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The definition of chutzpah - digby

https://digbysblog.net/2021/07/the-definition-of-chutzpah/
(Personally, I don't know why digby is not cited more frequently here on DU. But I'm a recent reader....)


The definition of chutzpah
Published by digby on July 9, 2021


That insurrectionist thinks he should be left off the hook in order to heal the nation. The next time someone complains about liberal snowflakes, think of this:

As hundreds of his fellow MAGA rioters stormed all corners of the Capitol on Jan. 6, Paul Hodgkins headed straight for the Senate chamber.

After walking among the desks once inhabited by lawmakers certifying the presidential election—before being forced into hiding—the 38-year-old Florida man took off his protective eye goggles and snapped a selfie before joining his fellow insurrectionists.

That photograph led to Hodgkins’ February arrest after an acquaintance tipped off the FBI—and his eventual decision to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. Now, his defense lawyers are arguing their “kind” client does not deserve prison time for his one felony count.

And in an unreal turn of events, his attorneys are arguing that a lenient sentence on July 19 for the Tampa resident would actually “heal” the nation.

“This case is the story of a man who represents all that we would want in our fellow Americans,” defense attorney Patrick Leduc argued in a sentencing memo to Judge Randolph D. Moss. “It is the story of [a] man who for just one hour on one day, lost his bearings and his way.”

“A sentence that provides Paul Hodgkins ‘charity’ would go a very long way toward healing a nation in dire need of seeing what undeserved ‘grace’ looks like,” Leduc added.

The claim is among a series of head-scratching arguments made in the 32-page sentencing memo, including the declaration that “Hodgkins should not be cancelled.”

Hodgkins wanted to “cancel” an election. And he happily joined a crowd that wanted to “cancel” the Vice President and Speaker of the House.

Nobody’s calling for this insurrectionist to be “cancelled.” They are calling for him to be held accountable for what he did.

...

Florida Man sues Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for account ban

https://www.theregister.com/2021/07/07/florida_man_sues_social_media/

This is how we should all address the loser.

A Florida man held a press conference at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Wednesday to announce the filing of lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and corresponding executives Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai – who runs YouTube's parent company.

The former political office holder, known among other things for a cancelled reality TV series, a discontinued steak business, a failed casino, and a shuttered business training school, accused the social networks of violating the First Amendment of the US Constitution by closing his accounts and deplatforming him.

Booted from the aforementioned internet services for statements deemed to have encouraged or incited the storming of the US Capitol by tooled-up tourists, the plaintiff is also seeking to have the courts declare Section 230 of America's Communications Decency Act unconstitutional.

First Amendment scholars were quick to ridicule the complaints.

The First Amendment does *not* apply to non-governmental actors. Full stop. https://t.co/FAmXafuOZZ
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) July 7, 2021

In an effort to overcome that legal obstacle, the man's complaint against Facebook [PDF] asserts that the internet ad giant's status "rises beyond that of a private company to that of a state actor."

The complaints against Twitter [PDF] and YouTube [PDF] make largely identical claims, arguing in essence that the defendant social media companies are part of the US government. All three cases, joined by assorted other individuals, were filed in Florida, which recently passed a social media law that has been challenged as unconstitutional.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The respective companies can be expected to ask that the cases be removed to California, per their terms of service, and that the claims be dismissed for legal deficiencies.

A real go-GETTR: Former Trump aide tries to batter Twitter by ripping off its UI
US Supreme Court rules teens cussing out schools on social media is protected speech
Prez Biden narrowly escapes cicada assassination attempt, hunkers down in Cornwall
Biden cancels Trump's bans on TikTok, WeChat, other Chinese apps

In an email to The Register, Eric Goldman, Associate Dean for Research and Professor at Santa Clara University School of Law and Co-Director, High Tech Law Institute, said he can't imagine the plaintiff expects to win his cases, noting that hospitality industry magnate doesn't seem to care that his legal arguments are weak.

