Monday, January 31, 2022

Donald Trump Is So Scared Of Criminal Charges That He Threatened America

: For those who don't think that the January 6 committee is having a major impact, look at the effects they are having on the former president.

Trump Is So Scared Of Criminal Charges That He Threatened America (PoliticusUSA link): Trump scripted a threat of mass protests and unrest in America if he is criminally charged. Trump said at his “rally” in Texas, “If these radical vicious racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt. “

Trump is terrified of being criminally charged. Trump was sending the message that if he is criminally charged, he will order his supporters to attack America again. His threat was not made from a position of strength.

The remarks were not the comments of a man who has a defense to offer or the resources to win a legal fight. Donald Trump is trying to use whatever platform that he has left to keep himself out of jail.

Prosecutors get threatened all of the time, so no prosecutor is going to be deterred by Trump’s threat of people on the streets if he is criminally charged.

Trump is overestimating his power. Since he left office, support among Republicans for another Trump presidential run has plunged. If the enthusiasm for voting for him is lessening, people aren’t going to take to the streets to keep him out of jail.  

Country in Shock: Trump Promises to Pardon ‘Everyone Involved in Jan. 6th’ if Elected Again (Political Flare link): Donald Trump has entered an entirely different world, one filled with anxiety, anger, and fear. As we have said over and over (along with many others), Trump’s entire existence, his entire persona, or “brand” – a term he’s made famous with respect to individual people, has always been premised upon immense secrecy, secrecy of the type that makes it look like he was always president. 

In the last two weeks, the SCOTUS has ruled that he has no secrecy, at least not with respect to the post-election period. Additionally, Rachael Maddow (not the FBI, not the state police… makes one wonder) found that fake Electoral College certificates were created and not just pieces of paper runoff from a MSWord printer, certificates that used the same font, paper, form, everything, all purportedly runoff so as to count as “Electoral College votes” from every state that Trump disputed, thus giving Mike Pence some kind of conundrum, some reason to send the votes back (which would leave the election up to the House of Representatives, which would mean Trump would win, one vote per state). 

Trump has also learned that Bill Barr is cooperating with the committee and has had more than one deposition with them. Barr would know what he is doing in order to protect himself and won’t be fooled by a promise of a pardon if he just hangs in there until 2024.

And here, after all this time, we were under the impression that people voted and the votes were counted and that’s who won. Instead, the Vice-President gets to decide who he thinks voted for who.

Just to be sure that no one has the wrong impression, Trump and a handful of idiots are the only people who believe that Mike Pence had any role in the matter beyond reading the Electoral College votes, akin to what someone does at the Academy Awards, except everyone already knows who won.

Mod: More at the link.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Sierra Madre: Some city halls never learn

Mod: My column from the Sunday edition Opinion section of the Pasadena Star News. Yes, the passionless development at the Monastery is going on the ballot. Vote often.

Sierra Madre: Some city halls never learn (Pasadena Star News link): At the Sierra Madre City Council meeting Jan. 11, City Clerk Laura Aguilar announced resident emails would no longer be read aloud, but only posted to their website for the sake of “transparency.” Resident Gary Hood pointed out that much of the city’s population is aging and relies on televised council meetings for their information. No response.

The Mater Dolorosa development’s Environmental Impact Report was promised for February, but showed up weeks early. Perhaps because omicron is waning, and public meetings are possible soon? Preserve Sierra Madre, one of two organizations fighting the unpopular development, was told there would only be five meetings after the EIR emerged — two at the Planning Commission, two City Council. The other one? The lawyers? When you consider the city has only 60 days, that timeline seems swampy.

Planning boss Vince Gonzalez informed the Planning Commission that emails shall no longer be read there, either. You could see the shock on the faces of the commissioners, including a blindsided Chairman Pevsner.

Concerned residents contacted four of the five council members individually, so it wouldn’t violate the Brown Act. Rachelle Arizmendi was left out for obvious reasons. Some council members didn’t respond. An excerpt from that  disregarded email:

“We residents increasingly feel that we do not have a Council that listens to us. We are limited to three minutes on the dot when speaking, nothing anyone has said seems to be taken into consideration. We implored them to read the statements rebutting the draft EIR for the Meadows project … When the EIR was published for the change in the General Plan, the rebuttals to it were not responded to in any meaningful way. Director Gonzalez alone received 90 emails questioning and rebutting the DEIR for the Meadows project. “

In a letter published in the city’s weekly newspaper, resident Deb Sheridan noted:

“The City of Sierra Madre promised transparency in our local government. Mistrust of government at all levels has increased exponentially the last several years, and our fair city of Sierra Madre has added to this. Sierra Madre has failed to inform anyone about SWB9 and SB10, and took no action. Now the City is not being forthright about the zone change request from the Monastery Retreat Center.”

