Saturday, December 7, 2019

A Win In Her Corner

There are times when I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is obnoxious, but she absolutely scored a win over one of the biggest companies on Earth this week.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) slammed Amazon's announcement that it's building a headquarters in New York City, but touted the fact that it will not receive any financial incentives from the local or state government.

“Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway - *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways,” she tweeted.

“Maybe the Trump admin should focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families.”

The comments come after The Wall Street Journal reported that the tech giant has agreed to take new office space in Manhattan, a reversal from February when it announced it would not open a second headquarters in New York City.

Amazon said it had signed a new lease for a 335,000 square-foot space on Manhattan’s West Side, where it will take on more than 1,500 employees; yet in a silver lining for progressives, the move will not be accompanied by any special tax credits or other financial incentives.

Ocasio-Cortez was one of the leading opponents to Amazon’s move to the city, arguing that the city would shell out billions in incentives to attract the company and that the move would raise real estate prices beyond the means of local residents, forcing many to move.

The New York progressive claimed victory Friday, citing criticism she got for pushing against the move, which Amazon supporters said would attract thousands of jobs.

Indeed, the Trump regime lit into her saying she was personally responsible for destroying thousands of that Amazon was going to create anyway 10 months later, and without the $3 billion extortion fee from a company that paid zero taxes yet again this year on $11 billion in profits.

Say what you will about AOC, but her victory was near total on this issue, and more Democrats need to stand up to massive corporations and say "no more" when it comes to taxpayer incentives on companies that don't pay taxes.

It's About Suppression, Con't

Republicans continue to whine about the "Do-Nothing Democrats" who "are fixated on impeachment" and "won't pass legislation" while House Democrats are perfectly capable of passing legislation and are doing so.

In fact, House Democrats are passing legislation that House Republicans refused to pass when they were in power, like the now long-overdue fix to the Voting Rights Act, gutted by the Supreme Court six years ago because John Roberts decided that racism in voting didn't exist anymore, and that Congress needed to take care of updating it for the 21st century.

That's exactly what House Democrats did on Friday, with the help of precisely one Republican (and Justin Amash and everyone else voted against it.)

Six years after the Supreme Court stripped key parts of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, America’s signature legislation protecting voters of color, the House of Representatives passed a bill meant to restore those safeguards.

In a mostly party-line vote, the legislation was approved 228-187. The Voting Rights Advancement Act, introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), is a key part of Democrats’ agenda to expand voting rights. It would make it more difficult for states to discriminate against voters of color, and give the federal government a stronger ability to take action against states with a history of discrimination.
In a 2018 interview, Sewell bluntly described strict voter ID laws as “modern-day forms of voter suppression.”

“While we no longer have to count how many jelly beans are in a jar or recite all of the 67 counties of Alabama in order to be able to vote, we are seeing greater efforts putting restrictions on voting in the name of fraud,” she told Vox, referencing Jim Crow-era tactics used to keep black Alabamians from voting. She represents Selma, Alabama, a city that was at the forefront of the 1960s civil rights movement.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act is designed to restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act that were invalidated by the US Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision. Way back at the beginning of the legislative session, it was initially tucked into HR 1, the sweeping anti-corruption bill that was Democrats’ first priority of the year. Lawmakers ultimately decided to break it out because Sewell and Democratic leaders anticipated the possibility of a long, drawn-out legal battle over the voting rights bill — potentially all the way up to the US Supreme Court.

The main argument of the Roberts Court decision in 2013 was that the formula for determining which states were subject to pre-clearance of state voter laws was outdated.  The new formula in the VRAA would be dependent on the number of voting rights violations in a state in a ten-year period instead of specific states with a previous history, and it would define what a violation was, giving substantial oversight power to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

Amazingly enough, the pre-clearance formula would affect nearly all the states in the original VRA.

If Sewell’s bill were passed today, she would like the federal government to take a closer look at 13 states with a history of voter discrimination: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Arizona, California, New York, and Virginia.

“We can’t unring the bell,” Sewell added. “What we’ve seen is that since Shelby, more than 30 states have imposed greater requirements for voting, and in a lot of those states, we’ve seen elections take place that have later been found to have had intentional discrimination.”

Naturally, this will never get a vote in the Senate, and Mitch McConnell will continue to say that the Democrats haven't passed anything in the last year.

