Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Last Call For Insurrection Investigation, Con't

Team Trump is apparently daring Rep. Bennie Thompson and the January 6th Commission he chairs to come and get them when it comes to subpoenas.

The former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and other top aides subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack are expected to defy orders for documents and testimony related to 6 January, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The move to defy the subpoenas would mark the first major investigative hurdle faced by the select committee and threatens to touch off an extended legal battle as the former president pushes some of his most senior aides to undercut the inquiry.

All four Trump aides targeted by the select committee – Meadows, deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, strategist Steve Bannon and defense department aide Kash Patel – are expected to resist the orders because Trump is preparing to direct them to do so, the source said.

The select committee had issued the subpoenas under the threat of criminal prosecution in the event of non-compliance, warning that the penalty for defying a congressional subpoena would be far graver under the Biden administration than during the Trump presidency.

But increasingly concerned with the far-reaching nature of the 6 January investigation, Trump and his legal team, led by the ex-Trump campaign lawyer Justin Clark the former deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin, are moving to instruct the attorneys for the subpoenaed aides to defy the orders.

The basis for Trump’s pressing aides to not cooperate is being mounted on grounds of executive privilege, the source said, over claims that sensitive conversations about what he knew in advance of plans to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory should remain secret.

Philbin appears less convinced than Trump about the strength of the legal argument, the source said, in part because the justice department previously declined to assert the protection for 6 January testimony, suggesting it did not exist to protect Trump’s personal interests.

The former president’s lawyer, the source said, instead seems to view the strategy more as an effective way to slow-walk the select committee, which is aiming to produce a final report before the 2022 midterm elections, to keep the inquiry non-partisan.
It was not clear on Tuesday whether Trump would push aides to defy all elements of the subpoenas, the source cautioned – access to some emails or call records demanded by the select committee might be waived.

But Trump’s strategy mirrors the playbook he used to prevent House Democrats from deposing his top advisers during his presidency. The former White House counsel Don McGahn, for instance, only testified to Congress about the Mueller inquiry once Trump left office.
It's already October 2021. The Committee isn't going to get much work done for the rest of this year at this rate, and that's the point. Once 2022 rolls around, you can bet the GOP plan will be "Help us take the House back so we can stop the witch hunt! They'll be after YOU next!!!11!"

The entire point is to stonewall until the January 6th investigation can be ended by a GOP House speaker with nothing to show for it, and there really isn't much we can do in the meantime. If Thompson pushes for criminal prosecution, the story becomes criminal prosecution, not the investigation itself.

That's what Trump wants, and most likely he'll get it. If you want this investigation to continue, elect Democrats in 2022.

All The Disinformation That's Fit To Stream

One America News Network has been a player in the new right-wing disinformation swamp for a couple of years now along with NewsMax under Trump, all with the basic heading of "When Fox News is too liberal for you!" It's been one of the most vile cable boutique purveyors of Qball right-wing conspiracies, too much for even YouTube to deal with, while its terrible white supremacist contributors are encouraging violence while on the loose.

Well, turns out OANN has a major corporate bankroller and distribution patron in AT&T, who quite literally commissioned the channel for its DirecTV service and provides some 90% of the network's revenue stream.
One America News, the far-right network whose fortunes and viewership rose amid the triumph and tumult of the Trump administration, has flourished with support from a surprising source: AT&T Inc, the world's largest communications company.

A Reuters review of court records shows the role AT&T played in creating and funding OAN, a network that continues to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic.

OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr has testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives.

“They told us they wanted a conservative network,” Herring said during a 2019 deposition seen by Reuters. “They only had one, which was Fox News, and they had seven others on the other [leftwing] side. When they said that, I jumped to it and built one.”

Since then, AT&T has been a crucial source of funds flowing into OAN, providing tens of millions of dollars in revenue, court records show. Ninety percent of OAN’s revenue came from a contract with AT&T-owned television platforms, including satellite broadcaster DirecTV, according to 2020 sworn testimony by an OAN accountant.

Herring has testified he was offered $250 million for OAN in 2019. Without the DirecTV deal, the accountant said under oath, the network’s value “would be zero.”

