Thursday, May 25, 2023

Last Call For Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

The leader of one of America's worst white supremacist domestic terrorist organizations has just been sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for his role in the January 6th terrorist attack.
The founder of the far-right Oath Keepers has been sentenced to 18 years in federal prison in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol following his conviction on seditious conspiracy.

The sentence for Stewart Rhodes is the longest imposed on a Jan. 6 defendant to date. “You, sir, present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country and to the republic and to the very fabric of this democracy," Judge Amit Mehta said before handing down the sentence.

Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy in November along with Kelly Meggs, a fellow Oath Keepers member who will be sentenced later Thursday afternoon.

"They won't fear us until we come with rifles in hand," Rhodes wrote in a message ahead of the Jan. 6 attack. After the attack, in a recording that was played in court during his trial, he said his only regret was that they “should have brought rifles.”

When given the chance to speak before sentencing, Rhodes, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, called himself a "political prisoner" and said he believes the only crime he committed was opposing those who are “destroying our country.” He added that he hopes former President Donald Trump wins in 2024.

Mehta told Rhodes that he was found guilty of seditious conspiracy “not because of your beliefs, not because you supported the other guy, not because Joe Biden is president right now,” but because of the facts of the case, and his actions before, during and after Jan. 6.

“You are not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes,” Mehta said.

Rhodes and Meggs were put on trial alongside Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson and Thomas Caldwell, fellow Oath Keepers who were convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, but not seditious conspiracy. Watkins and Harrelson will be sentenced on Friday.
Rhodes is hoping Trump wins because Trump has already promised to pardon and other January 6th terrorists as soon as he takes office, and has made that promise on multiple occasions. Whether or not Trump would actually do that is up in the air, Trump's view of other people is 100% transactional in nature, but I suspect Trump would employ Rhodes and his crew as armed enforcers if he did.
Ron DeSantis says he'd consider pardoning all the January 6th terrorists as well, so it's not just Trump. Any Republican presidential winner would be under heavy pressure to do so.

Hopefully Rhodes stays in his new home until 2041 or so, or he leaves early in a bag, I'm fine with either...

Another Supreme Disaster For The Environment

As we close in on the last six weeks of this year's US Supreme Court session, we get to the major rulings that chance the face of America as the Roberts Curt continues to reshape the country into a Christian conservative corporatocracy, and today's Sackett v. EPA ruling is as bad as critics of the court's conservative bloc expected, if not worse.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency in a dispute over its authority to regulate certain wetlands under the Clean Water Act, long seen as a key tool to protect waterways from pollution.

In an opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito in the case known as Sackett v. EPA, the high court found that the agency's interpretation of the wetlands covered under the Clean Water Act is "inconsistent" with the law's text and structure, and the law extends only to "wetlands with a continuous surface connection to bodies of water that are 'waters of the United States' in their own right."

Five justices joined the majority opinion by Alito, while the remaining four — Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson — concurred in the judgment.

The decision from the conservative court is the latest to target the authority of the EPA to police pollution. On the final day of its term last year, the high court limited the agency's power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, dealing a blow to efforts to combat climate change.

That dispute involved the Clean Air Act, and the Supreme Court now has addressed the EPA's authority under the Clean Water Act, which regulates discharges of pollutants into what the law defines as "waters of the United States." Under regulations issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, "waters of the United States" is defined to include "wetlands" that are "adjacent" to traditional navigable waters.

The long-running case dates back to 2007, when Michael and Chantell Sackett began building a home on a lot in a residential neighborhood near Priest Lake, Idaho. After the Sacketts obtained local building permits and started placing sand and gravel fill on the lot, the EPA ordered the work to stop and directed the couple to restore the property to its natural state, asserting the land contained wetlands subject to protection under the Clean Water Act.
In other words, millions of acres of wetlands whose waters feed into America's rivers and lakes are no longer under EPA protection, and corporations can do whatever they want with the land as far as building, pollution and environmental damage that will almost certainly end up in our water supplies.

