10,000 on ignore, Book 166: The Days of Reckoning, Part 25.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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NRA tweets vid of GOP senator cleaning gun to something that sounds like 'Boogie Nights' soundtrack
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

If I had to watch this, you do, too.

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, who sounds like Mr. Haney and looks like Arnold Ziffel, shot a video that made the NRA—which is dissolving faster than an Adderall suppository in the pulpy crevasses of Donald John Trump’s bottomless backside—bray about “triggering” the libs.

All this triggered was my gag reflex, but nice try, slowly dying husk of a once-formidable lobbying juggernaut.

Grab your air-sickness bags, unless you happen to like this sort of thing:



A few quick observations …

1) “Believe” isn’t spelled like that.

ScreenShot2021-05-24at4.54.14PM.png


2) Are we really supposed to think this guy is a brave, stalwart American because he purchased a widely available item and rubbed it with a dishrag? It would be exactly as manly if I bought a Pez dispenser and taped myself eating Pez from it. These are easy videos to film. I don’t quite get what they’re supposed to prove, though.

3) What’s with the Boogie Nights pool party music? This guy doesn’t need any help making himself appear more sketchy.

Anyway, somehow I got through that whole video without being “triggered.” Better luck next time, NRA. Assuming there is a next time, that is.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Extremists seeking official power identify as Republicans, confident the base is on their side
David Neiwert

One of the consequences of the GOP’s sidelong embrace of its extremist elements—from the insurrection denialists and Big Lie gaslighters to the QAnon cultists like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert—is that far-right extremists are now perfectly comfortable identifying as Republicans. In some cases, they’re demanding the overthrow of the party’s establishment—which can’t seem to decide whether to fight back or just succumb willingly to the incoming far-right tide.

Establishment Republicans in Western states are particularly under siege from extremist elements among their voting base. In Idaho, for instance, armed-standoff-guru-turned-pandemic-denialist Ammon Bundy filed paperwork to run for governor, in a race already featuring another leading state “Patriot” movement figure. In Nevada, an insurgent far-right group organized on social media and led by Proud Boys members are attempting an open hostile takeover of the Clark County GOP, the state’s largest county-level Republican organization.
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Bundy’s filing is rich in irony. For starters, he is currently banned from the Idaho Statehouse in Boise after his two ejections and arrests for defying masking requirements, for which he is currently standing trial. For another, as KTVB notes, Bundy himself is not even registered to vote in Idaho, and has apparently never done so in the five years or so that he has lived in Emmett.


He also named himself the treasurer of his campaign, which means that he will have to refile the paperwork, according to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, which tweeted out an explanation: “Because a treasurer must be a registered Idaho voter, Ammon Bundy will either need to register and refile or name a new treasurer by refiling. IDSOS staff have notified him as such.”

The Republican field to replace incumbent Governor Brad Little (who has not announced whether he will seek re-election) is already large, and Bundy’s competition in the primary already features another leading “Patriot” movement figure, Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, who announced her candidacy last week. While Bundy was probably the earliest far-right figure in Idaho to take up the cause of opposing COVID-19-related public-health restrictions, McGeachin—who has supported Bundy and his fellow standoff-loving “Patriots” steadfastly from her office in Boise—has also been on the pandemic-denialist bandwagon.

McGeachin appeared alongside Bundy at one anti-restriction rally in Boise. More notoriously, she appeared in a video in which she brandished a handgun and a Bible while sitting in the driver’s seat of a pickup, railing against coronavirus restrictions.
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The political insurgency inside Clark County’s GOP was reported Friday by Rory Appleton at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who explained that a group of far-right activists with deep ties to the Proud Boys are positioning themselves to take over the county Republican leadership. Some of its members, meanwhile, are alleged to have threatened a number of prominent Republicans.

The group, Appleton reported, organized online—primarily using the encrypted chat app Telegram—while reveling in anti-Semitic and white-nationalist memes and rhetoric. “Two Republican women in public office told the Review-Journal they’ve been threatened by leaders of the fringe movement, as did the current board of the Clark County party, which is hiring security for a crucial meeting Tuesday,” the story reads.


Calling itself the “Republican Chamber of Commerce” (despite lacking ties to any known GOP organization), the far-right group first made its presence felt last month when it organized a late surge in votes favoring the censure of Barbara Cegavske, the state’s Republican Secretary of State, for refusing to play along with attempts to overturn the 2020 election results based on Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

Since then, it has been preparing to provide a similar wave of votes to sweep three of their three leading figures—Rudy Clai, Matt Anthony and Paul Laramie—into the leadership of the Clark County GOP. The group has no record of doing business anywhere in the state of Nevada, and has no connection to any of the known chamber or Republican groups already established in Nevada.

