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Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
Number of posts: 170,119

Journal Archives

Abramson: "Reinstatement in August" is Trump's Plan to Head Off Indictment

Makes evil sense to me.


Abramson: "Reinstatement in August" is Trump's Plan to Head Off Indictment
Dan K
Community (This content is not subject to review by Daily Kos staff prior to publication.)
Thursday June 03, 2021 · 8:53 PM EDT

Seth Abramson is a criminal defense attorney who has been on Trump’s case for years. In 2018 he wrote Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America. A few days after the insurrection, he made a case that Trump needs to be indicted for sedition.
Abramson goes on to say that former guy thinks if he can push his supporters into believing he really is going back in the White House in August, this will make it harder for the authorities to indict and prosecute him. He compares him to Saddam Hussein and other “malignant narcissistic sociopathic . . . strongmen” who “ramp up the threat of violence” in order to avoid accountability.

He makes sense, I fear. I have no doubt that somewhere in FG’s demented brain there is really is the belief that he will be reinstated. But in the calculating conniving cortex, he thinks he can use that belief to rally his supporters to rise up and storm the New York attorney general’s office and the Manhattan DA (and perhaps DOJ and Fulton County (GA) as well) to physically and violently stop the wheels of justice from heading his way.

Threats like these will not stop the authorities from proceeding with any indictments; unlike Trump, they are not cowards. Nor will an actual assault succeed in the end. The Biden administration takes the history of the Jan 6 insurrection very seriously and is prepared to meet any violent assault on any federal institution. I am sure New York feels the same way. (Unfortunately, I can’t be as sure about Georgia.) So any such assault will fail, but not before a lot more people get hurt or killed.

Will such an act of violence move the Republicans to finally do something about the monster they’ve allowed to run free? Silly question. But I expect — I hope — that the majority of the country will take even the threat of violence seriously and do everything we can to keep former guy out of power and in the hands of the law.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 4, 2021, 11:58 AM (5 replies)

Donald Trump's Parting Gift to Washington Was a Party of Shitposters

Donald Trump’s Parting Gift to Washington Was a Party of Shitposters
Why everyone in Republican politics just wants to be an influencer now.
Tim Murphy
5 hours ago


The Republican Party has long been infused with an irrepressible hustle, what the historian Rick Perlstein calls “mail-order conservatism.” Talk radio and direct mail were not only effective at peddling reactionary politics to voters; they were also perfect vehicles to sell products, such as gold and home-­security systems. For decades these conjoined strains of politics, entertainment, and marketing have eroded trust in public institutions and the media and provided a template for self-aggrandizement and enrichment. There is nothing really like this on the left; Infowars and Goop sell the same pills, but Gwyneth Paltrow is not fomenting rebellion.

The way conservatism manifested itself over the airwaves has shaped what rank-and-file conservatives expect to be told and how they expect to feel about it. The late Rush Limbaugh’s listeners called themselves “dittoheads,” eager to nod along with everything. Newt Gingrich used to distribute tapes of himself talking so that candidates could emulate his language. In the 1980s, he weaponized C-SPAN’s new House cameras—where members previously addressed each other, Gingrich and his allies began speaking past them. They turned the Capitol into a studio and made politics into a product. Donald Trump easily won the Republican base because it had been primed for someone who could provide both the programming and the commercial breaks, sometimes all at once; in conservative politics, after all, you’re always being asked to buy something.

But Trump’s presidency blew past the old frontiers: The performance of politics became the purpose of it, and the grind of governance became secondary to the responsibilities of posting. It was as if, after years of awkward but largely profitable power-sharing between conservative politicians and conservative media, the Republican Party at last stumbled upon the ultimate efficiency: What if both roles could be played by the same person? Trump once dreamed of spinning a losing presidential bid into his own media entity. During the pandemic, in lieu of crisis management, he turned briefings into a variety show, assembling a rotating cast of characters, and plugging an array of sponsors—MyPillow, Carnival, Pernod Ricard. You would not necessarily get good medical advice, but you would learn that Hanes is a “great consumer cotton products company” that’s being recognized more and more.

