More to ignore, Book 75.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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McConnell wishes someone would figure out a way to keep 'these troubled young men' from getting guns
Laura Clawson

After years of standing in the way of any legislation that might really do something to prevent mass shootings, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had a lament in the wake of the killing of seven people and wounding of dozens more in Highland Park, Illinois. “We have got to figure out some way to identify these troubled young men & it's very complicated because after every one of these shootings there are people who say ‘Oh you know I thought he was pretty strange. I wish I notified somebody about it,’” McConnell said.

Funny story: Members of the alleged Highland Park shooter’s family called the police on him twice in 2019 and he still got a gun license in early 2020, and repeatedly passed background checks allowing him to purchase firearms that year. Does that mean Mitch McConnell would support tightening the licensing and background check process to exclude people with the alleged shooter’s record?

Ha ha ha ha ha. Yeah, right. This is a guy who only in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers even allowed the Senate to close the boyfriend loophole, taking guns away from people with convictions for domestic violence against people they were only dating and not married to, living with, or have a child with. Prior to that, Democrats had tried to close the boyfriend loophole in a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and McConnell and his Senate Republicans blocked the entire bill until that part was removed.

So, no, McConnell is not serious about keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, and the fact that after 19 children were slaughtered he relented and allowed a law to pass blocking people with domestic violence convictions from having guns does not signal some kind of change of heart. It signals how extreme he is and how much pressure it takes to get him to shift even a little bit to allow the most obvious policy.

McConnell’s entire career is about backing the gun ownership rights of people like Robert E. Crimo III, right up until he piously says it’s just too bad there wasn’t a way to keep them from killing seven people.

In September 2019, a relative of Crimo’s contacted the police because the then-19-year-old had a collection of knives and “said he was going to kill everyone,” according to a police spokesman. Police took the knives, then returned them the same day because his father said the knives belonged to him and were just being stored in his son’s closet. I’m just going to float the thought that perhaps knives also shouldn’t be returned to someone with the poor judgment to store them in the closet of a disturbed teenager making death threats.

Earlier in 2019, police were called to the Crimo residence because of an alleged suicide attempt by the younger Crimo—another reason his father’s judgment might be called into question on those knives. But that’s nothing compared to the fact that after the visit in which the knives were confiscated because the son was saying “he was going to kill everyone,” the father helped him get a license to buy guns. At 19, he needed a family member to sponsor him, and his father did so.

This is how our nation’s latest mass shooter got his weapons: legally, because law enforcement didn’t have a reason to block him despite multiple calls about him intending to harm himself or others. He told us he wasn’t going to hurt anyone, the police say in defense of the decision. Okay, guys. But those are the laws. And those are the laws directly because of Mitch McConnell.

If anyone suggests to you that this shows that gun laws are not the answer because these guns were obtained legally, please point out that this shows that much, much stronger gun laws are needed. Here’s a thought: What if the presumption wasn’t that of course you can have high-powered rifles unless you have been extensively caught up in the criminal justice system? What if the presumption was that you had to show you would be a responsible gun owner, had to get trained, and still probably couldn’t have the kind of gun designed for mowing down dozens of people within moments?

“We have got to figure out some way to identify these troubled young men,” says McConnell, as he defends a system in which two calls to the police about a troubled young man threatening harm are not enough to keep him from legally acquiring guns months later. There’s a clue here! But of course McConnell doesn’t actually care. He’s just saying what he has to say to keep pressure from building up for Congress to take more serious action on guns.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is expected to zero in on two overlapping areas of its probe in coming hearings: the extremist groups that participated in the attack and a minute-by-minute account of what took place inside the White House that day.

The committee in its previous hearings has largely focused on efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election by pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence, senior officials in the Justice Department and state officials to take actions that would reverse the results.

