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crickets's Journal
crickets's Journal
February 16, 2024

You ARE registered to vote, right?

Just in case:

You can also check your registration to make sure it's still valid. 💙

February 10, 2024

The author buries the lede far too deep into the article.

Gorelick said that under the circumstances it would have been “very hard not to” release Hur’s report, but that the better policy is for such reports to remain secret.

“I would say any report should be confidential,” she said. “You make a charging decision or not and that should be the end of it.”

“As a general proposition, a public report is a mistake,” Kavanaugh wrote in a 1998 law review article. “It violates the basic norm of secrecy in criminal investigations, it adds time and expense to the investigation, and it often is perceived as a political act. It also misconceives the goals of the criminal process.”

Pdf file Section D. Reports, p 2155 - surprising coming from Kavanuagh and definitely worth reading the additional page and a half.

DOJ needs an overhaul, along with the rules governing special counsel. Things seem to have been weaponized against Dems as far back as the Clinton years, with no improvement over time. It's obvious that "norms" have been rendered meaningless.

February 10, 2024

She is this cavalier about death threats? (edited)

Enough. Witnesses' lives are at stake. Whoever can pull the plug on her involvement in this case really should.


Lisa Rubin @lawofruby
1h • 6 tweets • 2 min read • Read on X
NEW: In urging Judge Aileen Cannon to reconsider two orders that would, among other things, reveal the names of two dozen people who have participated in the Mar a Lago investigation, the Special Counsel's office filed a document available to Cannon and only Cannon. 1/
Specifically, the document -- in Smith's description -- "describes in some detail threats that have been made over social media to a prospective Government witness and the surrounding circumstances" & that "those threats are the subject of an ongoing federal investigation." 2/ [...more]



Jack Smith writes “First, the Eleventh Circuit has held that the compelling-interest standard applied by the Court does not apply to “documents filed in connection with motions to compel discovery,” which instead may be sealed or redacted simply upon a showing of “good cause.”

He says that given the evidence of online threats currently under federal criminal investigation, combined with the standard practice of NOT releasing protected discovery to the public as it would hinder this case, is well beyond the “good cause” needed to keep them under seal. So he has asked Judge Cannon to RECONSIDER her ruling, which contains a CLEAR ERROR on the law, and to stay the release of the witness information and evidence until she rules on the motion.

What stands out to me here is his citation of the Eleventh Circuit ruling that shows Cannon is wrong on the law - that the standard for sealing this information is “good cause” and not “necessitated by a compelling governmental interest narrowly tailored to serve that interest.” That’s a pretty clear signal that if Cannon doesn’t reverse her error, that Jack Smith will APPEAL this to the Eleventh Circuit - which has vacated her ruling on the special master in the past.

All of this protected discovery was going to be unsealed today, but early this morning, Judge Cannon issued a paperless order on the docket that she is extending this decision and giving Trump/Nauta/DeOliveira until 2/23 to respond. Keep in mind, this is wholly separate from the CIPA battle that’s happening behind closed doors at the moment, which is causing more delays.

Much more at the above link, but these were the most pertinent 4 paragraphs. Sounds like this will end up going back to the Eleventh Circuit, but in the meantime: delay achievement unlocked.
October 21, 2023

Pharmacy benefit managers have an impact.


Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) play a big role in pharmacy closures. They create pharmacy networks for insurers, which direct patients to visit specific pharmacies. Often, the closest pharmacy in a pharmacy desert is an independent pharmacy rather than a chain—and that independent pharmacy is often not part of pharmacy networks, Qato said.

“A patient really can’t go there to fill their medications unless they want to pay a higher price,” she added. “They actually have to travel even farther to get their medications filled, and then that pharmacy slowly ends up losing customers and patients. So, not only do they get paid less, but increasingly, now they have fewer patients coming into their doors because of the growth of narrow networks.”

