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Q is for Quisling

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For those that are unfamiliar with/unsure of the meaning.

Quisling: Traitor or Collaborator

Synonyms : traitor, turncoat, betrayer, informer, back-stabber, double-crosser, double-dealer, renegade, defector, deserter, apostate, Judas, snake in the grass, fifth columnist

Origin

Second World War from the name of Major Vidkun Quisling (1887–1945), the Norwegian army officer and diplomat who ruled Norway on behalf of the German occupying forces (1940–45).

Notable Quislings

GQP: Grand Quisling Party, formally known as the GOP.

QAnon: Quislings Anonymous.

Oaf Keepers, Proud Boys, White Suprematists  etc

You might be a Quisling if:

  • You try and violently overthrow a legitimate election just because your guy lost.
  • When caught, you claim to be the victim.
  • You blame another group or person for your sedition.
  • You continue to claim that you “won”.
  • You use “election” and “stolen” in the same sentence.
  • You engage in voter suppression when you know you cannot win legitimately.
  • To try and maintain power you engage in gerrymandering.
  • You miss the Confederacy.
  • You lie about and try and ignore a pandemic.
  • You politicize mask wearing.

Add where you see fit.

Worst governor contest

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I am in Florida where we are afflicted with DeSantis. Ever since last summer I have felt like DeSantis is having a contest with Brian Kemp to see which of them could be the worst governor when it comes to pandemic policy.

Both Kemp and DeSantis did their best to undercut efforts by local officials to encourage or, heaven forbid require, the use of masks. Both were in favor of saving money on unemployment benefits by requiring “essential” workers in places like bars, nail salons and gyms to work even when infection levels were high. Both were in favor of cramming kids into schools where masks were optional. Both Kemp and DeSantis also appear to have resorted to dubious reporting practices to hide the real numbers of infections and fatalities.

Despite their best homicidal efforts to be the worst governors, Kemp and Desantis have so far been outdone by Kristi Noem of South Dakota. More than one out of every 500 people in South Dakota have died of Covid-19 so far. In addition to her many other pro-virus policies she thought it was a good idea to have a huge motorcycle rally last summer. Bikers from all over the country traveled to Sturgis to exchange virus-laden exhalations.

Gov. Noem insists that the biker rally was not a problem but she does not let facts interfere with her opinions. The CDC published a paper that documents 86 cases of Covid-19 in Minnesota that resulted from transmission of the virus during the motorcycle rally in South Dakota. Researchers identified 51 people who caught the virus during the rally and showed that they gave the virus to 35 more people. The researchers sequenced the whole genomes of the viruses in these patients to show that they had the same strain of the virus as a biker. Bikers from other states doubtless spread Covid-19 across the country in other states just as the bikers spread it in Minnesota.

Greg Abbott in Texas seems to want to make sure that a puny state like South Dakota does not get ahead of Texas. He has decided to try to spread the virus as much as possible before enough people are vaccinated to slow down the epidemic. The next few months may be his last chance to exterminate a greater percentage of the citizens in his state than Kristi Noem managed in South Dakota.

   I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%.

   EVERYTHING.

   I also ended the statewide mask mandate.

   — Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 2, 2021

Abbot knows that most people in Texas have not yet gotten the vaccine. His website said:

During his remarks, the Governor discussed the incredible advancements that Texas has made that allow the state to open fully and lift the mask mandate—noting the rapid increase of vaccines. Nearly 5.7 million vaccine shots have been administered to Texans, and the state is now administering almost one million shots each week. By next Wednesday, about 7 million shots will have been administered in Texas and over half of seniors in Texas will have received a vaccine shot. By the end of March, every senior who wants a vaccine should be able to get one. The vaccine supply continues to increase so rapidly that more and more Texans will soon be eligible to receive a vaccine.

Texas has a population of about 29 million people. Most people in Texas have not had a chance to get even one dose of the vaccine yet. It takes at least five to six weeks after the first dose of an mRNA vaccine for someone to have full immunity. Apparently Gov. Abbott wants to take this last chance of decreasing the surplus population before everyone gets a chance to be vaccinated.

Please feel free to add other nominees for Worst Governor — Coronavirus edition. Some of you may live in states with incompetent and/or sociopathic governors that are just as terrible as these four. The rest of you can feel free to share your views on which governor is the worst and what makes them the most terrible.  

Poll

148 votes Show Results

Which governor is the worst?

148 votes Vote Now!

Which governor is the worst?

DeSantis
39 votes
Kemp
1%
1 vote
Noem
42 votes
Abbott
53 votes
Another governor described below
9%
13 votes

Arizona Republicans send a silent, clear message after lawmaker speaks at white nationalist event

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Here’s today’s Republican Party in a nutshell: Arizona Republicans censured Cindy McCain for endorsing Joe Biden for president. When Rep. Paul Gosar spoke at a white nationalist conference, the Arizona Republican Party was silent.

