Monday, April 18, 2022

Last Call For Going Judge Mental

The post-Trump GOP playbook has been pretty clear: use federal judges to void all Biden executive orders, and throw the country into chaos. This week's example is a Trump appointee shutting down mask mandates on airlines and other public transportation.

A federal judge in Florida struck down on Monday the Biden administration's mask mandate for airplanes and other public transport methods, and a Biden administration official says the order is no longer in effect while the ruling is reviewed. 
US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the mandate was unlawful because it exceeded the statutory authority of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and because its implementation violated administrative law. 
"The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps," the Biden administration official said Monday night. "In the meantime, today's court decision means CDC's public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time." 
It is unclear if the Justice Department will seek an order halting the ruling and file an appeal.
Just last week, the CDC extended this mask mandate through May 3. The masking requirement applied to airplanes, trains, and other forms of public transportation. 
A Biden administration official familiar with the White House's decision previously told CNN the goal of the extension was to gather more information and understanding of the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus. Covid-19 cases in the US are on the rise, leading universities and the City of Philadelphia to reimplement indoor mask mandates.
And the judge in question is a real doozy.

The first part of the judge's 59-page ruling turned on the meaning of the word "sanitation," as it functions in the 1944 statute that gives the federal government the authority -- in its efforts to combat communicable diseases -- to issue regulations concerning "sanitation." 
Mizelle concluded that that the use of the word in the statute was limited to "measures that clean something." 
"Wearing a mask cleans nothing," she wrote. "At most, it traps virus droplets. But it neither 'sanitizes' the person wearing the mask nor 'sanitizes' the conveyance." 
She wrote that the mandate fell outside of the law because "the CDC required mask wearing as a measure to keep something clean -- explaining that it limits the spread of COVID-19 through prevention, but never contending that it actively destroys or removes it." 
Mizelle suggested that the government's implementation of the mandate -- in which non-complying travelers are "forcibly removed from their airplane seats, denied board at the bus steps, and turned away at the train station doors" -- was akin to "detention and quarantine," which are not contemplated in the section of the law in question, she said. 
"As a result, the Mask Mandate is best understood not as sanitation, but as an exercise of the CDC's power to conditionally release individuals to travel despite concerns that they may spread a communicable disease (and to detain or partially quarantine those who refuse)," she wrote. "But the power to conditionally release and detain is ordinarily limited to individuals entering the United States from a foreign country."

She added that the mandate also did not fit with a section of the law that would allow for detention of a traveler if he was, upon examination, found to infected.

"The Mask Mandate complies with neither of these subsections," the judge said. "It applies to all travelers regardless of their origins or destinations and makes no attempt to sort based on their health."

If you're wondering where this deliberately obtuse misunderstanding of "sanitation" is coming from, understand that Judge Mizelle was solely appointed because she is the wife of former Trump Homeland Security General Counsel Chad Mizelle.

You know, the Title 42 guy. And surprise, Mizelle was involved in Trump's coup attempt, as the lawyer who evaluated Trump's plans to use DHS to seize voting machines across the country as "evidence of voting fraud."

His wife, by-the-by, was deemed Not Qualified by the American Bar Association because she never tried a case, never argued a case, and never defended a case in any court, civil or criminal.

The GOP Senate then easily approved her. They don't care if the judge isn't qualified, they care if they can bullshit enough to make their legal arguments justifiable, and they get to kill as many people as they can in the process.

Monsters, all of them.

Greene Versus Green

Don't look now, but Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who exists only to piss off people in America, is discovering that her racist tirades are only empowering her challenger.

Friday’s deadline to report fundraising for the first three months of 2022 has given us more information to sift through in some of Georgia’s most contested federal races.

We have a bigger story on the Senate contest here, along with a takeout on the growing wave of spending. A closer look at the spending revealed a few other highlights:

  • Democratic challenger Marcus Flowers outraised U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. He raised $2.4 million in the first three months of 2022. compared to her $1.1 million. And Greene spent about $300,000 more than she raised during the quarter. Still, she has $3 million in cash on hand, compared to Flowers’ $1.9 million. She has raised a total of $8.4 million for her reelection bid, while he’s raised about $7.1 million.
  • Republican frontrunner Herschel Walker’s report included about $20,000 in small-dollar “anonymous” donations. The poultry company founder also reported collecting a $10,000 contribution from a Kentucky Fried Chicken political organization a few weeks after he delivered a speech at the group’s March convention.
  • Walker’s got other plenty of other financial support beyond his first-quarter haul. The 34N22 PAC raised $3.25 million in the first three months of the year, spent about $440,000 and ended with about $3.3 million in its account.
  • U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath continues to outfundraise fellow incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux in the 7th District. McBath reported $804,497.21 in receipts during the quarter, ending it with $2.9 million in the bank. Bourdeaux raised $592,579 and had $2.1 million in cash on hand. The third Democrat in the race, state Rep. Donna McLeod, reported that she didn’t raise or spend anything -- not a penny -- during the first three months of 2022.
  • We had early word last week that Rich McCormick raised more than $600,000 during the quarter and ended it with $1.1 million in the bank. Now we can say that he continues to lead the GOP candidates in the 6th District. Jake Evans raised $411,163.18 during the period, including a $200,000 loan from the candidate to the campaign. He does have a bit more than McCormick in cash on hand: $1.2 million. Former state Rep. Meagan Hanson collected $117,109.00 during the period, including the $50,000 she loaned to her campaign. She has $299,432 in cash on hand.

