Thursday, September 8, 2022

Last Call For Just Like Old Times

With 73% support overall, 71% among Dems, 75% among the GOP, and 75% among independents, Americans seem to think putting an age limit on politicians is a really, really good idea.
We live in an era of stark political division, but there's at least one aspect of politics both sides agree on: a maximum age limit for elected officials. Most feel that after a certain age they should not be permitted to hold office.

There isn't just agreement across political lines, but across demographic groups, like age, too. Young and old, including seniors, favor maximum age limits for elected officials.

And far more Americans believe additional young people in elected office would be a positive for U.S. politics than a negative.

So what should that age be? When offered a list of ages, Age 70 is the top answer chosen. This is older than the current average age of members of Congress, but about a third of current U.S. senators are 70 years of age or older.

While young and old alike think elected officials should not be permitted to serve after a certain age, younger Americans are a bit more likely than older people to put that maximum age at 60 years old.
Some 74% collectively believe politicians should be out of office by age 70 or earlier. 

That'll never happen, but I tend to agree.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

Turns out Donald Trump may have been keeping classified documents relating to his Russian collusion in his pool closet, in an effort to use them as leverage against the Justice Department investigation into his dealings with Moscow.
IN HIS FINAL days in the White House, Donald Trump told top advisers he needed to preserve certain Russia-related documents to keep his enemies from destroying them.

The documents related to the federal investigation into Russian election meddling and alleged collusion with Trump’s campaign. At the end of his presidency, Trump and his team pushed to declassify these so-called “Russiagate” documents, believing they would expose a “Deep State” plot against him.

According to a person with direct knowledge of the situation and another source briefed on the matter, Trump told several people working in and outside the White House that he was concerned Joe Biden’s incoming administration — or the “Deep State” — would supposedly “shred,” bury, or destroy “the evidence” that Trump was somehow wronged.

Trump’s concern about preserving the Russia-related material is newly relevant after an FBI search turned up a trove of government documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Since the search, Trump has refused to say which classified government papers and top-secret documents he had at Mar-a-Lago and what was the FBI had seized. (Trump considers the documents “mine” and has directed his lawyers to make that widely-panned argument in court.) The feds have publicly released little about the search and its results. It’s unclear if any of the materials in Trump’s document trove are related to Russia or the election interference investigation. A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

But both Trump and his former Director of National Intelligence have hinted that Russia-related documents could be among the materials the FBI sought. “I think they thought it was something to do with the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax,” Trump said during a Sept. 1 radio interview. “They were afraid that things were in there — part of their scam material.”

Former DNI John Ratcliffe told CBS days earlier that, while he had no knowledge of what was in the records, “It wouldn’t surprise me if there were records related to [Russia] there.” 
Yet another motive for Trump stealing classified documents. This keeps getting worse for him.

In a memo to the acting attorney general and intelligence officials sent the day before Trump left office, he claimed the Justice Department had sent him a binder of materials on the FBI’s so-called “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation in late December 2020. The department sent Trump that information, he claimed, “so I could determine to what extent materials in the binder should be released in unclassified form.”

The materials included “transcripts of intercepts made by the FBI of Trump aides, a declassified copy of the final FISA warrant approved by an intelligence court, and the tasking orders and debriefings of the two main confidential human sources, Christopher Steele and Stefan Halper,” according to John Solomon, Trump’s representative to the National Archives.

Trump White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows later wrote in his memoir that he “personally went through every page” of the documents to make sure the declassified portions didn’t “disclose sources and methods” and described his frustration by what he considered “push back” from the Department of Justice and FBI. 
Meadows and Trump worked to release the material up until “minutes before” Biden’s inauguration. Trump sent a memo on Jan. 19 accepting the FBI’s redactions and ordering declassification. Meadows sent a followup memo on Biden’s inauguration day. The material was never released publicly. But in a series of podcast interviews recorded before the FBI search, former Nunes and Trump official Kash Patel shed some light on the administration’s broader plans. He claimed Trump had asked him to help retrieve and publish so-called “Russiagate” material the White House counsel’s office had sent to the National Archives in the last days of the administration.
If Trump had "classified evidence" of a plot against him, don't you think he would have used it before now?
Just because he stole classified documents that he thinks are evidence, doesn't mean they are evidence.

Stealing documents like these is not an accident, not an oversight, not about a debate over whether they were Trump’s or not—which is how Trump’s defenders have sought to frame the discussion. There is simply no defense for this. The punishment for stealing such secrets (even if no one else ever saw them) is and should be severe.

The risk involved in taking these documents and then lying about having them is extraordinarily high. Therefore, the decision to do so must have been carefully made, even by a reckless narcissist like Trump. As such, there must have been a careful calculus made to take and hold these ultra-sensitive secrets.

