Monday, June 27, 2022

Ghislaine Maxwell put on suicide watch ahead of sentencing: Lawyer

Mod: It has been almost three years since Epstein was murdered in prison.

Ghislaine Maxwell put on suicide watch ahead of sentencing: Lawyer (ABC News link): Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell has been put on suicide watch days before her sentencing on five criminal counts, including sex trafficking, according to her lawyer.

She is awaiting sentencing, ahead of Tuesday morning's hearing, at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

"Yesterday, without having conducted a psychological evaluation and without justification, the MDC placed Ms. Maxwell on suicide watch," her lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, wrote to a federal court in New York on Saturday. "She is not permitted to possess and review legal documents and is not permitted paper or pen. This has prevented her from preparing for sentencing."

Nearly three years ago, her accomplice, Jeffrey Epstein was found dead by suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. The federal government announced last year that MCC would close due to its poor conditions.

Her lawyers said she is unable to prepare for sentencing and "is prohibited from reviewing legal materials prior to sentencing, becomes sleep-deprived, and is denied sufficient time to meet with and confer with counsel." They said if this doesn't change by Monday, they will formally request to have sentencing date delayed.

"I met with Ms. Maxwell today (after a 97-minute delay following my arrival at the facility)," her lawyer said. "She is not suicidal."

The Department of Justice responded to Maxwell's legal team Sunday afternoon, saying she was put on suicide watch after she allegedly emailed the Bureau of Prisons Inspector General's Office claiming she feared for her safety. However, it said Maxwell does have a hard copy of all her legal documents and "is able to confer with defense counsel."

Mod: More at the link.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Actor Samuel L. Jackson Rips 'Uncle Clarence' Thomas For Risking Interracial Marriage In Roe Reversal

Mod: "How's Uncle Clarence feeling about overturning Loving v. Virginia?" actor Samuel L. Jackson tweeted.

Samuel Jackson Rips 'Uncle Clarence' Thomas For Risking Interracial Marriage In Roe Reversal (Huffington Post link): Actor Samuel L. Jackson slammed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as “Uncle Clarence” for jeopardizing the legal right to interracial marriage with the court’s decision Friday to overturn of Roe v. Wade.

The same rationale the conservative court employed to reverse the 1973 decision on abortion rights could now be used to eliminate the right to same-sex marriage, contraception and interracial marriage, which was protected in the 1967 Loving v. Virginia ruling, lawmakers and scholars fear.

Jackson bashed Thomas as “Uncle Clarence” in a Friday night tweet, referring to the excessively servile Black character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s pre-Civil War novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

The Roe decision suggested that the legal underpinnings of the constitutional protection for abortion were weakly based on arguments that have supported other Supreme Court cases guaranteeing various rights, including the right to contraception and same-sex and interracial marriage.

In a solo concurring opinion Friday, Thomas suggested that the court should “correct the error” by withdrawing granted rights now protected under the “substantive due process clause” of the 14th Amendment. But Thomas specifically named only the rights to same-sex marriage and contraception. He side-stepped the Loving case, which, if overturned as Roe was, could threaten his own interracial marriage to Ginni Thomas.

Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff behind the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on same-sex marriage, said Friday that Thomas omitted Loving v. Virginia on his list of top court decisions to “reconsider” because it “affects him personally.”

That “affects him personally, but he doesn’t care about the LGBTQ+ community,” Obergefell said on MSNBC’s “The Reid Out.”

Though some Thomas supporters criticized Jackson for what they called a “racist” attack on the justice, the actor’s Twitter followers mostly applauded the dig — and the issue.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert All Asked For Presidential Pardons For Coup Plot

: Now why would they want to go and do that?

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert All Asked For Presidential Pardons For Coup Plot (PoliticusUSA link): The 1/6 Committee has evidence that Reps. Matt Gaetz, Mo Brooks, Louie Gohmert, Scott Perry, and Marjorie Taylor Greene sought presidential pardons for the Trump election plot. Former aide to Mark Meadows Cassidy Hutchinson testified:

Mr. Gaetz
and Mr. Brooks, I know, have both advocated for there to be a blanket pardon for members that were at the December 21 meeting.

As the preemptive pardons. Mr. Gaetz is personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December. I’m not sure why. He reached out to me to ask if he could have a meeting with Mr. Meadows about a presidential pardon.

