Monday, May 23, 2022

Last Call For The Burned Bridges Of Madison Cawthorn, Con't

How much of a jackass of a Republican do you have to be to lose your primary and then get a House Ethics Committee investigation with basically zero pushback from your own party in your defense?

The House Ethics Committee is investigating controversial Rep. Madison Cawthorn for his possibly improper promotion of a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest, the panel revealed Monday.

The committee is also investigating the North Carolina Republican over questions about whether he had an “improper relationship” with a person employed on his congressional staff, the panel said.

The Ethics Committee authorized the probe by a unanimous vote on May 11. But the panel only disclosed it six days after the 26-year-old congressman narrowly lost a GOP primary, denying him a nomination for a second term.

The loss followed an embarrassing series of events for Cawthorn. He was charged by police in North Carolina with carrying a loaded handgun at an airport and with driving with a revoked license. He also claimed he was a victim of “blackmail” following the release of a video that appeared to show him naked in bed with another man.

Cawthorn also infuriated fellow Republicans in Congress earlier this year by claiming some of his older colleagues had invited him to orgies and used cocaine in front of him.

“We welcome the opportunity to prove that Congressman Cawthorn committed no wrongdoing and that he was falsely accused by partisan adversaries for political gain,” said Cawthorn’s chief of staff, Blake Harp, in response to the Ethics probe.

Harp said that the inquiry, which will be conducted by an investigative subcommittee assembled for that purpose, “is a formality.”

“Our office isn’t deterred in the slightest from completing the job the patriots of Western North Carolina sent us to Washington to accomplish,” Harp added.

Cawthorn later tweeted: “Wow - I must still be a problem for the swamp! They’re still coming after me!”
Now, improper promotion of crypto nonsense is small potatoes, especially given the fact the guy lost his primary.and given how much truly unethical stuff that say, MTG or Boebert does on a regular basis. But that unanimous vote to investigate, meaning all ten members signed off on this, including the five Republicans (Walorski, Guest, Joyce, Rutherford and Armstrong), makes me think this isn't "a formality" at all.

Something tells me if there was a vote to expel this little booger from Congress early, there just might be the two-thirds margin to do so.

Just saying. He's pissed that many Republicans off.

Bad Religion, Con't

Turns out that Baptists throwing stones at Catholics over that church's considerable history of covering up sexual abuse should probably start examining the structural integrity of their own glass houses.

Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention on Sunday released a major third-party investigation that found that sex abuse survivors were often ignored, minimized and “even vilified” by top clergy in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

The findings of nearly 300 pages include shocking new details about specific abuse cases and shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform. They also lied to Southern Baptists over whether they could maintain a database of offenders to prevent more abuse when top leaders were secretly keeping a private list for years.

The report — the first investigation of its kind in a massive Protestant denomination like the SBC — is expected to send shock waves into a conservative Christian community that has had intense internal battles over how to handle sex abuse. The 13 million-member denomination, along with other religious institutions in the United States, has struggled with declining membership for the past 15 years. Its leaders have long resisted comparisons between its sexual abuse crisis and that of the Catholic Church, saying the total number of abuse cases among Southern Bapitists was small.

The investigation finds that for almost two decades, survivors of abuse and other concerned Southern Baptists have been contacting the Southern Baptist Convention’s administrative arm to report child molesters and other abusers who were in the pulpit or employed as church staff members.

The report, compiled by an organization called Guidepost Solutions at the request of Southern Baptists, states that abuse survivors’ calls and emails were “only to be met, time and time again, with resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility” by leaders who were concerned more with protecting the institution from liability than from protecting Southern Baptists from further abuse.

“While stories of abuse were minimized, and survivors were ignored or even vilified, revelations came to light in recent years that some senior SBC leaders had protected or even supported alleged abusers, the report states.

While the report focuses primarily on how leaders handled abuse issues when survivors came forward, it also states that a major Southern Baptist leader sexually assaulted a woman just one month after he completed his two-year tenure as president of the convention. The report finds that Johnny Hunt, a beloved Georgia-based Southern Baptist pastor who has been a senior vice president at the SBC’s missions arm, was credibly accused of assaulting a woman during a Panama City Beach vacation in 2010.

The report states that Hunt, in an interview with investigators, denied any physical contact with the woman but acknowledged that he had interactions with her.

Sex abuse survivors, many of whom have been sharing their stories for years, anticipated Sunday’s release would confirm the facts around many of the stories they have already shared, but many were still surprised to see the pattern of coverups by the highest levels of leadership.

“I knew it was rotten, but it’s astonishing and infuriating,” said Jennifer Lyell, a survivor who was once the highest-paid female executive at the SBC and whose story of sexual abuse at a Southern Baptist seminary is detailed in the report. “This is a denomination is through and through about power. It is misappropriated power. It does not in any way reflect the Jesus I see in the scriptures. I am so gutted.”

