…a lot of theories [DOT 23/6/22]

jury's out on the evidence...

…it is all

On Tuesday, two months after the South Dakota House of Representatives voted to impeach Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) for fatally running over a man and leaving the scene because he thought he had hit a deer, the state Senate convicted him on two impeachment charges in connection with the 2020 incident.

…quite literally

“MAGA leaders intend to use 2022 midterm wins to install Trump in 2024 regardless of the vote,” read a slide of the PowerPoint Hoffman presented to the group, which was obtained by The Washington Post.

He was pitching some of the nation’s wealthiest people on a doomsday idea that has become a growing obsession among the liberal donor community. Another slide, titled “How MAGA midterms can install Trump,” laid out a step-by-step hypothetical scenario: Republicans win statewide offices in key battleground states in 2022 and then change state laws in 2023 to give legislatures control over presidential electors. After the next presidential election, they declare votes from urban centers “tainted” and overrule the popular vote by sending their own slate of electors to Washington.

The goal of the presentation — described by someone familiar with the group who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations — was to raise tens of millions of dollars for groups that the PowerPoint described as being able to increase Democratic turnout, persuade swing voters to vote Democratic and “dissuade” Republican voters from going to the polls.

…too damn much

A top Democratic senator poured cold water Wednesday on the prospect of a landmark bipartisan privacy bill advancing this Congress as written, dealing a significant blow to long-stalled efforts to pass federal protections for consumers’ personal data.

…so I’ll try not look like this is an attempt to fit it all in

To recap: On Tuesday, the committee released text messages showing that Johnson’s top aide, Sean Riley, inquired with Vice President Mike Pence’s staff on Jan. 6 about having Johnson give Pence slates of Trump electors — in actuality, fake electors — for Michigan and Wisconsin. The Pence aide, Chris Hodgson, responded curtly, “Do not give that to him.”
The exchange raises a host of questions, most notably: Why was Johnson’s staff trying to deliver this information? And: Could this implicate Johnson’s office or others in criminal activity, given that the slates themselves might be illegal?
Essentially, Johnson said his office was just a go-between. He said the slates came from a House office and were transmitted “staff to staff.” But he offered no detail on which House office or staffer was involved — except to say that it was an “intern.” And he said he wasn’t even interested in finding out further information.

To accept Johnson’s version of events, it would mean that his office was happy to serve as a conduit between a House intern and Pence’s staff, offering to deliver documents from the intern to no less than the vice president’s office without really reviewing the contents or their implications. In addition, his top aide said in the texts shared by the Jan. 6 committee that Johnson himself would deliver the documents — but we are still meant to believe that Johnson wasn’t clued in on this at all.
There’s another aspect of this that doesn’t make sense: Riley’s claim that the National Archives hadn’t received the slates. As Politico’s Kyle Cheney noted, that’s false. Documents released by the Jan. 6 committee show that the archivist had indeed received the slates from Michigan and Wisconsin. Cheney raised the possibility that perhaps they had been received by the Archives but hadn’t been shared with Pence, because they weren’t legally valid.

…but even so

In the past 24 hours, there has been an uptick in the number of violent threats against lawmakers on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and all lawmakers on the committee are likely to receive a security detail, according to three people involved with the investigation.

…people forced their way into the house of a “70…something – I won’t say exactly what” year old lady in search of her daughter & grand-daughter (freeman/moss mentioned in that tweet up there & who testified to the committee the other day) neither of whom were around because…& this seems like it ought to be significant…the FBI had advised them to move out of their homes ahead of jan 6th until “probably not before inauguration day” for their personal safety…& if that ain’t too damn much…well