PBMs also decide how much a pharmacy gets reimbursed for dispensing a prescription, and rates can be less than what it costs the pharmacy to dispense the drug. According to a 2021 study from Yale Law School, some pharmacies report that up to 80% of their reimbursements are less than what it costs to dispense the drugs. [snip]

It’s even harder for pharmacies to stay open in neighborhoods with large Medicaid populations, as pharmacies get the lowest reimbursements for filling Medicaid prescriptions. A disproportionate share of Medicaid enrollees are Black or Hispanic/Latino, so pharmacies in predominantly Black and/or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods are more likely to face these reimbursement challenges.

Linked in the article: https://www.healthcare-brew.com/stories/2022/11/18/what-are-pbms

The PBM industry is dominated by three players—Caremark, Express Scripts, and Optum Rx—that control around 80% of the market. Also, they’re all owned by insurers, said Hauser.

Much more explanation of PBMs in the article, but that was the lede buried in the last paragraph.

Eye-opening, and frustrating as hell.
October 11, 2023

MISINFO OPS: False weapons sale story using Bellingcat and BBC as sources


We're aware of a fake BBC video circulating on social media falsely claiming that Bellingcat has verified Ukrainian weapons sales to Hamas. We've reached no such conclusions or made any such claims. We'd like to stress that this is a fabrication and should be treated accordingly.
12:59 PM · Oct 10, 2023


Facebook used to be the propaganda boogeyman; now it's Twitter. Thanks to Elon, it's no longer trustworthy as a media source. This propaganda uses a Russian (perhaps soon Republican) talking point to attempt to discourage aid to Ukraine. It's slick, made believeable by spoofing trusted sources, and this type of misinformation will grow more common by the day. Be vigilant, especially regarding stories about Ukraine, and now Israel.

If you follow Beau of the Fifth Column, he has an excellent video out about this today:

October 9, 2023

Shooting and targeting are two different things.

Try a web search for "Israeli demolition of Palestinian properties" - here's a sample of some results.


I decry what Hamas is doing, but everyday Palestinians are not being treated properly by the Israeli government.


International criminal law has developed two crimes against humanity for situations of systematic discrimination and repression: apartheid and persecution. Crimes against humanity stand among the most odious crimes in international law. [snip]

The crime against humanity of persecution, also set out in the Rome Statute, the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights on racial, ethnic, and other grounds, grew out of the post-World War II trials and constitutes one of the most serious international crimes, of the same gravity as apartheid. [snip]

The term apartheid has increasingly been used in relation to Israel and the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territory], but usually in a descriptive or comparative, non-legal sense, and often to warn that the situation is heading in the wrong direction. In particular, Israeli, Palestinian, US, and European officials, prominent media commentators, and others have asserted that, if Israel’s policies and practices towards Palestinians continued along the same trajectory, the situation, at least in the West Bank, would become tantamount to apartheid.[1] Some have claimed that the current reality amounts to apartheid.[2] Few, however, have conducted a detailed legal analysis based on the international crimes of apartheid or persecution.[3]

In this report, Human Rights Watch examines the extent to which that threshold has already been crossed in certain of the areas where Israeli authorities exercise control.

Israel's government does not have clean hands in this. The entire situation is a heartbreaking, ugly mess and I claim no wisdom in how it should be handled, but how it has been handled up to now... is not right. And it's now blown up entirely, with innocent civilians caught in the middle. It's horrifying.

If only Jimmy Carter were not so near the end of his days. I don't know who else could possibly convince both sides to stop, talk, and find some common ground for peace. It would be wonderful if Joe Biden once again stunned everyone by pulling a political miracle out of his hat, but it's so much to ask in this case, I won't hold my breath.

My heart goes out to all affected by this. 😔

October 4, 2023

Beau's right. This is tfg's fault, along with those who continue to support him.

He threw away the 11th commandment of the party, one that even Newt followed: "thou shalt never speak ill of another Republican." And they let him do it, and joined in with him in doing it. And here we are.

This part is almost poetic:

Eight Republicans crossed the aisle and worked in a bipartisan fashion, with Democrats, making sure they could get the votes to oust McCarthy... because those Republicans believed that McCarthy was working with Democrats.

Take as much time with that as you need to.

--- tl;dr
Going back over this in my head just so I can keep it straight myself. Correction of misunderstanding on my part is welcome. I've felt like garbage since Friday, so sporadically following along with recent events has been problematic.