I wish Democrats would do more to point this out.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Last Call For The Doc Stalkers

We've reached the point where anti-vaxxer nutjob assholes are treating pediatricians who vaccinate kids like anti-choice nutjob assholes treat abortion doctors: stalking clinics and offices and threatening them with harm.

In October, Dr. Eve Krief watched from the window of her Long Island, New York, pediatrics practice, as around 20 women gathered on the lawn.

Armed with signs and banners with messages like, “We spread truth not disease,” the women — a group of anti-vaccine activists from New York and California — had come to protest Krief over her recent support for the 2019 state law that removed religious exemptions for vaccines.

Some of the protesters sat with signs, while others stuck anti-vaccine propaganda under car windshield wipers in the parking lot. Several approached parents entering the building with their infants, asking, "Are you vaccinating your baby?"

Krief had experience with these particular women. She recognized the group's leader, a local mother who had followed her to her car after a community meeting about proposed vaccine legislation a few weeks earlier. Krief said the bill's passage led to more intense protest from people who had been using the religious exemption to mask their personal preference not to vaccinate. They had also infiltrated her Yelp and Health Grades accounts, posting negative reviews, although they weren't patients at her practice.

But the in-person protests and the interaction with patients was another level.

"It's unsettling," Krief said, adding that her office is beefing up security measures in response.

For the anti-vaccination organizers, Krief’s unease was an indicator of their success.

“Needless to say,” one wrote on her Facebook page, “we rattled her cage just a bit yesterday with our presence.”


Anti-vaxxer nutjobs are becoming indistinguishable from anti-choice nutjobs.  Pretty soon they're going to be just as deadly.

Return Of The Red Rout, Con't

Meanwhile, things aren't going so well for Republicans in the House as the recent NC state Supreme Court ruling throwing out Republican super-gerrymandering has meant a new map for 2020 elections, and it's a map where Republicans can no longer hold on to 10 of 13 House seats without a majority of votes.

North Carolina Republican Rep. George Holding announced Friday that he will not seek reelection, saying in a statement that "newly redrawn congressional districts were part of the reason" for his decision. 
Holding, who represents the state's second congressional district, has served in Congress since 2013 and is a member of the House Budget, Ethics and Ways and Means committees. 
But, according to the Raleigh, North Carolina-based newspaper The News & Observer, Holding's GOP-leaning House district was redrawn into a district that now leans Democratic and the congressman had ruled out the possibility of challenging another Republican incumbent in 2020 to win reelection. 
In a statement on Friday, Holding said it has been "gratifying to work for the ideals and values that I, like many other Americans, believe in," and it is "with regret that I announce I will not be a candidate for Congress this election." 
"I should add, candidly, that yes, the newly redrawn congressional districts were part of the reason I have decided not to seek reelection," Holding said. 
"But, in addition, this is also a good time for me to step back and reflect on all that I have learned," the congressman said.

The new maps, while still heavily favoring Republicans, are slightly less egregious.  It's very possible that Democrats could win five or six House seats with the new maps instead of having half the state's Democratic voters gerrymandered into three districts.  Still, it's as good as the maps are going to get until next year's elections, and that's still two big pickups for the Dems heading into 2020.

Ahh, but Holding isn't the only Republican out this week.

Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) announced Thursday he will not seek reelection next year.

Graves, 49, said that after some reflection he decided it was time to “pass the baton,” but said he will serve out the rest of his term.

“As we all do, I'm entering a new season in life. An exciting season. So, the time has come for me to pass the baton. Now it's my turn to cheer, support and sacrifice for those who have done the same for me over the last two decades,” he said in a statement.

“With Julie near retirement and my kids now suddenly adults, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2020, and instead, join my family in their new and unique journeys.”

The Georgia Republican was first elected to the House in 2009 after having served in the Georgia House of Representatives. Graves — one of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) closest allies— sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and serves as the vice chairman of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

In his statement, Graves thanked his family and his constituents for supporting and motivating him during his time as a public servant.

“The whole of my service was built upon the contributions of countless people; sacrifices of my family, late nights and long days from dozens of dedicated staff members, friendship of my colleagues, generosity of supporters and encouragement from constituents,” he continued.

"Looking back on my years in the Georgia House and now nearly a decade in Congress, I am filled with gratitude. My record is a testament to the collective effort of many talented and special people. The opportunities afforded to me — a North Georgia country boy from a single wide trailer — were far beyond my wildest dreams.”

Graves is the 21st GOP lawmaker to announce their retirement in the 116th Congress.