Trump has so far enjoyed near-impunity. He has gotten away with abuse after abuse. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance spent years building a case against Trump for alleged financial crimes that at least one of his prosecutors believed constituted proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” — only to have a new DA abandon it. As president, Trump violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause but dodged multiple civil cases. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report presented evidence of multiple instances of obstruction of justice, but he did not charge Trump because of Justice Department rules protecting sitting presidents. The House of Representatives impeached him twice, but the Senate failed to convict both times.
This is not to take away from the Jan. 6 committee’s extraordinary work or the criminal cases it is helping to build. The committee’s investigation and the hearings have already provided powerful evidence that the former president engaged in a sweeping and wide-ranging criminal conspiracy in leading the first attempted presidential coup in U.S. history.
Even as the case continues to build in all these dimensions that Trump engaged in leading a criminal conspiracy to overturn the election, the hourlong tape-recorded Jan. 2 phone call Trump made to Raffensperger stands out as a smoking gun. Trump has no legal defense for this action.
When Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” a specified number of new votes, he was asking him to rig the result. He did this with no concern about the truth and in the face of an initial vote count and two recounts that had already taken place — with all three showing Biden the winner.
As part of his effort, Trump threatened Raffensperger with criminal prosecution if he did not provide these votes. The then-president complained that Raffensperger’s office was not acting on the claims of election fraud being promoted by Trump and his allies, including claims that ballots had been shredded and that unsigned ballots had been counted — all claims that Raffensperger’s office correctly denied.

Trump told Raffensperger that not acting on these claims was “a criminal offense.”

…there’s another hearing for the jan 6th committee today

The subpoena from the committee requests that Holder turn over any “raw footage” filmed by him or his team on Jan. 6, 2021, as well as footage of interviews from Sept. 2020 through the present with President Trump, his children, Jared Kushner, and Vice President Mike Pence. The committee also requested any footage in Holder’s possession “pertaining to discussions of election fraud or election integrity surrounding the November 2020 presidential election.” 

…& in many respects what that’s all about…pretty much qualifies as too damn much

…but…for the record…that whole “well, this seems pretty fucked up” thing

A stifling heat dome has been baking much of the southern U.S. for about two weeks now, and it’s showing no signs of relaxing its grip on the Lower 48. An intense pulse of heat is setting records in the Southeast, with highs near 105 degrees in parts of Georgia and the Florida Panhandle and heat index values topping 110.

The stronger the heat dome, the hotter the air mass. The European weather model simulates that temperatures at the 850 millibar level, about a mile above the ground, are in the unprecedented category. Anything magenta in the plot connotes something outside the data set of historical observations.

…is very much still something of a global trend

Data from the Indian Meteorological Department shows how drastically the weather is changing. In the first three weeks of June, the state of Assam received 109 percent more rain than normal; neighboring Meghalaya saw nearly three times its average amount of precipitation. The town of Mawsynram recorded about 40 inches of rainfall in 24 hours on June 17, surpassing the previous high, observed in 1966.
At stake are the lives of hundreds of millions of some of the poorest people in the world.
Deadly South Asia floods leave families trapped without food and water [WaPo]

Major flooding has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in southern China, with more rain expected.
Globally, more intense tropical storms are on the rise as a result of climate change, leading to increased flooding that threatens lives, crops and groundwater.

Afghanistan quake kills more than 1,000, injures 1,600, officials say [WaPo]

The once-a-decade nature summit will come after Cop27 in Egypt but clash with the World Cup in Qatar, prompting fears of a lack of attention and attendance by senior politicians and ministers, which was a key part of Cop26 in Glasgow, Scotland. The final global biodiversity framework agreement is likely to be negotiated in the hours before the World Cup final on 18 December.
Negotiations for the agreement are scheduled to restart this week in Nairobi, Kenya, with significant divisions over proposals to protect 30% of land and sea, money for protecting biodiversity and the use of the digital sequence information to produce cosmetics, drugs and other products.

Governments have never met a target to halt the destruction of nature and there are fears that this agreement will be a repeat of what has gone before, amid concerns of a standoff with the global north and south over resources to protect natural places.

…I mean…I guess I knew it…but to spell it out that way…”never met a target to halt the destruction of nature“?

What should we call an about-face like this? The word that comes most easily to mind is “hypocrisy” — or perhaps “greenwashing,” the insult that activists like to lob at companies that use eco-friendly rhetoric to launder their reputations. But this basic phenomenon, in which powerful people make climate pledges that turn out to wildly outrace their genuine commitments, has now become so pervasive that it begins to look less like venality by any one person or institution and more like a new political grammar. The era of climate denial has been replaced with one plagued by climate promises that no one seems prepared to keep.
In trading denial for dissonance, a certain narrative clarity has been lost. Five years ago, the stakes were clear, to those looking closely, but so were the forces of denial and inaction, which helps explain the global crescendo of moral fervor that appeared to peak just before the pandemic. Today the rhetorical war has largely been won, but the outlook grows a lot more confusing when everyone agrees to agree, paying at least lip service to the existential rhetoric of activists. It’s not just Boris Johnson — who once mocked “eco-doomsters” — declaring at the 2021 U.N. Climate Change Conference that it was “one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock.” The 1.5-degree goal was recently described as “fundamental for the survival of the ecosystem as a whole” by, of all people, the head of OPEC.