Gosar showed up at the America First Political Action Conference on Friday night, serving as its surprise keynote speaker at the same time as the House was debating COVID-19 relief. At that event, he was followed by conference organizer Nick Fuentes, who called the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol “awesome” and “light-hearted mischief.”

If America ceases to retain that English cultural framework and the influence of European civilization, if it loses its White demographic core and if it loses its faith in Jesus Christ, then this is not America anymore,” Fuentes said.

Gosar then appeared at the more moderate CPAC on Saturday—where the stage was totally accidentally in the shape of a Nazi symbol—and offered a weak denunciation of “white racism” as “not appropriate.” 

Arizona’s Republican Party is not alone in embracing the far-far-far right. Republican committees in North Carolina and Louisiana censured Sens. Richard Burr and Bill Cassidy for voting to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection. Michigan Republican Party co-chair Meshawn Maddock was one of the organizers of an April event in which armed militia members tried to enter the floor of the state Senate. She also helped send 19 buses full of Trump supporters to Washington, D.C., for Jan. 6.

Then again, this is Donald Trump’s party, and in his own CPAC appearance, Trump vowed to purge the party of anyone who dares to stand against him. And that is inextricably tied to Trump’s white supremacist agenda. He’s taken the party from being one that operates in racist dog whistles and writing policies that are officially color blind but create or exacerbate racial disparities to being one where a member of Congress shows up at a white nationalist event and his state’s Republican Party has nothing to say about it.

How completely can Trump remake the Republican Party in his own image after costing it the House, the Senate, and the White House? So far, the answer seems to be like 95%.

Trump Has Gone To War Against McConnell

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Trump released a letter condemning McConnell in the harshest possible terms

Caren White

Image for post
Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

On Tuesday, former President Trump emerged from his self-imposed exile to release a blistering letter slamming Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his poor leadership skills and accusing him of losing the Senate in the 2020 election. Since Trump has been deplatformed from social media including Twitter, his favorite means of communicating with his supporters and the world, the statement was issued by his new PAC, Save America.

You can read it here.

His aides say that Trump wrote the 600 word screed himself, but it is far too coherent and too lengthy (Trump has the attention span of a fruit fly) to have been written by someone who is barely literate. My opinion is that Jason Miller, one of his top aides wrote it with input from Trump.

It contains enough Trumpian insults that it reads like one of Trump’s barely coherent rants that has been written down and translated into comprehensible form while not losing the essence of the Trump attack style.

What set Trump off was an op-ed that McConnell published in the Wall Street Journal. In it, McConnell defended his actions in voting against conviction and then giving a speech afterwards condemning Trump’s actions in inciting the insurrection. He emphatically pointed out that Trump was responsible for insurrection and although he may have been acquitted of impeachment, he was still subject to criminal proceedings.

In a separate interview in the WSJ, McConnell indicated that he would be willing to get involved in the primaries in 2022 to ensure that the candidates chosen would not be too radical to be elected. His stated aim is to win back the Senate in the midterms.

Both the op-ed and the interview were guaranteed to set Trump off. Trump sees himself as the leader of the Republican Party and as the sole person who will determine which Republican candidates will run in the 2022 midterms, all of whom should be Trump supporters.

The battle lines have been drawn. Who will win? The fascist dictator wannabe or the master tactician? The Insulter in Chief or the Machiavellian pol?

My money is on McConnell. Much as I dislike him and his politics, I admire his strategic abilities. As I’ve said before, McConnell always has a plan and he is always thinking 3 or 4 moves ahead. His speech, op-ed and interview are just his opening salvos in his effort to purge Trump and Trumpism from the Republican Party, something that he has been talking about in private, and winning back the Senate.

While McConnell is quiet and keeps his thoughts to himself, Trump is loud and brash. He is heavily invested in the trappings of success. The outward show is just as important to him as any actual success. That’s why his penthouse apartment in Trump Tower is gilded in a gaudy imitation of Versailles, proof of his (self-reported) immense fortune.

And it is why he is desperately hanging on to the presidency, even in defeat. Take a close look at the stationery that he is using. Does the seal look familiar? It should. It is a knockoff of the presidential seal.

He did the same thing when he bought Mar-a-Lago. He appropriated the coat of arms, with slight changes, of the husband of the former owner, Marjorie Merriweather Post, for his own. He uses the stolen coat of arms not just at Mar-a-Lago, but also at his golf courses worldwide.

New York Times columnist, Gail Collins, reports that Trump insists on being called “the 45th president” instead of “the former president.” He just can’t let go of the power and prestige of the presidency. Although he’s probably happy to no longer have to work so hard. All of that “executive time” must have been exhausting.

