Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Last Call For The Bad Batch, Con't

The sad, pathetic story of Republican House candidate J.R. Majewski is coming to a shuddering halt, after last week's Associated Press story finding that Majewski never served in Afghanistan where he responded with the laughable notion that his tour there was classified. Majewski threatened to sue the AP for libel, in which case the AP decided there had to be more to the story and whoa Betty, was there ever more to the story.

Republican J.R. Majewski has centered his campaign for a competitive Ohio congressional seat around his biography as an Air Force veteran. But one of the big questions that has surfaced is why Majewski was told he could not reenlist in the Air Force after his initial four years were up.

Majewski’s campaign said last week that he was punished and demoted after getting in a “brawl” in an Air Force dormitory in 2001. Military records obtained since then by The Associated Press, however, offer a different account of the circumstances, which military legal experts say would have played a significant role in the decision to bar him from reenlisting. They indicate Majewski’s punishment and demotion were the result of him being stopped for driving drunk on a U.S. air base in Japan in September 2001.

The documents, which were provided to the AP and independently authenticated, present yet another instance where the recorded history of Majewski’s service diverges from what he has told voters as he campaigns while using his veteran status as a leading credential.

In a statement, Majewski acknowledged that he was punished for drunken driving, though he didn’t address why his campaign previously said his demotion was the result of a fight.

This mistake is now more than 20 years old. I’m sure we’ve all done something as young adults that we look back on and wonder ‘what was I thinking?’ and I’m sure our parents and grandparents share these sentiments,” Majewski said.

Since starting his campaign to unseat longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Majewski has repeatedly said he was a combat veteran who served a tour of duty under “tough” circumstances in Afghanistan. By his own account, he once went more than 40 days in the country without a shower due to a lack of running water.

His story came under intense scrutiny last week when the AP, citing military documents obtained through public records requests, reported that he did not deploy to Afghanistan as he claimed, but instead spent six months based in Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, where he helped load and unload aircraft.

The latest revelation that Majewski was demoted for drunken driving adds another wrinkle. Last week, the AP asked Majewski’s campaign why his military service records showed that he was not allowed to reenlist in the Air Force and left the service after four years at a rank that was one notch above where he started.

At the time, his campaign said in an email that Majewski was “in a fight in the dormitory with another servicemember” which “knocked his rank down.” His campaign added that he later gained some of that rank back.

The personnel records obtained by the AP make no mention of a fight. Instead, they state that Majewski was demoted for drunken driving at Kadena Air Base in Japan on Sept. 8, 2001. And rather than gain his rank back — as Majewski’s campaign said — the records indicated he continued to hold the rank of E-2, one notch above entry level, that he was demoted to for the rest of his active duty.

“When you decided to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after indulging in intoxicating liquor you brought discredit upon yourself, 733rd Air Mobility Squadron, and the Air Force,” the disciplinary records state, referring to the unit Majewski was assigned to at the time. “Further misconduct by you of any type will not be tolerated.”

The three-page document details Majewski’s punishment, which included a reprimand and 30 days of extra duty in addition to the demotion. It bears Majewski’s signature and shows he consulted a lawyer and waived his right to a court-martial. He also waived his right to appeal the punishment and requested that the document not become public, the records show.

The AP was not able to obtain a “written presentation” from Majewski, which was referred to in the disciplinary paperwork. The campaign did not respond to a request from the AP to provide the document.

Eric Mayer, a former West Point graduate and Army infantry officer later turned military lawyer, reviewed Majewski’s documents at AP’s request. He said that “the overall nature and quality of (Majewski’s) military service can be severely questioned simply by virtue of the fact that he got out as a E-2 after four years.”
To recap, Majewski lied about his military service, he lied about his exit to civilian life, and he lied about his "classified" Afghanistan posting because in reality, he was a drunken, violent asshole who got kicked out of the Air Force like the airman he was.

