…some things are just easier to believe than others
Nearly a year after mass protests erupted in Iran, the country’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, defended his government’s response to the demonstrations in an interview with NBC News, and warned that those who try to sow instability in the Islamic Republic would pay a “big cost.”
In his first interview with a Western news organization since the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody triggered public outrage last year, Raisi told NBC News’ Lester Holt that the unrest was allegedly fueled by U.S. and European powers and that security forces had treated protesters in a “peaceful” manner.
Asked about human rights reports that Iran was seeking to silence activists in advance of Saturday, the first anniversary of Amini’s death, Raisi said that his government was ready to listen to genuine protesters but would not tolerate attempts to destabilize the country.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/anniversary-mass-protests-irans-leader-expresses-no-regrets-threatens
…which…is to some extent a function of bias…but…also predictability
…like the part where they arrest the father on the anniversary of his daughter’s death…as opposed to the things the guy in charge said…or…well…this sort of shit
Mr. Paxton’s lawyers tried to create the impression that politicians like him, a supporter of former President Donald J. Trump, were under attack by moderate Republicans. They named well-known lobbyists, donors and consultants as well as Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a conservative policy organization that has been powerful in Austin, as instigators.
They separately suggested that the former top aides who became whistle-blowers against Mr. Paxton were attempting to take over the attorney general’s office. As evidence, the lawyers pointed to an agency letterhead without Mr. Paxton’s name used by the aides to report their concerns.
“You were staging a coup, weren’t you?” said one of the defense lawyers, Tony Buzbee, in cross-examining Mr. Paxton’s former top aide, Jeff Mateer.Ken Paxton’s Trial Became a Contest Over Republican Politics [NYT]
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was fully acquitted Saturday of corruption charges in a historic impeachment trial, a resounding verdict that reaffirms the power of the GOP’s hard right and puts an indicted incumbent who remains under FBI investigation back into office.Republican Texas AG Ken Paxton is acquitted of corruption charges at historic impeachment trial [AP]
…or…this kind of shit
…so…maybe it’s the bias thing…but…while I do believe the whole innocent-until-proven-guilty thing is important…I feel like this guy’s potential innocence is frankly in the same column as harvey weinstein or jimmy saville
…now…I have my reasons…& I could probably show my work…but I feel bad enough about the way reading these might color someone’s day as it is & I try to limit the stuff that might make it tricky to do things like eat breakfast so I don’t propose to…I’ll just say…what took so long?
…I mean…we kinda know the answer…even if it’s mostly considered impolite to say so…but…you can’t always expect saying so to be enough
A battle between Detroit carmakers and the United Auto Workers union, which escalated on Friday with targeted strikes in three locations, is unfolding amid a once-in-a-century technological upheaval that poses huge risks for both the companies and the union.
The strike has come as the traditional automakers invest billions to develop electric vehicles while still making most of their money from gasoline-driven cars. The negotiations will determine the balance of power between workers and management, possibly for years to come. That makes the strike as much a struggle for the industry’s future as it is about wages, benefits and working conditions.https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/16/business/electric-vehicles-uaw-gm-ford-stellantis.html
…sure…there’s also a few other things that might be relevant…like…oh…the recent profits they’ve accrued that net out in terms measured in trillions of dollars…as in since they were “rescued” by injections of federal money in the billions at a time when they asked their workers to agree to things like pay cuts in order to preserve their jobs…leave aside the vast amounts of cash being floated to try to pull back some of the lead china has in terms of the manufacturing of EV stuff…like those tesla batteries or whatever…it’s not too hard to pick a side if you ask me
…& it probably helps that it sounds like the people in charge of coordinating the strike are…not half-assing things…if you pick not-the-headline-plants to down tools at for your opening salvo that gives you headroom for escalation…if, as I gather was the case, you first feint towards the closures being at different plants ahead of time…ahead of time enough for the companies to plow a bunch of time & money & resources into redeploying parts & other stuff to cover the problem they think they’ve caught wind of only to catch them flat-footed with the problem they actually get…well…that sort of extra-credit two-fer…seems like it belongs in the “well-played” column…so…more power to ’em, I guess…though…some unions are more equal that others…so…I fear they might not save us all in the end…after all…it’s not like the “serve & protect” ones have exactly covered themselves in glory
All five faced felony charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for their roles in the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, in the summer of 2019.
The men, in muted suits and ties, entered their formal pleas: “Not guilty.” Then they left the courtroom, staring straight ahead. In the hallway, they were engulfed by their supporters, who embraced them, patting their shoulders and forming a kind of human shield to protect them from the eyes and questions of reporters and onlookers.
Without the political pressure kindled by protests, first in George Floyd’s name and then in McClain’s, the case would have been left behind in 2019. Instead, it was propelled forward, first in the streets, then in the courts. The police officers and the paramedics will be prosecuted in three separate trials in September, October and November, the last chapter in a saga that has exposed deep rifts, with politicians, pastors and ordinary citizens holding starkly different views about their neighbors, their police force and their hometown. “The folks on the left were saying all police are evil,” says Dave Gruber, a white conservative former member of the City Council. “We were saying: No, we don’t believe that. You know, we believe that most cops are good.”
