Friday, February 1, 2019

Last Call For You Wrecked It, Ralph

While a great many of them are, it's time for our semi-regular reminder that not every racist asshole who thought blackface is okay in school is a Republican, some are Democrats, and some are Governor of Virginia.

A photo from Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook shows two men, one in blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood, on the same page as the governor.

The photo, which The Virginian-Pilot obtained a copy of Friday from the Eastern Virginia Medical School library, comes from the 1984 yearbook, the year Northam graduated.

On the half-page set aside for Northam, there is a headshot of him in a jacket and tie, a photo of him in a cowboy hat and boots and a third of him sitting casually on the ground, leaning against a convertible.

The fourth photo on the half-page has two people, one wearing white Ku Klux Klan robes and a hood, the other with his face painted black. The person with the black face is also wearing a white hat, black jacket, white shirt with a bow tie and plaid pants. Both are holding canned drinks.

It’s unclear who the people in costume are.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.

Under the photo of the men in blackface and the Klan hood are listed Northam’s alma mater, Virginia Military Institute, and his interest: “Pediatrics.” His quote is listed as “There are more old drunks than old doctors in this world so I think I’ll have another beer.”

The photo came to light after a week in which the Democratic governor came under fire for his comments about a bill introduced by a first-term Democratic lawmaker that would have loosened restriction abortions in Virginia.

Yeah, it's a hit job on Northam.

Yeah, Northam still needs to explain why the hell he should remain Governor, and I don't believe he can sufficiently do that at this point.  This is a job-ender, folks.  It's one thing to do this in high school, maybe college, but medical school?

Not buying "youthful indiscretion" here.  I know Virginia governors are all one term anyway, but Ralph should go.

How To Steal An Election, Con't

North Carolina's 9th Congressional District seat is still empty in the House after evidence that Mark Harris stole the election with an absentee ballot scheme, and with a new state Board of Elections now appointed, the two Republicans on the board say they will block any new election and insisted Harris must now be seated.

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, appointed new members to the board of elections on Thursday, but Republican members could block a vote to hold a new election in the 9th District. The previous election board was dissolved after a court found that the Republican-controlled Legislature had unconstitutionally stripped Cooper of the power to appoint a majority of its members. Democrats now have a 3-2 majority on the new board, but it takes four votes to order a new election, giving the Republican members veto power.

Democrats have accused a consultant hired by the Harris campaign, McCrae Dowless of Bladen County, a rural area in southeastern North Carolina, of illegally tampering with absentee ballots that he collected from voters. Harris—who has acknowledged hiring Dowless—won 61 percent of Bladen County’s mail-in ballots, even though just 19 percent of those mail-in ballots came from registered Republican voters. Dowless stands accused of not submitting absentee ballots that may have been marked for McCready, while filling out some ballots for Harris without voters’ consent. In a razor-thin election, this may have changed the outcome of the race. Dowless, a convicted felon, has also drawn scrutiny for his handling of absentee ballots in previous elections dating back to 2010. North Carolina officials asked the Justice Department in January 2018 to investigate Dowless for absentee ballot fraud alleged to have occurred in 2016.

North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse told the Raleigh News & Observer that the GOP members would resist calls for a new election. “Our team are confident that our nominees…will come to the only reasonable conclusion, that is (the) race should be certified because Dr. Harris won more legal votes and we believe no evidence can possibly show otherwise,” he said. Woodhouse had told CNN in December that his party would support a new election if the evidence of election fraud proved that Harris did not rightfully win the race. Despite hyping discredited claims of voter fraud for years, Republicans have said little about the election fraudthat allegedly occurred in North Carolina. 

One of the new board members is a long-time GOP suppressor of black votes, the other less so, but both have their marching orders from Woodhouse.  Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Cooper could get the opportunity to hold a new election anyway and I hope they do.

We'll see.

It's Mueller Time, Rolling Stone Edition, Con't

As I mentioned on Sunday, one of the theories on why Roger Stone found an FBI SWAT team and CNN at his door at 4 AM last week was that Robert Mueller believed Stone was a risk to destroy evidence implicating him with the Trump regime, WikiLeaks, and more. Cato's Julian Sanchez:

Of course, as the indictment also makes clear, the special counsel has already managed to get its hands on plenty of Mr. Stone’s communications by other means — but one seeming exception jumps out. In a text exchange between Mr. Stone and a “supporter involved with the Trump Campaign,” Mr. Mueller pointedly quotes Mr. Stone’s request to “talk on a secure line — got WhatsApp?” There the direct quotes abruptly end, and the indictment instead paraphrases what Mr. Stone “subsequently told the supporter.” Though it’s not directly relevant to his alleged false statements, the special counsel is taking pains to establish that Mr. Stone made a habit of moving sensitive conversations to encrypted messaging platforms like WhatsApp — meaning that, unlike ordinary emails, the messages could not be obtained directly from the service provider.

The clear implication is that any truly incriminating communications would have been conducted in encrypted form — and thus could be obtained only directly from Mr. Stone’s own phones and laptops. And while Mr. Stone likely has limited value as a cooperating witness — it’s hard to put someone on the stand after charging them with lying to obstruct justice — the charges against him provide leverage in the event his cooperation is needed to unlock those devices by supplying a cryptographic passphrase.

Thursday in a court filing asking for more time to examine evidence taken from Stone's home (and all but confirmed by a Stone press conference), the Mueller team strongly indicated that Sanchez's theory is 100% correct.

Federal investigators probing Roger Stone, the former Trump campaign official indicted last week in the Russia probe, have seized multiple hard drives containing years of communication records from cellphones and email accounts, the special counsel's office said Thursday

Robert Mueller's prosecutors, in a new court filing, described the evidence as "voluminous and complex" in asking a judge to delay his trial to give them more time to sift through the seized devices.

The court papers said investigators grabbed hard drives containing several terabytes of information, including "FBI case reports, search warrant applications and results (e.g., Apple iCloud accounts and email accounts), bank and financial records, and the contents of numerous physical devices (e.g., cellular phones, computers, and hard drives)."

The FBI is doing what it calls a "filter review" of the devices, setting aside any evidence that cannot be admissible in court because it is considered privileged.

During a press conference Thursday, Stone agreed that evidence is voluminous and complex, and said both parties had agreed to the language in the government's filing.

Mueller's team also filed motions to stop Stone from discussing the case and the evidence with the media, but the big news is that now we know why the Mueller team insisted on an FBI wake-up call last Friday morning for Stone.  Cohen's electronic evidence went all the way to a special master to determine what was admissible and what was privileged, but that didn't save Cohen and he flipped like a pancake.

I expect Stone will do the same, and sooner rather than later.  Mueller has his receipts, and they are going to ring Stone up.


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