There's no way this jackass would have been anywhere close to a classified anything with his service record. Like all these MAGA children, he's a loud, stupid bully eho got caught lying.

Hopefully, he'll never be close to a Representative of the US House, either.

The Loan Arranger Faces The Posse

Of all of President Biden's accomplishments in the last 20 months, none infuriates conservatives more than his student loan forgiveness program, which has driven right-wing pundits into fits of rage usually reserved for Barack Obama breathing.

Back in August, Biden’s lawyers argued with half-straight faces that the 2003 HEROES Act — which, as Bloomberg Law has noted, was passed not as a generalized enabling act but “to help borrowers serving in the military in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks” — could be twisted to apply to any national emergency, including pandemics such as Covid-19. This, of course, was nonsense. Among the specific problems with Biden’s argument was that the 2003 HEROES Act does not cover debt cancelation (i.e., transference to taxpayers); that its “direct economic hardship” language does not allow for mass relief; that the application of its “or national emergency” language clearly violates the major questions doctrine; and that the administration’s insistence that the act was designed to allow the executive branch “to act quickly should a situation arise that has not been considered” was flatly contradicted by the fact that the president waited until two-and-a-half years into the pandemic before acting, and then gave relief to the most privileged people in America. But, even if one were to ignore all that, one could still not get past the fact that the powers to which Biden laid claim can be applied only when there is an active emergency, and that the active emergency Biden is citing has now passed.

In May, the Biden administration (correctly) reported that it was obliged to end the use of Title 42 of the 1944 Public Health Services Act at the border because the Covid-19 emergency had passed. In a memo, the Department of Justice explained that, in 2020, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invoked its authority under Title 42 due to the unprecedented public-health dangers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” but that, two years later, “the CDC has now determined, in its expert opinion, that continued reliance on this authority is no longer warranted in light of the current public-health circumstances. That decision was a lawful exercise of CDC’s authority.”

Or, to put it more simply: Three months before Biden’s move on student loans, the CDC concluded that the pandemic was no longer enough of an emergency to justify extraordinary measures at the border.

That, a quarter of a year later, the same administration asked us all to believe that the same pandemic was bad enough to justify giving hundreds of billions of dollars to college students was always utterly preposterous. Tonight, on 60 Minutes, President Biden confirmed as much in public. The courts — and the voters — must take note.


No pandemic emergency, no need for student debt relief, so it's illegal, because everything Biden does by executive order is "illegal".  Only the thing is you can't just sue the country because you don't like the policies of the person in charge, you have to show standing, that is, the policy is directly hurting you.

So there's no surprise then that the right-wing noise machine has found a think tank lawyer who is ready to go to the mattresses on this as the victim of Biden's nefarious plot to save him tens of thousands in student loan debt, as Judd Legum examines.


One of the biggest challenges in filing a lawsuit to block Biden's debt relief program is fulfilling the technical legal requirement of standing. To file a civil suit in the United States, you can't just point out that someone is doing something that you think is wrong. You have to show that you are suffering immediate and concrete harm.

But who really suffers from student loan forgiveness?

According to the lawsuit, it's Garrison. The lawsuit says that Garrison "financed his college education using federal student loans" and was a Pell Grant recipient. Garrison says he is currently enrolled in another program called Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Under that program, people working in a public interest capacity can have their loans forgiven after making 120 payments.

Garrison also says he lives in Indiana, which does not tax loans forgiven under the PSLF but does tax loans forgiven in other ways, including under Biden's new program. So Garrison says that the program will require him to pay "a state income tax liability of more than $1,000 for 2022" even though "a $20,000 reduction in his total indebtedness will not change either his monthly payment obligation or the total amount of the loans he must repay." This, the lawsuit states, gives Garrison standing.

There are a couple of issues, however, with Garrison's argument. First, the details of the program have yet to be established by the Biden administration. The administration could simply design the program so that anyone can opt-out. The White House indicated that would be the case in its response to the lawsuit. "The claim is baseless for a simple reason: No one will be forced to get debt relief. Anyone who does not want debt relief can choose to opt out," Abdullah Hassan, White House assistant press secretary, said in a statement.

