Monday, June 13, 2022

Last Call For Hearing Aides For America, Con't

Day two of the January 6th Committee Hearings got underway today, as the panel focused on key members of Trump's inner circle: Rudy Giuliani and Bill Barr.

Barr, who served as U.S. attorney general until late December 2020, emerged as a main character in making the committee’s case that Trump had been repeatedly told there was no evidence for the claims of fraud that he was peddling.

In his interviews with the committee’s investigators, the former head of Trump’s Department of Justice repeatedly slammed those election-fraud conspiracy theories as “bulls---” and “crazy,” among other terms. He testified that he said as much to the then-president’s face.

In one clip, Barr recounted an Oval Office meeting a few weeks after the Nov. 3, 2020, election, in which he had to tell Trump that the DOJ “is not an extension of your legal team” and can’t be used to “take sides in elections” by investigating fraud claims.

“We’ll look at something if it’s specific, credible, and could have affected the outcome of the election, and we’re doing that and it’s just not meritorious, they’re not panning out,” Barr recalled saying to Trump.

The former head of the DOJ also said he told Trump “that the stuff that his people were shoveling out to the public was bulls---. I mean, that the claims of fraud were bulls---. And he was indignant about that.”

“I reiterated that they’d wasted a whole month on these claims on these Dominion voting machines, and they were idiotic claims,” Barr said.

Barr said he found those claims, that Dominion voting machines were rigged to flip votes to Biden, “disturbing” in that “I saw absolutely zero basis” for them. But “they were obviously influencing a lot of members of the public” even though they were “complete nonsense,” Barr said.

He added: “I told him that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that and it was doing a grave disservice to the country.”

Barr said Trump gave him a copy of a report filled with election fraud claims. Trump said the report showed that he would get a second term, but “to be frank, it looked very amateurish to me,” Barr said.

“I was somewhat demoralized, because I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff,” Barr said.

When Barr would tell Trump how “crazy” some of these claims were, “there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were,” the former attorney general said, laughing
Aww, Orange Guy is funny!
Not as funny as Rudy, though.

In another clip of witness interviews, ex-Trump campaign aide Jason Miller said that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was “definitely intoxicated” on Election Night 2020 when he said at the White House that Trump should simply declare victory.

Miller said that he noticed Giuliani was inebriated when he and other officials, including former campaign manager Bill Stepien and then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, gathered at the White House to listen to what Giuliani wanted to tell Trump to say.

“The mayor was definitely intoxicated, but I did not know his level of intoxication when he spoke with the president, for example,” Miller said as part of an interview with the select committee, clips of which were played in the hearing.

“There were suggestions by, I believe it was Mayor Giuliani, to go and declare victory and say that we’d won it outright,” Miller said. Giuliani was effectively saying, ”‘We won it, they’re stealing it from us, where’d all the votes come from, we need to go say that we won,’ and essentially anyone who didn’t agree with that position was being weak,” Miller told the investigators.

Trump, in the early hours of Nov. 4, 2020, falsely claimed, “frankly, we did win this election.”

A spokesperson for Giuliani, who also sent along a conspiracy theory and typo-ridden statement from the former Trump lawyer, denied Giuliani was drunk on Election Night.
Seems to me that Rudy should stick to the drunk defense.
We'll see who gets prosecuted.