Mr. Banks did. He never asked me for one. It was more for an update on whether there were going to be pardons for members of congress. Mr. Gohmert asked for one as well. Mr. Perry asked for one as well. 

When asked about Marjorie Taylor Green, the former White House aide said that Greene requested a pardon through the White House Counsel’s Office.

Gaetz was likely fishing for a pardon because he has a federal child sex trafficking case hanging over his head.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) was smart enough not to directly ask for a pardon but asked if Trump would be pardoning members of Congress.

The names on this list are also the same House members who are defending the 1/6 insurrectionists and calling them political prisoners.

People don’t ask for pardons unless they believe that they broke the law, and now the nation knows some of the names of the members of the Trump coup who thought that they would need a pardon.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Clarence Thomas calls on court to undo rulings on same-sex relationships and contraception: 'We have a duty to correct the error'

Mod: The American dark ages have now begun. And those bringing it are just getting started.

Clarence Thomas calls on court to undo rulings on same-sex relationships and contraception: 'We have a duty to correct the error' (Raw Story link): Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday confirmed some of the darkest warnings about the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark decision that enshrined a woman's right to an abortion and said individual states can permit or restrict the procedure themselves.

"The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives," the court said.

The right-wing court had been expected to overturn the ruling after a draft circulated showing that Justice Samuel Alito had written a decision striking down Roe in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, and many warned the court would next target other agreed-upon rights.

opened the door to that in a concurring opinion to the 6-3 ruling in Dobbs, saying the court should reconsider rulings that protect the rights to contraception, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

"In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell," Thomas wrote. "Because any substantive due process decision is 'demonstrably erroneous' ... we have a duty to 'correct the error' established in those precedents ... After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated."

Mod: More at the link.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Gym Jordan's Nightmare: Geo. Clooney Documentary on Cover-Up of Ohio State Sex Abuse About to Hit

Mod: There is no bigger dirtbag than Gym Jordan. But don't take my word on it. Thanks to George Clooney the victims will be heard.

Jordan Nightmare: Clooney Documentary About Cover-Up of Ohio State Abuse About to Hit (Political Flare link): One of the biggest sexual abuse scandals in college sports occurred at Ohio State University where an assistant wrestling coach abused young men – wrestlers, young men who were above the age of consent, but are considered victims due to the power imbalance between the coach and the athletes. Jim Jordan is caught up in the scandal because he played a major role in begging witnesses and people who knew of the scandal to let it go for the good of the program.

From NBC News on February 12, 2020, referencing Jordan’s time in the program as an assistant coach and the lengths he went to in order to cover it up:

Jim Jordan called me crying, crying, groveling, on the Fourth of July … begging me to go against my brother, begging me, crying for half an hour,” Adam DiSabato said at the hearing. “That’s the kind of cover-up that’s going on here.”

It is stunning that Jordan has been able to avoid civil liability (so far, there are many lawsuits still in the courts) and scandal while he has been in Congress.

But Jordan may be about to face the consequences. None other than George Clooney has arranged for the creation of a documentary, one that will soon be released on HBO, highlighting the entirety of the scandal, educating people who never knew, reminding those who do, and informing all about the seriousness of his role: From the Hollywood Reporter today:

Grant and I are very proud to be working on this project with HBO,” said Clooney in a statement. “It’s a devastating story about people in power abusing and then covering up their criminal actions against students. The fact that it hasn’t been resolved as of yet is deeply disturbing.”

Said Orner, “I’m honored to join this incredible creative team. This film is about the largest $exual abuse scandal in the history of American higher education. It will give the courageous men who were abused a powerful and clear voice.”

Mod: More at the link.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Slate: The Horrible Price Public Servants Paid For Standing Up to Trump’s Election Lies

Mod: Some real heroes from the 2020 election, and the price they paid for saving democracy.

The Horrible Price Public Servants Paid For Standing Up to Trump’s Election Lies (Slate link): Tuesday’s Jan. 6 committee hearings offered brutal new details of how the president’s bid to retain power upended lives. You’ll often hear, in discussions about President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and ultimate failure to do so, victorious declarations that the institutions held. The theme of Tuesday’s public hearing of the House Jan. 6 committee was: That takeaway is a little glib.

“But what does that really mean?” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said in his opening remarks of the hearing. “Democratic institutions aren’t abstractions or ideas. They are local officials who oversee elections … people in whom we placed our trust that they will carry out their duties. But what if they don’t?”