There was no issue grave enough to take seriously and no controversy too petty to weigh in on. Anything could be resolved via tweet, precisely because nothing really can; the ephemerality was the point. And a rising generation of politicians learned an important lesson about what conservative voters wanted. If Limbaugh taught them all how to talk, Trump taught them how to govern. His enduring gift was a caucus of content creators.

Just consider the Republican congressional class of 2021—the new arrivals to Washington who modeled themselves most directly after Trump. They seem almost blissfully detached from the work of Congress. There is 25-year-old Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, who was elected on the strength of a largely invented personal story amplified with loads of influencer-style Instagram posts. He recently posted a 19-second video of himself punching the bark off a tree. Cawthorn boasted to his colleagues that he had built his staff “around comms rather than legislation.” He was in Washington, in other words, mostly just to post.
Cawthorn boasted to his colleagues that he had built his staff “around comms rather than legislation.”


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 4, 2021, 10:23 AM (4 replies)

Don McGahn Is Finally Testifying About Trump's Obstruction. In Other Words, the Coverup Worked

1 hour ago
Don McGahn Is Finally Testifying About Trump’s Obstruction. In Other Words, the Coverup Worked
The former White House counsel is two years too late.
Dan Friedman

Remember Don McGahn? On Friday, Donald Trump’s ex-White House counsel will testify before the House Judiciary Committee about the former president’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation, an appearance so overdue that its main message will be an ironic reminder. The cover-up McGahn is supposed to shed light on was a smashing success.

The committee subpoenaed McGahn way back in May 2019, demanding that he share information he had already given Special Counsel Robert Mueller about Trump’s apparent attempts to obstruct justice. Among other things, McGahn could have detailed how Trump had pushed him to fire Mueller, an instruction McGahn refused, and then had subsequently urged McGahn to lie about the incident, another order McGahan didn’t obey. The Judiciary Committee wanted McGahn to testify on camera to help them make the case for impeachment.


“We can’t just pretend that the president’s obstruction crimes never happened,” said Norman Eisen, who worked as a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee from 2019 to 2020, “We can’t just forget about it. Congress is continuing to do what they can to ensure a spotlight continues to be shined on that.”

Eisen says federal prosecutors could still charge Trump with obstructing justice and that the committee’s work may increase the odds of such a prosecution. And while there is no sign that will occur, Eisen notes that the panel can also advance legislation “to prevent these kinds of apparent offenses from occurring in the future,” perhaps by helping build support for proposals to force courts to more quickly review cases involving congressional subpoenas and curtail the president’s power to grant pardons, among other reforms.

Maybe. But it is difficult to deny that blocking access to McGahn and thwarting Congress on everything else related to Mueller’s report worked for Trump. He wasn’t impeached for that. And future presidents facing scandal have every incentive to follow Trump’s lead.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Jun 4, 2021, 10:12 AM (0 replies)

I need dental insurance...

I recently went for a teeth cleaning after 1-1/2 years (covid helped not at all) and was hit with a $10K estimate for what it will cost me to get all the dental work done. I need my teeth scaled again as I do have periodontal disease and lapsed with the cleaning. I also lost a crown; doc thinks tooth is too degraded to try to rebuild so suggest a permanent bridge for that tooth. And finally, I have 3 other cracked crowns that will need attention eventually.
Does anyone recommend any kind of dental insurance to be used with this dentist? I signed up for Medicare Advantage but did not do anything about insuring my mouth, damn the bad luck.
And after getting the diagnosis above, can I still get and use an insurance? My first visit to get this started is next week.
This will be done incrementally but it sure threw me for a loop. Any and all comments or recommendations appreciated!
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 3, 2021, 08:54 PM (20 replies)

