Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Collectors of Classified Documents

January 25, 2023

Collectors of Classified Documents

When leaving the White House, everybody takes home some souvenir secret documents. It seems like that, anyway. Trump had 300. Ex-VP Biden had a few. Now it turns out that ex-Veep Mike Pence had some back home in Indiana, too. It’s a questionable hobby.

The federal government began the modern system of document classification in 1951, updating it in 1953 and 2009. Maybe the FBI also needs to search the homes of Harry Truman, Alben Barkley, Ike, Nixon, JFK, LBJ, Hubert Humphrey, Spiro Agnew, Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, George W. Bush,  Dick Cheney, and Barack Obama.

Kamala Harris, take heed.

More:

“Trump Angrily Orders Pence to Return All Classified Documents to Mar-a-Lago,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

Updates:

See? We told you.

“Classified records pose conundrum stretching back to Carter,” Zeke Miller, Farnoush Amiri, Colleen Long, and Jill Colvin, Associated Press

“US National Archives asks ex-presidents to check for classified papers,” Hugo Lowell, The Guardian

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Congress Moves From Comedy to Tragedy

January 12, 2023

Congress Moves From Comedy to Tragedy

The careening clown car of the House Republican majority has finally put Kevin McCarthy behind the wheel as Speaker, so the comedy ends, and the tragedy begins. Politico’s Jesús Rodríguez likens Rep. McCarthy’s positon to various Shakespearian princes, but it’s really really closer to Marlowe or Goethe; not Hamlet or Macbeth but Faustus. Mr. McCarthy has clearly made a secret pact with the Devil.

The 55-page House Rules Package is evil enough, but it turns out there’s a secret 3-page addendum that the GOP majority passed, sight unseen. Was it written it blood? Probably. It lists McCarthy’s specific concessions to the MAGA Freedom Caucus terrorists who spent a week blocking his speakership.

What’s in the secret addendum? No GOP rep will even concede that it exists; that’s the first rule of far-right fight club.

If Kevin McCarthy won’t live up to its unspecified terms, the Feedom Caucus cabal won’t steal his soul, but they’ll call a snap vote and remove him as Speaker. For Mr. McCarthy, that will be Hell enough.

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Insurreição no Brasil

January 11, 2023

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so The Donald must be thrilled that devotees of the “Trump of the Tropics” in Brazil mirrored the US January 6th insurrectionists, storming the Jetson-esque government buildings of Brasilia, falsely claiming the country’s presidential election had been stolen. The similarity with January 6th is no coincidence: MAGA Rasputin Steve Bannon and Trump cultist Jason Miller had advised Bolsenaro on election denialism.

After the Brazilian insurrectionists trashed the futuristic courts, legislature, presidential offices and mansion, 1500 were arrested, and await trial. At the time of the riots, rightwing ex-president Jair Bolsonaro was in that US home of retired fascists, Florida. He had traveled there before his successor was inaugurated, on a diplomatic visa. Now that he is no longer in office, that visa is no longer valid, and he is subject to expulsion and extradition.

More:

“The violent attack on Brazil’s government was months in the making. Here’s what you need to know,” Rob Picheta, CNN

 

“Brazil’s ‘Trump of the Tropics’ Stoked Riots—Then He Fled to Florida,” Emily Green and Roberta Fortuna, Vice

“Brazil: The code word used to invite protesters to a riot,” Hannah Gelbart, Juliana Gragnani and Ricardo Senra, BBC News

“America’s Trumpist export to Brazil: Election denialism,” Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

“Brazil’s failed coup is the poison flower of the Trump-Bolsonaro symbiosis,” Julian Borger, The Guardian

“Bannon on Brazil riots: ‘I’m not backing off 1 inch,’” Meridith McGraw, Politico

Update:

“Brazil’s Supreme Court to investigate Bolsonaro over January 8 attacks,” By Mia Alberti and Marcia Reverdosa, CNN

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Title via Google Ttanslate. Video: Channel 4 (UK)

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House Speaker Votes Continue

January 6, 2023

House Speaker Votes Continue

Several trolls in the so-called House Freedom Caucus have paralyzed the U.S. House of Representatives all week, blocking election of a presiding Speaker. The umpteenth round of voting will occur tonight, January 6th at 10 PM EST.