Since Trump was elected in 2016, it's been a bloodbath for the House GOP.  They lost more than 40 seats in 2018, and retirements are up to 21 this cycle.

Everyone's running from Trump.

It's About Suppression, Con't

The number one problem Republicans have with our voting systems in the US is that Democrats are allowed to win, and in Mississippi, the white Republican woman who lost her seat to a black Democratic candidate last month wants the state legislature to simply throw the election results out and proclaim her the winner, because we really can't have black Democrats winning in the Magnolia State, right?

State Rep. Ashley Henley, a Southaven Republican, is asking the GOP-led Mississippi House to overturn the results of the election she narrowly lost to Democrat Hester Jackson-McCray.

Jackson-McCray won the Nov. 5 general election by 14 votes, according to election results certified this week by the Secretary of State’s office.

Henley filed the election challenge on Wednesday, according to a copy of the challenge obtained by Mississippi Today. In the petition, Henley writes that several findings of her ballot box examination show a failure “to adhere to proper election procedures to insure a fair and legitimate election” under state law.

Her specific grievances, based on a ballot box examination she said she conducted, include: A failure to collect voter signatures in one of the district’s six precincts and a lack of an incident report detailing why the signatures weren’t collected. She also alleges discovering: two uncounted paper ballots in which Henley’s name was marked; 11 names of voters who voted in a specific precinct while no records of their residency within that precinct could be found; voter signature receipts not being stapled to the corresponding pages of the voter receipt book; and several ballots being “unaccounted for/missing.”

In an interview on Thursday, Henley told Mississippi Today she was challenging the election results because of what she called “voter irregularities” in House District 40, located in northern DeSoto County.

“There were irregularities that happened, absolutely, documented, very much so that bring into question the legitimacy of the election results,” Henley said. “That is without question.”

Jackson-McCray said on Thursday that Henley’s challenge “is much to do about nothing.”

“Elections are elections. It’s not a guaranteed position,” Jackson-McCray said of the Henley’s challenge. “Anybody could come along and beat you. I just beat you fair and square. Hard work just beat you this time. She has the right to go through the technicalities, but I think if people read this notice she’s putting out, it looks like she’s arguing that her own party didn’t manage the election right. The election was run by Republicans. The DeSoto County election commissioners are Republicans. The Secretary of State is a Republican.”

Republican Speaker Philip Gunn, of Clinton, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Candidates for office have 30 days from the election to file challenges. Under the state Constitution, each chamber of the Legislature has the final say on seating its members and traditionally has heard election challenges when the results are contested.

So of course the black woman, the Democrat, only won because of "voter irregularities" that the white Republican woman "discovered in her research".  Even though the state's Republican Secretary of State certified the results.

And if you don't think the GOP will overturn this election, well...

In 2015, the most recent legislative election challenge that moved through the House sparked controversy in Jackson.

Four years ago, the Republican-controlled House voted to seat Republican challenger Mark Tullos, R-Raleigh, instead of Democratic incumbent Bo Eaton of Taylorsville. Eaton and Tullos received the same numbers of votes on election day. Eaton later won, as prescribed in state law, by drawing the correct straw in an event overseen by the state Election Commission.

But Tullos then challenged the results of the tiebreaker, and the House opted to seat him. The seating of Tullos gave the Republicans a three-fifths supermajority, which they still maintain.

"Voter fraud" to Republicans is Democrats, especially black Democrats, winning elections.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Last Call For Trump's Taxing Explanation, Con't

As expected, Trump's legal team has filed a petition with the US Supreme Court to protect his tax returns from House Oversight Democrats.

In their Wednesday petition to the court, filed ahead of a Thursday deadline, Trump’s personal attorneys warned the justices that a lower court ruling in favor of the Democratic lawmakers would set a dangerous precedent if allowed to stand.

“Under the D.C. Circuit’s decision, Congress can subpoena any private records it wishes from the President on the mere assertion that it is considering legislation that might require presidents to disclose that same information,” they wrote.

The Supreme Court last month agreed to temporarily stay the House committee’s subpoena for Trump’s financial records while the court considers whether to take up his appeal.

The case arose after Democrats subpoenaed Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, in April for years of his personal and corporate financial records. Lawmakers said the information would help to determine if updates were needed to current ethics-in-government laws.

Trump challenged the subpoena, arguing the lawmakers lacked a legitimate legislative purpose.