F. Lee Bailey, Famed Defense Lawyer Who Represented O.J. Simpson, Dies at 87


F. Lee Bailey, Famed Defense Lawyer Who Represented O.J. Simpson, Dies at 87
Corbin Bolies, Breaking News Intern
Published Jun. 03, 2021 4:18PM ET

His clients dominated the media landscape—and now his name does the same. Famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey died Thursday at 87, The Boston Globe reports. Known for his brash style, Bailey defended some of the highest-profile figures of the 20th century, including the physician Sam Sheppard and media heiress Patty Hearst. But it was his role in the O.J. Simpson trial, on which he served as part of the “dream team,” that cemented his name among legal minds. There, he delivered the cross-examination of detective Mark Fuhrman, exposing his past use of racial epithets. It was considered one of the pivotal moments in Simpson’s defense, later leading to his acquittal.

His own name didn’t escape the spotlight. He was disbarred in Florida and Massachusetts over judicial misconduct. He first tried to obtain a legal license in Maine in 2012, but was denied over lacking the “requisite honesty and integrity.” After a two-year battle, he eventually opened up a consulting business, though he filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017.

Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 3, 2021, 03:30 PM (2 replies)

Foreign Firms Sucking "Virtual" Water From America's Parched Southwest

June 2, 2021
Foreign Firms Sucking “Virtual” Water From America’s Parched Southwest
Export of water-intensive crops has been accelerating for decades.
Diana Kruzman
This article was originally published by Undark and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Driving into Southern California’s Palo Verde Valley from the Arizona border, fields of vibrant green appear out of the desert like a mirage. Near the town of Blythe, water from the Colorado River turns the dry earth into verdant farmland, much of it to grow a single crop—alfalfa, a type of plant used mainly to feed dairy cows.

For decades, a significant portion of alfalfa grown here and elsewhere in the western United States—as much as 17 percent in 2017—has been loaded onto trucks, driven hundreds of miles to ports on the west coast, and shipped around the world, mainly to China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. A little over five years ago, one company decided it made more sense to own the land, and the water that came with it, outright.

The company, a Saudi Arabian dairy firm called Almarai, purchased 1,790 acres in the Palo Verde Valley to secure a supply of alfalfa for its dairy cows. Soon after, Saudi Arabia began phasing out domestic alfalfa production to preserve its water supplies, which were dwindling after years of overuse for agriculture. The purchase made headlines as critics including local politicians and environmentalists questioned whether it was fair for a foreign entity to use up valuable groundwater resources for products that wouldn’t ultimately benefit Americans.

But the company is far from alone. Foreign corporations are increasingly purchasing land in the US; in the Southwest, thanks to longstanding laws on water rights, these purchases often come with unlimited access to the valuable water underneath the soil. Combined with nearly year-round sunshine, this has made the area a magnet for companies looking to grow water-intensive crops and raise livestock. Over the last 20 years, foreign companies have purchased more than 250,000 acres of land in six Southwestern states to raise cattle and pigs, as well as to grow everything from almonds to alfalfa, according to an analysis of purchase data that Undark obtained from the US Department of Agriculture.

On its face, foreign ownership of farmland hasn’t proved significantly different from American ownership for large-scale production of crops like alfalfa. Domestic farmers have long shipped food overseas, and companies like Almarai, as well as independent researchers, have suggested the outsized focus on foreign companies may be xenophobic. American farmers and companies also control millions of acres overseas, mainly in Africa, Asia, and South America. But with their implications for food and water security??that ultimately, the US is not in control of its own farmland—the purchases are drawing attention to the larger trend of industrial agriculture in the US and the problems that come with it.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 3, 2021, 01:18 PM (8 replies)

Eric Boehlert: How Trump became an online flop in 2021

Can I get a womp womp?


How Trump became an online flop in 2021
Blog gets yanked
Eric Boehlert
2 hr ago

After less than a month of postings, Trump’s blog was officially taken offline this week, after drawing an embarrassingly small audience. Loyalists will no longer be able to check on “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” to read his latest, bitter musings.