In nearly three dozen interviews with Aurorans — including McClain’s family and friends, former and current officials with the Police and Fire Departments, city and state politicians, faith leaders and residents — along with reviews of police reports, autopsy reports, first-responder protocols, internal memos, independent investigations, lawsuits and video footage, a portrait emerged of Colorado’s third-largest city in the midst of its own public trial.
Aurora’s painful, conflicted journey over the past four years would raise uncomfortable questions about the meaning of public safety and illuminate both the promise and the limits of reform. There were real achievements — new legislation and restrictions from the city and the state, and in both the Police and Fire Departments — hard-fought and eked out with public pressure, but not always as fast or far-reaching as activists may have wanted. Still, at least a dozen police officers, including the three in this case, and another Aurora officer who failed to intervene in an excessive use of force case, have been charged since Colorado passed broad police-accountability legislation in 2020.
Two Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics, Jeremy Cooper, then 44, and Peter Cichuniec, then 46, arrived at 10:53 p.m. in response to a call from the police officers, who told them McClain was “on something.” The independent investigation does not note either of them having checked McClain’s vital signs, examining him or speaking to him at all before diagnosing him with “excited delirium” and determining that ketamine should be used to sedate him.
The controversial field diagnosis, characterized by a perception of aggression, distress and extraordinary physical strength, is found in some police training materials and used by some first responders across the country. Though not recognized by medical and psychiatric associations, the diagnosis is often invoked by law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners to justify the lethal use of force by the police. A 2022 report by doctors at Kaiser Permanente, Harvard and the University of Michigan found the term to be a “catchall for deaths occurring in the context of law-enforcement restraint, often coinciding with substance use or mental illness, and disproportionately used to explain the deaths of young Black men in police encounters.”https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/15/magazine/elijah-mcclain-aurora.html
…now…that’s a long read…but an old story in more ways that anybody ought to be comfortable with…& although I’m too much of a fan of terry pratchett’s sam vimes to honestly say I don’t see how sometimes you might need a bastard to deal with some of the bastards out there that nobody ought to have to deal with…I’m comfortable enough with my own hypocrisy not to find that incompatible with some kinds of bastards being disqualified from that exception to the general principle that people in charge of preventing the worst shouldn’t embody it…not that my opinion on the matter makes the blindest bit of difference to the state of the place
…or various brands of “representative”
The Biden administration proposed a new rule Friday seeking to bolster protections for federal workers, an explicit attempt to thwart plans by former president Donald Trump and his allies to replace career government officials with political loyalists should he be reelected.
The rule seeks to halt any attempt to gut the foundation of the federal civil service, whose 2.2 million career employees serve any occupant of the White House without regard to partisanship — and have rights to due process at every level.
In the waning days of his administration, Trump tried to subvert those principles with a sweeping executive order that stripped job protections from employees in policy roles across the government. President Biden revoked that executive order on the third day of his presidency, and the new rule Friday seeks to further protect those officials.
The Trump directive, known as Schedule F, allowed his administration to weed out thousands of career federal employees viewed as disloyal by changing their status to at-will workers who could be fired without due process. The executive order was the product of a four-year campaign by conservatives to bring to heel what they called a “deep state” of bureaucrats who were resistant to the policies of the Trump White House.
The idea was to hold federal employees accountable by sidelining their labor unions and giving the president more power to hire and fire them, much like the roughly 4,000 political appointees who typically change with each new administration in Washington.
Schedule F amounted to the most significant assault on the nonpartisan civil service in its history. Civil service experts and union leaders assailed it as an effort to impose political loyalty tests on a nonpartisan workforce, but Trump allies said it was the workforce that had shown partisanship by defying his policies in key areas of the government.
The administration ran out of time to implement the new policy, though it determined that most of the workforce at the Office of Management and Budget would be reclassified under the newly created class of employees who would lack most job protections. The policy was never tested in court.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/09/15/biden-trump-federal-workers/
…not that the courts aren’t testing some less-impartial-than-advertised theories of their own on a dismally frequent basis of late…& that’s before forum shopping makes it into the frame
[The] statement [from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy], solemnly delivered this past week as if it were a moment of high consequence for the republic, recalled a comment attributed to Rudy Giuliani, who after the 2020 election incessantly made wild, false claims about election fraud in his representation of then-President Donald Trump.
“We’ve got lots of theories. We just don’t have the evidence,” Giuliani said, according to then-Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R), who testified before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
Impeachment proceedings were not meant to start with theories. In a world turned upside down, that’s what McCarthy has done. The real reason for McCarthy’s decision to launch the inquiry was apparent to all. It was a bow to hard-right members of his conference demanding he do this at a time when the speaker is caught up in internal brawling with those members over funding the government by the Sept. 30 deadline.
