As usual, those supporting the right-wing when complaining about unequal treatment of the Jan 6 rioters are quick to make a "what about" the George Floyd rioters. First, it is sheer BS that George Floyd protestors were not prosecuted. Per an Associated Press study "An Associated Press review of court documents in more than 300 federal cases stemming from the protests sparked by George Floyd’s death last year shows that dozens of people charged have been convicted of serious crimes and sent to prison."https://apnews.com/.../records-rebut-claims-jan-6-rioters...
Friday, December 31, 2021
False equivalencies: The right wing whines Jan 6 rioters were treated worse than George Floyd rioters
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Courts have news for 30% of the GOP: Violence is not free speech; interfering with official procedures is a crime
Updated January 14, 2021. The January 6 rioters had not been charged with sedition because of the difficulty in proving it. That changed when eleven Oath Keepers were indicted by a grand jury and were arrested on January 13. charged with seditious conspiracy for violent attempts to overthrow the government. and planning it. One element leading to the indictment and charges is that the Oath Keeper'sleaderhsip's encrypted conversations using the ap "Signal" were cracked. More frightening in the charging documents was not only did they plan for violence on January 6, they also had armed members ringing Washington DC ready to intervene with violence during and after January 6 with the purpose and training to foment not only a violent interference in the government process, including inauguration day but a civil war.. This is a serious game changer and a departure from the prior charges. It extends to those planning and leading the group who were not the ones entering the Capitol themselves. The burning question is did these Oath Keeper leaders communicate and plan with anyone in the White House or even with the President'sained close advisors with Trump's blessing. The special threat the Oath Keepers presented was that they claimed 20,000 "members" who were trained ex military, active and former law enforcement, and tr first responders. What gave them away was their preparation with gear ready for anticipated violence.and training in the midst of an out-of-control mob of middle aged white men following their lead. that was caught on video. They were prepared for a violent coup, not a stealthy one described by such legal advisers as John Eastman's infamous case for how to overturn the election by manipulating and distorting the established process under the pretext that the election was stolen. and they could make some sort of a legal case to justify their actions. The charges were not the sole design of the Department of Justice, but in federal criminal prosecution, they need the concurrence of a grand jury to indict and charge, as it was in this indictment of the Oath Keeprers leadership. Takeaways from the landmark sedition indictment against the Oath Keepers and why DOJ acted now - ABC17NEWS
Before this indictment, the attention had been focused on the actual violent attackers of the Capitol themselves and overcoming the defense that the accused had just been using their first amendment rights of free speech protected by the Constitution to redress grievances. (They ignored the "peaceful" word in that amendment). Imany prosecutors had attempted to charge a serious enough offense, a felony, with sufficient punishment to deter others from doing the same thing in the future. A series of lower federal court rulings have gone against the January 6 rioters' defenses. Among their rulings: violence is not free speech; interfering with official procedures is a felony crime.
Several recent federal court decisions have established that felonies were committed by interfering with official procedures and violence is not protected free speech regardless if it was used to make a political statement. This may come as a shock to 30% of the GOP who feel it is their constitutional right to use violence to overturn an election in the name of protecting democracy. The courts will not have your backs if you act on it and make it your defense argument.
Among those legal issues is whether violence to make a political point is protected free speech. In a recent case, the Proud Boys argued their violent acts were protected speech and the federal judge rejected their argument mostly on the basis that there were many other actions to protest protected by the First Amendment.
Why is it important that the crime committed is a felony and not a misdemeanor? Is interfering with an official government procedure a felony that triggers serious jail sentences to deter others in the future? Are those who fomented, encouraged, permitted the violent act also guilty of a felony? Felony convictions are important because misdemeanors do not trigger serious federal investigations and penalties are not much of a deterrent to future wannabe incidents like January 6. Recent court rulings are these are felonies.
Does it follow the president and his coup conspirators are guilty of the felonies, too? There is case law to that effect. That will be the legal case that could trip up Trump and his coup planners and this is the focus of the January 6 committee. The committee hearings will shed public light on the events of January 6 and may lead to legislation. Those charged so far with felonies or referred to the DOJ for criminal charges are the ones who refused to honor the committee's subpoenas and testify. The FBI and the Department of Justice could pursue such felony charges concerning any masterminds behind or directing the January 6 events, but so far have not shown much public enthusiasm to move forward on White House involvement.