A federal district court judge sided with the Oversight and Reform Committee, as did the D.C. Circuit on appeal, prompting Trump’s latest petition to the Supreme Court.

In their petition, Trump’s attorneys cautioned that congressional subpoenas could be used as political weapons against a sitting president if the justices don’t overrule the D.C. Circuit’s decision.

“Given the obvious temptation to investigate the personal affairs of political rivals, subpoenas concerning the private lives of presidents will become routine in times of divided government,” they wrote.

Both lower court rulings were blistering indictments of the plenary executive, stating that having the White House determine what executive branch information was subject to subpoena was a bit like having a murder suspect saying "I get to decide what evidence the state gets to use against me".

Yes, there's a presumption of innocence but there's also evidence used to determine guilt.  The House wants to know what Donald Trump did with his finances because there's probable cause that the guy is taking money from the Russian mob.

And the final thing here is that Trump is literally going to the Supreme Court to prevent House Democrats from even seeing his taxes.

It's insane.

Anyway, it doesn't mean SCOTUS wants a part of this.  They may punt.  We'll see where this goes.

The Reach To Impeach, Con't

Three legal experts told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival amounted to impeachable offenses, in a hearing that laid the groundwork for formal charges to be filed against the president.

Democrats on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee said they may look beyond Trump’s relations with Ukraine as they draw up articles of impeachment, to include his earlier efforts to impede former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of his campaign’s relations with Russia

“The president’s alleged offenses represent a direct threat to the constitutional order,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said.

The impeachment inquiry, launched in September, focuses on Trump’s request that Ukraine conduct investigations that could harm political rival Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination.

The hearing on Wednesday was the committee’s first to examine whether Trump’s actions qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors” punishable by impeachment under the U.S. Constitution.

Three law professors chosen by the Democrats made clear during the lengthy session that they believed Trump’s actions constituted impeachable offenses.

“If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” said University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt.

Which is literally the point the GOP is trying to make.  Nothing is impeachable when Trump is concerned.  Nancy Pelosi is moving ahead anyway.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced on Thursday she is asking the House Judiciary Committee to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, saying "the president leaves us no choice but to act."

“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and our heart full of love for America, today, I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,” Pelosi said in a brief televised statement from the Capitol, speaking directly to the American people.

The facts of Trump's alleged wrongdoing involving Ukraine, she said, "are uncontested.”

"The president abused his power for his own personal, political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival,” Pelosi said, adding that his actions "seriously violated the Constitution."

"Our democracy is what's at stake," Pelosi continued. "The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit."

So, what's next?  The evidence gets laid out Monday by the House Judiciary.

House impeachment investigators will present evidence against President Donald Trump to the Judiciary Committee on Monday, a key step before Democrats finalize articles of impeachment.

The Judiciary Committee’s Thursday announcement of its next hearing comes after Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed the panel and other investigators to draft articles of impeachment, a historic milestone that suggests the House could vote to impeach Trump before the end of the year.

It also comes a day after the Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing, in which constitutional law scholars argued Trump’s dealings with Ukraine meet the definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” as laid out in the Constitution.

Democrats previewed three potential articles of impeachment at Wednesday’s hearing: abuse of power, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

The impeachment inquiry centers on Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leaders to investigate his political rivals, with Democrats arguing that Trump has obstructed their probe by refusing to provide documents and blocking important witnesses. Democrats say the evidence they have compiled shows Trump used military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with the country’s president as leverage.

A House Judiciary Committee vote on articles of impeachment could come as soon as the end of next week, bringing a vote before the full House on the following week.

We're about to enter history here, folks.

Climate of Disaster, Con't

We've now reached the new American redlining practice of the 21st century starting in one of the most vulnerable states to rising sea levels: rich beach areas will be saved, poor beach areas with people who can't afford to relocate will drown and be wiped out.

Officials in the Florida Keys announced what many coastal governments nationwide have long feared, but few have been willing to admit: As seas rise and flooding gets worse, not everyone can be saved.

And in some places, it doesn’t even make sense to try.

On Wednesday morning, Rhonda Haag, the county’s sustainability director, released the first results of the county’s yearslong effort to calculate how high its 300 miles of roads must be elevated to stay dry, and at what cost. Those costs were far higher than her team expected — and those numbers, she said, show that some places can’t be protected, at least at a price that taxpayers can be expected to pay.

