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Stunt Man DeSantis

It seems like Florida governor, Trump wannabe, and potential presidential aspirant in 2024, Ron DeSantis, likes to use stunts to get attention. There’s just one problem — they seem to backfire on him. Yes, I’ve seen it written that DeSantis is a smarter version of Donald Trump, but that must be an awfully low bar. Here’s two examples:

Back in August, DeSantis bragged loudly about arresting 20 people for voting illegally because of previous felony convictions. One of them was dragged out of his house by police in his underwear. But there is a big problem — the arrested people had been told by their local election boards that they were eligible to vote. Why did this mix-up happen? Because the state (notably run by DeSantis) is required to notify the election boards of people who are not allowed to vote, but they failed to do that. Oops!

And the most recent one is DeSantis bragging (again loudly) because he dumped a group of Venezuelan refugees, without warning, in upscale Martha’s Vineyard. Note that these migrants were not from Florida at all. DeSantis chartered a plane, which picked up the non-English-speakers in Texas, had the plane stop briefly in Florida, and then fly them to Massachusetts. Just the cost of the flight was $615,000, which comes out to $12,300 per migrant.

Even worse, Immigration law experts say that DeSantis broke the law by trafficking migrants. But DeSantis doesn’t care. He doubled down, saying he will keep doing it. The Florida legislature allocated $12 million to transport “unauthorized aliens out of Florida”. But these people didn’t come from Florida, he picked them up in San Antonio, Texas.

DeSantis was trying to “own the libs” by dumping these migrants on Martha’s Vineyard, an upscale island that passed legislation making it a “sanctuary city”. Apparently DeSantis thought this would make the community look hypocritical when they couldn’t take care of the migrants, but this also backfired.

What happened, instead, was that residents of Martha’s Vineyard rallied to provide food, shelter, clothing and services. The asylum seekers are now on their way to Cape Cod, to receive further assistance. The stunt failed to make its intended point.

Is this the best he can do? If he keeps screwing up, there’s no way he will be president. In fact, he might even lose his governorship in the upcoming election.

© Jen Sorensen
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The Trap Worked!

Last week, Joe Biden laid a trap for Donald Trump, as well as the entire Republican Party, and TFG fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.

As has been noted repeatedly, Republicans desperately wanted the upcoming midterm elections to be a referendum on Biden: the withdrawal from Afghanistan, inflation, gas prices, the border, race, and anything else they could blame on the current president, even if (like the withdrawal from Afghanistan) it was something that Trump caused. And even though Biden isn’t actually on the ballot. The GOP needed to make sure the election wasn’t about Trump.

So Biden baited Trump, attacking him. Even worse, he gave a speech that was more like one of Trump’s rallies than a typical Democratic speech. That must have really gotten under Trump’s skin.

48 hours later, Biden’s goading worked. Trump was scheduled to give one of his trademark rallies in Pennsylvania, in support of two Republican candidates who Trump had endorsed. What followed was ugly, strident, narcissistic, and completely and totally about Trump. Instead of promoting the two candidates who were actually running for office, Trump denounced the state’s largest city (where Biden had given his speech), saying “I think Philadelphia was a great choice to make this speech of hatred and anger.” Trump complained that “Last year, the city set an all-time murder record with 560 homicides and it’s on track to shatter that record again in 2022.”

But Trump mainly complained about the FBI, calling them and the DOJ “vicious monsters.” He called Biden an “enemy of the state”. He even attacked the Republican leader of the Senate, saying he “should be ashamed”. And of course, Trump also spread his typical lies, claiming that in 2020 he won the popular vote in Pennsylvania, when he actually lost it by more than 80,000 votes.

Of course, Republicans had to support Trump, in order to appease his base. So now, the midterm election is all about Trump. It is almost like every Republican name on every midterm ballot has been changed to Trump’s name. And remember that Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, control of the House in 2018, the Senate in 2021, and the presidency in 2020. The only thing he didn’t lose was the Supreme Court, but that was done using dirty tricks, and led to overturning Roe v. Wade, which is wildly unpopular, even in red states.

Let’s hope Trump just lost the midterms.

© Brian McFadden
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I know you are but…

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) wants badly to be Speaker of the House, and there is a strong chance that Republicans will take control of the House at the midterm elections. There’s just one big problem: McCarthy makes big mistakes. For example, he clumsily kept most Republicans off the Jan 6 committee. Trump called him “very, very foolish” for that, and even said that he does not support McCarthy as Speaker.