The report also names several senior SBC leaders who protected and even supported alleged abusers, including three past presidents of the convention, a former vice president and the former head of the SBC’s administrative arm.

The third-party investigation into actions between 2000 and 2021 focused on actions by the SBC’s Executive Committee, which handles financial and administrative duties. Although Southern Baptist churches operate independently from one another, the Nashville-based Executive Committee distributes the $121 million cooperative program budget that funds its missions, seminaries and ministries.

For decades, Southern Baptists were told that the denomination could not put together a registry of sex offenders because it would go against the denomination’s polity — or how it functions. What the report reveals is that leaders maintained a list of offenders while keeping it a secret to avoid the possibility of getting sued. The report also includes private emails showing how longtime leaders such as August Boto were dismissive about sexual abuse concerns, calling them “a satanic scheme to completely distract us from evangelism.”
It's so weird how the teachings of Christ keep getting perverted by awful men into excuses for, if anything, being the tools of the devil. I know, I know, flawed sinners and failed leaders, what else is new.  Growing up in the 80's and 90's and seeing the Bakkers, the Swaggarts, and the Grahams turned me off to any sort of organized religion, and a basic understanding of religion in world history over the centuries has cemented that distaste.

I've yet to meet a person who announced themselves as a "follower of Jesus" who actually follows those teachings.

The Pennsylvania Election Insurrection

The GOP Senate primary in Pennsylvania is absolutely headed to a recount as only several hundred votes separate Trump candidate and professional medical fraudster Dr. Mehmet Oz from corporate Republican drone David McCormick and suddenly, mail votes matter to the GOP.

In any close race, the trailing candidate, in this case McCormick, needs to find all possible votes to add to the count.

For the candidate in the lead — Oz, in this instance — the goal is the opposite. Oz wants the count to end with him on top.

McCormick will in particular want to count mail ballots: In-person votes have slightly favored Oz, while mail ballots have helped McCormick. (McCormick has won about seven mail votes for every five that Oz has.)

Campaigns can begin fighting over ballots even before the recount would be officially declared next week.

As the final votes are tallied — counties are required to submit unofficial, as-close-to-final-as-possible results to the Pennsylvania Department of State by 5 p.m. Tuesday — county elections officials will be making decisions as to which ballots to count or reject.

During the vote count, elections workers move as quickly as possible to count all the ballots they know they can, setting aside those with any defects for review. The contested ballots create opportunity for both campaigns when they’re adjudicated by county officials.

After two years of expansive mail voting, many of those decisions are largely settled — counties reject unsigned ballots, for example, or “naked ballots” that arrive without a secrecy envelope — but voters create new questions every election. The campaigns can challenge counties’ decisions to count or reject those ballots, and then appeal them to county courts.

Similarly, the campaigns will be able to challenge decisions during a recount, including arguing that the county is misinterpreting voters’ intent, rejecting legitimate votes, or accepting illegitimate ones.

Outside of the county-by-county fight, the campaigns may also opt for statewide litigation, such as by arguing that a patchwork of county policies violates the U.S. Constitution. And one set of lawyers hired by the Oz campaign is also involved in the Lehigh County case, so they could potentially ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block the appeals court ruling.

Both the McCormick and Oz campaigns have been probing the vote-count process, asking counties questions about how they’ve counted votes and how they made decisions about which to count or reject. In Allegheny County, for example, representatives from both campaigns observed the final stage of tallying in-person and mail ballots Friday, and both asked to examine undated or unsigned ballots when county officials reconvene Monday.

Those undated mail ballots have suddenly taken center stage.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Friday that undated Lehigh County mail ballots from last November’s election should be counted.

It did not immediately issue an opinion, but the text of the order, several lawyers from both political parties said, meant counties suddenly could — or perhaps even should — count undated mail ballots.

State law’s requirement that voters date their ballots — which state courts had said meant undated ballots should be rejected — isn’t actually used in determining whether a vote is legitimate, the judges ruled. That makes the requirement a technicality that, if used to reject ballots, violates the Civil Rights Act.

Hicks attached a copy of the order in his email to the county solicitors. As he described it: “The Third Circuit determined that the lack of a voter-provided date on the outside of an absentee or mail-in ballot envelope cannot prevent that ballot’s counting because the lack of that date on an indisputably timely ballot is immaterial under federal law.”

On Saturday, Contres countered that “our campaign will oppose the McCormick legal team’s request that election boards ignore both Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court and state election law and accept legally rejected ballots.”

The fight over mail ballots now puts McCormick in the position of being a Republican defending a voting method that the GOP has spent the last two years attacking. Trump’s lies about election rigging and fraud have pushed Republicans to generally avoid voting by mail. 
Trump is already screaming about fraud from his little shit-filled social media sandbox, which means this could be the exact ticket to remind everyone why Republicans are 100% batsit crazy racist assholes.

We'll see who survives this.
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