Yet its website appears to be a nominally mainstream GOP group. Its primary emblem resembles the Republican National Committee’s logo but inverted, with a red elephant on a white background encircled in red with the letters “RCC” and “Republican Chamber of Commerce” within.

Anthony has achieved a level of media notoriety as one of Las Vegas’ most prominent Proud Boys, though he insists the local chapter is nonviolent and nonracist. After the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, he defended the people arrested and warned against a law-enforcement crackdown on “Patriots”: “They’re basically going all in on tyranny, guys. … They’re watching. It’s to be expected. They’re the enemy. They’re going to shut down our ability to communicate.”

As it happens, Anthony is also a fugitive: He is the subject of an arrest warrant from the state of Michigan after he broke probation by moving to Nevada and then refusing to return after Nevada declined to oversee his probation, all stemming from his 2012 arrest on a drug charge.


The group’s Telegram channel—owned by Anthony, and administered by Clai—is titled “Keep Nevada Open,” apparently an offshoot of a Facebook group with the same name that boasted 17,000 members and organized anti-masking and other pandemic-related protests. Appleton describes a review of the channel’s contents by the Clark County GOP executive board, led by chief of staff Richard MacLean:

MacLean showed his fellow board members several pictures and videos posted within the group, though not specifically by Anthony and Clai.
One photo blamed the 9/11 terrorist bombings on Jews. Another video featured a long clip of an Adolf Hitler speech and Nazi soldier marches. Some featured cartoon characters with negative Jewish stereotypes, and one photo featured messages written on dollar bills.
A post even poked fun at Republicans, claiming they seemed to be shocked at certain current events while white nationalists were thrilled by them.

The board promptly ejected the three men from the party. However, on Thursday, 10 people including Anthony and Clai filed a lawsuit against both the county and state party central committees, accusing them of illegally boxing them out of Clark County GOP meetings. They claim Clai and Anthony are heading up an alternative leadership slate, and are running against a mainstream ticket headed up by state Sen. Carrie Buck.
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Despite the pushback by local Republican officials, the extremist elements remain emboldened in no small part because national-level Republicans have shown their eagerness to ignore the radicalism and even embrace it. Certainly, the local far-right leaders are confident that the party’s base supports them, and not the establishment players.

“We have the numbers, and they don’t, so they have to play dirty,” Anthony said in an interview Thursday. “It’s that simple.”

McGeachin’s campaign signs feature the hashtag #IAmIdaho. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are at a pivotal moment in history, not just for Idaho but for our nation,” McGeachin said.

Bundy told NBC News on Monday that, despite the filings, he hasn’t formally announced his candidacy, but is preparing to build a campaign organization.


"The people of Idaho are very freedom-minded," Bundy said. "I had never desired (to run for office), but I knew as early as 2017 that I would run for governor of Idaho."
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Their guy lost in 2020. Now they're jockeying for statewide election posts to wreak havoc in 2022
Kerry Eleveld

After failing to overturn the 2020 election results, several of the GOP's chief purveyors of election fraud conspiracy theories have decided they want to be running the show in their states next time around, according to Politico. Effectively, if you can't beat 'em, position yourself to cheat.

So a handful have launched campaigns to become their states' top election officials:
All four are making bids to control elections in battleground states that will likely prove critical to determining which party controls Congress once the dust settles from the 2022 cycle. That prospect even has some Republican officials worried about how bad actors could undermine the integrity of state elections.
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“Someone who is running for an election administration position, whose focus is not the rule of law but instead ‘the ends justifies the means,’ that’s very dangerous in a democracy,” Bill Gates, Republican vice chair of the Board of Supervisors in Maricopa County, Arizona, told Politico. “This is someone who is trying to tear at the foundations of democracy.”

In Georgia and Nevada, these conspiracy-minded Trumpers are running to replace Republicans who they believe betrayed Trump and his voters by adhering to their oaths of office. But in Arizona and Michigan, they are hoping to replace Democrats who ran their state's elections.

But not all secretaries of state are created equal—they are either imbued with more or less power depending on the state.

Former Kentucky GOP secretary of state, Trey Grayson, framed the distinction this way, "There’s a symbolic risk, and then there’s … functional risk.”

In some ways, Grayson said the symbolic risk of a state official using their position to undermine public trust in an election could prove to be the greater risk given that many secretaries of state mainly perform ministerial duties. “Any secretary of state who is a chief elections official is going to have a megaphone and a media platform during the election,” Grayson said. “A lot of the power is the perception of power, or that megaphone.”

The scenario that is currently playing out in Arizona with the sham audit of Maricopa County offers a window into the havoc one maligned actor with a platform could wreak. While actual Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has been laboring to reassure and educate voters about 2020 election integrity, one of the candidates to replace her, Finchem, has been pushing conspiracy theories as the audit progresses.