Rhetoric this unmoored from reality is often called disinformation. It is also simply disorienting — especially given how many narratives have been layered over our picture of the post-warming future. Yes, there’s still an awful lot of fossil-fuel propaganda out there, as well as a profusion of wishful thinking, climate poptimism and giddy techno-solutionism. But even among those who take the inevitability of warming seriously, there’s also a lot of normalization and compartmentalization, which allow many of the world’s most privileged to regard climate suffering as distant, if tragic. And there are the narrative temptations of apocalyptic thinking, too — which, while often misleading, at least gives a familiar shape to a future that can be otherwise quite difficult to make sense of.
Those straining to make the math work on the back end, by invoking large-scale carbon removal later this century, are generating novel dissonance, too. We see headlines about Stripe and its tech allies making a $925 million commitment to removal — perhaps without realizing that the I.P.C.C. has already built into nearly all its lower-warming scenarios the fact that, by 2050, every single year many billions of tons of carbon will be removed from the atmosphere. We nod our heads reflexively about proposals to plant a trillion trees, without realizing that doing so, as climate scientists like David Ho have pointed out, would set the carbon clock back by less than eight months at current emissions levels. (Plus, trees burn, unfortunately; last year, in fact, the carbon released by wildfires exceeded that released by any of the world’s economies except the United States and China.)

In this new world, it’s natural to want a neat fable, a clear sense of direction. If you had to choose just one story to tell, probably the most descriptive one is this: Warming is going to get considerably worse than it is today, with the damage created primarily by the world’s rich pummeling the world’s poor. But climate change is not only a morality tale of that kind, and how we regard the near-term future is not a simple, binary choice between two mood-affiliation poles — good news and bad, optimism and pessimism, damage or resilience. It is likely to unleash all of those at once, along with a lot of suffering and social fragmentation. Between the (now unlikely) worst cases and the (even more unlikely) best cases is an ugly muddle, through which we are now already wading — feeling our way toward anything that might qualify, even by degraded standards, as a relatively safe shore.
What’s Worse: Climate Denial or Climate Hypocrisy? [NYT]

…yeah…that one landed a little harder than I’d like

Democrats are likely to drop or scale back a key proposal in their party-line bill that would make it easier for clean energy developers to use federal tax credits, as they race to clinch a deal with holdout Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) in the coming weeks, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Manchin has indicated that he will not support a budget reconciliation bill that includes direct pay, in which payments are sent directly to companies that produce clean energy for consumers, according to the two individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private negotiations. Politico first reported Manchin’s opposition to the proposal.
Clean energy developers often don’t have enough tax liability to use clean energy credits themselves. As a workaround, many developers go to the tax equity markets, where they trade the tax credits for a smaller amount of cash upfront.

But Democrats say this system is problematic because some of the value of the credit goes to financial markets, rather than clean energy development. They argue that direct pay is a simple solution.
“The irony here is that some of the technologies that Manchin has been most publicly supportive of, like carbon capture and hydrogen in particular, would be most hurt by taking direct pay out of the tax package,” Sasha Mackler, who leads the Energy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told The Climate 202.

…& while clearly some people are trying

An environment group has launched a legal bid to halt a $16bn gas development in Western Australia, arguing the effect of its greenhouse gas emissions on the Great Barrier Reef will be significant and should be assessed under national environment law.

“It is of great significance to develop a robot to accurately collect and sample detrimental microplastic pollutants from the aquatic environment,” said Yuyan Wang, a researcher at the Polymer Research Institute of Sichuan University and one of the lead authors on the study. Her team’s novel invention is described in a research paper in the journal Nano Letters. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first example of such soft robots.”

Researchers at Sichuan University have revealed an innovative solution to track down these pollutants when it comes to water contamination: designing a tiny self-propelled robo-fish that can swim around, latch on to free-floating microplastics, and fix itself if it gets cut or damaged while on its expedition.