Midterm elections are always hard fought between the party in power and the party that wants to be in power. In 2022, we will have the added wrinkle of the Republican Party at war with itself as well as the Democrats.

https://medium.com/politically-speaking/trump-has-gone-to-war-against-mcconnell-1175e03e2eee

Trader Joe’s employee fired after pushing for COVID-19 safety measures

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The novel coronavirus still exists and is deadly, despite the increasing number of Americans who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 nationwide. Health officials are continuing to recommend people follow safety precautions including wearing a mask, whether or not they have been vaccinated. But since the start of the pandemic some people have not only refused to follow safety precautions but some companies have also failed to create coronavirus protections for their employees.  

What’s worse is that many of these companies are allegedly retaliating against those who speak up against their lack of safety precautions. In a recent incident, a former Trader Joe’s employee in New York said he was fired for requesting better coronavirus protection for workers. Identified as Ben Bonnema, the man sent a letter to the supermarket’s CEO requesting better protections in the workplace for COVID-19. According to Bonnema, he was fired shortly after sending the letter.

Both his letter shared on social media Friday and his terminiation letter from the company have since gone viral on social media.

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“Last week, more than a dozen scientists called on the Biden administration to set better air standards for workplaces,” Bonnema wrote in his letter. “It is becoming more and more clear that aerosol particles—likely more so than surfaces or even droplets—are a significant source of COVID transmission.” His letter cited multiple news outlets and reports to support his requests to better protect employees. “We put our lives on the line every day by showing up to work,” he continued. “Please, show up for us by adopting these policies.”  

His letter also mentioned that he had previously spoken to management that while filters are frequently being switched out, the store’s use of MERV-7 filters do not decontaminate aerosols effectively. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a MERV-13 filter or higher is recommended to clear out potential COVID-19 aerosols. Additionally, Bonnema requested the store adopt a “three strikes” policy for customers who repeatedly refuse to abide by the store’s mask policy.

“I was recently shouted and sworn at by a customer who would not wear a mask above his nose, despite Mates already asking him to do so,” Bonnema wrote. “He was allowed to finish his shopping and check out.”

According to the Gothamist, this isn’t an isolated incident. Other former Trader Joe’s employees have spoken up about conditions in stores including one who told the outlet that a colleague was nearly fired for insisting masks be worn “before there was a mask mandate.” Additionally, employees of the grocery chain also told the Gothamist that they were in a “state of terror.”

In response to the backlash and calls to boycott Trader Joe’s on social media, Kenya Friend-Daniel, a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s, not only denied Bonnema’s claims but told BuzzFeed News that the company “never, and would never, terminate a crew member’s employment for raising safety concerns.”

“During his short tenure with Trader Joe’s, this crew member’s suggestions were listened to, and appropriately addressed. Store leadership terminated this Crew Member’s employment because of the disrespect he showed toward our customers,” Friend-Daniel said.

But these claims contradict Bonnema’s most recent employee review, which he posted. According to the August employee review, Trader Joe’s gave him high marks across the board, including noting that he was kind to customers. As a response to his wrongful termination Bonnema has hired an attorney to take his case to the National Labor Relations Board.

“Mr. Bonnema’s spotless employment record with the company is only further evidence that the company’s decision to terminate him from his employment was an unlawful attempt to threaten, restrain and coerce Mr. Bonnema and his coworkers from engaging in protected concerted activity,” he said. “Mr. Bonnema has a federally-protected right to advocate for the workplace safety of his colleagues. Terminating him for doing so is reprehensible.”

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According to The Washington Post, Bonnema’s letter did not go unnoticed by experts whom he referenced. Many of them wrote a letter to the Biden administration urging that steps be taken to combat airborne transmission in workplaces.

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“We wrote this letter to protect people like Ben,” tweeted Kimberly Prather, a professor at the University of California at San Diego and one of 13 experts who wrote to the White House. “His letter is an excellent science-based request. We have been shopping there for 20 yrs. We will stop until Trader Joe’s takes this seriously.”

Since the start of the pandemic, many stores have left retail and grocery workers without protection from the coronavirus and those who refuse to follow safety precautions in place to stop the spread. Viral videos shared on social media have depicted numerous incidents in which store employees have been subject to violence. These essential workers deserve protection from not only the virus but those who fail to acknowledge it.

“As the danger from COVID continues, grocery workers are among the most at risk to daily exposure to the virus,” Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, told Newsweek. Perrone added that companies must “wake up to this threat” and prioritize mask mandates while also ensuring workers receive paid time off in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “We cannot afford to wait for the next outbreak or for more lives to be needlessly lost,” Perrone said.

Teacher investigated for being in Proud Boys

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Authorities are slowly coming down on members of the extremist organization Proud Boys. As investigations into the Capitol riots continue, members of the violent right-wing group, including those who were not involved in the riots, are slowly facing justice for their violent and racist ideology. Last year, Tacoma Public Schools in Washington announced an investigation into a newly hired teacher after concerns from the community. The teacher was said to be affiliated with the Proud Boys, a group both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center have deemed as a hate group.