One resident told me that for the first time in her 30 years in town Sierra Madre’s government is aggressively hiding its actions from the community. A year ago the City Council reduced the Planning Commission from seven members to five, then took away design review standards and assigned them to their staff. Transparency is now gone.

It is disturbing that in these COVID-ravaged times Sierra Madre’s City Council members decided they are too busy to hear from their constituents unless they show up in person. Besides, residents don’t get paid by the appearance like they do. Nor do they have a hardly disinterested city staff finding novel ways to disenfranchise the community.

You have to wonder which consultant taught them such techniques. Truly undemocratic, and sadly in-line with much of what we’re seeing elsewhere.

But that is not where the story ends. The other organization fighting Monastery McMansionization made this announcement last Tuesday:

Protect Sierra MadreStop the Housing Project has filed an Initiative to place an Ordinance on the Ballot in this year’s election to be voted on by all registered voters in Sierra Madre. It would change the zoning of the Monastery parcel (Mater Dolorosa) from Institutional to Hillside Residential Zone. A petition with signatures of 10% of Sierra Madre registered voters will put the question on the ballot.”

Remember Measure V in 2007? This is the second time in 15 years Sierra Madre residents have been forced to use the ballot. Some city halls never learn.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Joni Mitchell Pulling Music from Spotify in Solidarity With Neil Young

Mod: Why is it Canadian ex-pat musicians and songwriters make better Americans and patriots?

Joni Mitchell Pulling Music from Spotify in Solidarity With Neil Young (Billboard link): Joni Mitchell is joining her old friend and contemporary Neil Young in having her legendary music catalog pulled from Spotify over concerns about vaccine misinformation being spread on the platform’s popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

In a brief note posted to her official website on Friday, the singer-songwriter wrote, “I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

At the time of publishing, Mitchell’s music was still available on Spotify.

Mitchell’s announcement comes just two days after Spotify confirmed it would be granting Young’s request to have his music removed from the platform. Young made the demand on Monday (Jan. 24), writing in part, “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence. Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.”

Spotify and a representative for Mitchell did not immediately respond to Billboard‘s request for comment.

Mitchell’s note was accompanied by a link to the open letter published earlier this month by a group of 270 doctors, scientists, professors and other medical professionals expressing concern over Rogan’s platforming of misinformation around COVID-19. In the letter, the signees asked Spotify to implement a misinformation policy as a means of combatting claims made by Rogan and his guests. 

Among other comments, they noted that Rogan has discouraged young people from receiving the vaccine, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are “gene therapy” and promoted the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, contrary to FDA warnings against using the drug to treat the virus.

Mod: More at the link. And for what it's worth, I stream music on YouTube. It's free, and they don't send you a bunch of stupid intrusive fanny emails about things they think you are going to want to buy. They just leave you alone.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Spotify to Pull Neil Young’s Music After Artist’s Objections to Joe Rogan

Mod: As someone wisely commented here yesterday, Spotify is the Facebook of music streaming services.

Spotify to Pull Neil Young’s Music After Artist’s Objections to Joe Rogan (The Hollywood Reporter link): Spotify is in the process of removing Neil Young’s catalog of music from its service after the artist published an open letter with an ultimatum: Deal with the vaccine misinformation coming from Joe Rogan’s podcast, or lose Young’s music.

Two days after the letter was published, Spotify is now in the process of removing Young’s music from the streaming service, a Spotify spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.

“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” the spokesperson told THR.

In his letter, which was originally published on his website Jan. 24, Young said, “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them. … They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

In a follow-up letter published on Wednesday, Young said that Spotify represented 60 percent of his streaming revenue globally, which amounted to “a huge loss for [his] record company to absorb,” but that he moved forward with removing his catalog because he “could not continue to support Spotify’s life threatening misinformation to the music loving public.”

“I truly want to thank the many, many people who have reached out to me thanking me for taking this position — people who are health professionals on the front lines, people who have lost loved ones to COVID or who are worried for their own children and families. I have never felt so much love coming from so many,” Young wrote in Wednesday’s letter. “I sincerely hope that other artists and record companies will move off the Spotify platform and stop supporting Spotify’s deadly misinformation about COVID.”

Mod: More at the link.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tuckyo Rose: Kremlin TV Worries Tucker Carlson’s Pro-Putin Bias Has Gone Too Far

Mod: You might say that Fox News is a friend to our enemies. But then again, since its anti-American ownership is foreign, can you really say the intent is treasonous?

