10,000 on ignore, Book 198, Gethsemane, Part 1.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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.....The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently declared they would be taking a fairly radical approach going forward. Editor Chris Quinn stated the paper would ignore false statements from U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel that the paper believed were ploys for attention. Mandel has promoted the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen and advocated rescinding Ohio’s mask mandate earlier in the pandemic.

Publishing outright false claims by politicians only serves the politicians’ agenda, argues Quinn, and his newsroom would not be complicit. “They want to be debunked, they just want to be covered,” he says. “They loved every time we reported the election was stolen. They get what they want, they get their message out to the faithful … We don’t need to debunk that. It has been debunked. By giving it oxygen, it helps it flourish.”.....
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Former President Donald Trump racked up more than $70 million in losses over a four-year period from his Washington, DC, hotel, while publicly claiming that the hotel was making more than tens of millions of dollars, according to documents released by the House Oversight Committee.

It's the first time that congressional investigators have reviewed and released details of the former president's financial information. The Manhattan district attorney and New York attorney general investigators have reviewed Trump's financials, but none of that has been made public.

Trump's income from the Trump International Hotel reported in public financial disclosures dating from 2016 to 2020 totaled more than $156 million, the committee said Friday.
But in that four-year period, Trump's DC hotel actually suffered a net loss of more than $70 million while he was president and had to be loaned more than $27 million from one of Trump's holding companies, DJT Holdings LLC, from 2017 to 2020, according to hotel financial statements the committee obtained.

More than $24 million was not repaid and was instead converted to capital contributions, the committee said.

The documents include details that Congress chased for years during Trump's presidency, specifically information about foreign payments to Trump businesses, over which House Democrats unsuccessfully sued for under the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The emoluments clause, an anti-corruption provision written by the nation's founders, said Congress should be able to approve any gifts to officeholders from foreign governments. But despite the House's years-long interest in an autopsy of Trump's finances, congressional approval of foreign payments the Trump Organization took in never happened.

The committee also claimed that General Services Administration documents showed that Trump received "undisclosed preferential treatment" from Deutsche Bank on a $170 million construction loan.

The terms of the loan required the Trump Hotel to start repayments on the principal in 2018, but the terms were revised that year to allow the Trump Hotel to defer those payments by six years.

CNN has reached out to the Trump Organization, the GSA and Deutsche Bank for comment.

In July, the GSA turned over documents that included Trump Hotel's audited financial statements from 2014 through 2020 prepared by WeiserMazars LLC, Trump's accounting firm and three years' worth of Trump's statements of financial condition compiled by Mazars.

Various House committees have also been pursuing Trump's tax returns and other financial documents from Mazars USA and Deutsche Bank for years, unsuccessfully.

The documents released Friday raise "troubling questions" about the lease with the General Services Administration and the "agency's ability to manage the former President's conflicts of interest during his term in office when he was effectively on both sides of the contract, as landlord and tenant," the Oversight Committee's Democratic chair Carolyn Maloney wrote in a letter Friday to the GSA.

The committee is also requesting that the GSA produce more documents by the end of two weeks.

The GSA, which manages federal buildings and land, awarded the lease for the Old Post Office building in 2012. Trump opened the hotel in 2016, when he was the Republican nominee for President.

Since then, the Oversight Committee has been investigating conflicts of interest regarding GSA's management of the Trump hotel lease.

When he took office, Trump resigned from his companies but transferred his assets to a trust run by his sons, allowing him to still benefit financially from the DC hotel and his other businesses.

In 2019, the inspector general of the GSA said the agency "ignored the Constitution" when deciding to maintain the lease of the building to the hotel after Trump was elected to the White House.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Raskin floats inherent contempt as former Trump aides defy Jan. 6 subpoenas
Laura Clawson

The House select committee to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol issued three more subpoenas on Thursday, seeking information about the set of rallies planned on Jan. 6. The new subpoenas went to Nathan Martin, Ali Abdul Akbar (also known as Ali Alexander), and Stop the Steal LLC. But on the same day, deadlines expired for four former Trump aides to comply with committee subpoenas, with Donald Trump explicitly telling them not to cooperate and one, former campaign manager Steve Bannon, announcing he'd follow Trump's instructions and refuse to cooperate.