According to The Tacoma News Tribune, district personal records from the school’s Board of Directors meeting on Feb. 25 confirmed that the teacher will resign from First Creek Middle School once his contract expires on August 31. A records request for documents related to the investigation is pending, but a spokesperson for Tacoma Public Schools confirmed his resignation.

Pending investigation the teacher, identified as Xane Fisher, was put on administrative leave in September. Those under a contract placed under administrative leave continue to receive their salary, however, Fisher was unable to teach and will still be unable to do so through the end of his contract.

“After receiving reports from community members and viewing videos of Mr. Fisher, the District initiated an investigation into allegations that Mr. Fisher engaged in conduct that violates the District’s Policies and Regulations related to Employee Conduct; as well as the professional practices standards for certificated school employees,” Tacoma Public Schools said in a statement to The News Tribune on Monday. “While Mr. Fisher resigned before the district completed its investigation, due to the serious nature of the concerns, the District is sharing its information with OSPI’s Office of Professional Practices.”

The investigation was launched after community members shared concerns of social media posts appearing to depict Fisher as participating in a banned Proud Boys Facebook group “induction video” in 2018. The video allegedly not only depicted Fisher clearly stating his name but noting that he was “a proud western Chauvinist who refuses to apologize for creating the modern world,” a declaration shared by members of the Proud Boys.

Concerns regarding Fisher’s involvement in the group are not new. Prior to working for Tacoma Public Schools he was an English teacher at Graham-Kapowsin High School where an investigation by the Bethel School District was conducted in Sept. 2019 for similar concerns. But at that time, the district concluded that there were “no overtly racial or otherwise inappropriate statements that warranted further action by the district,” according to a Sept. 5 letter from the human resources department, The News Tribune reported.

Following the Bethel investigation, Fisher wrote a letter calling the allegations false and claiming that they were spread by antifa. “Someone in that organization has stolen personal data from before I was a Bethel employee, fabricated a narrative, and manipulated the public sector’s due process to harass myself and my family over false accusations they created,” Fisher wrote in the Oct. 8, 2019, letter obtained by KIRO 7. “I am not a supremacist of any sort, nor am I a racist. The very accusation turns my stomach, and holds no credence,” the letter continued.

While the Proud Boys have been around for over five years, the group began gaining further national attention after Donald Trump mentioned the hate group during a presidential debate in 2020. Instead of denouncing white supremacy as he was asked to do, Trump gave the group orders: “Proud Boys: Stand back and stand by,” he said. “But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem, this is a left-wing [problem].”

The group, known for its white supremacist ideology, openly calls “for violence generally” with leaders encouraging members to use violence to express themselves, Daily Kos reported. Following the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, multiple people including group members have been charged with involvement. But despite the number of those who get charged and are deemed associated with this hate group, the ideology still exists. 

It is unfortunate that these conspiracy theories, groups, and hate ideologies exist as is and worse to see them in the educational system. As Americans continue to stand up against hate we can only hope that such individuals are unable to be involved in fields that influence the youth and educational system.

Goya’s pendejo president ignites #BoycottGoya again with CPAC remarks touting Trump as legit POTUS

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It takes a pendejo to be drawn to another pendejo. Robert Unanue, the CEO of Goya Foods, spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday, Feb. 28, and doubled down on stupid by proclaiming that Donald Trump is “the real, the legitimate, and the still actual president of the United States.”

Unanue, who in January was censured by his board of directors which is family controlled, went off the chain and has gone full conspiracy crazed, including in his blatant lies about voter fraud.

Newsweek’s Emily Czachor reported his remarks alluding to the election:

“The CEO then reiterated unfounded claims related to illegitimate election proceedings, which Trump and his followers promoted after November’s general contest. The claims are widely discredited.

“I received, I think, as many people I know, and many of you, unsolicited ballots,” Unanue told CPAC attendees. “So, I mean, as a citizen of the United States, I think I’m allowed to vote once. Once. Not twice.”

CNN’s Daniel Dale tweeted the blow-by-blow.

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The social media response was swift, and ramped up calls to boycott Goya.

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I understand the chef’s sentiments, however I suggest that if you have any Goya products on your shelves, donate them to a local shelter or food program. I donated my Goya products to a food bank after the first calls to boycott Goya were raised in July of 2020, when Unanue made a visit to the White House and praised Trump.

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There are other brands available, and you can learn to make your own seasonings. When the first calls for a boycott were made, lots of folks posted “how tos” and recipes.

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Rice, beans, and foods prepared Puerto Rican-style are staples in my home.

I’m cooking them without Goya. You can too.

