meanwhile, at the arraignment (where Trump became the 1,078th person charged with federal crimes in connection with January 6), the judge warned Trump "that one of the conditions of his release was that he must not commit new crimes. Then she added to that standard warning an unusual one, warning him that any attempts to influence a juror would be a crime." HCR quotes Timothy Snyder's pithy rejoinder to all of the former guy's and his claque's whinging:

“That Trump will be tried for his coup attempt is not a violation of his rights. It is a fulfillment of his rights. It is the grace of the American republic. In other systems, when your coup attempt fails, what follows is not a trial.”

3.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Trump fatigue, I know, but buck up Permalink to this item

Will Bunch: It’s justice that Trump, who wanted to toss Black votes, gets charged under a KKK Act. "His trial will be a referendum on white supremacy."

The real justice would be in his conviction, rather than mere indictment, but OK.

"It’s taken 30 long (arguably, a tad too long) months for federal prosecutors to come to grips with what the entire world saw that day — that the leader of a political movement larded with white supremacy would call on any means necessary to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. In using the 1870 anti-Klan law to prosecute Trump, Jack Smith and his team are making a powerful statement: There is a straight line of inhumane racial hierarchy from the hooded killers of 1870 to a 1927 KKK march through Queens right up to the twisted presidency of Donald Trump that ended in deadly violence in 2021."

And from Heather Cox Richardson's Aug. 2, 2023 daily:

Political pollster Tom Bonier wrote: “I understand Trump fatigue, but it feels like the president and his advisors preparing to use the military to quash protests against his planned coup should be bigger news. Especially when that same guy is in the midst of a somewhat credible comeback effort.”

And this:

Just before midnight on January 6, 2021, after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, [Trump co-conspirator John] Eastman wrote to Pence’s lawyer to beg him to get Pence to adjourn Congress “for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations, as well as to allow a full forensic audit of the massive amount of illegal activity that has occurred here.” On the floor of the Senate at about the same time, Cruz, who voted against certification, used very similar language when he called for “a ten-day emergency audit.”

Speaking of "constitutional scholar" John Eastman and his insane notions, responding to a "Senior Advisor" (Thom Hartmann is guessing that was Mark Meadows) saying "[Y]ou’re going to cause riots in the streets,”

“Co-Conspirator 2 responded that there had previously been points in the nation’s history where violence was necessary to protect the republic.”

Trump's former Attorney General and fixer William Barr has seen enough, already.

Barr told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins: “As the indictment says, they're not attacking his First Amendment right. He can say whatever he wants. He can even lie. He can even tell people that the election was stolen when he knew better. But that does not protect you from entering into a conspiracy. All conspiracies involve speech. And all fraud involves speech. Free speech doesn't give you the right to engage in a fraudulent conspiracy.”

The Trump defense line is spinning up: he's got bees inside his head, which none of us can acutally see, so, since he really, truly believes all the nonsense he spouts, no crime, no foul! Judd Legum swats that down.

"The indictment demonstrates that [Special Counsel Jack] Smith has collected voluminous evidence showing that Trump knew he was lying. But a successful prosecution does not hinge on what Trump believed about the 2020 election. If Trump is convicted, it will be based on his actions."

2.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

Defrauding the United States Permalink to this item

It's really the quintessential charge for Donald J. Trump, with ample evidence flowing out of his rush to power, the disastrous term in office, and its despicable conclusion, complete with $billions of foreign grifting for the family, and the theft of national security secrets on the way out the door.

Remember the "scandal" about the people in the Clinton administration stealing the W caps from keyboards? (Without claims of that and other damage documented in any way, until "recollections of officials and career government employees" were made into a list, 4 months later.) Those were the days.

Here now, Ken "Popehat" White: People Are Lying To You About The Trump Indictment. National Review, for instance.

I took the trouble to read the whole 45 page indictment, which lays out the familiar information in very clear terms. Not as riveting as the final report of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, but hey, it's just the start of the criminal prosecution. (Of this criminal prosecution.)

Marc Elias of the Democracy Docket delves into the five co-conspirator lawyers, and quotes what "Jason Miller, one of Trump's chief political sycophants wrote to his boss (my emphasis added):

“When our research and campaign legal team can’t back up any of the claims made by our Elite Strike Force Legal Team, you can see why we’re 0-32 on our cases. I’ll obviously hustle to help on all fronts, but it’s tough to own any of this when it’s all just conspiracy shit beamed down from the mothership.

The so-called "Elite Strike Force Legal Team," comprising at least three of the five co-conspirators, and other unfortunate participants, would go on to lose more than five dozen cases.

Tony Stark on Mastodon invites us to "remember when the main Republican complaint about the 2nd impeachment was that it wasn't Congress's job to hold Trump accountable because he wasn't in office anymore, that if Americans thought he committed crimes, then the criminal justice system should deal with him?" (I do remember.) Then points to Jonathan Chait in NY Mag, on the unlikely hero of the day, Mike Pence, and the punishment his party has meted out for his good deed.

"At one point, Trump scolds Pence, “you’re too honest.” It’s an admonishment that concedes Trump’s criminal intent: he knew Pence was telling the truth about not having the power to overturn the election, and therefore that Trump’s case was built on lies."

And good old Mitch McConnell:

“President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office…” McConnell said. “We have a criminal justice system in this country.”

At least we do now.

1.Aug.2023 Permanent URL to this day's entry

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. DONALD J. TRUMP Permalink to this item

I've got my copy of the 45 page PDF from the Washington Post. The caption kind of says it all, hmm? Four counts handed down by the Grand Jury in the District of Columbia:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) noted in a statement that, “like every criminal defendant, the former President is innocent until proven guilty.” The charges against him, she said, “are very serious, and they must play out through the legal process, peacefully and without any outside interference.”

“As this case proceeds through the courts, justice must be done according to the facts and the law,” she said.

Six co-conspirators are described, but not named: an attorney “who was willing to spread knowingly false claims and pursue strategies” that Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign would not pursue; an attorney “who devised and attempted to implement a strategy to leverage the Vice President’s ceremonial role overseeing the certification proceeding to obstruct the certification of the presidential election.” (John cough Eastman); an attorney whose conspiracy theories Trump “embraced and publicly amplified,” even though he privately acknowledged to others that the unfounded claims of election fraud sounded “crazy”; a Justice Department official who worked with Trump to “use the Justice Department to open sham election crime investigations and influence state legislatures with knowingly false claims of election fraud.” (Jeffrey cough Clark); an attorney who “assisted in devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding”; and a “political consultant” who helped implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors.

Update:
Did I mention four (more) felonies? I mean, in the old days, even ONE felony count would've been a scandal. Former Guy has racked up DOZENS, and really, they don't come close to covering the field. We need a word cloud, sourced from the NYT, Daily Kos, and the first fundraising spam, from the Blackburn Tennessee Victory Fund (a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Marsha for Senate, MARSHA PAC, and Tennessee Republican Party Federal Election Account). Talk about your bandwagon!

Word cloud from stories about the indictment

raveling

Tom von Alten
ISSN 1534-0007