The robo-fish is just 13mm long, and thanks to a light laser system in its tail, swims and flaps around at almost 30mm a second, similar to the speed at which plankton drift around in moving water.

Five people, aged between 17 and 31, who have experienced devastating floods, forest fires and hurricanes are bringing a case to the European court of human rights, where they will argue that their governments’ membership of the little-known energy charter treaty (ECT) is a dangerous obstacle to action on the climate crisis. It is the first time that the Strasbourg court will be asked to consider the treaty, a secretive investor court system that enables fossil fuel companies to sue governments for lost profits.
The claimants are suing 12 ECHR member states, including France, Germany and the UK because these countries are home to companies that have been active users of the ECT charter. The German energy company RWE is suing the Netherlands for €1.4bn (£1.2bn) over its plans to phase out coal; Rockhopper Exploration, based in the UK, is suing the Italian government after it banned new drilling near the coast.

The claimants argue that membership of the ECT violates the right to life (article two) and right to respect for private and family life (article eight) of the European convention on human rights.

The case comes as the ECT falls under growing scrutiny. The treaty – which has about 55 member countries, including EU states, the UK and Japan – has been described as a real threat to the Paris agreement; it could allow companies to sue governments for an estimated €1.3tn until 2050 in compensation for early closure of coal, oil and gas plants. Activists and whistleblowers say these vast sums would stymie the green transition, while time is running out to keep within the 1.5C global heating limit.

The legal action comes as a letter to EU leaders by 76 climate scientists seen by the Guardian says that continuing to protect fossil fuel investors under ECT rules would prevent the closure of fossil fuel plants or ensure huge compensation payouts if shutdowns went ahead.

…to say that some people seem to be trying to make it worse

Germany will restart coal-fired power plants in order to conserve natural gas, the country’s economy minister announced on Sunday, amid concerns about a looming supply shortage after Russia cut gas deliveries to Europe this week.
Since European countries imposed sanctions to punish Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Russia has responded by cutting off gas supplies to several European countries. Last week, the Russian energy giant Gazprom also reduced flows through the Nord Stream pipeline, an important undersea link that carries gas directly to Germany.

…could be an understatement?

With weary familiarity, Israelis are preparing for their fifth election in less than four years. But at least one man is jubilant at the prospect of a new vote and a possible new chapter in a remarkable political life.
He is admired by many for campaigning against Iran’s nuclear program, putting in place a cutting-edge Covid-19 vaccine program, supporting Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, helping ease Israel’s isolation in the Arab world by working to normalize ties with Gulf Arab kingdoms and for his close friendship with former President Donald Trump.

His critics accuse him of eroding the country’s democratic foundations by seeking to weaken judicial independence, strengthening right-wing extremism and giving a boost to the state’s Jewish identity at the expense of its Arab citizens.

“Either you like Bibi, or you do not like Bibi,” said Hebrew University political scientist professor Gideon Rahat.

A long-running corruption case will hang over Netanyahu during any upcoming elections as it has during the past four votes.

…&…it’s just a for instance…but…take that thing about the european convention of human rights being potentially useful if you were to want to go to court against fossil fuel interests who look to make out from that energy charter treaty a lot like slave owners did from surrendering their “legitimate assets”…funny thing…but…& there’s nobody out here saying it has anything to do with how a thing like that might go for BP or anything…but guess who came out with a brand new bill of rights?

The government’s long-threatened, misleadingly titled and highly controversial bill of rights is finally here. It has been trailed by Dominic Raab and other ministers for years, but the European court of human rights’ intervention in the disgraceful Rwanda refugee scheme last week was apparently the opportune moment to launch this unwanted, uneccessary legislation.

…yup…boris’ lot…& that court just so happens to be one this little bill says they wouldn’t have to listen to

The Ministry of Justice has taken a hatchet to the single most powerful rights tool this country has ever had. Yet its press release announcing the bill suggests this is somehow good news for us all. Suspend your disbelief, but apparently “watering down” the Human Rights Act will in some way equate to an “expansion” of the right to freedom of expression. The MoJ cites journalists and their right to protect sources, suggesting this will be a valuable new protection. In fact, just a few months ago the journalist and former MP Chris Mullen relied on the Human Rights Act for precisely this purpose in an important press freedom case.