Trump’s 5 criminal cases

Five independently elected investigators have turned their attention to former President Donald Trump, a sign his legal woes are mounting as he no longer enjoys the protections once afforded to him by the Oval Office. Trump is now facing inquiries run by elected officials from Georgia to New York to Washington with only their constituents to answer to. Most are Democrats, but one key investigation was launched by a Georgia Republican who has faced heavy criticism from Trump since the election.And the former President’s actions on his way out of office, including his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results and to stir up his supporters with baseless claims of fraud until they stormed the US Capitol on a harrowing January day, have only added to his legal problems.”It’s never happened in our history but every single one of these prosecutors and attorneys general has more than sufficient predication to investigate what they’re investigating,” said Daniel R. Alonso, who was a top deputy to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from 2010 to 2014. At first we went into lockdown and, understandably, our skin care routines and healthy habits took a hit.There are signs the probes are picking up. In New Yorkinvestigators recently got their hands on Trump’s tax returns have bolstered their team with a prosecutor who specializes in complex financial cases. In Georgia, another prosecutor plans to begin requesting subpoenas from a grand jury as early as this week.”The world has changed for Donald Trump, legally, now that he’s no longer president,” said Elie Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor and a CNN legal analyst. “Donald Trump tried to delay civil suits against him, he tried to delay subpoenas against him while he was president. All of that is gone now, so now we’re seeing multiple investigators — federal and state — digging in and taking a hard look at Donald Trump.”

In Manhattan, all eyes are on Vance, who has been investigating Trump’s finances for two years and is not expected to run for reelection.close dialog

The Democrat has 10 months left in his term — setting the clock, some said, for him to wrap up his investigation.”It’s likely that the case, if it is charged, would be charged before Vance leaves office,” said Anne Milgram, a former attorney general for New Jersey and former federal prosecutor.”That’s because that’s 10 months away — which is a long time in a criminal investigation — and because the DA’s office had previously noted that there were statutes of limitations timing issues,” she said.Prosecutors have already interviewed witnesses, subpoenaed documents from lenders, an insurance broker and others, and last month recruited a former federal prosecutor with a background in complex financial investigations to bolster their team.Last week investigators also received a trove of records, including tax returns, financial statements, and communications between the Trump Organization and Mazars, Trump’s long-time accountant, after the Supreme Court denied Trump’s latest bid to block Vance from accessing those records.”I think the goal will be to move quickly and, if they believe a crime has been committed, they will move to present the case to the grand jury within months, not years,” Milgram said.Vance, the son of a former US secretary of state and Washington insider, spent the better part of his legal career as a white-collar criminal defense lawyer. He ran for district attorney and was sworn into office in 2010 after a more than 30-year run by his predecessor Robert Morgenthau.He has been innovative in pursuing some cases and in 2019, Vance’s office obtained the first conviction on state domestic terrorism charges.But some of his victories have been tinged by controversy.When Vance brought criminal charges against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault following the rise of the #metoo movement, Weinstein’s conviction was hailed as a “new era of justice” by Time’s Up, a women’s advocacy group. But it came only after an earlier decision in 2015 to decline to prosecute Weinstein after an Italian model accused him of groping her and recorded Weinstein on tape saying, “I won’t do it again.”Vance was also criticized for not prosecuting Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, who were investigated in 2012 for allegedly misleading potential buyers for units in the Trump SoHo, a New York hotel property. In both instances, lawyers for the individuals had donated to Vance’s campaign.Vance defended himself, telling reporters in 2017 that the donations had no impact on his thinking. His office said the allegations against Weinstein were “horrifying” but there was not sufficient evidence to charge him.”At the end of the day, we operate in the courtroom of the law, not the courtroom of public opinion,” Vance said.Alonso, the former Vance deputy, has previously said sometimes a district attorney is successful by deciding not to file charges.On the Trump investigation, he said, Vance will not be political.”He knows that the job is not to lick your finger and hold it up to the wind and decide which way the wind is blowing before you make a decision,” Alonso said. “He will look at the evidence and decide who he believes is guilty and whether he can prove it.”