“They told us they wanted a conservative network. … When they said that, I jumped to it and built one.”OAN founder Robert Herring Sr in a 2019 deposition

Dallas-based AT&T, a mobile-phone and Internet provider, also owns entertainment giant Warner Media, which includes CNN and HBO. AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2015 and in August spun off the satellite service, retaining a 70% share in the new, independently managed company. AT&T’s total U.S. television subscriber base, including satellite and streaming services, fell from 26 million in 2015 to 15.4 million as of August.

AT&T spokesman Jim Greer declined to comment on the testimony about OAN’s revenue streams, citing confidentiality agreements. He said that DirecTV broadcasts “many news channels that offer viewpoints across the political spectrum.”

“We have always sought to provide a wide variety of content and programming that would be of interest to customers, and do not dictate or control programming on channels we carry,” Greer said. “Any suggestion otherwise is wrong.”

Although the contracts are confidential, in court filings Herring cited monthly fees included in one five-year deal with AT&T. According to an AT&T filing citing Herring’s numbers, those fees would total about $57 million. Greer said that figure is inaccurate, but declined to say how much AT&T has paid to air OAN, citing a non-disclosure agreement.

Herring and his adult sons own and operate OAN, a subsidiary of their closely held San Diego-based Herring Networks. Their AT&T deal includes Herring’s other network, a little-watched lifestyle channel, AWE. The Herrings declined interview requests.

Herring, who just turned 80, is a self-made businessman who amassed a fortune in the circuit board industry, then turned to television and boxing promotion. OAN’s influence rose in late 2015, when it began covering Trump rallies live, at a time when some of the media still saw the New York celebrity businessman as a longshot presidential contender. The network continues to shower Trump with attention and often provides a friendly platform for his Republican allies.

As president, Trump frequently urged supporters to watch OAN. In his final two years in office, Trump touted the network, known as @OANN online, to his 88 million Twitter followers at least 120 times
So in addition to owning a national mobile carrier, HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT, Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel and TLC, plus DC Comics, Warner Pictures, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Hanna-Barbera and a couple of video games studios to market all those characters, AT&T also secretly created, all but owns and all but runs one of the most vile, awful, racist white supremacist propaganda conspiracy outlets in America, beloved by Trump himself.

As a consumer, you get to choose which company you give your dollars to (for the most part.) AT&T decided a long time ago to make the choice that Donald Trump was good for business.

You want to maybe consider making such a choice yourself here.

The Vax Of Life, Cincy Edition Con't

An Ohio man diagnosed with COVID-19 whose wife sued to force a hospital to give him the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin has died, his attorney said.

Jeffrey Smith, 51, died on Sept. 25, his attorney, Jonathan Davidson, of Hamilton, told WXIX-TV in Cincinnati.

In August, an Ohio judge ordered West Chester Hospital to treat Mr. Smith with ivermectin after his wife sued, alleging that the facility refused to give her husband the drug, despite him having a doctor’s prescription.

Since mid-July, Mr. Smith had been the intensive care unit, battling a severe case of COVID-19, according to court records. His wife and guardian, Julie Smith, argued that ivermectin — a deworming drug that some people are using to prevent or treat COVID-19, despite several public health agencies advising against it — was her husband’s last shot at survival.

But then last month, a different judge reversed that order after Mrs. Smith and the doctor who prescribed her husband the ivermectin failed to provide “convincing evidence” at a court hearing to show that the drug could significantly improve his condition.

Butler County Judge Michael A. Oster Jr. ordered the hospital to cease administering the unproven treatment, arguing that “judges are not doctors or nurses.”

Judge Oster wrote in his order that several public health organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, do not recommend the drug be used to treat COVID-19. At the moment, no studies or data analysis support said treatment for the virus, Judge Oster wrote.

“While this court is sympathetic to the Plaintiff and understands the idea of wanting to do anything to help her loved one, public policy should not and does not support allowing a physician to try ‘any’ type of treatment on human beings,” the judge wrote.

“Based on the current evidence, ivermectin is not effective as a treatment for COVID-19. ... Even Plaintiff’s own doctor could not say [that] continued use of ivermectin would benefit Smith,” Judge Oster wrote in his order.

Judge Oster added: “After considering all of the evidence presented in this case, there can be no doubt that the medical and scientific communities do not support the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.”

The FDA even issued a strong and unusual warning on Aug. 21 on social media: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”
It's a tragedy, but one of Smith's own making.

Get the vaccine.


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