Friday, December 10, 2021

Last Call For The Big Lie, Yeezus Edition

I'd safely say we've reached the point where people need to start being arrested on federal election tampering and seditious conspiracy charges for the 2020 Big Lie, including, apparently, Kanye West's publicist.
Weeks after the 2020 election, a Chicago publicist for hip-hop artist Kanye West traveled to the suburban home of Ruby Freeman, a frightened Georgia election worker who was facing death threats after being falsely accused by former President Donald Trump of manipulating votes. The publicist knocked on the door and offered to help.

The visitor, Trevian Kutti, gave her name but didn’t say she worked for West, a longtime billionaire friend of Trump. She said she was sent by a “high-profile individual,” whom she didn’t identify, to give Freeman an urgent message: confess to Trump’s voter-fraud allegations, or people would come to her home in 48 hours, and she’d go to jail.

Freeman refused. This story of how an associate of a music mogul pressured a 62-year-old temporary election worker at the center of a Trump conspiracy theory is based on previously unreported police recordings and reports, legal filings, and Freeman’s first media interview since she was dragged into Trump’s attempt to reverse his election loss.

Kutti did not respond to requests for comment. Her biography for her work at the Women’s Global Initiative, a business networking group, identifies her as a member of “the Young Black Leadership Council under President Donald Trump.” It notes that in September 2018, she “was secured as publicist to Kanye West” and “now serves as West’s Director of Operations.”

When Kutti knocked on Freeman's door on Jan. 4, Freeman called 911. By then, Freeman said, she was wary of strangers.
I mean, at this point, Kanye West's publicist threatened an election worker with arrest if she didn't confess to imaginary election fraud charges in order to help Trump overthrow Biden's election

It's prison time for all the kids.

An officer arrived and spoke with Kutti, who described herself as a “crisis manager,” according to the police incident report.

Kutti repeated that Freeman “was in danger” and had “48 hours” before “unknown subjects” turned up at her home, the report said. At the officer’s suggestion, the women agreed to meet at a police station. The officer’s report did not identify the man accompanying Kutti.

Inside the station, Kutti and Freeman met in a corner, according to footage from a body camera worn by an officer present at the meeting. Reuters obtained the video through a public-records request.

“I cannot say what specifically will take place,” Kutti is heard telling Freeman in the recording. “I just know that it will disrupt your freedom," she said, "and the freedom of one or more of your family members.”

“You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up,” Kutti continued. She added that “federal people” were involved, without offering specifics.

According to Freeman, Kutti told her that she was going to put a man named “Harrison Ford” on speakerphone. (Freeman said the man on the phone wasn’t the actor by the same name.) Kutti said the man had “authoritative powers to get you protection,” the bodycam footage shows.

At that point, Kutti can be heard asking the officer to give them privacy. The body camera did not capture a clear recording of the conversation that followed after the officer moved away from the two women.

Kutti and the man on the speakerphone, over the next hour, tried to get Freeman to implicate herself in committing voter fraud on Election Day. Kutti offered legal assistance in exchange, Freeman said.

“If you don't tell everything,” Freeman recalled Kutti saying, “you're going to jail.”

Growing suspicious, Freeman said she jumped up from her chair and told Kutti: “The devil is a liar,” before calling for an officer.

Later at home, Freeman said, she Googled Kutti’s name and discovered she was a Trump supporter.

Police say they did not investigate the incident further.
I mean it's right here on the police bodycam, people.

At some point, justice has to be served or the Republic is lost, folks.

The Road To Gilead: Endgame, Con't

A Texas state judge has ruled the "bounty hunting" scheme in the state GOP's effective ban of abortion unconstitutional, which is good because the Supreme Court won't block the horrible law at all.

The enforcement mechanism for Texas’s abortion ban, which is the most restrictive in the nation and effectively outlaws the procedure, violates the Texas constitution, a state judge ruled Thursday.

While a win for abortion rights advocates, the narrow decision by District Judge David Peeples of Austin does not include an injunction that would halt litigation against doctors or others who “aid or abet” an abortion. Texas Right to Life, an antiabortion group that supported the legislation, said it will appeal the ruling. Meanwhile, according to abortion providers, the law, known as S.B. 8, remains in effect, continuing a near-total ban on abortion before many people know they’re pregnant at six weeks.

A spokeswoman for Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four abortion clinics in Texas, said it will not resume services until an injunction is granted.

“We are so grateful to Judge Peeples for his ruling today,” Jackie Dilworth shared in an emailed statement. “We couldn’t agree more: SB 8 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.”