Another New York investigation

One of the biggest thorns in Trump’s side has been New York Attorney General Letitia James.When James was running for office in 2018, she campaigned on a pledge to investigate everything from Trump’s policies to his finances.”I’m running for attorney general because I will never be afraid to challenge this illegitimate president when our fundamental rights are at stake,” James said at the time.Her record since has shown that she meant it: She challenged the Trump administration’s addition of a citizen question to the US census, pushed for the New York legislature to pass a law to close a presidential pardon loophole, and wrapped up a lawsuit brought by her predecessor that led to the dissolution of the Trump Foundation.Now her office is digging into Trump’s business and personal finances, exploring whether assets were improperly valued and if banks or tax authorities were defrauded. James has won court victories with a judge compelling Eric Trump, who co-runs the day-to-day operations of Trump Organization, to sit for a deposition and ordering Trump’s tax lawyer to turn over reams of documents.James has been a trailblazer, becoming the first African American woman to hold city-wide office when she was elected New York City’s public advocate in 2013 and then the first woman elected to serve as New York’s attorney general and first African American woman to hold statewide office. Her political ambitions are not limited to the AG’s office. She has mused about running for mayor and some have speculated she could make a bid for governor if Andrew Cuomo does not run again for office.Cuomo backed James in her bid for attorney general but their ties have recently been tested. James issued a scathing report in January finding the New York Department of Health undercounted Covid-19 deaths among nursing home residents by about 50%, setting off a political crisis for Cuomo.Over the weekend, she publicly pushed back on Cuomo’s plans to investigate sexual harassment claims brought against him. Cuomo initially said he would appoint a retired federal judge to investigate the claims by two women. When that move was met with harsh criticism, he then said he would ask James and the chief judge in New York to appoint an independent investigator. Ultimately, he ceded ground to James who alone will select an independent law firm to investigate the allegations against the governor.Cuomo says he never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone, but did apologize to anyone who may have misinterpreted his comments in the workplace as unwanted flirtation.”She’s been a strong independent voice throughout her career,” said Robert Abrams, New York attorney general from 1978-1994 and a member of James’ transition team. “All of this demonstrates that she has shown courage and tenacity for what she believes is right, what is her duty and responsibility.”Trump has seized on James’ past comments, saying her actions against him are politically motivated. In a court filing challenging Vance’s subpoena for his tax returns, Trump’s lawyers quoted James nine times, including when she said, “I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings.”James said Trump is wrong about her.”I’m not biased. I represent the state—all individuals, all citizens in the state of New York, whether you’re Republican and or Democrat,” James told Marie Claire in January. “That is my duty and that is the mission.”

Georgia’s GOP investigator

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office is also investigating Trump, for his attempts to overturn the state’s election results.When Trump lost the presidential election, no state official was in his crosshairs more than Raffensperger, a lifelong Republican. Even as tension and pressure from Trump were on public display, Georgia’s top election official said he had supported Trump and publicly stated multiple times that he wished Trump had won.But while saying he was personally disappointed in the results as a conservative Republican, Raffensperger steadfastly refused to give credence to a litany of conspiracy theories bolstered by the then-President alleging election fraud in Georgia.Since the rioting at the US Capitol on January 6, Raffensperger has offered a more critical take on Trump’s actions.”Many of the actions that he’s taken since then are not what you would expect from a president,” Raffensperger told CNN in January. “I’ve said from day one that we have to be really mindful of our speech because we can’t spin people up and play people and get them into an emotional frenzy.”Raffensperger’s is the rare Republican-led investigation, made more awkward by the fact that Raffensperger was a direct witness to Trump’s attempts to influence the outcome of the election.A source familiar with the Georgia secretary of state’s investigation confirmed officials are looking at two calls. One is the January phone call, of which CNN obtained the audio. In it,Trump pushed Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the election results after his loss to Biden. The other involves a call Trump made on December 23, to a Georgia election investigator in the secretary of state’s office who was leading a probe into allegations of ballot fraud in Cobb County. Trump is heard asking the chief investigator with Raffensperger’s office to “find the fraud,” saying the official would be a “national hero,” according to a source with knowledge of the call.Trump’s senior adviser, Jason Miller, said in a statement last month that there was nothing “improper or untoward” about the call between Trump and Raffensperger.”And the only reason the call became public was because Mr. Raffensperger leaked it in an attempt to score political points,” Miller’s statement said.Raffensperger’s office declined to comment, saying they don’t comment on active investigations.Twenty investigators work in Raffensperger’s office statewide, and the team has a lot on its plate. They’re currently working on 252 cases from 2020 that are open or pending presentation to the state election board, a source familiar with the Georgia secretary of state’s investigations confirmed to CNN.The office investigates every complaint it receives and described the investigations as “fact-finding and administrative in nature,” according to a statement on February 8, the day it opened an inquiry into the infamous calls.Once Raffensperger’s office completes its investigation, the findings will be reported to the state election board, which may decide that probable cause merits there was a violation, and that the case should be referred to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis or additionally, Georgia’s attorney general for further investigation, according to two people familiar with the process.