Now, McCarthy has totally put his foot in it again. When Dr. Anthony Fauci (whom Trumpers like to attack) announced his pending retirement from his positions as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, McCarthy went on Fox News and tried to take a cheap shot at him:

But this totally backfired. Yes, Fauci has a painting of himself hanging in his office, painted by singer/songwriter and artist Joan Baez, honoring him for making “meaningful social change without the use of violence”. Heck, if Joan Baez painted a portrait of you, wouldn’t you hang it up? Besides, a 30″ by 24″ painting hardly counts as a “mural”.

So, who else not only has lots of pictures of himself hanging around, including one that might just qualify as a mural, but who also really truly needs to answer a lot of questions. Can you guess? Well, the internet went wild:

https://twitter.com/starbucksgirl51/status/1562230610193776640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1562230610193776640%7Ctwgr%5E0811c7a4558bd07fda2afa1f54f6d04d5e55701a%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffpost.com%2Fentry%2Fmccarthy-trump-portrait_n_6305b781e4b00c150d6600f7

Oops! I wonder if McCarthy has any chance of becoming Speaker now.

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Scamming the Scammers

Whatever you want to call it: Swindling the swindlers, or grifting the grifters.

We already know that Donald Trump was illegally keeping confidential, highly classified documents at his private home and club. And lying about it — in June, one of Trump’s attorneys declared that no classified documents remained at Mar-a-Lago.

The next question is, how secure is Mar-a-Lago? And now we know, the answer is not secure at all. A Russian-speaking immigrant from Ukraine worked her way into Trump’s inner circle by claiming to be an heiress to a family fortune. Calling herself Anna de Rothschild, and equipped with multiple fake passports and other forms of identification, plus luxury automobiles and designer clothes, she infiltrated Mar-a-Lago and spent time there for over a year, even meeting with Trump and other politicians, including Senator Lindsay Graham. She’s like something out of a cheesy spy movie.

Furthermore, she wasn’t the first. In 2019, two different women from China were arrested after sneaking into Mar-a-Lago with electronic equipment, including a thumb drive containing malicious malware.

Trump is a total sucker for hot women, so it is no surprise that foreign countries would use them as spies. How can there be any doubt that the top secret documents that Trump stole have been accessed by foreign governments, including Russia and China, and who knows who else?

Inna Yashchyshyn, as Anna de Rothschild, golfing with Donald Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham.

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A Tremendously Innocent Man?

From the NY Times:

Although Trump White House officials were warned about the proper handling of sensitive material, aides said Mr. Trump had little interest in the security of government documents or protocols to keep them protected.

Early on, Mr. Trump became known among his staff as a hoarder who threw all manner of paper — sensitive material, news clips and various other items — into cardboard boxes that a valet or other personal aide would cart around with him wherever he went.

Mr. Trump repeatedly had material sent up to the White House residence, and it was not always clear what happened to it. He sometimes asked to keep material after his intelligence briefings, but aides said he was so uninterested in the paperwork during the briefings themselves that they never understood what he wanted it for.

Donald Trump was carting around Top Secret documents in a cardboard box wherever he went? What was he doing? Giving them away? Showing them to our enemies in exchange for money (or worse)? It would not surprise me one bit if Trump was deliberately handing them out (or selling them) to people. What I want to know is how many of those documents ended up in the hands of our enemies?

© Tom Tomorrow
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Legally Screwed

Are you confused or having trouble keeping track of all the different legal actions against Donald Trump? Or do you just want to know if Trump will eventually pay for all his crimes?

Vanity Fair has published an article “The Complete Guide to All The Ways Donald Trump is Legally Screwed.” The article is definitely worth reading, but here are just the names of all the criminal investigations and civil lawsuits Donny is currently facing (including several I had never even heard about before).

  1. The Classified-Documents Investigation
  2. The Justice Department’s Criminal Investigation of January 6 and the Plot to Overturn the Election
  3. The Georgia Criminal Investigation
  4. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Criminal Case Against of Trump Organization, Etc.
  5. The New York Attorney General’s Civil Investigation Into the Trump Organization
  6. The Westchester Criminal Investigation of the Trump Organization
  7. The DC Attorney General’s Criminal Investigation of January 6
  8. The E. Jean Carroll Defamation Suit
  9. The Mary Trump Lawsuit
  10. The House of Representatives’ January 6 Lawsuit
  11. The Eric Swalwell Suit
  12. The Capitol Police January 6 lawsuits
  13. The Metropolitan Police January 6 lawsuit
  14. The Michael Cohen lawsuit
  15. The Class Action Lawsuit Against the Trump Biz and the Trumps
  16. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund Voting Rights Lawsuit
  17. The Trump Tower Assault Lawsuit

The article has a succinct explanation of each one.