"In particular, most of the arguments he's making have been tried in court by others and have failed decisively," said Goldman. "His lawsuits have no realistic chance of success."

Goldman said the golfing enthusiast, often seen at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, "rarely files lawsuits because he expects to win, and he often doesn't invest much energy in lawsuits after they've been filed. He usually is seeking some other payoff from litigation. In this case, that payoff is almost certainly the media coverage he will get. He's never held accountable for bringing stupid cases and making stupid arguments in court."

The septuagenarian, whose mental state was repeatedly questioned during his four-year stint in public office, is also asking the court to award monetary compensation, something he's also seeking from political donors. Meanwhile, his organization and its chief financial officer face criminal tax charges in New York. ®

New Khashoggi revelations show we don't have the full story about his killing

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/06/jamal-khashoggi-egypt-saudi-arabia-biden-mbs-full-story/
(With a kick to: https://www.democraticunderground.com/100215594159)

Opinion: New Khashoggi revelations show we don’t have the full story about his killing. The Biden administration must disclose what it knows.

Two recent revelations about the murder of Saudi journalist and Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi — including that four members of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s hit team, known as the “Tiger Squad,” received paramilitary training in the United States, and that Egypt allegedly provided them the lethal poison they used to kill Khashoggi — are just tips of an iceberg of information that still remains hidden.

Who else outside of Saudi Arabia was involved in this crime? What did U.S. officials know, and when, about plans to kill him? What else does the Biden administration know that it might not be telling us? Will they question Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s former ambassador to the United States and currently its deputy defense minister, during their meetings with him when he comes to Washington this week, about his own role in the murder, including phone records of his communications with Khashoggi?

It’s very hard to believe that American officials were not closely monitoring the U.S.-trained Saudi hit men. They were certainly surveilling the top Saudi echelon: The CIA intercepted 11 WhatsApp messages from MBS to his senior henchman, Saud al-Qahtani, who orchestrated Khashoggi’s killing, in the hours before and after the murder, as well as the calls that the crown prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman made to Khashoggi soliciting him to go to Istanbul.


From this morning's Heather Cox Richardson: Mussollini and the fascist racial hierarchies

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/july-5-2021
(Reposted from https://www.democraticunderground.com/1017665699#post13)

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/july-5-2021

Biden’s speech recalled that of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on June 5, 1944, upon the fall of Rome during World War II. It was Italian leader Benito Mussolini who articulated the ideals of fascism after World War I, envisioning a hierarchical world in which economic and political leaders worked together to lead the masses forward by welding them into a nationalistic, militaristic force.

In his 1944 speech, FDR was careful to explain to Americans how they were different from the Italian fascists. He talked about “Nazi overlords” and “fascist puppets.” Then, in contrast to the fascists’ racial hierarchies, FDR made a point of calling Americans’ attention to the fact that the men who defeated the Italian fascists were Americans from every walk of life.

And then he turned to how fascism treated its people. “In Italy, the people have lived so long under the corrupt rule of Mussolini that in spite of the tinsel at the top—you have seen the pictures of it—their economic conditions have grown steadily worse. Our troops have found starvation, malnutrition, disease, a deteriorating education, a lower public health, all byproducts of the fascist misrule.”

To rebuild Italy, FDR said, the troops had to start from the bottom. “[W]e have had to give them bread to replace that which was stolen out of their mouths,” he said. “We have had to make it possible for the Italians to raise and use their local crops. We have had to help them cleanse their schools of fascist trappings….”

He outlined how Americans had anticipated the need to relieve the people starved by the fascists, and had made plans to ship food grown by the “magnificent ability and energy of the American people,” in ships they had constructed, over thousands of miles of water. Some of us may let our thoughts run to the financial cost of it,” he said, but “we hope that this relief will be an investment for the future, an investment that will pay dividends by eliminating fascism, by ending any Italian desires to start another war of aggression in the future….”