It is essential that we find out why he took them, why he lied about having them, why he did not return them when subpoenaed, who may have seen them, whether copies were made, whether there are other such documents in his possession, and much much more. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

Indeed, contrary to the measured pace of the investigation to date, when documents like these are stolen the issue must shift from caution and deference to a former president to swift containment of what could be a grievous national security breach. It is time for action and the severest penalties the law allows.

As a consequence, and given the gravity of Trump’s almost certain crimes, this moment presents a new and defining test for Attorney General Merrick Garland. It also presents one for President Joe Biden and for our justice system. There are no close calls here, and the costs of inaction, slow action, or tentativeness are incalculably high. Indeed, it is important to accept and acknowledge that these revelations, should they be true, make it clear that the “go slow” approach of the Department of Justice has proven to be ill-considered. Very ill-considered.

Much as Judge Cannon has erroneously argued should be done (a fact acknowledged even by Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr), the Justice Department has treated Trump as though he were due special treatment. The DOJ has gone slow. It has given him multiple opportunities to resolve the issues associated with these documents that would not be afforded to any of us.

Perhaps that would be understandable were Trump any other president. Perhaps that would be understandable had Robert Mueller not found a strong case to be made that Trump serially obstructed justice. Perhaps that would be understandable were Trump not responsible for a deadly coup attempt that culminated in an armed assault on the U.S. Capitol.

It seems far-fetched that such a man should be granted special courtesies, that his word and assurances should be accepted at face value, and that arguments that he had special prerogatives long denied other presidents by the courts should be considered. But once it became clear that he was likely in violation of the Espionage Act, likely obstructing justice, and likely putting the lives of our human intelligence assets at risk, it should have been clear that the time for deference to this one-man assault on our interests and values should have come to an end.
The issue remains that the kind of documents Trump supposedly stole would be worth, you know, billions to the right people as well.

We're in solid traitor territory, folks.

BREAKING: Queen Elizabeth II Passes At 96

Britain's longest-reigning monarch has died today, with her family in Scotland's Balmoral Castle.

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch whose rule spanned seven decades, died on Thursday at the age of 96, Buckingham Palace has announced. 
Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952, on the death of her father, King George VI. She oversaw the last throes of the British empire, weathered global upheaval and domestic scandal, and dramatically modernized the monarchy.

She died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after doctors said they had become concerned about her health on Thursday. 
Elizabeth ruled over the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms, and became one of the most recognizable women ever to have lived. Her son, Charles, immediately became King upon her death.
She ruled as long as the Zandarparents have been alive, and *that* always throws me for a loop.
We now enter the era of King Charles.


Press The Meat, Con't

A disgraced former Clark County Democrat is the prime suspect in this week's murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German.
Less than a day after asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect in the stabbing death of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, police served a search warrant Wednesday at the home of Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles.

The search marked a stunning development in the police investigation because it indicated for the first time that the killing might be related to German’s work exposing public wrongdoing. German’s investigation of Telles this year contributed to the Democrat’s primary election loss, and German was working on a potential follow-up story about Telles the week he was killed.

Tuesday afternoon, police released photos of a vehicle tied to the homicide suspect: a red or maroon GMC Yukon Denali. Later that evening, Review-Journal reporters observed Telles in the driveway of his home, standing next to a vehicle matching that description.

Police arrived at Telles’ home in the western valley around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday and blocked off nearby streets. Shortly before 9 a.m., police released a statement saying they were “currently serving search warrants” in connection with the homicide investigation.

“No further information will be provided at this time,” police said in the statement.

Detectives interviewed Telles during the search of his home, according to authorities.

The GMC vehicle and a second vehicle were towed from Telles’ property at about 12:50 p.m on Wednesday. The residence is less than 6 miles from the home where German was found dead on Saturday.

Attempts to reach Telles for comment on Wednesday were not successful. When he arrived home at about 2:20 p.m., he was wearing what appeared to be a white hazmat suit. He did not respond to reporters’ questions as he entered his garage and closed the door.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson declined to comment on the homicide investigation.

German spent months reporting on the turmoil surrounding Telles’ oversight of the public administrator’s office.

The 45-year-old Democrat lost his re-election bid in June’s primary after German’s findings were published. German also had recently filed public records requests for emails and text messages between Telles and three other county officials: Assistant Public Administrator Rita Reid, estate coordinator Roberta Lee-Kennett and consultant Michael Murphy. Lee-Kennett was identified in previous stories as a subordinate staffer allegedly involved in an “inappropriate relationship” with Telles.

German, 69, was found dead on Saturday morning outside his northwest Las Vegas home, the Metropolitan Police Department reported. Police said they believe he was fatally stabbed during an altercation the day before.
This case seems open and shut.
For all the dangerous rhetoric from Republicans about hanging reporters from trees as "enemies of the people" it was almost certainly an elected Democrat that actually murdered a reporter over having his criminal actions exposed.
A man is dead as a result. Cue Republicans wailing about "Biden's stochastic terrorist speech" last week.
It's a sober reminder that our side is far from perfect, but we can't let the perfect become the enemy of the good, either.

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