Believing that we are set to gain rights through this legislation requires serious mental acrobatics. The bill takes particular aim at “positive obligations”. These are the obligations that apply to public authorities and make it incumbent on them to take positive steps to protect people’s rights rather than merely restrain themselves from violating them. Positive rights are a vital tool that allows victims to hold the police accountable for serious failures in rape case investigations, for example, such as the appallingly mishandled case of the serial rapist John Worboys.

Repeated failings in the way that police and prosecution authorities investigate endemic violence against women has prompted a crisis of public confidence – yet Raab is now reducing victims’ rights to hold the authorities to account.

Positive obligations are also integral to the ability to secure effective public inquiries into deaths where the state may be responsible, such as the long-delayed Covid inquiry. It’s no coincidence, you might think, that the very politicians the Human Rights Act potentially holds to account might want to see it removed and replaced with this ersatz version.
It gets worse. As the government has been warned repeatedly, any significant change to the Human Rights Act could constitute a breach of the Good Friday agreement, upsetting a delicate balance of peace.

Our government is increasingly resistant to legal scrutiny. After last week’s Rwanda refugee flight was halted, we witnessed the kind of bitter sniping about the European court of human rights that could have come straight from Viktor Orbán or Vladimir Putin. The UK is now throwing its toys out of the pram. Yet the European court of human rights in Strasbourg is an invaluable last resort to millions. Indeed, lawyers acting for British national PoWs who have been sentenced to death in Ukraine may turn to this court for recourse.

…& the truth of the matter is that when it comes to reasons boris might want to throw his toys out of the pram…his cup doth run over a little bit

For Boris Johnson, Britain’s embattled and scandal-ridden prime minister, nowhere is safe.

On Thursday, that may become inescapably clear. Two local elections — one in a traditional Tory area in South Devon that the party has controlled almost continuously since 1885, the other in a postindustrial seat in North England that the Tories took from Labour for the first time in 90 years in 2019 — will deliver a decisive assessment of Mr. Johnson’s flailing popularity. As things stand, the Conservatives are set to lose both.
But the Conservatives’ problems are much bigger than the prime minister. After 12 years in office, under three different leaders, the Conservatives have collectively set the stage for Britain’s woes. The balance sheet is dire: Wages haven’t risen in real terms since 2010, austerity has hollowed out local communities, and regional inequality has deepened. Britain’s protracted departure from the European Union, pursued by the Conservatives without a clear plan, has only made matters worse.
As the prices of food and energy soar to record levels, Conservatives can point to causes outside their control: the pandemic’s global disruption, lockdowns in China, Russia’s war in Ukraine. But they cannot explain why, in this time of global crisis, Britain is afflicted with particular severity. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Britain’s economy won’t grow at all next year — a bleak forecast shared only, among major economies, with Russia.
For Conservatives, the chaos of Mr. Johnson’s prime ministership offers another appealing alibi. Having first ridden on the back of Mr. Johnson’s unruliness, Conservatives now claim that it is impeding their ability to address the serious problems facing the country. They often complain that they just want to “get back to governing.” But the truth is that Conservatives gave up on governing long ago — a fact that accounts both for Britain’s current mess and Mr. Johnson’s appeal in the first place.

Indeed, while Mr. Johnson’s own desperation to become party leader was always an open secret, his eventual rise to the top relied on his Conservative colleagues’ desperation as well. By 2019, after almost a decade in power and with little positive to show for it, there was a pressing need to plot a new national course. In a rut and out of ideas, Conservatives turned instead to a known peddler of feel-good fantasies. Mr. Johnson offered Conservatives an escape — from Europe, seriousness and self-doubt. What he lacked in sense of direction, he made up for with his boundless optimism and sense of humor. Punch lines could take the place of policy, raising spirits if not wages.
It Feels Like Boris Johnson’s Britain Is Finally ‘Sinking Giggling Into the Sea’ [NYT]

…whether it’s personal

First though, was a question from Labour’s Chris Elmore. Could Johnson confirm or deny whether he has ever tried to blag a job in government or the royal household for his girlfriend – now wife – Carrie Johnson? Bubbles of nonsense dribbled from the Convict’s mouth. What he had done is find lots of other people a job. Which must be why so many people are out of work. But no outright denial. Everyone was just amazed that he hadn’t lied.

So we can take that as a yes, then. After all, Johnson’s only interest in institutions and their safeguards is in how they can be twisted and corrupted to his ends. What is the point of going to all that trouble to become foreign secretary or prime minister if you’re not going to try to use your influence to find your lover a job?