Update:

After 14 ballots, the House again failed to elect a Speaker. On this date two years ago, terrorists failed to disrupt Congress. Today, the terrorists inside the House did just that.

The House began voting for the 15th time at 11:50 PM.

New:

Early on Saturday, Kevin McCarthy was elected to the Office of Speaker of the House, or what’s left of it.

More:

“The ‘spoiler caucus’ is creating chaos,” David Winston, Roll Call

“The Chaos Caucus Is Now In Charge,” Michelle Cottle, New York Times

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DeSantis Sues to Promote Florida COVID Deaths

December 15, 2022

DeSantis Sues to Promote Florida COVID Deaths

GOP Governor Ron DeSantis is weaponizing Florida’s court system to attack the vaccines that would have saved the lives of the Floridians he sacrified to COVID. Mr. DeSantis wants a grand jury to investigate the rare cases of heart inflamation attributed to vaccinations, when such conditions are seven times more frequent among those suffering from COVID. Since anti-vaccine rhetoric is killing more Republicans than Democrats, you’d think self-serving MAGA hacks like Ron DeSantis would avoid bad-mouthing vaccines.

The governor is backed up by quack-medicine-loving Dr. Joseph Ladapo, the state’s surgeon general, a “well-educated COVID crank.” As a physician, Dr. Ladapo never treated COVID patients, and his public health research record is in doubt. Florida pays Dr. Ladapo $362,000 a year, 52% more than his more-qualified predecessor, a salary bumped by an additional no-show job as a University of Florida professor.

The Ron DeSantis “investigation” into the extensively-reviewed vaccines seems designed to keep the governor’s name in the headlines and capture the Qanon faction from Trump ahead of the 2024 presidential campaign.

More:

“DeSantis seeks grand jury investigation of COVID-19 vaccines,” Freida Frisaro, Associated Press

“Gov. DeSantis, Surgeon General Ladapo go after COVID vaccines; request statewide grand jury,” Isaac Morgan, Florida Phoenix

Related:

“After vaccines became available, a partisan gap in deaths emerged,” Philip Bump, Washington Post

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2024 Presidential Campaign Shapes Up

December 1, 2022

2024 Presidential Campaign Shapes Up

Last week, at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump, former president, had dinner with Ye, former Kanye West, and Ye’s companion, Holocaust-denying white supremacist Nick Fuentes. Ye announced he would run for president in 2024, and asked Mr. Trump to be his running mate. As this meal occured a week after Mr. Trump had announced his own candidacy, hilarity ensued.

Perhaps the former Kanye West felt the former president would be open to his deal after Mr. Trump cost the GOP the Senate in the midterms and nearly lost them the House. On the other hand, Ye, as Kanye, was briefly a 2020 presidential candidate, and that evaporated faster than his Adidas deal.

More:

“A ‘nightmare’: Trump team does damage control after he dines with Ye and white supremacist Nick Fuentes,” Marc Caputo, NBC News

“Report: Trump Doesn’t Want to Condemn His Holocaust-Denying Dinner Date Because It Might Alienate His Jew-Hating Supporters,” Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

“Trump Says He Did Not Know Identity of Dinner Guest, Owing to White Hood,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

Related:

“Trump Brought Nazis Into the GOP. DeSantis Won’t Expel Them.” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

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Alaskans Reject Sarah Palin — Again

November 28, 2022

Alaskans Reject Sarah Palin -- Again
Fresh on the heels of August’s loss in Alaska’s special congressional election, MAGA proto-Trump Sarah Palin — former Miss Wasillaex-sportscaster, once part-time Temp-Governor of Alaska, losing GOP Vice Presidential candidate, cancelled reality TV starArizona homeownerMasked Singer, and failed Fox News commentator — also lost November’s election to pro-fish Democrat Mary Peltola. Previously, Ms. Peltola was an Orutsararmuit Native Council Tribal Court Judge and 5-term Alaska state legislator before serving the remainder of deceased US Congressman Don Young’s term, then winning re-election to a full two-year term.  A Yup’ik woman from the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta, she is the first Native Alaskan to serve in the U.S. Congress. Ms. Palin, on the other hand, had been endorsed by Donald Trump.