FDR was emphasizing the power of the people, of democracy, to combat fascism not only abroad but also at home, where it had attracted Americans frustrated by the seeming inability of democracy to counter the Depression. They longed for a single strong leader to fix everything. Other Americans, horrified by FDR’s use of the government to regulate business, provide a basic social safety net, and promote infrastructure, wanted to take the nation back to the 1920s and in so doing had begun to flirt with fascism as well.

As he celebrated the triumph over democracy in Italy, he was also urging Americans to value and protect it at home.

Propublica publishing tax information on the wealthiest 0.001%

https://www.propublica.org/article/the-secret-irs-files-short-form-a-quick-guide-to-what-we-uncovered
(Abbreviated overview.)

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of IRS data on the tax returns of thousands of the wealthiest people. It reveals just how effectively the richest sidestep the tax system, which we’ll show below. But first, to understand the scale of that wealth, let’s look at the richest person in the United States: Jeff Bezos.


Many, many other stories just published.
https://www.propublica.org/article/why-we-are-publishing-the-tax-secrets-of-the-001
https://www.propublica.org/article/the-secret-irs-files-trove-of-never-before-seen-records-reveal-how-the-wealthiest-avoid-income-tax
....

I'll be reading and staying tuned. Should be interesting.

"We Are Bellingcat" - excellent book for those who care about how to search for truth

I won't take a position on whether or not they (bellingcat) have hidden agendas. The only one that I can perceive is one that encourages transparency and citizen participation in investigative journalism.
https://www.bellingcat.com/book/

Based on a search on the tubes, bellingcat has struck a nerve with its investigations. The russian/ussr outlets (sputniknews.cccp, rt.cccp) as well as proxies (mintpressnews) are flooding the media with negative press which never answers the accusations, just tries to deflect, divert, deny.

They uncovered the facts behind the downing of MH17 over the Ukraine, the attempted assassins of the Skripals in England, the chemical warfare in Syria - all of these terrorist actions with the backing of the KGB officer in charge of the Russian plutocracy.

Of course these techniques should be used against any government (national or local) that tries to hide its actions from scrutiny. I expect more will be exposed around the world including those supposed bastions of democracy such as the US, UK, FR, etc.




Feel like fixing the climate crisis is your responsibility? ExxonMobil has been telling you that

https://www.businessinsider.com/exxonmobil-pins-responsibility-for-climate-crisis-on-consumers-study-2021-5

Feel like fixing the climate crisis is your personal responsibility? ExxonMobil has been telling you that for 20 years, a study found.


When Naomi Oreskes lectures about climate change, she gets the same question over and over again.

"A member of the audience will say: 'Well, what can I personally do? What can I do as an individual to fix this problem?'" Oreskes, a science historian at Harvard University, told Insider. "Much less frequently do they say: 'What can we do about the way the fossil fuel industry is blocking policy action?'"

It's a common idea: That the best way to fight climate change is by making changes in your own life — using less energy, eating less meat, driving less, flying less. But according to Oreskes and her colleague, Geoffrey Supran, a key source of this sentiment is a set of communications campaigns from ExxonMobil.

The researchers' latest analysis indicates that the oil giant started blaming the climate crisis on consumers two decades ago. In a study published last week, Supran and Oreskes analyzed 180 ExxonMobil documents discussing climate change from 1977 to 2014. The set includes internal communications, peer-reviewed publications, and "advertorials" — advertisements fashioned to look like editorials and published in The New York Times op-ed section.

Around the year 2000, the researchers found, a new trend emerged in the company's public-facing communications. The advertisements began to focus on how consumers use energy.

"Be smart about electricity use," one 2007 advertorial suggested, continuing: "Heat and cool your home efficiently." "Improve your gas mileage." "Check your home's greenhouse gas emissions."