Kremlin TV Worries Tucker Carlson’s Pro-Putin Bias Has Gone Too Far (The Daily Beast link): With Russian troops steadily massing on the Ukraine border and a looming threat of an invasion that the White House described as “imminent,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson would have you look the other way.

During the episode of his Monday show, Carlson pondered: “Why is it disloyal to side with Russia but loyal to side with Ukraine?” Three years earlier, Carlson admitted that he is rooting for Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. He said, in part: “Why do I care… what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? And I’m serious. Why do I care? Why shouldn’t I root for Russia, which I am?”

Facing criticism, Carlson walked back his comments and claimed he was “joking.” In 2022, he is unabashedly pushing the talking points favored by the Kremlin and no longer making excuses. Carlson is going so far to support the Russian propaganda narrative that prominent personalities on the Kremlin-funded state television are concerned about his future in the United States

Last Sunday, one of Russia’s most-watched television networks Channel One played the clip from Carlson’s show, where he argued that Russia’s anger at NATO’s alleged involvement in Ukraine was well-justified. Reporter Ivan Blagoy then noted the Fox News host “is predictably being accused of playing along with Moscow.”

Broadcasting the same translated clip of Carlson last week on Russia’s second most-watched TV network, Rossiya-1, host of 60 Minutes Evgeny Popov fawned over Carlson by describing him as one of the “voices of truth and reason” and complained that the host of the most-watched show in all of cable news with millions of viewers is being “silenced and marginalized.” In 2020, Popov demonstrated his affinity for Carlson by introducing him as “practically our co-host.”

Last Wednesday, Russia’s English-language state media outlet Russia Today published an op-ed by Irish commentator Graham Dockery, who marveled: “Once considered a sewer pipe of neoconservative jingoism, Fox News is now anti-war—or at least its top-rated host is... The picture is clear: When it comes to Ukraine, pundits and commentators from the establishment left to the neocon right only disagree on how quickly and strongly the U.S. should wade in to stop a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine

Only Carlson, considered far-right by American liberals, is in complete opposition to U.S. involvement.” RT’s writer complained “the sole anti-war voice on prime-time cable happens to belong to a man whom liberals believe is a “white supremacist,” thus undermining his considerable influence.

Mod: The only reason Tuckyo Rose is "anti-war" is it serves the interests of his man-love Vladimir Putin. There is more at the link.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

'The brazenness is shocking': Former Trump security official stunned by new coup memo revelations

: The stage is pretty much set. Next up are public hearings where the GOP's leading candidate for their 2024 presidential nomination will be exposed as a traitor. 

'The brazenness is shocking': Former Trump security official stunned by new coup memo revelations (Raw Story link): During an interview with CNN's Tom Foreman this week, Christopher Krebs, who served as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency under former President Donald Trump, tore into the draft executive order that was meant to execute a coup and overturn the results of the 2020 election.

"It reads like a fictional thriller," said Foreman. "The inauguration postponed, voting machines seized by the military and Donald Trump's time extended by weeks. The December 2020 draft executive order could have triggered all of that if it had been signed and enacted before Joe Biden's win was certified."

Foreman characterized it as "a patchwork of conspiracy theories and dubious legal arguments previously pushed by Team Trump."

"The sheer brazenness and illegality of it all is shocking," said Krebs. "This is a violation of a restriction on using federal troops for domestic law enforcement action."

"We don't know who wrote the draft executive order," said Foreman. "There are a lot of rumors. We don't know why it was never signed or if it was seriously considered. But it fits into the desperate maneuvers by Team Trump to deny the unequivocal loss at the polls, even if this paper was not worth the paper it was written on." 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Hot mic catches Biden calling Fox News reporter 'stupid son of a bitch'

: One of the things I admire most about Joe Biden is his clear honesty.

Hot mic catches Biden calling Fox News reporter 'stupid son of a bitch' (The Hill link): President Biden was caught on a hot microphone Monday calling Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a "stupid son of a bitch" after he asked a question about inflation. 

"Will you take a question on inflation?" Doocy shouted to Biden at the White House during an event billed as a meeting with administration officials on efforts to lower prices for working families.

"Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?" Doocy then asked. "No, it’s a great asset," Biden responded. "More inflation. What a stupid son of a bitch." 

Biden has had a somewhat contentious relationship with Doocy since the Fox News reporter covered his presidential campaign in 2020. During a press conference last week, Doocy asked Biden why he had taken the country "so far to the left," which the president laughed off before saying he's not a socialist. 