While the instruction from Trump’s lawyers to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, aide Dan Scavino, administration official and diehard loyalist Kash Patel, and Bannon cited “the executive and other privileges, including among others the presidential communications, deliberative process, and attorney-client privileges,” claims that wouldn’t apply to Martin, Alexander or Stop the Steal, it’s a likely sign of the level of cooperation coming from those targets as well. We are talking about people who fomented an insurrection to try to block the peaceful transition of power.
...........
As for Meadows, Scavino, Patel, and Bannon, the White House has already said that President Joe Biden—the person who actually has executive privilege these days—has “concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege,” and members of the Jan. 6 committee have made clear that they are not taking no for an answer.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee, said it was up to Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chair, but “I believe this is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us, and that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations and the use of Congress’s own inherent contempt powers.”

Yes. Inherent contempt, please! Send the sergeant-at-arms after them.

Alexander and Martin attempted to organize a “One Nation Under God” rally against “the election fraud in the swing states.”

According to the subpoena, ”Mr. Alexander explained it was the intention of Stop the Steal to direct earlier attendees of a rally on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. oh Jan. 6 held by Women for America First and ‘sponsored’ by Stop the Steal to march at the conclusion of that rally to Lot 8 on the U.S. Capitol Grounds, which is the location for which the [U.S. Capitol Police] granted the permit for the ‘One Nation Under God,’ rally.”

So you can see why the committee would be interested in hearing from the organizers of the event planned to occur on the Capitol grounds after the earlier rally. Also, the committee’s letter to Alexander notes, “According to press reports, in the weeks before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, you made repeated reference during Stop the Steal-sponsored events to the possible use of violence to achieve the organization’s goals and claimed to have been in communication with the White House and members of Congress regarding events planned to coincide with the certification of the 2020 election results.”

First and foremost, though, the committee must move aggressively after Meadows, Scavino, Patel, and Bannon. We know that just days earlier Trump was personally trying to get the Justice Department to overturn the election. It’s not like there’s some big disconnect between Jan. 3, when Trump really wanted to fire the acting attorney general and replace him with a toady eager to instruct state legislatures to set aside their states’ election results but just concluded it wouldn’t work, and Jan. 6, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the election. These are all part of one series of events, and the reason for that is that Donald Trump could not accept that he lost an election and was looking for every bit of leverage he could muster to overturn that election. We need the whole story, and the whole story hinges on Trump and his aides.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Big day in Jan. 6 probe: Biden to turn over documents, Bannon under threat of criminal referral
Laura Clawson

The White House has formally rejected Donald Trump's attempt to claim executive privilege over documents relating to January 6, authorizing the National Archives to turn them over to Congress. Trump is likely to take this to court, but so far the courts have generally held that decisions about executive privilege reside with the executive. That’s President Joe Biden, not Donald Trump.

That was one of two signs of possible movement Friday in the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol. On Thursday, some of Donald Trump’s former aides and advisers blew through their subpoena deadlines from the House select committee on January 6, after Trump’s lawyers called on them to do just that. So now it’s time for the committee to show that it will not be trifled with, and while a statement from the committee’s leaders didn’t go as far as some of us might have liked, it definitely didn’t indicate a plan to fold, either.
.......

On the question of the White House documents, “President Biden has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the best interests of the United States, and therefore is not justified as to any of the documents,” White House counsel Dana Remus wrote.

“Congress is examining an assault on our Constitution and democratic institutions provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them, and the conduct under investigation extends far beyond typical deliberations concerning the proper discharge of the President’s constitutional responsibilities,” Remus continued. “The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield, from Congress or the public, information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself.”

The House committee, meanwhile, is considering its options after the expiration of a subpoena deadline for former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, aide Dan Scavino, administration official and diehard loyalist Kash Patel, and former campaign manager Steve Bannon. The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson had claimed inside information that “As of now 1/6 commission is dead already, and will not enforce the subpoenas.”

Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, the chair and vice chair of the committee, responded that they did intend to enforce the subpoenas, though the terms of their response left something to be desired.

“While Mr. Meadows and Mr. Patel are, so far, engaging with the Select Committee, Mr. Bannon has indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to privileges of the former President. The Select Committee fully expects all of these witnesses to comply with our demands for both documents and deposition testimony,” they said in a statement.

“Though the Select Committee welcomes good-faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral.”

They will swiftly … consider it? How about swiftly
doing it?

And what does “engaging” with the select committee, as applied to Meadows and Patel? Does that mean they have started to turn over documents and schedule a deposition, or does it mean they’re attempting to run out the clock by pretending like they might comply sometime?


As for a criminal contempt of Congress referral, that would be good and it should be done today, now, first, right away. But what about other options? Rep. Jamie Raskin previously suggested a more comprehensive response to the defiance of the committee’s subpoenas, saying “I believe this is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us, and that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations and the use of Congress’s own inherent contempt powers.” Inherent contempt, in which the sergeant-at-arms can detain someone and deliver them to Congress, hasn't been used in close to 90 years, but this may be the time if the Justice Department does not respond swiftly to a criminal referral from the committee.

Both the White House rejection of executive privilege and the committee’s plan to consider a criminal contempt referral show forward motion in the investigation into January 6, even if they also set up legal fights that are likely to delay the process to a ridiculous extent considering the flimsiness of Team Trump’s case here.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Imagine an organized crime boss telling members of his mob to defy Congressional subpoenas
Dartagnan

Imagine if the head of an organized crime syndicate, through his own actions and that of his top lieutenants, was credibly suspected of organizing and fomenting an insurrection for the purposes of toppling the U.S. government and illegally installing himself as its leader. Imagine that the riot and destructive mayhem that followed caused injuries to about 140 police officers, including one killed by the rioters at the scene, and four more who committed suicide in the months thereafter. Imagine that this thwarted uprising caused over $30 million in property damage, and American citizens were stuck with the costs.

Imagine that preliminary investigations had already shown an indisputable connection between that crime boss, his associates, and those events. Imagine that a Congressional committee charged with uncovering the facts and bringing the perpetrators to justice sent out subpoenas compelling those associates to testify. Then picture to yourself that same crime boss, home safe in his headquarters and actually raising money off the riot itself, blithely thumbing his nose at those subpoenas and telling his associates they needn’t pay attention to them: In fact, directly ordering them not to respond.

What do you think that Congressional Committee would do in that circumstance?

.......
We are long past the point where any further tolerance of this criminal cabal simply smacks of mere appeasement and weakness. We are long past the point where we can indulge in handwringing and expressions of outrage and dismay.

No, we are at the point where any further forbearance for or patience with this criminal and his insouciant behavior will constitute a wholesale, fatal abandonment and abdication of power by an entire branch of our government. Where such an abdication would prove deadly to our Republic because it would poison forever American citizens’ regard for the rule of law, cementing a cynical contempt already held in this country (with good reason) towards any pretense of holding those in power accountable for their actions.

Greg Sargent, writing for the Washington Post, explains exactly what the Select Committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attacks is having to put up with right now from Donald Trump’s “associates:”

Trump has instructed several of his top advisers to defy subpoenas from the House select committee examining the insurrection. A letter from his lawyer declares that Trump-related information sought by the committee is shielded “from disclosure by the executive and other privileges.”
On Friday, we will likely learn that the Trump advisers — which include Stephen K. Bannon, Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino — will largely not comply. The committee has subpoenaed them related to communications with Trump about Jan. 6 and knowledge of Trumpworld’s scheming to subvert the count of presidential electors in Congress.