The committee sought to show Tuesday that the institutions held because a few key people here or there chose not just to risk their jobs or careers, but their lives and their reputations as well, to do so. In the words of Ruby Freeman, mother of witness Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, a Fulton County elections worker subject to viral conspiratorial hatred, “Do you know how it feels to have the President of the United States target you?” 

Plenty of rank-and-file Republicans entertained Trump’s ever-escalating lies and conspiracy theories about the stolen election because it was easier to do so. The effect was to pass the responsibility further and further upwards until it reached people with both moral and constitutional duties to tell the president “no,” and that everything he was proposing was illegal, unconstitutional, and based on lies. Strong institutions should require such bureaucrats to be neutral messengers with nothing to fear. Instead, they had to accept the ruination of their lives.

Rusty Bowers, the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, was one of those figures who had to tell the president “no” if he felt democracy was worth keeping. He was under immense pressure from both Trump and his chief goons, like Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, to submit an alternate slate of electors for Trump. He repeatedly asked for evidence of the wild claims they were making—that there were thousands of illegal immigrants and dead people voting, for example—but they could never provide it. Bowers recalled Giuliani saying to him, at one point, that “we’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.”

Bowers repeatedly had to tell Giuliani and other members of the president’s team that “you are asking me to do something that is against my oath, and I will not break my oath.” Bowers, a Mormon, said it is “a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired.”

“And so for me to do that, because somebody just asked me to?” He continued. “It’s foreign to my very being. I will not do it.”

Trump’s base did not throw Bowers a ticker-tape parade for doing his job. He testified that he received “in excess of 20,000 emails and tens of thousands of voicemails and texts, which saturated our offices and we were unable to work, at least communicate.” At his home, meanwhile, he said he now has “to worry what will happen on Saturdays, because we have various groups come by.” They “have had panel trucks with videos of me proclaiming me to be a pedophile, and a pervert, and a corrupt politician, and blaring loudspeakers in my neighborhood.” They threaten him and his neighbors. Still.

Mod: Much more at the link.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

ABC News Poll: Nearly 60% of Americans Want Trump Prosecuted, Even 20% of GOP Wants Trump Charged

: It really is nice to see folks are finally catching on.

ABC News Poll: Nearly 60% of Americans Want Trump Prosecuted, Even 20% of GOP Wants Trump Charged (Political Flare  link): This could be a tipping point. We saw a poll earlier this week that said that 56% of Americans thought Trump should be prosecuted versus 37% that disagreed, a 17-point difference, which is a massive divide in this day and age. But that poll came out from a little-known outfit, and we questioned whether its methods were scientific or not.

But now, ABC News and Ipsos, a far more respected and experienced polling operation finds that an even greater percentage of Americans believe that Trump should face criminal prosecution, 58% or what they call “6 in 10 Americans” believe Trump needs to be prosecuted. Of course, the poll leans heavily Democratic on the question but there are some eye-popping surprises:

Overall, 60% of Americans think the committee is conducting a fair and impartial investigation while 38% say it is not.

The poll divides along party lines, with 91% of Democrats thinking Trump should be charged with a crime compared to 19% of Republicans. On whether Trump bears a “great deal” or a “good amount” of responsibility for the attack, 91% of Democrats and 21% of Republicans say he does.

The poll downplays the Republican element, but if you think about it, losing what amounts to 20% or one in five Republicans who think that Trump should be prosecuted, is absolutely amazing, stunning even. Right now, the Republicans are a minority party that gets to play a an outsized role because of our fkt up form of democracy. Trump simply cannot afford to lose even one out of five Republicans. These polls have made huge news over the weekend, given the weight that the hearings are clearly having.

Mod: More at the link.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Media Matters: "Moms For Liberty" Are Now Threatening To Shoot School Librarians

Mod: The madness just got worse. I didn't know that was possible. But here we are. 

"Moms For Liberty" Are Now Threatening To Shoot School Librarians (PoliticusUSA link): The communications director of the far-right Republican front group Moms for Liberty was recorded threatening to shoot school librarians. The group has the facade of a grassroots organization, but it is funded by Republicans, and behind the claim of interest parental rights is the pushing of a far-right agenda.

Lonoke County, Arkansas chapter head of communications Melissa Missy Bosch said about the school district’s librarians, “I’m telling you, if I was — any mental issues, they would all be plowed down with a freaking gun by now.”

Librarians have been turned into a target by the far-right with its critical race theory campaign. Republicans have turned election workers, librarians, school district officials, and other local public servants into targets.