The law’s teeth, a $10,000 award to be paid by the defendant for any successful lawsuit brought against an abortion provider, is unconstitutional for several reasons, according to the judge: Authority would be in the hands of private citizens, including people unaffected by abortions who cannot take money from a person who hasn’t harmed them in any way. The lawsuits stemming from the ban would also subvert due process, Peeples wrote.

The judge considered the other possible scenarios that such an unusual enforcement tactic could be deployed, offering examples of laws that swap the words about abortions for gun owners or bakery owners who refuse to decorate a cake with a message they believe is offensive.

“Pandora’s Box has already been opened a bit, and time will tell,” he wrote

The Supreme Court on Friday left in place Texas’ ban on most abortions, though it ruled that clinics in the state can sue over the most restrictive abortion law in the nation.

The decision, little more than a week after the court signaled it would roll back abortion rights and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, was greeted with dismay by abortion rights supporters.

They said the outcome, by limiting which state officials can be sued by the clinics, did not provide a path to effectively block the law.

“The Supreme Court has essentially greenlit Texas’s cynical scheme and prevented federal courts from blocking an unconstitutional law,” the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the Texas clinics, said on Twitter.

Again, the clock at this point is just ticking down to a late June/July 4th SCOTUS ruling that allows states to ban abortion, and two dozen of them will, including Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Abortions will continue, just not with any safety. A lot of women will die.

But that was always the point.

Birth control is next, and then so are civil rights.  Expect to see a lot of "There is no constitutional right to..." in the years ahead.

On the road to Gilead.

The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Georgia Republicans in the state legislature are openly using the powers they gave themselves earlier this year to quietly purge Black Democratic election officials from the state's county election boards and are replacing them with white Republicans, and that's basically the entire story.

Protesters filled the meeting room of the Spalding County Board of Elections in October, upset that the board had disallowed early voting on Sundays for the Nov. 2 municipal election. A year ago, Sunday voting had been instrumental in boosting turnout of Black voters.

But this was an entirely different five-member board than had overseen the last election. The Democratic majority of three Black women was gone. So was the Black elections supervisor.

Now a faction of three white Republicans controlled the board – thanks to a bill passed by the Republican-led Georgia legislature earlier this year. The Spalding board’s new chairman has endorsed former president Donald Trump’s false stolen-election claims on social media.

The panel in Spalding, a rural patch south of Atlanta, is one of six county boards that Republicans have quietly reorganized in recent months through similar county-specific state legislation. The changes expanded the party’s power over choosing members of local election boards ahead of the crucial midterm Congressional elections in November 2022.

The unusual rash of restructurings follows the state's passage of Senate Bill 202, which restricted ballot access statewide and allowed the Republican-controlled State Election Board to assume control of county boards it deems underperforming. The board immediately launched a performance review of the Democratic-leaning Fulton County board, which oversees part of Atlanta.

The Georgia restructurings are part of a national Republican effort to expand control over election administration in the wake of Trump’s false voter-fraud claims. Republican-led states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona have enacted new curbs on voter access this year. Backers of Trump’s false stolen-election claims are running campaigns for secretary of state - the top election official - in battleground states. read more And some Republicans in Wisconsin are seeking to eliminate the state’s bipartisan election commission and threatening its members with prosecution.
The stakes are high in Georgia, which last year backed a Democrat for president for the first time since 1992. Its first-term Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock will be up for reelection in 2022, a contest that could prove pivotal to which party controls Congress. The governor’s race next year pits incumbent Republican Brian Kemp against Trump-endorsed candidate David Perdue in a primary. The winner will likely face Democrat Stacey Abrams, a voting rights advocate. Both Warnock and Abrams are Black.

The county board restructurings and statewide voting restrictions, Democrats and voting-rights groups say, represent the most sweeping changes in decades to Georgia’s electoral system. Until 2013, Georgia elections operated under federal oversight to ensure fair participation for Black voters in this once-segregated Southern state.

Such obviously racist purging of multiple county election boards of Black folk in Georgia is precisely what the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance section was supposed to stop right up until Chief Justice (and Chief Racist) John Roberts murdered it in 2013.

So, this will continue in states like Georgia and Wisconsin and Michigan and Arizona, and I expect in 2023 we're going to see more than a few Republicans seated in the House who will have gotten fewer votes than their Democratic opponents, but who will be declared the winners anyway, paving the way for the same scenario to play out in January 2025.

No better voter suppression than elections that literally don't matter because Republicans declare their candidates the winner anyway.


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