The sudden move to unplug the aging Florida blogger comes as Trump continues to struggle to attract an online audience after getting de-platformed by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the wake of the January 6, mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. The social media giants rightly accused Trump of inciting violence and of depicting the mob vigilantes as patriots. Once accustomed to seeing his tweets and Facebook posts garnering millions of likes and responses, Trump now finds himself lost in the online wilderness, ignored and rejected.


It hasn’t just been his colossal flop as a blogger. All across the internet, references to Trump have plummeted, even as Republican leaders scramble to placate him.

“Chatter about Trump has fallen across the biggest social media sites to its lowest level since May 2016, when he was just becoming the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, according to the BuzzSumo data,” the Post reported. “On Twitter, data from the online-analytics firm Zignal Labs shows, mentions of him have cratered to an average of about 4 million a week, the lowest since 2016.”

The bad online news comes after Trump’s recent one-hour sit-down with Steve Cortes and Jenn Pellegrino on NewsMax on May 25 drew just 295,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data — and just 62,000 viewers in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54. That same night during the 9 p.m. time slot when Trump appeared on NewsMax, his interview got beat badly in the ratings by “Chopped,” and by HGTV’s “Unsellable Houses” which pulled 1.3 million total viewers, or nearly four times the Trump audience.


The dichotomy now at play is an amazing one: As Trump fades from public view and generates so little interest online, the Republican Party continues to genuflect in front of him.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Jun 3, 2021, 08:51 AM (14 replies)

Rep. Mo Brooks is avoiding an insurrection lawsuit. Rep. Eric Swalwell hired a private investigator

Rep. Mo Brooks is avoiding an insurrection lawsuit. Rep. Eric Swalwell hired a private investigator to find him.
CNN Digital Expansion 2018 Katelyn Polantz
By Katelyn Polantz, CNN
Updated 9:06 PM ET, Wed June 2, 2021

(CNN)Republican Rep. Mo Brooks is avoiding a lawsuit from his Democratic colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell that seeks to hold him accountable for the January 6 Capitol insurrection -- so much so that Swalwell's attorneys hired a private investigator to find him.

The detail comes in a court filing Wednesday in which Swalwell's attorneys describe difficulty in serving Brooks with the lawsuit. CNN has reached out to Brooks' office for comment.

Federal Judge Amit Mehta, after learning of Swalwell's inability to serve Brooks with the lawsuit, gave the Democrat's legal team another 60 days to get to Brooks with their formal notification. The judge, however, won't allow the US Marshals to deliver the lawsuit to the Republican congressman "due to separation of powers concerns," Mehta wrote, after Swalwell asked for the US Marshals Service's help.


"Counsel spoke to two different staff members on two separate occasions, and each time was promised a return call that never came," Swalwell's attorneys wrote on Wednesday.

Following the Swalwell team's calls, they emailed, too. "Neither Brooks nor any member of his staff has responded to his request," their filing said.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 2, 2021, 10:44 PM (12 replies)

The Rude Pundit: A Couple of Observations on the Republican War on Democracy


The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
A Couple of Observations on the Republican War on Democracy

Observation 1: Most religions have a great tautological scam going: Faith means believing in God, Jesus, Allah, or another invisible sky wizard even in the absence of evidence. Oh, sure, you can say that your book of faith that was written centuries ago by drunk monks proves some things, but it doesn't, any more than comic books prove the existence of superheroes. And maybe you can point to a miracle or two, but even those are mostly easily debunked. Despite there being no tangible, demonstrative proof that the aforementioned sky wizard is real, people are still willing to fight each other over which sky wizard is bigger and more magical or to use their sky wizard to justify barbaric cruelties.

Yet, as stupid as all that seems, it makes more sense than the millions of Americans who believe that the 2020 election was stolen. Why? Because you also can't prove that God doesn't exist (yeah, yeah, proving a negative, I know), and that's what gives the faithful cover for their faith. When it comes to the Big Lie, the proof that it wasn't stolen, that there was virtually no voter fraud, that Joe Biden won fair and square and it really wasn't all that close overall doesn't matter at all. Facts, observable and verified and supported by everyone with any authority and/or expertise, are beside the point. Faith in the absence of evidence is one thing. Faith in the face of evidence that clearly demonstrates your faith is a lie is, to put it mildly, fucking frightening and fucking madness.