Georgia digs in on election meddling

In addition to the investigation by Raffensperger’s office, Willis is looking into Trump’s call to the Georgia secretary of state, looking to sway Georgia’s election results in his favor.When that call took place on January 2, Willis had only been in office one day. By early February, her office began firing off letters to Georgia officials asking them to preserve documents related to attempts to influence the state’s election as she investigates potential crimes including the solicitation of election fraud, conspiracy and racketeering. According to the letters, none of the Georgia officials are targets of the investigation.The probe instantly elevated the newly elected prosecutor’s national profile. But it also irked some Georgia residents who believe the focus on Trump will drain attention and resources from local issues in Fulton County, which includes much of the city of Atlanta.Those who know Willis, though, were unsurprised to see her forge ahead.”There’s some evidence saying a law might’ve been broken. It might’ve been done in her jurisdiction, she’s going to investigate it,” said Charlie Bailey, who previously worked closely with Willis in the district attorney’s office and is running for state attorney general in 2022. “I know it is different because it’s a former president. I do realize that, and I know she realizes that too, but she takes that very seriously.”Willis, a Democrat and a longtime prosecutor, ousted her former boss to become the county’s first female district attorney in January. She and her staff have been juggling an avalanche of interest in the Trump investigation with an office that was already buckling under its caseload, according to a source familiar with the investigation.One of her first moves was asking the state attorney general to reassign two high-profile cases against Atlanta police officers for alleged use of excessive force, including in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks. Her critics believe it’s a sign her priorities are elsewhere.”If the DA’s office has time and the resources and all the time and manpower to do that — go after Trump for this election stuff or whatever — just make sure that the civil rights cases that are in her county are treated equally and take the same kind of priority,” said Chris Stewart, a lawyer for the Brooks family.”What do we do now?” Stewart asked. “Families are stuck in the middle.”Meantime, Willis has said her Trump investigation will stretch beyond Trump’s call with Raffensperger to include any efforts to influence the election in Georgia.She has said in interviews she may begin requesting subpoenas from a grand jury as early as March. And that grand jury will draw from a pool of constituents in Fulton County unlikely to be sympathetic to Trump: President Joe Biden won the county with nearly 73% of the vote in November.”I have no idea what I’m going to find,” Willis told CNN affiliate WSB last month. “A good law enforcement officer, a good prosecutor, you walk in with an open mind.”Willis is perhaps best known in Georgia for her role in the 2014 prosecution of a dozen educators accused of being involved in a cheating scandal. Eleven were convicted on racketeering charges.Her former colleagues said she’s unlikely to be intimidated by taking on the former President. But she has acknowledged doubling her security amid threats.”Interestingly enough, the comments are always racist. And it’s really just a waste of time and foolishness,” Willis told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last month. “It’s not going to stop me from doing my job, and I don’t think that it’s an insult to remind me that I am a Black woman.”

Another crack at Trump in DC

For Karl Racine, there’s perhaps little downside in pursuing yet another case against Trump.Racine, who became Washington, DC’s first elected attorney general when he took office in 2015, serves a constituency that overwhelmingly favors Democrats. In 2020, 92% of the District voted for Biden.Racine previously took on Trump in a lawsuit alleging conflicts between the then-President’s business interests and his oath of office. The lawsuit was rendered moot when Trump left office.For Racine’s latest pursuit, it appears to be a waiting game as prosecutors investigate whether the former President’s alleged role in the insurrection violated the city’s incitement of violence law, and determine whether it’s best to partner with the US attorney’s office.”They don’t want to bring charges without the cooperation of the federal government,” former DC Attorney General Bob Spagnoletti said. “They’re not going to step out on a limb here.”Racine’s office only enforces local codes for the city, while the prosecution of both major and federal crimes falls under the purview of the Justice Department.Racine has said he is focused on the incitement of violence charge available to him under the DC code, but the charge only carries a maximum of six months in prison, and legal experts note Racine wouldn’t have the authority to force Trump back to Washington to appear in court.Spagnoletti points out it would be most advantageous for Racine to work in connection with the US attorney in DC, especially since only that office has the power to convene a grand jury.”Because Karl Racine doesn’t have one, he needs to be able to work with the US attorney to gather evidence expeditiously, and not grind it to a halt which is what will happen without a coordinated strategy,” Spagnoletti said.Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin has said his office will weigh potentially charging all actors involved in the insurrection but has declined to elaborate on whether that also means Trump. It’s unclear if Sherwin will remain in his post if Merrick Garland is confirmed as US attorney general.Racine did reveal in January that his office was “collaborating at a high level with federal prosecutors.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/01/politics/trump-scrutiny-five-investigators/index.html

Pentagon blocked National Guard

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Tyler SonnemakerJanuary 7, 2021·4 min read

GettyImages 1295091200 WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 07:  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
DC National Guard members on January 7. John Moore/Getty Images
  • The Pentagon placed major restrictions on the DC National Guard leading up to Wednesday’s insurrection, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
  • Officials curtailed the ability of DC guardsmen to deploy troops, receive ammo and riot gear, engage with protesters, share equipment with local police, and use surveillance without explicit approval from President Trump’s acting defense secretary, Christopher Miller, according to The Post.
  • Guardsmen didn’t arrive to support US Capitol Police — who were ill-prepared and quickly overrun — until more than two hours after its chief called for them, according to the Post.
  • The muted approach was said to be intended to avoid backlash that followed an aggressive response to Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, but the response has drawn sharp criticism from Democratic lawmakersactivists, and even some law-enforcement experts for being insufficient.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In the days before Trump supporters’ insurrection, the Department of Defense placed major limitations on the tactics, equipment, and resources the DC National Guard could make use of in dealing with rioters, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Pentagon officials sent memos on January 4 and 5 barring DC guardsmen from receiving ammo and riot gear, engaging with protesters (except for self-defense), sharing equipment with local police, and using surveillance or air assets without explicit approval from President Donald Trump’s acting Defense Secretary, Christopher Miller, according to The Post.