In the coming weeks, the committee will turn its attention to Jan. 6 itself and the alleged ways that extremist groups planned for and executed the attack on Congress as it met to count the Electoral College votes, committee members have said. Members of two of those groups, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, both far-right organizations, have been charged with seditious conspiracy in federal courts. Most have pleaded not guilty....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Another Trump White House aide expected to testify before the Jan. 6 committee
Brandi Buchman

Sarah Matthews, once a deputy press secretary under former President Donald Trump, resigned on Jan. 6, 2021, after hordes of Trump’s supporters laid armed siege to the U.S. Capitol. Now she will cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee.

At the time of her resignation, Matthews said it was an honor to serve Trump and she was “proud of the policies” the former president enacted. Still, the insurrection, it would seem, was a bridge too far.

“I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today,” Matthews said on Jan. 6. “I’ll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power.”

Matthews is expected to testify before the committee publicly as soon as next week, according to multiple news outlets citing anonymous sources. A committee aide did not immediately respond to a request for comment to Daily Kos on Wednesday.
...............
The committee announced late Tuesday that it would hold its next public hearing on July 12 at 10 AM ET. It is not yet clear if Matthews will appear for live testimony on that day as details about the forthcoming hearing have been scant.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney have said previously that they expect the upcoming hearings will focus on how the mob was incited to violence by Trump, the extremist elements present (i.e., Proud Boys, Oath Keepers) on Jan. 6, and how Trump idled inside of the White House as pleas for help stacked up at furious speed.

There are at least two more hearings to come before a final report is issued by the committee later this year.

Matthews was among the first former Trump administration officials to rush to the defense of Cassidy Hutchinson following Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony to investigators last week.

Those “downplaying” Hutchinson’s role or access during her stint in the Trump White House, “[don’t] understand how the Trump [White House] worked,” Matthews said in a post on Twitter on June 28.

Matthews could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

After her resignation from the White House on Jan. 6, Matthews went on to work as the communications director for the Republican arm of the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis.

Matthews has already cooperated with the committee privately; snippets of her video deposition before investigators were played during last week’s hearing.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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The Department of Justice sued Arizona on Tuesday over the state’s strict voter identification requirements, which the chief of the civil rights division called a “textbook violation” of federal law.

The Grand Canyon state was one of the most bitterly contested battlegrounds of the 2020 presidential election.

FOX News’s early, and accurate, calling of the race for President Joe Biden signaled Donald Trump’s then-impending defeat — and set off furious protests by the former president’s supporters and lawyers. Biden won there by more than 10,000 votes in a victory affirmed by court rulings, recounts, and audits. Even pro-Trump auditors, using methods repudiated by official authorities, affirmed the result and even expanded Biden’s lead.

That has not stopped Arizona’s Republican lawmakers from reacting to the perceived, but never proven, specter of “fraud” with House Bill 2492, which imposed proof-of-citizenship requirements.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who became the first Black woman to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Division in May 2021, called such restrictions “onerous.” Voting rights advocates warn as many as 192,000 Arizonans might be purged from voter rolls because they registered before proof of citizenship was added to the requirements......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Checking in on the Tankies, still pretending there's no imperialism from Russia
kos

Time to check in on the Tankies.

For those who don’t know, or don’t remember, the Tankies are people who believe imperialism is bad, and only the United States can be imperialist. As one notorious Tankie put it:



That means that Russia is blameless for its ruthless and murderous assault on Ukraine. It’s actually America’s fault for pushing NATO’s boundaries to Russia’s border, giving Russia no choice but to retaliate. They share images like this to drive home the idea:

FNVj4ZTWYAcoMfv.jpeg

Jokes on them, Sweden and Finland are joining NATO as well

The reality, of course, is that those countries begged for NATO membership
precisely because of Russia’s historic and ongoing claims of empire. Indeed, Putin literally sat next to the dictator of Kazakhstan and said, “what is the Soviet Union? This is historical Russia.” Putin has literally compared himself to the imperialist Peter the Great. You know who was once in the Soviet Union, against their wishes? The three Baltic countries which luckily have NATO protection, and Ukraine and Georgia, which wish they did.

Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, none too pleased at the not-so-subtle threat, retaliated by saying his country refused to recognize Russia’s hegemony over the two Donbas “republics,” as well as this, undermining Russia’s efforts to destabilize Europe:




But to the Tankies, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and other Soviet-satellite states don’t have agency. They are merely puppets who rightfully belong to mighty Russia, and the United States is imperialistically swallowing them up. America is always the aggressor. Russia is always a victim of that “imperialism.”



So obviously, the answer to imperialism is imperialism that is anti- the other kind of imperialism!

The Tankie ire extends to Sweden and Finland for joining NATO. This article, case in point, harangues the two Nordic countries for using Russia’s expansionist aggression as “confected panic” and “hollowed-out discourse of solidarity” to justify abandoning their historical neutrality. You see, solidarity has worth only if its lockstep with Putin’s Russia, or China’s Xi Jinping. Or, in this case, “neutrality” that divorces the Nordics from the very security net that has kept Russian troops (so far) out of its former Soviet colonies.

Meanwhile, back home, we’re getting …. whatever the hell this is:

mbv8h3rdlh991.jpg


That’s quite the, uh, rogue’s gallery of shit.

Many Tankies find common cause with Russia on social issues, the reason the Marjorie Taylor Greenes love Putin so much.

odk9r3j6cd891.jpg


When they wade into domestic policies, things get really …. weird.



They are just as unbelievably brain dead when talking about abortion as they are when talking about foreign policy. Or gay rights.



He’s not happy about that, to be clear.



The horror.

Let’s check in on the World Socialist Web Site, attacking Ashley Smith, a prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), for—gasp!—standing up for Ukraine (after DSA shamelessly demanded “the US ... withdraw from NATO” in response to Russia’s invasion).

Smith makes no attempt to explain how Ukraine’s attempt to join NATO, a military network run by the world’s largest imperialist powers, constitutes a step toward “self-determination,” nor can he explain why pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk and Donetsk cannot assert the same “right” to leave Ukraine.

Anyone know why making a choice is “self-determination?” Such a tough one!

Is joining the World Socialist whatever they are not individual self-determination? Indeed, NATO is even more self-determination than many organizations. Joining the International Committee of the Fourth International, the group publishing the World Socialist Web Site, wouldn’t give me veto power over the decisions of the organization, but every single NATO member has veto power over many of the alliance’s biggest decisions. That’s why Turkey has been such a pain in the ass with Finland’s and Sweden’s bids.

Gilbert Achcar, writing in the Nation, naively thinks global disarmament and the end of military alliances is the path to World Peace—a notion that beggars belief.

It is urgent to rebuild a global peace movement opposed to all military alliances, demanding their dissolution, a movement opposed as well to the ongoing massive increases in military budgets. It is high time to return to global disarmament under the aegis of the UN, as foreseen in the UN Charter.

Would it be better if nations spent less on implements of death? Hell yeah! Is that realistic in a world where large powers circle hungrily against weaker nations? Um, no.

It’s easy to stand against imperialism, and support the right of nations to determine their own destinies. It should also be easy to apply those principles to
all great powers. American imperialism is bad as is Russian imperialism as is Chinese imperialism (as it the subjugation of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities in those and other nations).

Really shouldn’t be hard.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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There were 11 mass shootings in America last holiday weekend, all from a supposed 'right' to murder
Hunter

GettyImages-1241703274.jpg

The 'right' of any gunman in America to murder targets of their choosing has been elevated above all other rights—including your right to not be murdered.

The nation has once again been stunned by a new mass shooting, this one in Highland Park, Illinois, during a 4th of July parade, but you probably haven't heard much about the other mass shooting of the holiday weekend. No, not that one, the other one. No, the
other other one. Nope. Not that one, either.

The Gun Violence Archive counted at least 11 new mass shootings in America during the three-day holiday weekend. A Saturday mass shooting in Haltom City, Texas, left three dead and four injured. In Arizona, a shootout at a house party killed and injured the same numbers. Six were shot in Richmond, Virginia; eight in Minneapolis; and another six in Clinton, North Carolina.