Evangelical Jerry Falwell Jr. took testosterone supplements in bid to win wife back from pool boy (Raw Story link): Former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. began taking testosterone supplements in an effort to win back his wife from the Miami pool boy with whom she had been having an affair, according to a new report.

"A former Miami pool boy named Giancarlo Granda claimed he had a nearly seven-year affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki—and that Falwell often liked to watch them have sex. Granda went on a national media tour—he gave interviews to ABC News, CNN, Reuters, Politico, and The Washington Post—and said the Falwells began 'grooming' him when he was 20 and bought his silence with luxury vacations, rides on Liberty’s private jet, and an ownership stake managing a Miami Beach hostel. 

To bolster his claims, Granda released screenshots of Facetime calls and text conversations with Becki ('I’m not wearing any panties,' she allegedly wrote Granda in one message). Falwell released a statement that acknowledged Becki and Granda’s relationship, but he vehemently denied watching the trysts. Instead, Falwell said he was the real victim of a 'Fatal Attraction–type' extortion plot after Granda demanded $2 million to keep the affair secret," Sherman recounted.

Mod: More at the link.

Monday, January 24, 2022

New York Daily News: Trump’s comeuppance is finally coming

Mod: A scorching editorial from the paper that is the true soul of New York City.

Trump’s comeuppance is finally coming (New York Daily News link): One of the best presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, was the only native of New York City to become president until the worst, Donald Trump, won the high office. Now, the state of New York is helping to bring down this miserable, insipid, democracy-threatening horror of a man who we inflicted on the nation and the world. 

In devastating legal papers filed last week, New York Attorney General Leticia James reveals that the cheating con man we’ve known all these long decades cheated and conned in illegally misrepresenting the finances of his real estate firm. Who woulda thunk?

At this, Trump was no apprentice, but a master manipulator of appraisals and valuations, faking the numbers up when needed and down when needed, bearing out what the former president’s former hatchet man Michael Cohen told Congress. The true worth of assets was of no consequence as he sought to maximize his gain and minimize whatever he needed to pay.

James presented these findings in Manhattan state Supreme Court to seek to compel Trump and children Don Jr. and Ivanka to submit to sworn testimony in the matter. Justice Arthur Engoron has plenty of evidence to support making the Trumps answer questions. Excellent going by James

Meanwhile, from a D.C. courtroom, the U.S. Supreme Court rightly rejected Trump’s hollow claim of executive privilege regarding White House documents relevant to the attempted Trump putsch on Jan. 6 last. The House select committee probing the attack on the Capitol wants the records and shortly after the court ruled 8-1 against Trump. The National Archives is sending them to the House. Only Clarence Thomas agreed that an ex-executive could keep Congress in the dark.

Trump has never much been one for the rule of law, preferring the law of the jungle. But the law will eventually catch up to him. And it’s happening now, in New York and in Washington.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

No Shocker Here: DC Insider Says Trump ‘May’ Let His Kids Take the Fall For Him

Mod: When it comes to Donald saving himself there is no sacrifice too big. 

No Shocker Here: DC Insider Says Trump ‘May’ Let His Kids Take the Fall For Him (Hill Reporter link): Trump DOES NOT CARE ABOUT PEOPLE. Trump cares about money. Trump will look you in the eye and smile at you while stealing your tip for the server off of the table after dinner. You’re paying his legal fees into the millions and he wouldn’t give you a nickel to do a scratch-off Lotto ticket. Trump would walk over the bodies of his kids to escape a burning building and then blame them for starting the fire. Trump isn’t a Christian. He’s a Trumpian. He only cares about himself, and if he has to pretend he cares about anyone else, it looks like it physically hurts him.


These are all things I’ve written about the Former Guy. They were true when I wrote them, they’ll be true tomorrow, and they’ll be true for all of whatever remains of human history.

Margaret Carlson picks up this same thread in her new column for The Daily Beast, but again, anyone paying attention can construct their own analogies about how little Trump cares about anything besides himself. Of course he’d let his kids take the fall for him. He’s too narcissistic to take any blame or allow the public to see him weak or guilty in any way! He’s blameless, he’s innocent, he’s just surrounded by the most corrupt group of people outside of a Scorsese movie, it’s never his fault and it never will be.

Trump’s legendary disdain for his adult sons is obvious, so I’m guessing there are discussions going on at Mar-A-Lago right now where Big Little Don is telling Little Little Don and Eric to take one for their sister, who’s too pretty for prison, like Hope Hicks.