Hell, he’d bought off his own brother with a peerage. He’d given Evgeny Lebedev a peerage. Even Evgeny’s friends have yet to work out if he exists in three dimensions. Mostly he resembles a bearded cardboard cutout. A billionaire without quality. And it’s rumoured he plans to elevate Paul Dacre to the Lords. So finding his latest lover a cushy number was a complete no-brainer. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be paid £100k for doing next to nothing in the Foreign Office if the only other job on offer was as a £10k cleaner in a care home?

…or…let’s call it business

After last-minute talks to avert them failed on Monday, the rail strikes that got under way this morning will be the biggest in the UK for more than 30 years. (Here’s how the Guardian covered the last one, which ended with an 8.8% pay rise for rail workers.) As well as the 24-hour walkouts by members of the RMT union – happening on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – a separate London Underground strike is happening in the capital on Tuesday.
About half of all rail lines will be closed completely and the timetable will start later and finish earlier than usual, running from 7.30am to 6.30pm. Services in Scotland and Wales will be severely affected despite operators not being directly involved because they rely on Network Rail staff to function.

…yes…the scotland that’s still pissed about the brexit thing & is run by the feisty lady who’d like to hold a referendum about seceding from a rather smaller union

Meanwhile, the government is making good on threats to remove some of the protections set out in law for striking workers – starting with the acceleration of plans to scrap a legal ban on using agency workers to limit the impact of future industrial action, an incendiary move.

…no prizes for guessing what relief from “scabs” that bill of rights might afford your average union member…& there’s some not insignificant unions that aren’t any too happy with the folks hawking it

The strikes may go on for some time – and as the cost of living bites more widely, they will only spread across the public sector. The RMT has suggested that strikes on the railways could continue until Christmas. Train drivers represented by Aslef are also expected to strike soon – and teachers and NHS workers could take industrial action too. On Monday, criminal barristers voted to go on strike over legal aid funding, which could see them walk out from next week. (Here is a summary of some of the possible impacts.) If all that comes to pass, this week’s rail strikes may soon look like a relatively minor inconvenience.

…& if you happen to be wondering…legal aid is…you know the “if you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you” part…it’s that, basically…which is the sort of work apparently boris’ bunch think it would be just dandy if maybe barristers could do rather more of to help clear the backlog of cases from when courts couldn’t try things in person…except not get paid for…which is an unsustainable proportion of pro bono work for what are in some senses self-employed contractors…anyway…it’s not all bad news

A judge presiding in the defamation lawsuit against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems ruled this week that the cable channel’s parent company, Fox Corporation, can be included in the suit, broadening the possible legal exposure to the highest ranks of the Fox media empire.

…but all the same…even if I guess some of it makes sense

“Given the prominence of the Proud Boys in the Committee’s publicly televised hearings and the appearance of several Proud Boys members in publicly aired videotape depositions (e.g., Tarrio), it is reasonably foreseeable that information relevant to the defendants’ guilt (or innocence) could soon be released to the parties and the public,” DOJ lawyers wrote.

“Were the trial in this case not continued, the parties in this case could find themselves in the unprecedented position of litigating a criminal trial simultaneous to the release of a Congressional report that is likely to include robust descriptions of the criminal conduct of the defendants.”

…it doesn’t require our resident florida-whisperer to tell what a difference a (D) makes

Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor, was charged along with his mentor, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, for fraudulently fundraising from “various entities” between 2016 to 2019, according to a Department of Justice press release. The Justice Department said the two allegedly diverted some of the money to a company controlled by Lettman-Hicks, who fraudulently disguised the funds as payroll payments to Gillum.
Gillum had been under federal investigation for years, starting with his time as Tallahassee mayor when he accepted freebies from lobbyists and special interests — including a free New York Harbor boat ride and tickets in New York to the musical “Hamilton,” which were supplied by an undercover FBI agent posing as a corrupt developer with a company called Southern Pines. Gillum was not charged in that scheme, but he agreed to pay a $5,000 state ethics fine for improperly accepting gifts.
The wide-ranging subpoena wasn’t limited to Gillum’s campaign and sought information about his work for a nonprofit, his ties to a wealthy donor and Lettman-Hicks, who was the top adviser to Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign and his Tallahassee city commission and mayoral races.