The combination of ease of access to guns along with right-wing conspiracies and disinformation has created a climate where Republicans are being radicalized toward violence against their own communities.

The issue is much more complex than guns. Republicans seem to be transforming from conservative political activists to potential domestic terrorists in communities big and small across the country.

A Moms for Liberty leader threatens gun violence against librarians in newly leaked audio (Media Matters link): Leaked audio from a Moms for Liberty meeting in Lonoke County, Arkansas, reveals a member of the chapter’s leadership flippantly threatening gun violence against librarians. 

In the audio obtained by Media Matters, the chapter’s head of communications and media, Melissa Missy Bosch, complained about librarians in the district, saying, “I’m telling you, if I was -- any mental issues, they would all be plowed down with a freaking gun by now.”

Bosch is an Arkansas-based anti-mask activist who has since redirected that energy to her new charter school and the Moms for Liberty “parental rights” campaign that advocates for the banning of books across the country and strategically harasses school officials. 

She was made aware of the recorded audio and took to Facebook falsely claiming it was “illegally recorded” and “illegally spliced.” It wasn’t — Arkansas is a one-party consent state and Media Matters has reviewed the original recording in full. 

Bosch also threatened legal action in her post, claiming to know “some fantastic lawyers,” and she said her comments came while she was talking about “making librarians who make 85k a year answer to parents when we ask how sexually explicit books got into the library.” Bosch — along with other Moms for Liberty members — advocates for banning “pornographic books” to protect children, parroting a line right-wing media often use to target books about race and LGBTQ identity.

Yet Bosch’s hypocrisy is clearly evident since she rationalizes book bans to “protect” children while also hiring a lawyer who also represented a high-profile child sex offender. Travis Story, who represented Bosch in 2021 in a lawsuit against school mask mandates, simultaneously represented former TLC star and reported “longtime friend” Josh Duggar, who has since been convicted of “receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material.”  

Mod: The audio is linked on the Media Matters site.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Pasadena Star News: Will Sierra Madre monastery development go to a November ballot?

: People are telling me Facebook Bob thinks this one is about him. 

Will Sierra Madre monastery development go to November ballot? (Pasadena Star News link): Those unfortunate to have the Passionist Monastery and its environmentally sketchy 42 McMansion debacle for neighbors have now put that boondoggle up for a November vote. This will be the second time in 15 years the residents of Sierra Madre have been forced to remove an important land use responsibility from shady city officials and go to a ballot measure. You have to wonder why such unworthy representatives get elected in the first place.

The number of residents willing to sign the petition to make this happen is impressive. In a town of a mere 10,000 people, 1,300 pro-initiative signatures have been verified as legit by the Los Angeles County Registrar. Only 856 were needed. Given turnouts nowadays, that many votes alone in a Sierra Madre election could be enough to send monastery developer New Urban West and its unhappy investors a-packing.

This isn’t just a land-use rebellion, either. The message being sent to City Hall is people no longer trust them to do the right thing. And while the City Council still has the ability to shilly shally over this ballot measure’s roll out, they have now been rendered superfluous on the biggest land use controversy since before Sierra Madre became an All America City.

The last time such an initiative went to the ballot in the Foothill Village was 2007. Called Measure V, it was a resident challenge to an unpopular City Hall connivance designed to turn the quaint downtown area into a mixed-use redundancy best described as Valley Generic. More Rubidoux than Sierra Madre, 1,796 All Americans turned out on Election Day to make certain it never happened. 

Former Mayor Glenn Lambdin, currently of the astroturfed “Neighbors for Fairness,” reacted back then to Measure V’s triumph by proclaiming Sierra Madre’s downtown would “remain frozen in time.” He never explained why that’s a bad thing. The comment hasn’t stood up.

At a recent Planning Commission meeting developer New Urban West pushed hard for a vote on the monastery project. Approve or deny was their demand. It could then go before the City Council. Commissioner Peggy Dallas quipped NUW must be feeling “pretty confident.” The city attorney explained the developer is entitled to ask for a vote, but the PC shouldn’t feel forced.

The exchange left many with the impression that a fix was in, the Planning Commission being merely a speed bump on the way to a predetermined City Council payoff. Of course, with everything today solely in the hands of the voters, does it really matter anymore?