© Matt Davies
© Michael de Adder
© Kevin Kallaugher

© Bill Bramhall
© Scott Stantis
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Laughable

Lawrence O’Donnell talks to three highly qualified, serious-minded people (a former US Solicitor General, former FBI General Counsel, and a current national security attorney) about the search for documents at Mar-a-Lago. Around 2:14 he asks them to respond to Trump’s defense. Watch their faces. They seem to be keeping themselves from laughing out loud, but can’t help but smile and smirk.

Of course, this is what Trump ALWAYS does. He throws out insane, contradictory, and downright idiotic excuses for everything, and hopes that something will stick. Or at the very least, enrages his base so that they start repeating it often enough for it to have even a smidgen patina of truth to it, and if nothing else, will serve to confuse the general public.

And remember all the GOP hearings against Hillary Clinton that investigated if she had mishandled classified information on her email server. Based on just the information we have right now, we absolutely know that what Trump did is so much worse than what Clinton did. So saying that searching Mar-a-Lago was a witch hunt is bullshit, pure and simple. Given what Republicans did investigating Clinton, they should be all for investigating Trump on this matter.

UPDATE: As pointed out in the video, Republicans, including Trump, are also claiming that the FBI planted the documents they “found” at Mar-a-Lago. Not only does this conflict with Trump’s claim that he declassified the documents, remember that the FBI Director, Christopher Wray, was nominated by Trump in 2017.

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Taking the 5th

Donald Trump invoked the 5th Amendment and refused to answer any questions from the NY attorney general, who is investigating whether Trump is guilty of fraud in the valuation of his properties, using different values depending on whether he was paying taxes or trying to get loans from banks.

But during his 2016 campaign for president, Trump indicated that refusing to testify was tantamount to admitting guilt, saying “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”

Everyone has the constitutional right to not incriminate themselves. But you can’t have it both ways.

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Thoughts and Prayers

It is so great to see that Randy Rainbow is still at it. Warning: this is not safe for work! And neither is the original song from which this was made.

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Colbert on the recent election

This is a followup to my last post about the ballot initiative in Kansas. Stephen Colbert gives us a more in-depth look at the other elections that happened at the same time:

He also warns you about how processed foods are killing your brains. Maybe that explains the Republicans (especially Donald Trump!)

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Overreach

This is what overreach looks like.

For years, Republicans courted Evangelicals by giving lip service to right-to-life zealots, homophobes, racists, and other right-wing social issue voters. But even when Republicans had the trifecta, they knew better than to do things like overturn Roe v. Wade. They did try to block gay marriage, but they gave into that relatively quietly.

But all that changed with the arrival of Trumpism. One of the main tools of Trumpism is to rile up your voters to create a base. It does this by “owning the libs”, and even demonizing them, calling them socialists, and even pedophiles. Indeed, Trump was never against abortion, he just used it to mobilize religious voters to vote for him. But when you get a group of people really angry, you pretty much have to do something for them to get them to keep voting for you.

So Republicans packed the Supreme Court, and despite the new justices claiming that Roe was “settled law”, the Supremes unsettled it. They had to, despite the fact that 61% of Americans say that abortion should be be legal in all or most cases, while only 37% say it should be illegal in all or most cases.

But yesterday, in the first response to the Supreme Court decision, blowback happened. The constitution of Kansas protects the right to an abortion, but there was a primary election yesterday, and Kansas Republicans tried to change the constitution so that abortion would not be protected, so that the legislature could then make it illegal. They scheduled the vote during a primary election, rather than waiting for the general election, because typically primary elections bring out more Republican voters, especially if held in the summer, when college students (who tend to be more progressive) are gone for summer break.

But then something unexpected happened. Even though Kansas is solidly Republican and conservative, the proposed change to their constitution galvanized pro-choice voters. Turnout for the election was 250% larger than expected, matching the turnout in many presidential elections. Amazingly, even Republican voters were not as anti-abortion as expected. In fact, the vote wasn’t even close, the measure being rejected by roughly 20 points.

Now the only question is how much efforts to ban abortions in other states will slow down. Indeed, conservative activists and politicians have been making noise about banning gay marriage, contraception, and even going after Social Security and Medicare, but this strong rebuke should make them think twice. And maybe, just maybe, the Supreme Court will realize that a majority of Americans don’t agree with them.

© Scott Stantis
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Fetal Flummox!