Lettman-Hicks, a consultant who runs the National Black Justice Coalition that advocates for Black LBGTQ people, suggested in 2019 that the federal investigation was racially motivated.

…I mean…I’m not saying it’s not plausibly the case that particular democrat might be guilty…but…that it’s definitely going to be for the courts to decide…seems like that part plays a little different if your bent is to the (R)…because if he has a case to answer…then some other people sure as fuck do…not the least of which may pass for lawyers

U.S. prosecutors asked a judge on Wednesday to launch an ethics inquiry into whether defense lawyers for prominent members of the right-wing Oath Keepers are improperly allowing an attorney closely allied with former President Donald Trump to help pay their legal fees.

The Justice Department’s court filing cited media reports alleging that the legal fees for Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes are being paid by Defending the Republic, an entity controlled by Sidney Powell, an attorney who played a key role in Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat. The group is also paying fees for Oath Keeper defendants Kelly Meggs, Connie Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson, it said.

The payments, if true, could violate professional conduct rules limiting compensation methods for attorneys in the District of Columbia, prosecutors said.

…or supposed law-makers

House Republican leaders formally opposed the bipartisan gun legislation Wednesday and pushed lawmakers to vote against the measure.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., told House Republicans that they oppose the measure at a closed-door meeting Wednesday.
At least 10 Senate Republicans have signaled that they support the bipartisan bill, which means it is expected to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., aims to hold a final vote by the end of the week, before Congress leaves for a two-week July Fourth recess.
The House passed legislation this month that included stronger gun-related restrictions. The chamber approved the Protecting Our Kids Act in a 223-204 vote, with five Republicans joining all but two Democrats in support. Democrats Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon opposed the bill. The five Republicans who bucked their party were Chris Jacobs of New York, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

The Senate package includes narrower restrictions. The bill would offer “red flag” grants to every state, including those that do not adopt red flag laws, which could be used on other crisis prevention programs designed to prevent people in crisis from resorting to violence; it would close the so-called “boyfriend loophole”; and it would increase background checks for people 18 to 21 years old. The bill would impose tougher penalties for gun trafficking and “clarify” which sellers must register as federal firearm licensees, which would force them to conduct background checks. The bill would provide more money for mental health and school-based health.
The bill would also transform those “under the age of 21 into second class citizens by creating a de facto waiting period of up to ten business days for legal, law-abiding firearm purchases and the consideration of whether an adult firearm purchaser’s juvenile record should prohibit the buyer from purchasing a firearm,” [Scalise] added.

…because sure…making someone not considered in the eyes of the law to be capable of drinking responsibly wait “up to ten business days” to buy something they can kill other people with is definitely what it means to make someone a second-class citizen…& if it takes one to know one…then mccarthy is definitely some second-class shit



  1. Lets all thank Kevin McCarthy’s temper tantrum over Nancy’s rejection of Gym Jordan (Traitor- Ohio) and other members of the treason caucus for making the Jan 6 Shit show investigation into not a shit show.

    • Absolutely. Having to listen to those obstructionist assholes pontificating about utter bullshit to generate Fox sound bites would be excruciating. Though the tweets would be awesome.

    • He screwed up, but for once Pelosi stood up to those dolts and gamed the process in a way that was at least a vague approximation of what McConnell would have done.

      She blocked the worst freaks like Jordan and she set up the committee so any other Trump backers would have been cut out of staff and funding and access to evidence.

      I also think McCarthy bowed under to pressure from the extremists (as he always does) to look for a PR victory from stomping away. I think they judged that the case was weak based on their own bias, but also on confidence that they could spin the press. And based on coverage even recently, I think they weren’t all that far off on the second point.

      The press just doesn’t want to accept the depth of GOP corruption. Their identities are simply to tied up in the idea that the GOP is a legitimate party. And if the GOP establishment decides to throw Trump overboard due to health or crime or optics, the press is going to go full speed to legitimize the rest of the party.

      Peter Baker at the NY Times has been working overtime to rehab Jared and Ivanka to suggest they aren’t responsible, and he is their #1 political reporter. It’s nuts.



  2. I don’t feel like I live in the wild wild west until a baby cow shuts down our freeway and is rescued by a cowboy!


    Hmmm, this might get fun?