Ivanka, Don Jr, and Eric have their nepotism–I mean, fingerprints–all over financial documents that investigators and New York State Attorney General Tish James believe show the family and the Trump Organization committed fraud. There are so many concurrent lawsuits against the Trumps, they should be required to donate to Future Forests along with paying back all of the millions they’ve (allegedly, she wrote while rolling her eyes) stolen. Plus, there’s all of that January 6th stuff going on.

Mod: More at the link.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Swanky Vanky In The Dock: Jan. 6 Panel Seeks Testimony From Ivanka Trump

Mod: The failed attempt to violently overthrow American democracy is now a crime family affair.

Jan. 6 Panel Seeks Testimony From Ivanka Trump (The New York Times link): The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Thursday requested cooperation from Ivanka Trump, as it revealed pieces of what it has learned about a scramble inside the White House that day to get President Donald J. Trump to denounce and call off the mob that was laying siege to the Capitol.

In a letter to Ms. Trump, the former president’s eldest daughter who served as one of his senior advisers, the committee said it had obtained evidence that multiple White House officials — including Ms. Trump, at least twice — had implored Mr. Trump to call off the violence, only to be rebuffed. But aides at the time were also worried about Mr. Trump issuing anything other than a scripted statement during the mayhem.

“Apparently, certain White House staff believed that a live, unscripted press appearance by the president in the midst of the Capitol Hill violence could have made the situation worse,” wrote Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the panel’s chairman.

The summoning of Ms. Trump suggested that the committee was delving deeper into the question of what Mr. Trump was doing and saying while the attack unfolded, as it seeks to determine his intentions and state of mind during the assault. The letter also made clear that the panel has already uncovered substantial evidence about those critical hours inside the White House from key players who were present that day.

Mod: Much more at the link.

'Annoyed' Ivanka Trump is 'barely mentioned' at Mar-a-Lago as investigators close in (Raw Story link): Ivanka Trump is “frustrated” and “annoyed” to be facing legal fallout from her time working for her father, according to a new report in The Daily Beast.

"Whether it’s the lawmakers on Capitol Hill plumbing the depths of last year’s failed coup, or prosecutors in New York putting former President Donald Trump’s sprawling family business under a microscope, investigators working very different probes are increasingly looking to pressure the same person: Ivanka Trump," The Beast noted. "And it’s all coming to a head this week."

The report noted a 115-page legal filing by New York Attorney General Letitia James seeking to compel the testimony of Ivanka along with an 11-page request for cooperation from the Select Committee Investigating the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation said that, over the last year, high-level conversations in former President Trump’s political operation rarely, if ever, involve Ivanka, and her name is barely even mentioned. This includes various strategy discussions and event-planning that do involve other prominent members of the Trump family," The Beast reported. "Instead, Ivanka has tried—with extremely limited success—to paint herself as a part-time humanitarian."

The Beast
spoke to one source who has known Ivanka for years. “She is somebody who, to her core, believes she still has so much to offer the world,” the source said. “To be hassled with investigation after investigation is not where she wanted to be at this chapter in her life.”

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Supreme Court rejects Trump’s request to withhold Jan. 6 materials from House committee investigating Capitol riot

Mod: Pity poor Donald Trump. Nothing is going the privilege-less executive's way anymore.

Supreme Court rejects Trump’s request to withhold Jan. 6 materials from House committee investigating Capitol riot (The Washington Post link): The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected former president Donald Trump’s request to block the release of some of his White House records to a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The order turned aside Trump’s request to block the records’ release while the case regarding his assertion of executive privilege continues through the courts. It means there is no legal obstacle to release of the materials from the National Archives — which President Biden has approved — and Trump’s lawyers have argued that would make the case moot.

White House spokesman Michael Gwin said the court’s ruling was an “important step forward” in the probe.

“The former President subverted the constitution in an attempt to overturn a lawful and fair election,” Gwin said in a statement Wednesday night. “His actions represented a unique and existential threat to our democracy, and President Biden has been clear that these events require a full investigation to ensure that what we saw on January 6th can never happen again.”

It was a major victory for the House select committee, which has been aggressive in going after Trump’s records, issuing subpoenas to his allies and focusing on the president’s actions during the insurrection.

“The Supreme Court’s action tonight is a victory for the rule of law and American democracy,” committee chairman Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a joint statement. “The Select Committee has already begun to receive records that the former President had hoped to keep hidden. … Our work goes forward to uncover all the facts about the violence of January 6th and its causes.”

The records will be released to the committee, and not the public.

The Supreme Court’s order, with only Justice Clarence Thomas noting dissent, did not provide detailed reasoning for rejecting the former president’s application. Nor did Thomas explain why he would have granted the request. Neither is uncommon when the court is addressing an emergency motion.