McCarthy and Biden had a deal after all of the debt ceiling nonsense from back in May:
Factbox: What's in the debt ceiling deal struck by Biden and McCarthy? https://archive.ph/8JTgY [Reuters]

At the last second, McCarthy broke his word (shocking) & threw out the agreement. He showed up Saturday with a new bill, one he couldn't get passed, one which Jeffries spent about an hour brilliantly lambasting before it eventually failed.

Last ditch effort was a Continuing Resolution to avoid a shutdown for another 45 days, a CR which did not include any support for Ukraine. The lack of money for Ukraine was the (oh-so-clever! teehee!) tug-of-war rope that the Dems were supposed to pick up... but didn't. There was one principled vote against to show disapproval on Ukraine's behalf, but no more. That's how McCarthy supposedly "reached across the aisle to work with Dems."

Cue McCarthy running right to the cameras and talk shows to blame Democrats for how things turned out.

Now McCarthy is gone and a tiny bang-bang with a bowtie decided his most important first act as interim speaker is to take away Nancy's hideaway office in the Capitol. She'd earned it through seniority, and at her age, it was a boon not to have to walk back and forth. Then there's the security issue. Slow clap to you, small and petty man.

Every decade or so, Republicans puff up and loudly crow about how the "adults in the room" are going to show us all "how governing is done" once they get the majority again.

--- /tl;dr

Interesting security note about why there must be an immediate interim speaker in place, dating back to some time around September 2001. I feel safer about the succession, and continuity of government, don't you? 🙄
October 1, 2023

Newt Gingrich happened.


A number of scholars have credited Gingrich with playing a key role in undermining democratic norms in the United States, and hastening political polarization and partisan prejudice.[6][7][8][67][68][69][70][71][9][72][73][10] According to Harvard University political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, Gingrich's speakership had a profound and lasting impact on American politics and health of American democracy. They argue that Gingrich instilled a "combative" approach in the Republican Party, where hateful language and hyper-partisanship became commonplace, and where democratic norms were abandoned. Gingrich frequently questioned the patriotism of Democrats, called them corrupt, compared them to fascists, and accused them of wanting to destroy the United States. Gingrich furthermore oversaw several major government shutdowns.[74][75][76][54]

University of Maryland political scientist Lilliana Mason identified Gingrich's instructions to Republicans to use words such as “betray, bizarre, decay, destroy, devour, greed, lie, pathetic, radical, selfish, shame, sick, steal, and traitors” about Democrats as an example of a breach in social norms and exacerbation of partisan prejudice.[6] Gingrich is a key figure in the 2017 book The Polarizers by Colgate University political scientist Sam Rosenfeld about the American political system's shift to polarization and gridlock.[7]

What a destructive little man.
September 23, 2023

Obama took care of that!

Surprisingly, the first restoration of solar power to the White House came from W.

In 2003, George W. Bush, seemingly acting out of character, brought solar back to the White House. American City and Country reported on the development a decade ago:

The National Park Service, which manages the White House complex, installed a nine kilowatt, rooftop solar electric or photovoltaic system, as well as two solar thermal systems that heat water used on the premises.

Two solar thermal systems, one to heat the pool and spa and one to provide domestic hot water, were also installed.

“With solar systems popping up on homes, businesses and farms across the country, it’s most appropriate to have solar providing energy for America’s most recognizable home,” said Glenn Hamer, executive director at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

With the Obama administration’s latest additions, the White House will increase its solar capacity with 20 to 50 new panels, USA Today reports. The administration added that the installation should pay for itself within eight years.

More background:

When the Obama administration installed new solar panels on the roof in 2013, they were well aware of the symbolism of their actions. The installation coincided with President Obama’s pledge that the federal government would get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

President Obama was actually the third US President to install solar. President George W. Bush was the first to install a solar electric system at the White House, powering parts of the White House grounds, but he did so quietly. A second installation by Bush helped warm the presidential swimming pool.

(Lots more about the history of Carter's solar panels earlier in the article. It's pretty interesting.)

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