      • The next step for the Supreme Court will definitely be allowing GOP controlled governments extreme leeway in deciding what counts as a religion. They will decide that the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment somehow won’t apply if Texas decides only evangelicals count.

        • I actually read a Dahlia Lithwick article on Slate today which basically made your point, basically it was “does Religious Freedom include Jews” given how the Supreme Court has been masturbating the Christian Right for the last few years.

    • Maybe you aren’t living in the wild west but on the Big Island and the cow wrangler was a paniolo. Or maybe you are in Argentina, in the Pampas, and the bovine helper was a gaucho.

        • I love the thought of cowboys. On the French Med there is an area just west of Marseille (one of the biggest ports in Europe) where cowboys called gardians ride a special white equine breed called Camargue horses and herd and round-up black cows. To complete the surrealistic image of all of this, the area is also home to thousands of flamingos, who are now used to the marauding cows, the trampling of the horses, and the yells of the gardians. I feel so sorry for xenophobic Americans, or rather xenophobes of all types I guess. Oh well, it’s probably best to keep them out of the Camargue.

    • I had the same thought. But hey, let’s not stop there. What about Scientology? They will be all over this shit. Fundamentalist Mormons (go, polygamy)? Hinduism? Buddhism? Sikhs?

      They should all start filing paperwork right now. “Hey, you’ve got to support my religion … make the check out to …”

      • …I imagine that satanist bunch that likes to get their dioramas equal provision when the nativity scenes turn up in municipal buildings probably have theirs lined up if not filed

        …they seem to consider that sort of thing their raison d’être?

  3. Since it seems like this is a quiet day here at the DOT, here is a long read (a very long read) courtesy of The New York Times Style Magazine. That was enough to set off my derision alarm, but it gets better: the topic is the 25 New Yorkiest novels of the last 100 years. Clickbait much? Of course I read every word, alternately chuckling, seething, and nodding my head. It is a very small group of “judges,” and it includes Times favorite Michael Cunningham, who is written about in the NYT, whose works are reviewed ecstatically in the NYT, and who is a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.

    Sigh. I thought it was worthwhile. One of my favorite books is on it, Don DeLillo’s Underworld, and also Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay, plus E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime. All told I’ve read 15 or 16 of them and for two I have nothing but contempt. Anyway, that’s the point of these types of things and it’s why BuzzFeed has been in existence for as long as it has.


  4. …pretty sure it could be argued I already went on long enough for one day…but there’s a thing that happened really glaringly one time in the UK…though not for the first time & doubtless not the last, either…& I don’t mean to suggest exactly that somehow releasing a salvo of SCOTUS opinions on the day there’s going to be another installment of the jan 6th committee hearings constitutes burying bad news

    …but given some of what they’ve gone with it sure does seem like a play to drown what I’m increasingly tempted to think of as the trump roast…despite generally being averse to using that name if there’s any way to avoid it…I mean

    …I don’t know…it seems like too damn much to me

    …sometimes, though…sometimes twitter has what some call a moment of clarity?

  5. Apparently Jared Kushner commissioned a documentary about the Trumps during Jan 6.

    “Now the story of a fake wealthy crime family who lost the election, and the arrogant corrupt shithead son-in-law who had no choice but to film it all and land them all in deep shit together, It’s Trump’s Arresting Development.”

    • …I believe that’s what the rolling stone piece linked just above the image of lady liberty with her head in her hands was referring to…amazing how many people who are almost certainly featured in that footage seem to have claimed they didn’t know there was a film crew let alone that they were making a documentary

      …well…amazing might not be the right word?

  6. The Feds have searched the house of Jeffrey Clark, one of Trump’s top  appointees to the Justice Department and key player in January 6.

    This kind of thing tends to happen long after they have obtained a search warrant for electronic communications and they are looking to fill in gaps of what they mostly already know. A physical search rarely happens unless they have strong evidence already in hand.

    Clark is yet another graduate of a top Ivy League law school — this time Harvard — embroiled in right wing conspiracies and with a reputation for extremely mediocre thinking.

    The Ivies thought they were being clever by playing games with affirmative action tracks for these people, but it’s threatening their brands.

    • Correction — Clark was Harvard undergrad and Georgetown for law school. I apologize for not including Georgetown Law under the umbrella of elite law schools with affirmative action programs for right wing hacks who struggle with basic intellectual concepts.

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