The additional bureaucratic hurdle delayed the DC National Guard’s response after US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund asked on Wednesday for 200 guardsmen to provide backup – with guardsmen not arriving until 2 1/2 hours later – according to The Post.- ADVERTISEMENT -https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-6-0/html/r-sf-flx.html

Read more:Secret Service experts are speculating in group chats about how Trump might be hauled out of the White House if he won’t budge on Inauguration Day

Five deaths, including one law-enforcement officer, in connection with Wednesday’s violence have been confirmed.

The Capitol Police, who had planned only for peaceful protests – despite numerous indicators suggesting protesters may turn violent – were massively vastly outnumbered by the rioters and quickly overrun.

It’s not clear how many officers were on duty Wednesday, but the Capitol Police has a total of 2,300 officers and civilian employees who patrol 16 acres of land and protect the 535 members of Congress and their staff.  By comparison, Minneapolis has about 840 uniformed officers who police 425,000 residents across a 6,000-acre area, according to The Associated Press.

DC guardsmen were not initially deployed to the US Capitol in large numbers, in part because city and Pentagon officials wanted to avoid the backlash that followed Trump’s aggressive use of federal law enforcement to attack peaceful protesters demonstrating against the killing of George Floyd, according to The Post.

The Capitol Police rejected multiple offers for help from federal law enforcement ahead of Wednesday’s events, and, according to The Post, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser had requested only 340 guardsmen, mostly to monitor traffic and public transit.

But DC guard troops answer to state governors, and since DC is not a state, Bowser had to request additional support on Wednesday from the Pentagon, which answers to Trump – a task that proved difficult and slow-moving.

Bowser and her staff, as well as lawmakers trapped in the Capitol, called on the governors of neighboring Maryland and Virginia, who themselves were initially ignored by the Pentagon when they asked military leaders to deploy additional guardsmen.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who effectively commands the DC guard, said at a press conference Thursday that 6,200 guardsmen would be deployed by the weekend and that a “non-scalable” 7-foot fence would be set up around the Capitol. He added military officials had planned for Wednesday assuming it would be like other recent protests and that not in their “wildest imagination” did they expect rioters to breach the Capitol.

But decisions by law enforcement -the Capitol Police as well as local and federal agencies – not to prepare for riots have drawn sharp criticism. Former Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey slammed the police response, telling CNN that “they need to be locking them up without question,” in regard to rioters inside the Capitol.

The Capitol Police “were not prepared for today,” Democratic Rep. Val Demings told The Baltimore Sun, adding: “I certainly thought that we would have had a stronger show of force.”

Activists also pointed to the disparity between law enforcement’s relatively passive response to violent protesters Wednesday and the mass arrests and aggression used against largely peaceful anti-racism protests.

Sund, the Capitol Police chief, and another high-ranking Capitol security officer have already announced their plans to resign, and more are expected to go.

https://news.yahoo.com/pentagon-blocked-dc-national-guard-054814487.html

Jen Psaki squashes media pushing Republican narrative on COVID Relief Bill

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W.H. Press Secretary Jen Psaki squashes the talking point Republicans have infused in the mainstream media about COVID Relief Bill bipartisanship.

Jen Psaki relentlessly on proper narrative

See full episodes here.

For too long, White House Press Secretaries, Democratic politicians, and Progressives have allowed the Republicans to define their policies’ narrative via the mainstream media. Jen Psaki continues to be the antidote.

Remember Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas?,” where he spoke about why progressives cannot reach Red America. And likewise note Heather McGhee’s new book, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,”  Jen Psaki has it down pat. She understands that with a majority in the Senate and the House, President Biden’s audience must be the American people. Politicians, even if their response is delayed, cannot support lasting low poll numbers.

Dana Bash threw out the GOP’s complaint about the COVID Relief Bill not being bipartisan. She asked Psaki to point out one concession President Biden made.

Psaki turned the question right back by pointing out that the President has had more Republicans and Democrats over at the White House giving input to the bill more than the 4 years of the Trump administration. She then immediately pivoted to what the bill does specifically for everyday Americans. And then this.

”We have not seen a substantive big proposal in the response back from Republicans,” Psaki said. “This is the scope of the problem and the scope of the kind of package we need to pass to address that.”

BINGO! Republicans are talking a lot but have no real proposal to address the monumental task.

That should have been the end of it. But Dana Bash insisted. She asked if the President would change the proposal to address Republican concerns.

Jen said the President would continue to be open to ideas. Most importantly, however, was this massage.

”What he will not do, though,” Jen said. “Is make this a Washington political partisan issue and prevent the American people from getting the relief they need. 70% of the public wants this bill to pass.”

Psaki then made it about the American people and the reason for the haste. Americans will be running out of unemployment insurance and will require support in a couple of weeks.

Jen stayed on message and did not allow the interview to occur on the Republican talking points. Instead, she made it people-centric.


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