These days, Sarah Palin seems a quaint relic of the Republican party she helped destroy.

More:

“Next act for Palin unclear after Alaska House losses,” Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

“Sarah Palin Loses as the Party She Helped Transform Moves Past Her,” Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times

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Election Day, November 8, 2022

November 8, 2022

Election Day, November 8, 2022

If you haven’t already voted by mail, go to your local polling place. If you recieved a mail-in ballot but didn’t get around to sending it in yet, go to your state election board website to check the rules; see if you can mail it at a post office (to get today’s postmark) or put in a ballot dropbox near you. 22 states will accept mail-in ballots postmarked by today. Later, you’ll be able to track your mail-in or provisional ballot.

This is not a test. It counts. Vote.

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Bannon Behind Bars?

October 19, 2022

Bannon Behind Bars?

Update: Steve Bannon has been setenced to 4 months in prison. He will appeal.

The Department of Justice indicted Trump creature and fascist-fancier Steve Bannon for Contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena compelling his testimony before the January 6th Select Committee. He was convicted back in July. The DOJ has recommended that he receive a six-month prison sentence and a $200,000 fine.

Mr. Bannon dodged the slammer after his previous indictment — for money laundering and conspiracy in defrauding donors to a charity — when he was pardoned by then-president Trump as he was exiting the White House. Unindicted co-conspirator Trump himself was recently subpoenaed by that same Congressional Committee.

More:

“Steve Bannon: justice department urges six-month prison term in contempt case,” Sam Levine, The Guardian

“DOJ seeks 6-month prison sentence for Steve Bannon,” Erin Doherty, Axios

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DeSantis Refugee Trafficking Fallout

September 22, 2022

DeSantis Refugee Trafficking Fallout

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the future of the MAGA GOP, is basking in the afterglow of flying 48 Venezuelan refugees from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard to “own the Libs,”spending $615,000 in public funds on two charter jets. That’s a cost of $12,300 for each refugee DeSantis trafficked for his own political purposes.

DeSantis still has almost $11.5 million more in purloined federal COVID relief funds left, so he’s doubling down. There’s been a further payment of $950,000, possibly for flights to Delaware (Joe Biden’s home state) or New Jersey. The charter jet contractor, Vertol Systems, owned by Republican donor James Montgomerie, purchased helicopters from Russian government-controlled companies, and received a PPP loan of $255,583 in 2020, during the Trump Administration. Vertol has been associated with James Odom, who went to prison for laundering campaign funds for Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign. It’s not clear if Vertol got a sole-source contract; they’re certainly not the only charter jet outfit in Florida, so state procurement officials should take a look at that, if they’re not afraid of poltical retribution.

DeSantis and his cronies may be liable for other crimes. They fraudulently lured unsuspecting refugee men, women, and children from Texas to a small, isolated town in Massachusetts, promising non-existant jobs and housing. The refugees are suing for fraud, and a Texas sheriff is looking into the matter.

Is it interstate human trafficking? It may be a gray area but, in any case, it’s certainly cruel. Of course, that’s the point.

Update:

“DeSantis risks voter backlash in Florida with migrant flights,” Max Greenwood and Ann Parnes, The Hill

More:

“Massachusetts seeks human trafficking probe targeting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over migrants,” John Bacon and Rachael Devaney, USA Today

“The smoking gun in Martha’s Vineyard,” Judd Legum, Popular Information 

“Senator Ted Cruz says that transporting migrants is illegal, but commends GOP governors for it anyway,” Alia Shoaib, Insider

“DeSantis actions on migrants is ‘mini-ethnic cleansing’, expert warns,” Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

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