A portion of the glory for the ballot initiative breakthrough has been leveled at an inept public relations campaign, orchestrated by a fellow renowned until recently for moderating dog pictures on a Facebook page. The results have been devastating for both the developer and its investors.

The main focus was a costly postcard, advertising and Facebook campaign designed to convince anyone who’d signed the petition to remove their name. The pitch being now that they knew all of the skinny, they’d want out.

Initiative leader Barbara Vellturo later wryly commented on social media: “We were happy to learn that only 5 people out of more than 1,000 changed their minds as a result of all the arguing and ads and harassing of those who were signing — and one of the five lives in Pasadena.”

The campaign has since fallen back on the demagogic fallacy that opposing the McMansionization of land being sold by a monastery is anti-Catholic. No word yet if New Urban West will hire professional campaign personnel going into the November showdown.

So listen, why is it other towns don’t do it like Sierra Madre? Certainly they have similar problems. Democracy does actually work, you know.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Gavin Newsom Trolls Republicans With 'Red State Murder Problem' Truth Social Post

Mod: Some actual truth found on Trump's anti-social media platform. Couldn't be the easy access to guns in red states, right?

Gavin Newsom Trolls Republicans With 'Red State Murder Problem' Truth Social Post (Comic Sands link): California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom joined Truth Social, former Republican President Donald Trump's troubled social media platform, to troll the GOP and other gun sales activists with his remarks about the "red state murder problem."

Republicans have for years blamed Democratic administrations for high crime rates.

President Joe Biden's administration has not been spared from this either, particularly amid ongoing social unrest throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, claims Democrats are to blame for high crime are misleading.

Eight out of the 10 states with the highest homicide rates in 2020 voted for former President Trump, what the centrist think tank Third Way labeled "The Red State Murder Problem" (link).

Per capita murder rates during 2020 were 40 percent higher in states won by Trump than those won by Joe Biden, according to Third Way. It was these facts that informed Newsom's response. Newsom said:

"Hey everybody, it's Governor Gavin Newsom and I know we're all on this platform in search for the truth."

"But the truth is I've not been able to find a simple explanation for the fact that we have a red state murder problem."

"Eight of the top 10 states with the highest murder rates happen to be red states."

"So the question is simple: What are the laws and policies in those states that are leading to such carnage?"

Newsom's post comes as the nation continues to reel from the impact of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas—a red state—in which a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in a fourth and fifth grade classroom.

Donald Trump is reportedly "fuming" over the failure of Truth Social, according to a Washington Post report published in April about the consequences of the platform's sluggish rollout.

Mod: Newsom's video is posted on Twitter. Link here.

Friday, June 17, 2022

‘Testify under oath’: Donald Trump mocked after angrily demanding ‘equal time’ at Jan. 6 hearings

Mod: I'm sure the J6 Committee will let Donald perjure himself for as long as he wants. 

‘Testify under oath’: Trump mocked after angrily demanding ‘equal time’ at Jan. 6 hearings (Raw Story link): Donald Trump was urged to publicly testify under oath after he demanded "equal time" with the televised hearings of the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"The Fake News Networks are perpetuating lies, falsehoods, and Russia, Russia, Russia type disinformation (same sick people, here we go again!) by allowing the low rated but nevertheless one sided and slanderous Unselect Committee hearings to go endlessly and aimlessly on (and on and on!). It is a one sided, highly partisan Witch Hunt, the likes of which has never been seen in Congress before," Trump posted on his Truth Social.

"Therefore, I am hereby demanding EQUAL TIME to spell out the massive Voter Fraud & Dem Security Breach!" Trump said, even though his lies about the 2020 election were long ago debunked.

On Twitter, where Trump is not allowed to participate in the coverage due to his lifetime suspension for inciting Jan. 6, the former president was urged to just testify before the select committee. "Equal time means sitting your lying ass in a witness chair," wrote Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). "We’ll wait."

The former impeachment manager wasn't the only one with a similar sentiment.

"Trump just sent out a press release with a screen shot of a post he put up on his personal social media platform 'hereby demanding EQUAL TIME' to repeat his lies about the election. Confident the committee would be thrilled to let him testify under oath," wrote HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Dáte.

Ron Kampeas
, the DC bureau chief for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency wondered, "if Trump seriously wants equal time, the committee should invite him to testify under oath, no?" TV writer Bryan Behar wrote, "let’s get this f*cker’s hand on a Bible stat!!! "Stuttering John" from The Howard Stern Show said Trump will "have equal time in jail."