On Twitch, where many alt-right, pro-conspiracy voices broadcast, Finchem railed against mainstream media for calling the baseless fraud claims "baseless."

“I hate to break the news to you, but just in case you news people haven’t been paying attention, there’s a lot of evidence that’s already out there," Finchem said. "We’ve got the proof, we’ve got the receipts."

There's still no proof. There's still no receipts. All there is in Maricopa right now is the corruption of the process at the hands of people who have zero experience in administering elections. Despite having no proof of their claims, Finchem and others are both preying on and pumping the hopes of Trumpers who still haven't accepted the simple fact that their guy lost. Nationwide, that’s roughly two-thirds of GOP voters based on repeated polling of the issue.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trumpkin heads explode after their favorite pollster shows record approval rating for Biden
Darrell Lucus

For years, whenever the Messiah, Lord Donald Trump, The Most Merciful tweeted about a pollster giving him a sterling approval rating, we had to take it with several truckloads of salt. After all, that pollster was invariably Rasmussen Reports, an outfit with a notorious Republican house effect.

Earlier today, Rasmussen teased that its latest tracking polls showed Joe Biden’s poll numbers well into the black.



Specifically, according to Raw Story, 54 percent—tracking very closely with FiveThirtyEight’s average. Oh, how the deplorables howled.







And there’s more. To those wondering how this is possible, remember that in Trumpworld, any negative coverage of Dear Leader is fake news.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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OLC's advice on charging Trump with obstruction came after Barr and Rosenstein talked to OLC
Mark Sumner

Earlier this month, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Attorney General William Barr had intentionally mislead both Congress and the public through his slanted “summary” of the Mueller report. Judge Jackson also noted that this was part of a pattern of deception by Barr.

That ruling also drew attention to an unreleased internal memo showing how Barr and others at the Justice Department had strained to come up with justification to not charge Donald Trump with obstruction. Jackson called Barr’s actions “disingenuous” and said that the reasoning in the memo did not match Barr’s statements made at the time of the release of his summary.

On Monday evening, a portion of that memo was released over objections from Barr and the Department of Justice, which is continuing to fight the release of the remaining document. The memo, written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), does recommend against charging Trump with obstruction, but makes it clear that this isn’t a decision made in a vacuum. Instead, it says “over the course of the Special Counsel’s investigation, we have previously discussed these issues within the Department among ourselves, with the Deputy Attorney General, and with you since your appointment, as well as with the Special Counsel and his staff.”

So both Barr and Rod Rosenstein had discussed this exact issue—of whether Trump could be charged with obstruction—with the Office of Legal Counsel before the OLC wrote the memo that Barr used to justify not making the charge. Which, at the very least, makes this whole justification suspiciously circular.

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In terms of its legal background, the level of cross contamination here makes the advice from the OLC highly dubious. Those involved in authoring the memo have clearly talked to the Mueller team about the subject outside of the evidence presented in the report, talked with Rosenstein about the topic even before Barr’s arrival, and spoken explicitly about obstruction with Barr. For Barr to then claim he relied in large part on a memo that he seems to have had a large role in shaping makes it impossible to say how much of that OLC “advice” was simply parroting Barr’s own words.

However, the portion of the memo released does seem to mirror Barr’s claims about that advice. It restates that Mueller’s team was unwilling—specifically because of OLC rulings that Trump was “constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution”—to level a charge of obstruction. It then states that the OLC believes the Mueller Report is “not, in our judgement, sufficient to support a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that the President violate the obstruction-of-justice statutes.”

But the way the memo justifies reaching this conclusion is through the “reasons stated below,” and all of those reasons remain redacted.

Considering the way that Jackson spoke about this memo, there are good reasons to suspect that the problem goes beyond Barr citing an OLC ruling that he’s already had a hand in crafting. The statement that Barr had been “disingenuous” explicitly addressed the contents of the memo. Jackson also called Barr’s statements concerning the memo “so inconsistent with evidence in the record, they are not worthy of credence.” This certainly suggests that what remains under all that black ink on the memo undermines the idea that this was an airtight case for blocking obstruction charges.

The reasoning in the memo may be consistent with previous OLC statements. It may be contorted beyond all reason. It may reflect a department intentionally shaping its statement to meet a decision that was made long before the Mueller report appeared. We don’t know. And the OLC is continuing to fight against the release of the remaining portion of the memo.

However, there is another source of behind the scenes legal wrangling that may soon provide some illumination. Former White House Counsel Don McGahn has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week concerning Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation.


Maybe.