“I never would have dreamed we would say ‘no,’” Ms. Haag said in an interview. “But now, with the real estimates coming in, it’s a different story. And it’s not all doable.”

The results released Wednesday focus on a single three-mile stretch of road at the southern tip of Sugarloaf Key, a small island 15 miles up Highway 1 from Key West. To keep those three miles of road dry year-round in 2025 would require raising it by 1.3 feet, at a cost of $75 million, or $25 million per mile. Keeping the road dry in 2045 would mean elevating it 2.2 feet, at a cost of $128 million. To protect against expected flooding levels in 2060, the cost would jump to $181 million.

And all that to protect about two dozen homes.

“I can’t see staff recommending to raise this road,” Ms. Haag said. “Those are taxpayer dollars, and as much as we love the Keys, there’s going to be a time when it’s going to be less population.”

The people who live on that three-mile stretch of road were less understanding. If the county feels that other parts of the Keys ought to be saved, said Leon Mense, a 63-year-old office manager at a medical clinic, then at least don’t make him pay for it.

“So somebody in the city thinks they deserve more of my tax money than I do?” Mr. Mense asked. “Then don’t charge us taxes, how does that sound?”

She suggested the county could offer residents a ferry, water taxis, or some other kind of boat during the expanding window during which the road is expected to go underwater during the fall high tides.

“If that’s three months a year for the next 20 years, and that gets them a decade or two, that’s perhaps worth it,” Ms. Haag said. “We can do a lot. But we can’t do it all.”

At a climate change conference in Key West on Wednesday, Roman Gastesi, the Monroe County manager, said elected leaders will have to figure out how to make those difficult calls.

“How do you tell somebody, ‘We’re not going to build the road to get to your home’? And what do we do?” Mr. Gastesi asked. “Do we buy them out? And how do we buy them out — is it voluntary? Is it eminent domain? How do we do that?

The answer will increasingly be take the land by force and give the residents nothing.  Meanwhile, whoever ends up holding the new beachfront properties further inland will win the jackpot.  As local and state governments look to take a long, hard look at who will win and who will lose in this game of life, they won't take chances.  It'll be those with the cash who will come out on top.

And the people who will lose everything to climate change?

Hey, remember, it's a hoax, right?


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Last Call For Meanwhile In Bevinstan...

Matt Bevin refuses to go out graciously after his loss last month to Democratic Gov.-Elect Andy Beshear, giving a series of giant dog-foghorn racist interviews on why he was defeated at the ballot box.

During a series of interviews on talk radio shows Wednesday morning, outgoing Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said that he lost his race for reelection because the Democratic Party “harvested votes in urban communities.”

Bevin lost to Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear last month by a little more than 5,000 votes.

During an interview on 55KRC in Cincinnati, Bevin said that the election was a “surprise” that defies logic.

“The left, those who think of a different ideological bent, they are getting so good at harvesting votes in the urban communities,” Bevin said.

“They were able to go into urban communities where people are densely populated on college campuses and public housing projects.”

Bevin has repeatedly questioned the outcome of the election, suggesting — without evidence — that voter fraud took place.

Beshear did well in Kentucky’s urban and suburban areas like Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Richmond and northern Kentucky, as well as some historic Democratic strongholds in eastern Kentucky.

Vote harvesting refers to collecting absentee or mail-in ballots in order to sway an election. The practice is illegal in some states, but Kentucky is one of 27 states that allows absentee ballots to be returned by a designated agents.

Vote harvesting took place in the 2018 race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional district, which Bevin referenced in the aftermath of his failed reelection attempt. Vote harvesting is illegal in North Carolina and a new election was ordered in the race.

During the interview on 55KRC, Bevin said that he was encouraged by his supporters on Election Day, but that Democrats brought “more less-informed people” to the polls.

“Conservatives are going to have to find some counterpoint,” Bevin said. “The harvesting of votes in urban cores in particular that is done by the left overwhelmed even that. And that’s the difference, that’s the tipping point."

So yeah, confirming once again that the Republican definition of voter fraud is an election where black people are allowed to vote, Bevin goes out like a racist piece of human filth he is.

Once again, there's a reason why Republicans want fewer people to be allowed to vote, guys.

Lowering The Barr, Con't

Attorney General Bill Barr's statements outside the Justice Department continue to signal that he is a fascist and autocrat, and that he is arguably more dangerous than Donald Trump is right now to the American people.