The Jan. 6 rioters committed a felony by obstructing an official proceeding per recent rulings. On December 10, a Trump-appointed federal district judge ruled that it was a felony to obstruct an official proceeding. " (lawfareblog.com)
Other key federal court rulings have gone against the rioters from the ruling that violence committed on January 6 was indeed felonies, from assaulting police officers and attempting to stop an official procedure. Upheld was a conviction of a New Jersey rioter for assaulting the police on Jan.6 and the judge sentenced him to 44 months in prison: The judge ruling, in that case, cited both assaulting the police officer and obstructing an official procedure. “It’s such a serious offense under the circumstances, an affront to society and to the law, to have the Capitol overrun and to have this riot stop the whole functioning government, that I just find that it’s such a serious crime that I cannot give a below-guideline sentence.” Scott Kevin Fairlamb is the first person sentenced for assaulting a police officer in the Capitol attack.Scott Fairlamb is the first Jan. 6 Capitol riot - The Washington Post
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Today Machin told FOX that he will not support the BBB.It was the great double-cross of the year after his alleged agreement with Biden with the framework and the cost. He has been playing us for suckers and fools long enough and he must still feel worried that he will not win reelection in his home state, West Virginia, that voted for Trump by a70% win. Manchin is continuously inventing new reasons why he stonewalled on each step of the way. Manchin is no profile in courage, but a coward who values remaining in the Senate above the interests of ordinary people in one of the poorest states in America.West Virginia Rankings and Facts | US News Best States
He isn't the first to have a conversion and a reversal recently. Mark Meadows is another who, after providing a treasure house of documents as Trump's chief of staff, suddenly reverse course and now to testifies to matters that were not even protected by any sort of immunity or, unlike a list of others party to the January 6 attempted coup, took the 5th, fearing they might be prosecuted for a crime. Is it something in the DC water or is the poison in the air of a Trump seeking his hateful revenge on those less than 100% loyal to him. White House lights up Manchin after he crushes Biden's megabill - POLITICO Since both Meadows and Manchin jammed their gear in reverse suddenly and unexpectedly, one wonders if the hand of Trump threatened either Meadows' future in politics or if he threatened to oppose Manchin's reeleciton in a states where 70 percent had voted for Trump. Stranger things have happened, but this is a believable conspiracy theory since this how Trump is maintaining control of the GOP up and down the ballot.
Manchin is continuously inventing new reasons for why he stonewalled on each step of the way. One argument was that it would add to the deficit. That ignores the fact that the deficit has been reduced by the Biden administration thanks to the kick his legislation gave to the economy in 2020 with the COVID recovery act.https://www.marketwatch.com/story/u-s-budget-deficit-for-2021-declines-from-2020s-all-time-high-above-3-trillion-01634922141 Both his most recent excuse for torpedoing the BBB was about adding to inflation and dealing with Omicron are short-termers, arguments du jour, and speculative.. Some of these reasons are short-term. It may sound good now, but it may be old news in a few months. The Fed raises interest rates to cool inflation and Omicron works its way through the unvaccinated, who are mostly members of the GOP. Because Manchin saw the BBB as a negative to the economy, consider this: Goldman Sachs readjusted its economic forecast because of what Joe Manchin just did. Defeating the BBB will take a hit on the economy, not the other way around.https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/19/economy/goldman-sachs-joe-manchin-build-back-better/index.html
On FOX, Manchin reiterated his reasons that if he could not explain the bill to West Virginians, then he would stop supporting it. Manchin has done what he could to not explain the bill, blasting Bernie Sanders who attempted to bring the information to West Virginians. It is also an insult to the intelligence of West Virginians that they did not have the ability to grasp how the BBB would have made their lives better.
Underlying the real reasons for Machin's position are two I suspect: 1) he is aligned with West Virginia voters. https://wvmetronews.com/2021/11/16/manchins-poll-bump/, besides representing a Trump-voting state . 2) He loves big coal and hates environmental legislation. Found in his past campaign funding disclosures... big coal and anti-environment fossil fuel industry were heavy contributors.He has made millions for himself from coal, as well. Joe Manchin has made millions from coal. He's also at the center of the US energy policy debate as Democrats scramble for an agreement - CNNPolitics Biden appears unwilling to drop the environmental segments in the BBB to appease him.