Texas is definitely hypocritical! From NBC News:

Pregnant Texas Woman Cited for HOV Violation Told Cop Her Fetus Is the Passenger
A pregnant Texas woman who got a ticket for driving alone in the car-pool lane plans to fight the citation, arguing her unborn baby should count as a second person.

The woman, Brandy Bottone, was headed to pick up her son when she was stopped at a sheriff’s checkpoint targeting HOV drivers breaking the rules. By law, in order to use the high-occupancy vehicle lanes, drivers must have at least one passenger in the vehicle.

“He starts peeking around. He’s like, ‘Is it just you?’ And I said, ‘No there’s two of us?’” Bottone said. “And he said, ‘Well where’s the other person.’ And I went, ‘right here,’” pointing to her stomach.

At the time of the incident last month, she was 34 weeks pregnant.

But the officer told her that doesn’t count.

“And then I said, ‘Well (I’m) not trying to throw a political mix here, but with everything going on (with Roe v. Wade), this counts as a baby,’” she said.

Though Texas penal code recognizes an unborn child as a person, the state’s transportation code doesn’t.

Bottone got a $275 ticket. She said she plans to fight the ticket in court.

I wonder if corporations are recognized as people under Texas transportation law.

© Pat Bagley

Update: Georgia has decided that an unborn fetus can be declared as a dependent on your tax return.

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Christian Law?

On Sunday, two days before her primary election, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) campaigned during a religious service in Colorado. She said:

The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it. I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does.

The “stinking letter” Boebert refers to is apparently a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association. In it, he explains the part of the First Amendment about religion (i.e., “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of Religion.”)

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

So how can Boebert claim that this is not what the Founding Fathers intended? Does she think that the person who wrote the Declaration of Independence and was one of the main proponents of the Bill of Rights, isn’t one of the Founders of this nation?

I don’t think Boebert is stupid. She says these things because that’s what her base wants to hear. However, it seems she believes her base is somewhat stupid.

Does Boebert really think that “the church” should “direct the government”? If so, which church? Even if we only consider abortion, there is no clear consensus position. Many religions either support abortion rights or have no opinion about it, including Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. The main religion that opposes abortion is Hinduism! Shall we follow Hindu law?

You may be asking, what about Christians? Well, that is a mess. Catholics and Mormons oppose abortion, but Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, Unitarians, and members of the United Church of Christ support abortion rights. Even Catholics are not unified against abortion, after all, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are Catholics (and Pelosi just met with Pope Francis and received Communion during a papal mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, despite her position in support of abortion rights).

Even if we limit ourselves to Evangelical faiths, things are still a mess. For example, the National Baptist Convention supports abortion rights, while the Southern Baptist Convention opposes abortion.

And yet, a majority of our Supreme Court is acting like the Taliban, overturning “settled law” in favor of religion (and – ironically – guns). Not only did they reverse Roe v. Wade, they struck down a century old New York gun law that placed restrictions on carrying concealed handguns outside the home, compelled Maine to provide tuition assistance to religious schools (yes, taxpayers are going to support religious education), and finally in another reversal – despite the fact that in 1962, the Supreme Court banned organized school prayer – they somehow decided that a religious coach in a public school had the right to organize prayer sessions with players on the football field after each game.

And incidentally, Boebert won her primary yesterday. I guess that means that her base is pretty stupid.

© Jen Sorensen
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Word Watch

On Saturday night, congresswoman Mary Miller (R-IL) appeared at a rally with Donald Trump, and spoke to the crowd, saying:

President Trump, on behalf of all the MAGA patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday.

Now, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that a spokesman for her later said that she had misread her remarks, and was supposed to call the decision a victory for “a right to life”.

Is it just me, or does saying that she misread “a right to life” as “white life” make things seem even worse for her?

As long as we are on the subject of interesting words, this headline just popped up:

Dick’s Sporting Goods offering employees more access to abortions

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Colbert on a Roll

Stephen Colbert sums up the state of the Jan 6 hearings, hilariously. And yet scary as hell.

Colbert makes this funny, yet heed the warning from Charlie Sykes in The Bulwark:

On Thursday we got a stark reminder that farcical fascism is still fascism.

Yes, Jeffrey Clark was a clownish Iago; the theories about Italian satellites were certifiably insane; Trump’s election lies were absurd and easily debunked; and the smoking guns are right there in plain sight.

But even so, it was a damned close run thing.

The President of the United States was moments away from installing a seditionist crony as the nation’s top law enforcement officer and using the Department of Justice to execute his coup.

The line held. Thank God.

But that line was thin, and it might not be there the next time around.

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