Powell-ing Through Inflation

The markets believe Fed Chair Jerome Powell will announce a 75-basis point hike in interest rates on Wednesday instead of 50 as the reality of trying to stop runaway corporate greed and price hikes falls on his shoulders.
Just one month ago, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said that the central bank was not "actively considering" raising interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point to fight inflation. But after Friday's consumer price index report showed inflation is rising faster than expected, Wall Street is worried that Powell may have to change his tune. 
Stocks plunged Friday and were down sharply again Monday across the globe. The yield on the benchmark US 10-year Treasury bond rose to 3.27%, the highest level since November 2018. 
Investors are nervous because the Fed could be heading into uncharted territory. A three-quarter point rate increase would certainly show that the Fed is really worried about inflation. 
But a move of that magnitude, although not unprecedented, is exceedingly rare. The last time the Fed hiked rates by 75 basis points was in the Alan Greenspan era: November 1994.  
To be sure, the market still has some doubts that the Fed will be that aggressive at this Wednesday's meeting. According to fed funds futures listed on the CME, traders are pricing in a 60% chance that the central bank will raise rates by only a half point. But expectations for a three-quarters-of-a-point increase have gone up from just 3% a week ago to 40% now. 
Economists at Barclays think the Fed will announce a three-quarter-point hike Wednesday "to reinforce credibility and get ahead of inflationary pressures. The broader game plan will likely be to raise rates as expeditiously as possible." 
Jefferies economists have also now joined the 75 basis point camp, saying in a report over the weekend that "inflation isn't peaking, it isn't even plateauing. It is still accelerating, and it will likely do so again in June." 
The Jefferies economists added that even though "the Fed hates surprising the market ... the sharp increase in inflation expectations" is "an escape clause and gives Powell an out."
I would bet on the 75-point hike, and more in the future, and since the real cause of "inflation" is record profiteering by corporations, the rate hikes are going to stop the Biden Boom in its tracks.
Things are going to get bad in the months ahead.  

Abrams, Elementary

In Georgia, the race for Governor between Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams is suddenly all about who will for paying teachers more.

Democrat Stacey Abrams proposed raising the minimum salary for Georgia public school teachers to $50,000 a year if she’s elected governor, part of a four-year plan that would hike the pay of K-12 educators by $11,000.

Abrams said Sunday she would finance the estimated $412 million annual cost over each of the next four years by relying upon revenue from Georgia’s budget without increasing taxes or imposing new fees. She framed the $1.65 billion plan as essential to retain teachers and improve the state’s education system.

“When our pipeline is thinning and our exodus is increasing, we are losing the fight for our children’s future,” said Abrams. “We need a governor who does not see education as an election-year gimmick but sees our responsibility as a guarantee for the strongest future for our people.”

The Democrat’s proposal would more than double Gov. Brian Kemp’s pledge in 2018 to hike annual teacher pay by $5,000, a promise he made weeks before the election that became a central part of his appeal to a broader set of voters after a bruising primary.

At the time, Abrams derided the Republican’s proposal as a “gimmick” and said he couldn’t be trusted to carry it out. Kemp signed a record $30.2 billion budget earlier this year that included the final installment of the promised pay hike.

In a scathing response, Kemp’s campaign predicted that Abrams was understating the price tag of her proposal and asserted that she would have to levy new taxes to pay for it.

“Following the lead of her pals in the Biden administration, Stacey Abrams’ latest Hail Mary proposal for over $2 billion in new state spending annually joins an ever-growing pile of pie-in-the-sky plans that would make inflation worse and require higher taxes on Georgia families to pay for it all,” said Kemp spokesman Tate Mitchell.

Abrams rolled out her proposal in tandem with the endorsement from the Georgia Association of Educators, an influential advocacy group that represents roughly 23,000 teachers. Lisa Morgan, the association’s president, assailed a Republican-backed school policy overhaul that Kemp engineered.

“Adjusted for inflation, our educators are making less now than they did in 1999,” Morgan said outside the group’s headquarters, adding: “It’s not just about salaries. It’s about educators being treated as the professionals they are.”


So if I'm reading this right, Kemp used COVID relief money that Republicans voted against to raise minimum teacher salaries from $34k to $39k, and he wants a gold medal for it.

I can't imagine why Georgia, like just about every other red state who refuses to pay teachers more money because they don't want public education at all, continues to have a critical teacher shortage.

Please note Kemp's response is not that teachers shouldn't earn more than $39k, it's that somebody has to pay for it.

Here's an idea. Maybe move around some of those billions thrown at policing every year to buy surplus military gear to use against Georgians, particularly Black Georgians.

Again, just an idea.

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