West Virginians never have come to grips that the train has left the station, yearning for the return to a coal-based employment sector of yore, but the rest of the world is on that train and the real enemy of coal is natural gas, which is cheaper and less damaging to global warming. Coal has lost the race to natural gas, alternative energy, and \plant conversions to gas and alternatives are too expensive to change back now. . https://www.brookings.edu/blog/planetpolicy/2019/01/16/why-theres-no-bringing-coal-back/ The penalty for living their fantasies is to remain one of the poorest states in the Union, struggling forever near the bottom at whatever is an economic indicator of the ranking of the 50 states. I once had sympathy for those coal miners. Now, it is time for them to get an education to find another line of work like the rest of the south has done. No matter who is the next president, the reality of the marketplace disadvantage of coal will not change.
Democrats have been whining that without the BBB, they have nothing to run on in 2022. That is a silly and self-defeating argument. Of course, they have accomplishments to run on, just not all of the ones they had hoped for. Democrats have also argued that to save democracy, they need to show that government can work. That, too, is an argument that is a silly one, appealing to a few who put saving democracy as their top priority. Most voters are motivated by the old "what have you done for me or hurt me, lately. " That, too, can be turned against the GOP. It has become a political party that has no written public policy issue platform and instead relies on catering to the preservation and spreading of southern states' "cultural values" and/ or maintaining their donor base. They seem willing to do anything to stay in power by sabotaging the other party's ability to get much done that would have provided for the day-to-day needs of all but the rich. They are so far getting it both ways: sabotaging the Biden agenda and then claiming Democrats are failing, promoting anti-vaxxers and misinformation, and blaming the Democrats for failing to end COVID. In fact, going unvaccinated was the insignia of the most loyal Trump supporters. On the other hand, each component of the Biden agenda has polled popular. It is all good stuff and needed by large chunks of the constituency.
The truth is it was a stroke of luck and guts of local election officials sworn to their oath to support the constitution and the personal antics of a narcissistic incumbent that Democrats won the White House and the Senate The problem is, Democrats did not win enough seats to avoid being held hostage by one or two senators. That in itself is a good argument to be made to get more Democrats in the Senate. The infrastructure bill and the stimulus of the COVID recovery were no small accomplishments. Those were huge and effective. If there was any failure on the part of the Biden administration, it was their failure to crow about what they did and get credit for it. They did much in ten months and it looks like they were about to succeed with more.
Democrats need to put GOP candidates on the defensive and they can. The ending of those provisions of the COVID relief bill will be realized in early January when the nation will feel the results such as the end of the child tax credit provisions that lifted half the kids out of poverty. Instead of a positive campaign, Democrats can turn this into a dual campaign of positives and negative attack ads, and give the voters a good reason to vote against those who are not for the good of their constituents and their concerns.
All elections in non-presidential years are local, but there are some basic nationwide umbrella strategies that would work. Put the GOP on the defensive. The GOP has been given plenty of rope to hang themselves. The theme: the GOP does not care about you; because they voted against X (child tax credit; the infrastructure bill). Make them vote on the record against the BBB so there is no question of what they did, regardless of what reasons they give.. Force the GOP candidates to explain why they are not in favor of the child tax credit or lowering pharma bills or helping grandma stay at home, or making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes or even improving their roads and bridges and access to the internet and drinkable water. Yes, Democrats, you have plenty to run on in every state. Just take off the kid gloves and do it.
Update: Jan.6, 2022 Biden took off his gloves and called Trump out a loser and the "stop the steal" lies. Why Joe Biden's intense Jan. 6 riot anniversary speech was stunning TV (usatoday.com)
From a previous posting (Nov. 25), the case for Biden's successes:
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
Updated December 17, 2021: December 13 the House Select Committee probing the events around the January 6 attack on the Capitol release some telling information gleaned from Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows' document dump earlier. In it were transcripts of Meadows' cell phone texts and a very interesting PowerPoint presentation generated by a cohort. Coupled with the infamous Eastman legal memo to give cover to any coup attempts, it is clear that the conspiracy to stage a coup to overturn the election was no theory advanced by the left and there was an attempt to put into practice elements of these plans was executed by those around Trump. The goal of both of these plans was to get states that voted for Biden but were close calls and had been counted before the election as Trump states to overturn the elections. These states had GOP-dominated legislatures and/or GOP governors, to claim charges of election fraud and to provide an alternative list of pro-Trump electors.