So far this term the Roberts Court has gutted the Clear Air Act, and now it has gutted the Clean Water Act.

Ron And Elon Have Gone Wrong

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his 2024 residential bid on Wednesday using Elon Musk's broken toy and "things did not go well for them" is perhaps the greatest understatement in American politics so far this year.

It was the announcement not heard ’round the world.

Ron DeSantis plotted to open his presidential campaign early Wednesday evening with a pioneering social media gambit, introducing himself during an audio-only Twitter forum with Elon Musk. His 2024 effort began instead with a moment of silence. Then several more.

A voice cut in, then two — Mr. Musk’s? — only to disappear again.

“Now it’s quiet,” someone whispered. This was true.

“We got so many people here that we are kind of melting the servers,” said David Sacks, the nominal moderator, “which is a good sign.” This was not true.

Soon, all signs were bad. Hold music played for a spell. Some users were summarily booted from the platform, where hundreds of thousands of accounts had gathered to listen.

“The servers are straining somewhat,” Mr. Musk said at one point, perhaps unaware that his mic was hot, at least briefly.

For 25 minutes, the only person unmistakably not talking (at least on a microphone) was Mr. DeSantis.

The Florida governor’s chosen rollout venue was always going to be a risk, an aural gamble on Mr. Musk, a famously capricious and oxygen-stealing co-star, and the persuasive powers of Mr. DeSantis’s own disembodied voice. (“Whiny,” Donald J. Trump has called him.)

But the higher-order downsides proved more relevant. Twitter’s streaming tool, known as Spaces, has been historically glitchy. Executive competence, core to the DeSantis campaign message, was conspicuously absent. And for a politician credibly accused through the years of being incorrigibly online — a former DeSantis aide said he regularly read his Twitter mentions — the event amounted to hard confirmation, a zeitgeisty exercise devolving instead into a conference call from hell.

“You can tell from some of the mistakes that it’s real,” Mr. Musk said.

At 6:26 p.m., Mr. DeSantis finally announced himself, long after his campaign had announced his intentions, reading from a script that often parroted an introduction video and an email sent to reporters more than 20 minutes earlier.

“Well,” he opened, “I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback.”

After ticking through a curated biography that noted his military background and his “energetic” bearing, Mr. DeSantis stayed on the line. Mr. Sacks, a tech entrepreneur who is close with Mr. Musk, acknowledged the earlier mess.

“Thank you for putting up with these technical issues,” he said. “What made you want to kind of take the chance of doing it this way?”

Mr. DeSantis swerved instantly to his Covid-era stewardship of Florida.

“Do you go with the crowd?” he asked, recalling his expert-flouting decision-making, “or do you look at the data yourself and cut against the grain?”

Rivals agreed: If he hoped to differentiate himself, Mr. DeSantis had succeeded, in his way.

“This link works,” the @JoeBiden account mocked, inviting followers to donate.

“‘Rob,’” Mr. Trump posted on Truth Social, a standard troll-by-misspelling, winding to a confusing (if potentially juvenile) punchline: “My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working.”

Even Fox News piled on.

“Want to actually see and hear Ron DeSantis?” read a pop-up banner on its website. “Tune into Fox News at 8 p.m. E.T.” (Urging donations once he got on the air, Mr. DeSantis wondered if supporters might “break that part of the internet as well.”
Seeing both DeSantis and Musk turned into laughingstocks across the internet represents the kind of apotheosis of loserdom that far exceeded my wildest expectations of failure to launch. Two white guys with gobs of money and political power were exposed for the frauds and incompetents that they always have been, and both of them are done. 

Musk will slink off to be managed by Twitter's new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, the former global advertising chief for NBCUniversal. DeSantis will slink off and rule his little swamp kingdom for as long as he can before his campaign end up being chucked into the Everglades of failure. What little credibility either of these clowns had left due to political and financial inertia was stripped clean from them yesterday.

The only thing that makes this better is that my own clown of a congressman, Thomas Massie, hitched himself to this disaster from the start and crashed and burned along with them.
Good riddance to bad rubbish, as they say.
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