By definition, the impeachment process is a political exercise with legal aspects. With this latest turn, it is now almost wholly political, a debasement of what was intended to be a vehicle to remove a president for malfeasance even in the absence of criminal charges. As Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said in an interview this past week: “This is not an impeachment. This is an inquiry, and I have heard no allegations that rise to the high-crimes-and-misdemeanors standard of the Constitution.”
McCarthy had said earlier that he would not open an impeachment inquiry without a vote by the House. He went back on his word, instead issuing a unilateral order to start the proceedings — an apparent acknowledgment that he lacked the votes to do so on the House floor and an indication that this came because of political pressure rather than a preponderance of evidence.
As pursued by House Republicans, impeachment is now more score-settling than serious undertaking, a tit-for-tat in retaliation for the four criminal indictments of Trump this year and claims of a weaponized Justice Department. This could spiral into a steady stream of impeachments in future years as control of the White House and Congress changes hands.
House committees have been investigating Hunter Biden and others in the Biden family for a long time. Why this now? McCarthy said that, by opening an impeachment inquiry, investigators would have better tools to gain access to information that could help to prove what Republicans hope to prove, that the president personally profited from his son’s contracts with foreign entities.
Yet, as The Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany reported, it is not clear what those additional tools are or why the label of “impeachment inquiry” will suddenly reveal hoped-for evidence that months of investigative work by these committees has yet to produce. Many Republicans see enough smoke in what is known so far to believe there must be fire regarding the president. As yet, that’s not the case.https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/09/16/mccarthy-impeachment-biden/
…I mean…it’d almost be a comfort if there was any reason to believe people in sufficient numbers could be relied upon to recognize a false equivalence when it’s rammed down their throat…but…I think we all know how that goes
Irony alert: A misguided ruling from the conservative-dominated Supreme Court — a decision that President Biden has said “contradicts both common sense and the Constitution” — might save Hunter Biden from the gun charges just filed against him.
Last year, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the court upended its approach to gun rights, saying that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms permits only those gun restrictions that have a basis in “history and tradition.” That blinkered interpretation has set off a flurry of challenges to existing gun laws in the lower courts as judges have been forced to scour colonial-era statutes for analogies to modern-day regulations.
In Hunter Biden’s case, that means finding historical antecedents for the federal law that prohibits those who use illegal drugs from purchasing or possessing firearms. Biden was indicted Thursday on three felony counts: making two false statements on a gun purchase form that he did not use and was not addicted to controlled substances, and illegally possessing a Colt revolver while he was using narcotics.
His lawyers have signaled their intention to use the high court’s ruling in Bruen as a basis for challenging the charges.https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/09/15/hunter-biden-supreme-court-guns/
…the law is the law & all…but sometimes it’s bad law…&…you know…two wrongs don’t make a right & all that fun stuff…so…even if sometimes it makes an ass of itself…it’s still supposed to be different from the kind of “accident of hourly proof” to be found in an anecdotal rule of thumb
…& the existence of a precedent is not necessarily the same as there being good precedent
…not least if we still have to put up with a world where people like elijah mcclain are dead…& even after being convicted of being the lowest sort of misanthropic liar, cheat & all around scum of the earth in a duly appointed honest-to-god court of law…these kinds of assholes can flaunt the extent to which it doesn’t touch their overly-insulated ass
The rightwing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is continuing to live the high life while refusing to pay a cent of the $1.5bn damages he owes families of victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting he called a hoax.
According to court papers dated 29 August, reported by CNN, Jones spent $93,180 in July, excluding legal fees, but including more than $15,000 to the first of his two ex-wives, $7,900 for “housekeeping”, $6,338 on entertainment and meals, and $3,388 on groceries.
In the previous two months, the amounts were $85,114 and $63,925.
Jones was accused in March of transferring large chunks of his assets, estimated at up to $10m, to friends and family members to put it beyond the reach of his creditors. The reported payments to his former wife Erika Wulff, the lawyers say, are further evidence of “fraudulent transfers”.
Free Speech Systems, Infowars’ parent company, declared bankruptcy in July last year, and Jones declared personal bankruptcy in November.
Jones continues to try to raise money on his Infowars show, telling listeners this week that he was “in the hole” for about $1m in legal fees and might not be able to continue his show if donations were not forthcoming.
He also defended his spending. “I like to go to nice restaurants, that is my deal, I like to go on a couple of nice vacations a year. But I think I’ve pretty much earned that in this fight,” he said.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/sep/15/alex-jones-infowars-sandy-hook-damages
…I have a few ideas about what he & sundry other names in that little collection of headlines & stories might have earned…but…well…it’s a day of rest & all…& the unexpurgated version of that is almost certainly too profane to be appropriate to those for whom that’s a holy day…& probably not cathartic enough to be a good fit for anyone else…so…since it looks like this is late up as it is…I’ll save you that…call it my good deed for the day?