Busted were some conspiracy theories advanced by the right. This was no spontaneous uprising of angry activists on January 6 who rioted. These rioters were not Antifa members in disguise as White people as Trump supporters tried to twist the event. (719 participants have been charged with the violence, none Antifa, and many had affiliations of extreme white nationalist groups.). These were no looky-loo tourists, either. January 6 was not just another day.
Trump's role in all of this is still yet to be seen in its totality, other than his inciteful rhetoric at the rally, his delay in calling off the rioters until after the Capitol was trashed, and was caught on tape trying the pressure wi the Georgia secretary to state with threats to "find the missing 10,000 plus Trump votes". There is still much to be learned. The greatest question left on the table is what went on between Meadows and Trump. Was Meadows acting on his own or, as chief of staff, or was he carrying out orders from Trump himself? Why did so many choose to take the 5th because they feared they would be incriminated in a crime and even risk imprisonment for ignoring subpoenas to keep their mouths shut? Over 250 have already testified to the committee. More are scheduled so even if some key players do not testify, they may be fingered anyway. Stay tuned.
For now, the role played by Trump's staff, his unofficial and official advisors, his hand-picked loyalists placed in the Pentagon and the Department of Justice, are coming into focus From evidence gleaned by the committee so far, we are learning the National Guard action to stop the riot was delayed by Trump appointees in the Pentagon as members of Congress were in hiding and feared for their lives. We are learning the identities of those in Congress who were involved and coordinating with the coup's White House conspirators, Meadows documents indicate there were those doing so. Investigative reporters and some leaks from the Committee finger them. The rioters were only one part of the coup plans. They had the purpose to give Pence a backbone and some sort of rationale to delay or decertify the election. The 719 rioters in legal trouble now, and some in jail, were the pawns in the plan, They were willing pawns who believed the election was stolen and they ignored any evidence to the contrary, but by their violent acts they opened the door through which others could see the coup plans.
So far, what we know is that the coup failed because 1) the hoped-for presumed Trump loyal state actors had certified their elections and the alternative elector slate strategy failed; 2) 60 federal court judges had found no evidence of enough fraud to justify the claim the election was stolen;3} VP Mike Pence refused to go along with the plot to throw the certification into chaos with either delay or sent to Congress. Pence was key to the coup plans that went awry. The certification of the election took place later that night 4] The rioters got out of control, people were killed, and the "visuals" were awful. Fascinating were the pleas to Mark Meadows via text from FOX media personalities, Don Jr. and so many others trying to call off the rioters once they were already in full swing.
One wonders if the riot did not happen if we would ever have known so much about the conspiracy behind an attempted coup. If Pence had not stood his ground, would we have just had an epic Constitutional crisis ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, or just a bitter taste left in our mouths by reporters and their investigative reporting?
Eastman took the 5th before the committee. Major players in the coup attempt, fearing vulnerability for what was criminal, are defying committee subpoenas, and have been referred to the Department of Justice for criminal contempt of Congress. Bannon has actually been charged.
Busting the "election was stolen" theory: The granddaddy of the "stolen election" motivation of the January 6 rioters and the conspiracy rationale for the coup was that all were justified because of widespread fraud. It is also the rationale of attempts throughout the swing states to replace all non-Trump loyal election officials with loyalists so that if they are asked to "find" x votes or to lie about figures or to muck with the talley machines, elections lost may be reversed. The Associated Press conducted a study of swing states in 2020 and found there were 475 cases of verified fraud, not anywhere close to changing the outcome of those states and were committed by individuals mostly voting twice and who were mostly Trump supporters.