Focusing on how consumers power their homes and cars, Oreskes and Supran argue, helps ExxonMobil "downplay" its role in extracting and burning the fossil fuels that are filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and raising global temperatures. It places both the blame and the responsibility for solving the problem onto individuals.


It's all about messaging. Deflecting. Propaganda.

No One Wants to Work [For You] Anymore: The End of Oligopsony

https://www.emptywheel.net/2021/05/16/no-one-wants-to-work-for-you-anymore-the-end-of-oligopsony/

This post highlights a very important discussion that may change the way that workers are treated in this capitalist economy. At least I hope it does.

There are few ways faster to piss me off than to say, “Slackers don’t want to work” in response to the lack of candidates for low-wage jobs.

Inside a one-mile stretch of the main thoroughfare where I live in Midwestern Suburbia, I can find 8-12 signs advertising job openings right now. I’ve lived here since the late 1970s and I’ve never seen this many postings for jobs.

Every single one of these jobs pays between $3.67 (Michigan’s minimum tipped hourly wage) and $15.00 an hour. None of them are full time, most have variable schedules, and only one place assures workers one weekend day off every week. None of them offer health care or childcare assistance of any kind. None of them offer enough hours regularly with enough compensation to pay for a one-bedroom apartment within walking distance, and likely not within a 10-mile radius.

Until the pandemic, these employers were able to tell workers what they’d pay, take it or leave it. They could act in concert without having to coordinate to set market pricing because it was simply understood by workers that hourly workers’ pay fell in this range and it was an employers’ market.

Employers have acted like a cartel, with collusion on price fixing for labor enabled by other monopolistic entities like Facebook and Google.

Excellent post and comments from Heather Cox Richardson today

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-13-2021

But the real blockbuster political story of the day came in the form of a video obtained by Mother Jones and written about in a detailed article there by Ari Berman and Nick Surgey. The leaked video shows Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America—the political arm of the right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank—explaining to big-money donors that Heritage Action has worked closely with Republican state legislators to enact voter suppression laws. “In some cases, we actually draft them for them,” she said, “or we have a sentinel on our behalf give them the model legislation so it has that grassroots, from-the-bottom-up type of vibe.”

The story is not entirely new. Heritage (as it is known) published a report last February outlining “best practices” for voting, many of which are in the new bills coming out of Republican-dominated state legislatures. And in a March article for the New York Times, Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein outlined the role of Heritage Action in Georgia’s and Arizona’s voting restrictions, noting that at least 23 of the proposed state bills that dealt with voting had language that looked like that of Heritage. They also wrote that Heritage plans to spend $24 million to change voting laws in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin before the 2022 election, and that the person behind the Heritage voting policies is Hans von Spakovsky, who mainstreamed the idea of voter fraud in the Republican Party, although experts agree it is vanishingly rare.

What is new and dramatic about the video is seeing Anderson make her pitch to donors for a coordinated right-wing effort to take the vote away from their opponents. She talks of working with similar groups: “We literally give marching orders for the week ahead,” Anderson said. “All so we’re singing from the same song sheet of the goals for that week and where the state bills are across the country.”

Heritage Action is fighting hard against the Democrats’ For the People Act, which would protect the right to vote, end partisan gerrymandering, and limit money in politics. Heritage summarized the bill, which it called the “Corrupt Politicians Act,” in a short sheet for lawmakers. Anderson explained: “We’ve made sure that every single member of Congress knows just how bad the bill is…. Then we’ve made sure there’s an echo chamber of support around these senators driven by your Heritage Action activists and sentinels across the country where we’ve driven hundreds of thousands of calls, emails, place[d] letters to the editor, hosted events, and run television and digital ads.”