Bannon has already declared he will not abide by the subpoena. The others will almost certainly follow suit. Their objections are cloaked in specious arguments about “executive privilege,” which most legal scholars agree doesn’t exist for Mr. Trump in his status as a former chief executive. Their opposition to the subpoenas, while telling in and of itself, is also meant to signal that Trump and his cronies will give no ground and will fight tooth and nail before being compelled to be put under oath.

That is all predictable, as predictable as any criminal defendant entering a “not guilty” plea. Of course they’re not going to comply, unless they are forced to. As Norman Eisen and Frank Sparks, writing for CNN, point out, “The Trump allies are potentially eying the Congressional clock and contemplating running it out until January 2023 when a new Congress of unknown majority takes office.”

So the question now becomes how much power is vested in a Democratically-controlled Congress to force their compliance? Turns out, quite a bit. As Tom Hamburger, also of the Washington Post, reports, the Select Committee is already signalling it will use all the tools available to enforce its Congressional mandate to get at the truth:


“This is a matter of the utmost seriousness, and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us,” said Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a constitutional law professor who sits on the select committee. “And that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations and the use of Congress’s own inherent contempt powers.”

We can fairly anticipate that all of these measures will be stiffly resisted by Trump and his cronies. Their lawyers will pull every trick in the book to run out the clock, in anticipation of a corrupt and complicit Republican Congress taking over in Jan. 2023, effectively killing the entire investigation. They will also be aided by shopping for corrupt Federal Judges to make these decisions, a process those on the right are intimately familiar with.

The gravity of the offense here demands that Congress (and the Justice Department, for that matter) exercise all the powers available to it. Not just some of those powers—
all of them. If they don’t act here, and act with merciless dispatch, there will never in any imaginable reality be another opportunity. The Republicans --most of them, anyway -- have shown they have no interest in the rule of law when it is applied to one of their own. It’s up to the Democrats (and those few Republicans who have joined with them in this investigation) to wield those powers they have available while they still can. If they don’t do that, under these circumstances, they will have no excuses to fall back on. A Congress made up of far different Republicans than we see today joined with Democrats to push Richard Nixon out of office. But the actions of the Nixon gang that we have ever since called “Watergate” were a walk in the park compared to the gravity of crimes we have seen unfolding with these people.

So it’s long past time that we, as Josh Marshall so eloquently puts it, “Treat Trump like the Common Perp He Is.” Because if investigation and accountability cannot be prosecuted against those who would attempt to perpetrate an illegitimate overthrow of our own government, then there is no point in vesting Congress with such oversight powers in the first place, and it’s really nothing but a toothless body. If our judicial system has grown so corrupt that it will not allow such an investigation to go forward, then Americans need to know that, so they can stop putting their misplaced faith in such a judiciary. And If this criminal and his henchmen are ultimately simply permitted to skate away under the auspices of a corrupt Republican party, that will be the final proverbial nail in the American experiment. Because it will be clearly and finally demonstrated to all Americans that breaking the law doesn’t matter, that nothing and no one in power will be held accountable, even for the gravest of crimes.

And then this country will slowly, painfully dissolve under the weight of its own stale and hapless pretensions.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Oklahoma's two-term State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced on Thursday that she is switching her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and challenging Republican incumbent Gov. Kevin Stitt in next year's gubernatorial election, according to a video Hofmeister posted to Twitter.

"I believe Governor Stitt is running Oklahoma into the ground," Hofmeister told the Tulsa World in an interview. "I am changing parties to run as a Democrat and that is because I also believe in the values of supporting public education, supporting quality and good access to healthcare, as well as rural infrastructure."

Stitt's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic was a top reason for Hofmeister's decision to challenge the incumbent, and she told the Tulsa World that if Oklahoma "had a leader who contemplated expert advice and opinion and set an example to help protect Oklahomans, we could have avoided thousands of people dying.".....
 

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Nearly 98% of Greg Abbott's border wall crowdfunding came from one billionaire donor
Gabe Ortiz

Republican Greg Abbott claimed earlier this year that he would finish the previous president’s useless and racist border wall. In addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars he would seek in taxpayer funds, Abbott said he would crowdfund to raise money for the stupid plan. But The Texas Tribune reports that the crowdfunding flopped and that nearly all of the $54 million pot came from a single donor.