One more myth gets a nail in its coffin. The big lie that thousands of dead people voted in Georgia in 2020 is just that, a big lie: 4 dead bodies were voted; the other suspected thousands are quite alive.Election investigators find just 4 dead voters in Georgia (ajc.com)
After nearly a year of trying to find the "missing Trump votes" and enough fraud to make the difference, and an any proof of the abundant conspiracy theories, what has emerged is that Biden got a few more votes than originally reported...not enough to make a difference. Theories remain just that: theories" and there were no conspiracies, either. The conspiracy that did happen was, it is beginning to appear, to upend the election with a coup plan that came and was executed from theWhite House and a few in Congress,
How could over half of those who identify as Republicans believe that there was enough fraud to show the election was stolen? Because, my theory, they get their news from one or two sources who perpetuated the conspiracy theories and all of their friends and neighbors get their news from the same sources. It becomes hard to believe that when everyone they know agrees with you, there are others out there who look at the data and facts. As propagandists know: if you repeat an untruth enough times, it becomes the accepted truth. That theory works in both the marketing of consumer products and in marketing political ideas. There is also that even those who know the election was not stolen still vocally say it was because it comes in handy in avoiding the wrath of Trump, gives them the rationale to turn the vote into one administered by their partisans instead of separately elected officials, and justifies the coup attempt.
Thursday, December 9, 2021
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Yes, democracy is a poor form of government, but there is something much worse.
‘Winston Churchill, Nov. 11, 1947 "Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’
Yes, the media and money make it hard for voices to be heard and it distorts the rule by people instead of the government. Yes, it takes forever to deal with problems through legislation and the ballot box. Yes, there is corruption and power given to powers who suppress others. The only thing worse is a dictatorship or an autocracy that does not permit an opposition media, keeping voters in the dark and suppressing free and fair elections, and keeping them unable to rally opposition or appeal to an independent body for help. The law in a dictatorship is not the standard to arbitrate injustice. The law becomes the tool to keep a dictator in place and it is manipulated, interpreted, and applied to keep a dear leader in power. It is nearly impossible to challenge corruption, so corruption exists and grows. So long as we have vigorous free media, we know who the scum bags are and corruption can be revealed. You do not have to be a card-carrying party member either. What we have is a distortion of our form of democracy...a country so big, mass media is necessary, but it is expensive, allowing the well-funded to get their messages across more effectively than others. Gerrymandering by both parties control who their candidates are in primaries and they are often the most extreme partisans, leaving a sense for independents that the only choice left is between two evils. When this country was founded, there were no political parties and there is no reference to them in the Constitution. To restore a more vigorous and fair democracy that reflects the will of the people, the voting rights legislation now in Congress is the most important piece of legislation on the table now. It affects whether we have a functioning democracy in the future. However, it will take the overturn of the filibuster, carve-outs if not comprehensive, to get passed, and that is difficult because it is so abstract and theoretical, it is not on the public's priority list who is more concerned about the price at the pump and in the grocery store. Unless these reforms are passed, I fear that public disgust and impatience with the government will make a dictatorship more attractive. The leap then will be from the frying pan into the fire because dictatorships are even a worse kind of governance, permitting corruption to go unchallenged and the rule of whoever has the power to give no chance for the voice of the people to be heard.
Thursday, December 2, 2021
A Supreme Court ruling to throw the issue of Roe V Wade back to individual states may backfire on the GOP. As in Colorado, initiatives are already being prepared to protect the essence of Roe v Wade to be on state ballots in 2022. It may fire up a turnout and anger of both women and younger voters in many states, both blue and red. In order to for Democrats to capitalize on this opportunity, they need to get as many legislators in Congress and in statehouses on the record with their votes of Roe v Wade-like legislation and to get state initiatives on the November ballots. Win or lose, the controversy will help bring out more Democratic voters who are now showing they are a bit asleep at the wheels on what should be winning popular public policy and cultural issues from pro-democracy to voting and women's rights and the agenda of enhanced economic assistance to working-class families, and needed attention to environmental issues. That strategy should begin now, ahead of the anticipated SCOTUS decisions. Even if SCOTUS does not go full monte on overturning Roe v Wade and /COVID and inflation fade, the contrast with the anti-democratic tactics and cultural divisiveness of an obstructionist GOP will give Democratic candidates up and down the ballot a rich platform on which to run.