Speaking to a roomful of police officers and prosecutors on Tuesday, Attorney General William P. Barr drew a parallel between protests against soldiers during the Vietnam War and demonstrations against law enforcement today.

But this time, he suggested, those who don’t show “respect” to authority could lose access to police services.

“Today, the American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” Barr said in pointed remarks delivered at a Justice Department ceremony to honor police officers.

Barr added that “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”

Although Barr didn’t specify what “communities” he was referencing, activists decried his speech as a clear attack on minorities who have protested police brutality and other racially skewed law enforcement abuses.

“Barr’s words are as revealing as they are disturbing ― flagrantly dismissive of the rights of Americans of color, disrespectful to countless law enforcement officers who work hard to serve their communities, and full of a continuing disregard for the rule of law,” Jeb Fain, a spokesperson for liberal super PAC American Bridge, told HuffPost, which first reported on the comments.

As attorney general, Barr has attacked liberal district attorneys who have pushed for police accountability in cities like Philadelphia and St. Louis and suggested that there should be “zero tolerance for resisting police.”

Before handing out honors to police officers at Tuesday’s ceremony for the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing, Barr described seeing deployed troops celebrated at airports and lamented that police aren’t more openly feted.

“When police officers roll out of their precincts every morning, there are no crowds along the highway cheering them on, and when you go home at the end of the day, there’s no ticker-tape parade,” he said, echoing virtually word-for-word comments he made in August to the Fraternal Order of Police.
The attorney general then compared police to Vietnam-era soldiers returning home to face those opposed to the conflict.

“In the Vietnam era, our country learned a lesson. I remember that our brave troops who served in that conflict weren’t treated very well in many cases when they came home, and sometimes they bore the brunt of people who were opposed to the war,” he said. “The respect and gratitude owed to them was not given. And it took decades for the American people finally to realize that.”

The fascism from fifty years ago never left the GOP.  Steve M explains:

Boomer Republicans love to invoke the late 1960s and early 1970s. They love it because the fifty-year backlash to the much shorter era of protest and progress began at that time, with Nixon's election and reelection, with the governorship of future president Ronald Reagan, with hard-hat riots against anti-war protestors and Clint Eastwood revenge movies. They also love the era because they've never updated their stereotypes of the enemy. Black and Hispanic people are criminals. Feminists ("women's libbers") are hairy-legged man-haters. Men on the left are effeminate, smelly, sandal-wearing longhairs. Can it be that it was all so simple then?

The fantasy, then and now, was a complete withdrawal of "law and order" from the cities, or at least the "bad" neighborhoods, at which point all "those people" would kill one another off and leave the good people in a state of pleasant suburban peace, and allow the rich to turn the cities into high-end playgrounds. To a large extent, the rich got the latter wish, but it was as a result of the War on Crime -- which is a reminder that the police presence in higher-crime areas isn't on behalf of the residents, but on behalf of the elites who want the poor kept down. So Barr is bluffing -- the elites will always want have-nots policed. But it's a fantasy that's never lost its appeal to people like him.

Barr may be bluffing to the extent that no city government wants a riot on their hands and in the press and that police chiefs get fired when they happen, but then again the local press is disappearing at a rapid clip, and the FOX doomsday preppers have always loved a good "no-go zone" bullshit story.

Thing is though Barr can cause a lot of trouble for people, and once again I remind you that the nation's top cop saying "Protect and serve, but only if I think they deserve it" while comparing cops to the military is pretty much peak fascism.

America will survive a second Trump term with Barr as AG, but you'd better double the estimates of the number of people currently incarcerated and triple the estimates of police killing people.

Trump's Taxing Explanation, Con't

A federal appeals court in New York handed President Donald Trump another legal defeat, ruling Tuesday that Congress can see his banking records for investigations into possible foreign influence in U.S. politics or other misdeeds.

A panel of 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges said two banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One, should comply with subpoenas from the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees seeking records related to Trump’s business ventures.

The court said Congress was acting within its constitutional authority to investigate a series of significant issues, including whether Trump was “vulnerable to foreign exploitation.”

It rejected arguments that the subpoenas were meant merely to embarrass the president, though the court said Trump did deserve some privacy protections and outlined procedures for protecting some sensitive personal information in the documents from public disclosure. It also gave Trump a limited chance to object to disclosure of certain documents.

Judge Debra Ann Livingston said in a partial dissent that the lower court should take a longer look at the “serious questions” raised by the case and give the parties time to negotiate.

Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal lawyer, said in a statement that an appeal to the Supreme Court was under consideration.

“We believe the subpoena is invalid as issued. In light of the Second Circuit decision, we are evaluating our next options,” he said.

The ruling by the appeals court upheld a May ruling by U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, who had said Trump and his company were unlikely to succeed in proving that the subpoenas were unlawful and unconstitutional. The 2nd Circuit panel said three of his children had not shown a likelihood of success on any of their claims and had not identified a single factual issue to take to trial or a single witness or document that might add substance to their claims at trial.

Lawyers for the House committees, both of which are controlled by Democrats, say they need access to documents from the banks to investigate possible “foreign influence in the U.S. political process” and possible money laundering from abroad.

In a decision written by Circuit Judge Jon O. Newman, the appeals court said that while Trump and his children might suffer a loss of privacy if the documents were disclosed to Congress, the records had to do with their business ventures, not intimate personal details.

“The Committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest than whatever public interest inheres in avoiding the risk of a Chief Executive’s distraction arising from disclosure of documents reflecting his private financial transactions,” the decision said.

Deutsche Bank has lent Trump’s real estate company millions of dollars over the years.

The court noted that the president had not disputed that the bank loaned him at least $130 million when no other bank would do so.

“That unusual circumstance adequately supports requests for information to determine whether proper banking procedures have been followed,” the decision said.

Again, Donald Trump has been willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court to stop anyone from seeing his tax returns.  If you don't believe there's evidence fatal to his re-election in those returns, and there probably is, just the thought of getting caught misusing the power of the executive to cover the equivalent of his tiny financial penis should be enough to give him nightmares.

We've known for years that Trump isn't a billionaire and he hasn't been for some time.  If that's all he's hiding, why is he quite literally trying to make a Supreme Court case out of it?  The answers is asking why he has no choice but to go that far.

That massive Deutsche Bank loan connects him to Russian money laundering, full stop.

He has to make sure it never sees the light of day.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Last Call For Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

The big reveal in today's House Intelligence Committee report on Ukraine is just how much trouble both Rudy Giuliani and GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, who I remind you is ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, are both in.

Rudy Giuliani and one of his indicted Ukrainian associates exchanged a flurry of phone calls with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the top Republican on Congress’ impeachment investigation panel, amid a Giuliani-led effort to dig up dirt on President Donald Trump’s political opponents in Ukraine.

The House Intelligence Committee obtained phone records from AT&T showing extensive communications in early April involving Nunes, Giuliani, Lev Parnas, and The Hill columnist John Solomon, according to records released in the committee’s formal report on its investigation underlying impeachment charges against President Donald Trump.

The records shed new light on the relationship between Nunes, one of the impeachment inquiries most vehement critics, and the individuals at the center of what committee Democrats describe as an illicit campaign to weaponize U.S. foreign policy to Trump’s political advantage.

The records in the committee’s 300-page report show three phone calls between Nunes and Giuliani on April 10 of this year, and at least two with Parnas two days later. Derek Harvey, a member of Nunes’ staff, also had a phone call with Giuliani the following month.
The Nunes calls came on the tail end of a long series of communications between Parnas and Solomon, who on April 1 had published a column relaying the same conspiracy theories at the center of Giuliani’s Trump-endorsed inquisition in Ukraine: that high-ranking officials in Kyiv had sought to scuttle Trump's 2016 presidential candidacy, and that former Vice President Joe Biden had corruptly attempted to insulate a company that employed his son from prosecution. Parnas and Solomon exchanged more than a dozen phone calls in the subsequent two weeks, during which Solomon reiterated the allegations about Biden and Ukraine in another column that Giuliani relayed in an interview on Fox News.

Giuliani, meanwhile, was in frequent communication with the White House. Throughout April, he placed numerous calls to unidentified individuals in the Office of Management and Budget, the office led by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. The report also notes a number of Giuliani calls later in the year with an individual at an unidentified number—appearing only as “-1” in phone records—amid a series of phone calls and text messages with numbers associated with the White House.

The committee’s report describes those individuals as part of a “smear campaign” coordinated with “one or more individuals at the White House.”

Giuliani did not respond to a text message for comment.


Not July, or August.


Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney, Devin Nunes, Lev Parnas, the Hill's John Solomon, they were all in on the plan to smear Joe Biden by extorting the President of Ukraine with US military aid.

They were all in on it at the direction of Donald Trump.

We get it now?
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