And this exceptional comment(s):

Ellie Kona4 hr ago

In Heather’s video chat today (5/13/2021), she talked about Stephen Douglas. Stephen Douglas, of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, drafted the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 to allow the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide whether or not to allow slavery, rather than to be decided by Congress, and the Northerners in opposition to slavery and oligarchy formed the Republican Party. The Democratic Party split between north and south. As the Southern Democrats escalated to the point of seceding from the Union, Douglas took a stand that secession was in opposition to democracy and sided with Lincoln and the Union for a mainstream position. With the split in the Democrats, the Republicans prevailed. As it echoes to today, the party split looks like a good thing.

Heather’s point was that the spin-off element can become very dangerous.

As Heather describes the campaign of the Heritage Action for America, we see ever more clearly how the danger comes in the form of not “just” the Jan. 6 insurrection, but the sophisticated monied manipulation of state legislators, and even of public opinion, as through letters to the editor, to create the appearance of legitimacy and “the will of the people.”

How is Heritage connected to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)? Both are funded by the Koch Foundation. Note that ALEC wrote the 360 voter suppression bills pending/passed across the country.

What is the counterpart progressive PAC that is spoon-feeding legislation to elected officials and their staff?

Fellow HCR Reader Jeff Carpenter looked for a progressive PAC. The best he could find is the State Innovation Exchange (SiX):

New Republic article of 1/03/2020, “Have Democrats Found Their ALEC?”

https://newrepublic.com/article/156110/democrats-found-alec

The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) provides an online database of liberal and progressive model state-level legislation that has been passed in a state for politicians and activists to replicate and enact in state legislatures.

https://stateinnovation.org/

Jeff learned that progressive state groups are more like libraries than lobbies, and big donors prefer national legislation over state legislation. Jeff contacted a SiX spokesperson who said:

“We do not operate like ALEC (For example, we’re not a “bill mill” that churns out copycat legislation. We know that policy alone won’t fix our democracy and economy, so we take a policy plus approach--we share policy research from issue experts, as well as communications, strategy, connections with movement partners, and other types of support that legislators need.) We do provide tailored support for state legislators, and democracy is one of our primary issue areas.”

However daunting, our despair can only be a feeling that we redirect into action. Barriers to voting, voter suppression bills, are already being passed as a set up for the minority to overpower the majority in the 2022 elections and beyond. The time is now to make our voices heard as individuals by writing/texting/calling elected officials, corporations, local newspapers, and social media.

How to get started, if you haven’t already? Here are 5 of more than 40 grassroots organizations:

Vote Forward: https://votefwd.org/

Fair Fight: Home | Fair Fight

League of Women Voters (members do include men!): https://www.lwv.org/

Common Cause: commoncause.org

5 Calls: https://5calls.org/

What’s your favorite organization in support of democracy?
70Reply

Gigi3 hr ago

My favorite organization in support of democracy is Joe Biden’s administration.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Question—why am I still surprised that Heritage was doing everything that Democrats were accused of? Bussing people in to act like locals was something we often heard idjt45 raging about during the New Hampshire primary. There is no bottom to their madness and it explains why many politicians never even knew what they were proposing. Hello Marjorie and her America First caucus looking like a fool talking about an outside organization and no one blasted her on it.

Great list and background info Ellie. Thank you.

Guardian: US democracy on the brink: Republicans wage 'coordinated onslaught' on voting rights

This is such an important article. Please read/comment/recommend to others.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/mar/24/democracy-under-attack-america-us-voting-rights-republicans

Seizing on Donald Trump’s lies about fraud in the 2020 election, Republicans have launched a brazen attack on voting, part of an effort to entrench control over a rapidly changing electorate by changing the rules of democracy. As of mid-February, 253 bills were pending to restrict voting in 43 states. Many of those restrictions take direct aim at mail-in and early voting, the very policies that led to November’s record turnout.

“The fragility of democracy has been exposed at levels that I think even white America was blind to,” said Brown, a co-founder of Black Voters Matter.

Republicans have openly talked about their intentions. “Everybody shouldn’t be voting,” John Kavanagh, a Republican in the Arizona state legislature, told CNN earlier this month. “Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well.”
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