Expert observers of the Supreme Court arguments on the Mississippi case yesterday predict that the Court could effectively end Roe v Wade. This assumes the Trump appointees remain true to the GOP efforts to stack the Court with only anti-abortion justices, 3 in the Trump era. The likely outcome is that the majority will rule that, in spite of 50 years of settled law, the Constitution should have been and will be neutral on federal protection of a women's right to choose. The matter is left to the individual states. The fight will continue there where their existing laws banning abortion that had been put on ice pending this Mississippi case outcome. Colorado is not one of those states and measures are already being taken to make sure that a woman's right to choose is protected. The challenge for Democrats is to get out this message and the opportunity to do so, if the Court throws the issue to states, will be when the Roe v Wade type of initiatives appear on state ballots...in Nov. 2022,
/ Attempts to pass ballot measures to end choice in Colorado have always been defeated but tried often. The last attempt beaten down by voters was in 2020. What this means is that in 2022 and 2024, the battle in Colorado will also continue at the ballot box and that positions of incumbents on the issue will be in the headlines and on record and also pressed to state their positions in advance if they are candidates. . What it also means is that those with means needing the services will be coming to Colorado and New Mexico or taking visits to the west and east coasts. The poor people who cannot afford those trips and who live in red states will seek their care in back alleys or with home remedies as they always have in history and many will die from complications, as they always have.
,Politically there are other fallouts.: Justice Sotomayor called out the impact on the Supreme Court, warning there will be the "stench" of politicization that ignores precedent and she predicts it will harm respect of the institution as an independent arbiter of the interpretation of laws. The implication is that the rule of law will then be subject to change as political waves and views change. The reason is that nothing changed in the past 50 years regarding abortion, just more anti-choice justices were appointed to the Court, changing its balance with anti-choice appointees. It was political opportunism. Given the changing demographics in this country, with the strong showing of younger voters (pro-choice) in the 2020 election, the future will lie more than ever in the hands of Democrats as this younger generation rises to power. Women who had taken 50 years of rights for granted, but had not been following the issue, will become "woke" when the bans take place in over half o of the country and will add fire to 'suburban and younger voter turnouts. on behalf of Democrats. One out of 4 women in the US has had an abortion. It is no small group., and they have the motivation and the ability to rally others.. Democrats in the US House have already passed a bill protecting abortion rights as provided in Roe v Wade and are sending it to the Senate since one remedy is to make it a law. If it comes before the Senate, it will get votes on the record win or lose that will be useful to Democrats. The anti-choice forces may win this battle for now, but it will be at the expense of the GOP in future wars. The GOP is making their bed and will eventually lie in it.
There are questions about where the younger voters will go in the future. They played a significant role in Biden's win Young, diverse voters fueled Biden victory over Trump | TheHill A poll recently revealed that younger people are "disappointed" in Biden, though they came out to vote in 2020 for him. Biden Loses Ground Among ‘Fearful’ Young Voters: Poll | Politics | US NewsIn fact, they are in general very pessimistic about their futures and the issues that bother them are the pandemic, the environment , and the state of democracy.. They support Biden on his handling of the pandemic The issue of "choice" was nowhere on their radar, but as they experience the radical restrictions imposed by a Supreme Court, that I think will change their perspectives dramatically. Strange that the very issues Biden has supported are also their positions has not gotten more traction. Like all matters that make a difference in politics are not a matter of absolute, but a choice between candidates whose names are on the ballot. They may be "disappointed" in Biden now, but his name will not be on the ballot in 2022 and probably not in 2024 if he chooses not to run. What happens in the state and local elections are where it is in November 2022, and in their "disappointment" and pessimism, this attitude may dampen turnout and they will inadvertently help exactly the Trump/GOP/ issues that would only hurt their top issues now. , However, they may be more fired up thanks to the anti-choice anticipated rulings on Roe v Wade.
for Democrats is to be able to draw the contrast between their party that embraces their issues . need to understand that not voting because of "disappointment" helps the very party that acts against their priorities. The opportunity will arise if the Supreme Court throws "choice" back to the individual states and Roe v Wade in local initiative form will be on the ballot in Nov. 2022 and those state ballot issues can serve as a get out the younger voters vote.