The other issue involves Garrison's state of residence. According to the lawsuit, Garrison lives in Indiana. This is important because Indiana is one of the few states that would tax student loan forgiveness provided by Biden's program. But, until Tuesday morning, PLF's website said that Garrison was based in Washington, DC. Up until very recently, Garrison's LinkedIn page said the same thing.

This is significant because DC would not tax student loan forgiveness under Biden's program, and Garrison's case would be moot.

PLF's lawsuit is also fundamentally contradictory. The lawsuit argues that Garrison has standing because he would pay $1,000 more than he would otherwise. But the "solution" they offer to this problem is for millions of people to pay tens of thousands of dollars more.

It suggests that PLF may be more concerned about the economic and ideological interests of billionaires like Charles Koch than the large segment of the public saddled with student debt.
Gosh, you think?
And why are the Koch Bros against this?
Because the value of student loan debt increases as interest rates rise.  The whole point is to profit off this. Biden is challenging that entire paradigm, especially for Black and brown folks.

No wonder they want to sue the pants off of this program.

The Republican Mask Slips Once Again...

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, said in 2019 that women should be charged with murder if they violated his proposed abortion ban.

In an interview with Pennsylvania radio station WITF, Mastriano was pressed about a bill he sponsored that would generally bar abortions when a fetal heartbeat could first be detected, usually around six weeks. Mastriano’s remarks in that interview were previously unreported.

Under his proposed legislation, Mastriano was asked whether a woman who decided to get an abortion at 10 weeks gestation would be charged with murder. Critics of the bill Mastriano backed, and of other "heartbeat bills," say the approximate six-week timeframe is often before many women know they are pregnant.

"OK, let’s go back to the basic question there," Mastriano said. "Is that a human being? Is that a little boy or girl? If it is, it deserves equal protection under the law."

Asked if he was saying yes, they should be charged with murder, Mastriano responded: "Yes, I am."

After the Supreme Court decision in June overturning Roe v. Wade, the future of abortion rights has played prominently on the campaign trail. But few races will prove more important in determining statewide abortion access than the governor's contest in Pennsylvania, where those rights will be heavily influenced by whether Mastriano or his Democratic rival, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, win this fall.

Mastriano has downplayed his past support for stringent abortion restrictions after winning the primary this spring, seeking to paint Shapiro as extreme on the issue while claiming his personal views are "irrelevant" because ultimately the Legislature will write any changes to current state law.

His campaign did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

"My views are kind of irrelevant because I cannot rule by fiat or edict or executive order on the issue of life," Mastriano told the conservative network Real America's Voice in an interview he posted to his Twitter page on Monday. "It’s up to the people of Pennsylvania. So if Pennsylvanians want exceptions, if they want to limit the number of weeks, it’s going to have to come from your legislative body and then to my desk."
Shapiro has said he supports current state law, which bars the procedure after 24 weeks with exceptions. Pennsylvania's Legislature has been under GOP control for years and is likely to still be run by Republicans after this fall's election, making it a strong possibility that Mastriano would be able to sign further restrictions into law should he win this fall.

"Doug Mastriano has said his number one priority is banning abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother — and now, it’s clear he also wants to prosecute women for murder for making personal healthcare decisions," Manuel Bonder, a spokesperson for Shapiro’s campaign, said in a statement. "Mastriano has the most extreme anti-choice position in the country — and there is no limit to how far he would go to take away Pennsylvania women’s freedom."
Please note that since the end of Roe, the Republican "compromise" position on abortion is "We won't throw in you in prison if you get one in another state."  Pretty soon, that position is going to become "Actually we will" in a GOP-controlled state in 2023.

If Doug Mastriano wins, Pennsylvania will be that state.

Vote like your country depends on it.

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