According to The New York Times, McGahn’s testimony “was contingent upon there being no active legal challenge to his participation in the matter.” Secondhand reports indicate that Trump first threatened to intervene, then agreed not to intervene. But with testimony a week away, all it would take would be for Trump to hold up a last-minute flag for McGahn to clam up.

The testimony being sought is actually connected to an effort by the Judiciary Committee to call McGahn two years ago. But at the time, McGahn failed to show after Trump instructed him to refuse a congressional subpoena. That refusal spent the last two years in court, with the American public picking up the tab on Trump’s efforts to keep McGahn from speaking. In theory, that means if Trump wanted to block McGahn now he would have to pick up the legal bills himself, but considering McGahn’s statements, it seems that he would likely refuse to testify if Trump so much as raised an objection.

Even if McGahn does appear, it’s unclear how much he will be willing to say, and how much he will claim is covered by either lawyer-client privilege or executive privilege. Like the heavily redacted OLC memo, it seems likely that McGahn will simply confirm what’s already known and hide the rest.


On the other hand, he might also find that it’s harder to fight off subpoenas and lawsuits without being able to use the Department of Justice as a private law firm.

 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Manhattan DA Vance convenes Grand Jury for Trump criminal probe
Dartagnan

This is breaking news from the Washington Post.

NEW YORK — Manhattan's district attorney has convened the grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former president Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business itself should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges, according to two people familiar with the development.

The panel has already convened. It will sit three days a week over the next six months. According to the Post it is likely that the grand jury will hear matters unrelated to Trump as well.

Vance’s investigation is expansive, according to people familiar the probe and public disclosures made during related litigation. His investigators are scrutinizing Trump’s business practices before he was president, including whether the value of specific properties in the Trump Organization’s real estate portfolio were manipulated in a way that defrauded banks and insurance companies, and if any tax benefits were obtained illegally through unscrupulous asset valuation.

The convening of a grand jury indicates that the District Attorney, after two years of investigation, has determined that criminal acts were likely committed by Trump and/or his associates/businesses. According to the New Yorker, Vance’s investigation ramped up drastically after the former Oval Office occupant left office.

In late March the DA’s office subpoenaed records from the Trump organization’s chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, in what many interpreted as an effort to obtain his cooperation in the inquiry. At that time, as noted in the New York Times:

[T]he prosecutors are also seeking a new round of internal documents from the Trump Organization, including general ledgers from several of its more than two dozen properties that the company did not turn over last year, according to the people with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details.
The ledgers offer a line-by-line breakdown of each property’s financial situation, including daily receipts, checks and revenues. The prosecutors could compare those details against the information the company provided to its lenders and local tax authorities to assess whether it fraudulently misled them.
[***]

Mr. Vance’s office has also subpoenaed records from several banks where Mr. Trump or his company had accounts, including JPMorgan Chase and Capital One, according to people with knowledge of subpoenas served on the banks.

Additionally, Mr. Vance’s office is exploring whether the Trump Organization had any involvement in paying “hush money” to two women with whom Trump allegedly had sexual affairs.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Sen. Tommy 'Bipartisan' Tuberville Again Makes His Case to Be Ranked America's Dumbest Politician.
TheCriticalMind

ScreenShot2021-05-25at3.09.34PM.png

In a Congress stuffed with morons, it is a heavy lift to be considered America’s dumbest politician — but Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) takes a solid run at it. In a conversation with Andrew Solander, a political reporter for Forbes magazine, he said he was opposed to the ‘1/6 commission’ — “until they make it bipartisan”.

He seems unaware that, in the agreement hashed out between the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Democrat Bennie Thompson, and Republican ranking member, John Katko, the cake was split into equal halves. Under the deal, the Commission would comprise 10 members, half chosen by Democrats (including the chair) and half chosen by Republicans (including the vice-chair); subpoenas could be issued upon approval of both the chair and vice-chair. It’s hard to say how the commission could be more fundamentally bipartisan.

Which raises the question, is Tuberville an idiot or a liar?

Of course, the answer is ‘both’. He’s a Republican, so lying is in his DNA. And he has already revealed himself to be intellectually shortchanged........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The Republican Governors Association on Tuesday threw out Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and a top Trump ally, after he showed up to its spring conference in Tennessee, he told POLITICO in an interview.

Lindell said he had flown to Nashville on Monday to attend the three-day meeting starting on Tuesday, but that only a few minutes after he collected his credential at the JW Marriott Hotel, an event coordinator in the lobby told him he was not allowed at any of the official RGA events.

An RGA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said on Tuesday night that Lindell tried to join transportation for members only for a dinner at the Tennessee Governor's Mansion and was denied. The person added: “These events are for RGA members, and Mike Lindell is not currently an RGA member.”.......