Among the campaign expenses U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene reported for the last quarter was $10,000 to controversial California attorney John Eastman’s Constitutional Counsel Group, the Business Insider reports.

Eastman was at the center of efforts by former President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election results, pushing the idea that former Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to block Joe Biden’s certification as president.

The Business Insider reached out to Greene’s campaign about the payment, which was listed as unspecified “legal expenses.”

“Dr. Eastman is one of the leading constitutional attorneys in the country. When we need advice on significant constitutional issues, we have occasionally sought his counsel,” a campaign spokesperson said. “The particular issues for which we sought his advice are protected by attorney-client privilege, however
Here's the cold, hard reality of this race however:  

GA-14 is a R+28 district.

This is like Republicans raising funds to beat AOC in the Bronx or Yvette Clark in Brooklyn, and frankly, I'm upset that Marcus Flowers is raising this much money only to lose by 30 or 40 points in November. It's the same problem with Charles Booker here in KY running against Rand Paul.
Our vote matters, we can still win, but campaign money is not what's going to make the difference.

See, we didn't learn our lesson with Amy McGrath or Jaime Harrison or Sara Gideon. Throwing millions, sometimes tens of millions, at a race and outraising the Republican pain in the ass incumbent doesn't mean you'll win, and that money is better used to help out more winnable races. We were extremely lucky that we got a second shot at both of Georgia's Senate races and even luckier still to win them both.

And we won in Georgia because of Stacey Abrams and the best Democratic ground game in the country.

That is where the money needs to go, not to campaign coffers.

Vote like your country depends on it, because it does.

The Galtian Republic Of Rick Scott

Former Florida GOP Governor and now Senator Rick Scott really doesn't give a shit if you think he's a crook (he's a Medicare fraudster who scammed the government of billions as a hospital chain CEO) who became the richest man in the Senate, he's here openly saying the GOP's plan is to destroy Medicare and Social Security and raise taxes on tens of millions of working-class Americans to make them "pay their fair share" while wrecking all federal protections on civil rights, voting rights, clear air and water, and leaving everything to the states to decide.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott has been publicly dressed down by Republican leader Mitch McConnell, privately rebuked by his colleagues and repeatedly accused of running the National Republican Senatorial Committee in a way that benefits his own future over the candidates he was hired to get elected.

He has directed a sizable share of his fundraising as NRSC chair to his own accounts, while shifting digital revenue away from Senate campaigns and buying ads promoting himself that look all but identical to spots he does for the national committee.

But during the seven weeks of turmoil since Scott dropped a provocative conservative policy bomb on an unsuspecting party — a plan that called for tax increases and expiration dates for all federal laws, including those establishing Social Security and Medicare — he has not once expressed regret. Instead, the former hospital chain CEO and two-term governor, the richest man in the Senate, argues that he owes his detractors nothing.

“My whole life has been people telling me that, you know, you’re doing it the wrong way. You can’t, you shouldn’t be doing this,” he said in a recent interview at NRSC headquarters. “I’ve been up here for three years. Do you know how many people have come to me and asked me, before they vote, what my opinion is on something and whether it’s good for my state? That would be zero.”

Barbs like these from the inner sanctum of GOP leadership toward his fellow senators and political operatives have cut unexpected fissures into what appears to be a banner election year for Republicans, who are a single seat away from majority control of the Senate. Private grumbling about how Scott has turned the NRSC into the “National Rick Scott Committee” has become widespread enough in some Republican circles that other jokes have been added. “All this, for four percent in Iowa,” is the punchline of one about the harm he could do to Republican fortunes in November in pursuit of national ambitions.

During a Feb. 29 meeting with Senate leadership in McConnell’s office, other senators brought articles that showed members being attacked for various parts of his plan, particularly the tax provision and another imposing term limits. They chastised him in round-robin fashion for the unnecessary headache he had created, said people familiar with the meeting, who like others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Scott answered days later with a Wall Street Journal op-ed — “Why I’m Defying Beltway Cowardice” — and a March 31 speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“Bring it on,” he said there.

Scott is going after Mitch's job and telling everyone with a bullhorn that he's going to erase federalism and rewind the clock back 100 years. laws, the whole thing since the New Deal vanishes and we're back to robber barons busting unions and strikes with Pinkertons and federal troops and a only a third of the country being eligible to vote.

He also may be the Democrats' best hope for keeping Congress.
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