That donor is billionaire Timothy Mellon. The report says he’s primarily responsible for padding Abbott’s stupid project, having “contributed nearly 98% of the fund’s total donations when he donated $53.1 million in stock to the state in August, according to public records.” More on the stock stuff in a bit. The Texas Tribune noted that Mellon was also a big donor to the previous president and supported Arizona’s notorious “Papers Please” law.
.......
Before Mellon’s intervention, Abbott’s fund had a final destination of Flopsville, raising just $1.25 million as of mid-August. For context, the $2 billion swindled by the previous president would still only cover a portion of costs. “But on Aug. 27, a state website that tracks donations to the crowdfunding effort said the fund had jumped to nearly $19 million,” The Texas Tribune said. “By the end of the month, it had topped $54 million. The donations have since stalled again.” Could it be that Texans maybe have actual problems that Abbott is ignoring?

The article’s co-author, James Barragán, further noted that even though Abbott had promised” transparency and accountability” when it came to the project’s donations, that was—surprise—bullshit.

“The government websites that tracks donations to the site keeps a tally of the aggregate of all donations, but it does not readily provide the names of all individual donors & it does not automatically update,” he wrote. After filing a public records request for the information, he said some names were apparent fakes, unless there actually is a Donnie Darko somewhere in Texas. “That’s when the governor’s office told us that they were not keeping official names, only what was submitted on the website,” he continued. “But the Department of Information Resources tracks all the payments. So we figured they had real names & locations of donors. So we got them from there.”

Through more digging, they found Mellon’s stock donation and figured out why he donated stock. “Through some reporting, we learned that donating stock actually could give Mellon a pretty sweet tax deal in that he’d avoid the capital gains tax as well as be able to take a deduction on the donation,” Barragán wrote.

As part of the anti-immigrant campaign he launched to save his ass during the Republican primary, Abbott has also ordered local law enforcement to round up asylum-seekers and migrants who have recently crossed into the state, jailing them for weeks and even months without any charges. We knew the scheme was reprehensible, but we just barely scratched the surface because a prosecutor recently dropped charges against several men who said that officers zip-tied their hands, forced them to climb 10-foot-fencing onto private property, then arrested them for trespassing.

Charges had also been dropped against two asylum-seekers who advocates said “were forced to sign pre-filled legal forms in English they could not understand.” Ivan Nava and David Muñoz should have been released, but the jail instead illegally held them in order to turn them over to border officials. And Abbott seems only to be ramping up Operation Lone Star. Like Grassroots Leadership co-executive director Claudia Muñoz recently told Prism’s Tina Vasquez, “if we don’t get a grip on this soon, it’s going to be really, really bad.”

This isn’t the only recent instance of rich men making shady donations to the vanity projects of anti-immigrant governors. South Dakota’s Kristi Noem deployed 50 National Guard troops to the border thanks to a “private donation” from a Tennessee-based billionaire megadonor who made his cash from used cars and gave more than half a million dollars to the previous president’s campaign, The Washington Post reported. Noem similarly refused to release specifics, claiming in a statement that “[f]or operational security reasons, specific names of units, number of members, and mission specifics will not be released.”

“’Deploying the National Guard’ to the border usually means having them sit around watching cameras and twiddling their thumbs,” tweeted American Immigration Council Policy Counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick. But its not coming out of Noem’s pocket, so why would she care?

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Editorial staff

......No responsible, clear-thinking political leader should need more evidence than the video footage and subsequent findings about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol to fully accept the dangers. And yet many Republicans ignore, minimize or reframe an assault that included violent attacks on law officers and threats to constitutional officers and process.

Their winks at the widely discredited conspiracy theory that the presidential election was stolen by massive, multistate fraud and their failure to firmly and forcefully tell the whole truth allow suspicion in the public to simmer and grow.

They appear to believe the mob they continue to incite can be controlled. We have ample evidence that it cannot........