That's what makes this whole fight against the Cult of the Big Lie so frustrating. It's not like the evidence of a legitimate election is even open for interpretation. To disagree about it is like arguing with someone who looks at an ocean and says it's dry sand. At some point pretty quickly, you wanna say, "Okay, motherfucker, step on in," while you hope they don't drag you with them because they're gonna insist they're walking on solid ground until they drown.


Observation 2: If things were reversed, and one day it's pretty likely they will be, and Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House, and Democrats were blocking the GOP's agenda that they got elected on from being passed in the Senate, the filibuster would be shitcanned in a heartbeat. Hell, even if Democrats weren't blocking anything, the GOP would shitcan it because that's what dicks do, and the Republican Party right now is just a bag of dicks, more dickish than they've ever been in my lifetime, quite frankly, probably because they used to keeps their dicks in their pants and pretend they were doing things for some demonstrably real reason. Now? Fuck it. They've just got 'em whipped out and they're wavin' them around, daring you to tell 'em to put 'em away.

Yes, it's technically majority control, even if Republicans represent a significantly smaller part of the population, especially in the Senate, than Democrats, and even if the President only wins the electoral college and not the popular vote. Even in that terrifying moment, some on the left are optimists. The elimination of the filibuster would force Republicans to actually vote down bills that are popular. Although, more likely, a GOP Majority Leader just wouldn't bring them up for a vote at all, like what was done during the Obama administration by Mitch McConnell, who has the expression of someone who knows he sharted himself but is hoping there's no leakage.

Even more likely, a GOP congressional majority with a GOP president would immediately pass laws that would shape how the nation votes and assure that Democrats can't win a majority again. Those kinds of laws might include giving state legislatures the right to overturn elections or making it easier for them to do so. It might include stringent i.d. laws and restrictions on how and when people can vote and when they can register and so much more. If you don't believe that fucking up voting would be top of a Republican majority agenda, you have been asleep for the last six years.

And while this is, yes, about Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema's bizarre (and perhaps even suspicious) insistence on preserving the filibuster, which isn't in the Constitution, it's mostly about how far Republicans continue to radicalize, from obstruction to destruction. To tie these both together, I think another huge danger is that Republicans have accepted that they have to do this or unleash a tide of violence. They have no beliefs except staying in power, so, fuck it, take the easiest, shittiest path to it. And once you decide to go down that path, fuck it. You may as well go enthusiastically. And these motherfuckers are skipping gleefully towards an authoritarian future.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 2, 2021, 07:49 PM (15 replies)

Chris Matthews addresses controversy during return to MSNBC: 'I did something wrong'

Chris Matthews addresses controversy during return to MSNBC: 'I did something wrong'
Yahoo TV
Stephen Proctor
June 2, 2021, 2:32 AM

Former MSNBC host Chris Matthews returned to his old time slot on Tuesday, appearing on The ReidOut, where he spoke about leaving the network amid controversy. Matthews abruptly retired last March after allegations of inappropriate behavior surfaced. Matthews was accused of flirting with a female journalist who had appeared on his show multiple times going back to 2016.

“I think the reason I — I know the reason I left, somebody reported that I complimented somebody — actually, I’m gonna use the right words here. I commented, remarked on somebody’s appearance in the makeup room, and I shouldn’t have done that,” Matthews said. “Nobody has to come defend me. And by the way, I kept all my friends, but nobody needs to defend me. I did something wrong. So I'm going to move on from that. I took ownership of it, using a nice modern phrase. I took complete ownership. I did not deny it. I lost my show over it. That's it. So that's the truth.”


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Jun 2, 2021, 07:14 AM (42 replies)
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