The reason we do not hear about most mass shootings in America is because there are simply too many of them during any given week to devote national attention to. The mass shootings that make national news are the ones in which the most victims are killed and, importantly, the ones that appear to be politically or ideologically motivated.
...........
The other mass shootings do not make national news because they are now rote. A "good guy" with a gun decides that people he personally knows need murdering, so he does it. The Texas mass shooter killed a man and woman in their home before shooting a neighbor and three responding police officers, then himself. We can presume that the murderer believed he had a "good reason" to murder his two initial targets; this, after all, is the very premise of American gun ownership. If some other American does something you simply cannot abide, then militia movements, the National Rifle Association, and Republican would-be presidential candidates all agree that you must be given access to a gun so that you can respond. It is called "self-defense."



All Americans who intentionally shoot other people believe the other people have done something so egregious that they have forfeited the right to live. Sometimes it is because they parked in the wrong parking spot. Sometimes it is because they broke off a relationship. Sometimes it is because the people on the television said that such-and-such a group was a danger to America, and the person in front of them "looks like" part of that group.

The Ted Cruz argument is that all Americans have the right to determine whether they need to shoot six, 10, or 60 such people in order to "defend" themselves against a perceived threat, and the right to stock weapons capable of doing it, and the only role of policing is to sort out whether or not the law justifies the killing after the bodies are stacked up and carted away. But Americans have the
right to make the choice to kill, Ted Cruz and the others argue, and their right to decide for themselves who needs killing and when must be given absolute precedence over the rights of everyone else around them.

Your only right, if someone you know or someone you don't know has decided that you dying is of more use to them than you living, is to either shoot back with equally justified vigor—or die, upon which police and political figures like Ted Cruz will examine the aftermath, weigh the murderer's motive, and decide whether they were being "good" or "bad" when they killed you.

You have a right to lock your door in order to slow the shooter down, says Ted Cruz. But you do not have the right to not be shot at. The right of the gun's holder to decide whether they need to shoot you trumps your right not to die.

The argument for AR-15-styled weapons, from Cruz and others, is in fact that even limiting the pace at which a "good" shooter can fire bullets at those he wants to kill would be an infringement of the shooter's rights of "good" murder.

For the advocates of the Good Murder Theory, the one referred to in gun and militia circles as "self-defense," the Uvalde, Texas, mass murder was a moment of vindication. It went off perfectly, from a "self-defense" standpoint. It was a near-ideal scenario. A single shooter with no prior training, using a just-purchased gun, was able to identify targets that needed murdering and rapidly kill all of them before others could even react. When police arrived, the single untrained shooter was able to hold off the entirety of government for an extended period of time—because those tasked with responding to the murders were just
that afraid of the rifle the gunman chose.

It went precisely as "good" gun owners fantasize about, when they dream of defending their families by riddling a large group of enemies with bullets or by parking themselves behind a locked door and firing at anyone who approaches. This is the
point of gun ownership, say advocates like Cruz. It is the aspiration of gun ownership, say National Rifle Association hosts. Look how effective these new weapons are when you need to kill not just one dangerous American, but dozens of them at once. If society breaks down and you believe somebody may be coming to harm you or your grade-school children, just look how many victims of your own you'll be able to claim before they do.

This is not how other countries do it. In other countries, the civilized ones that Americans like to travel to to sip wine while gazing out at unfamiliar views, the right of self-defense is still recognized. It does not, however, extend to a general right to determine whether all those around you should live or die based on your current mood and access to weapons able to do the deed. You don't get those weapons. Your attackers don't get guns that can hold off entire police forces, because there is no recognized version of "self-defense" that would require a legitimate actor to do so. Carrying such a gun is de facto proof that you are a threat and your entire neighborhood has the right to subdue you, via the police, for showing up with one.

The American version is nonsensical. The militia version is openly seditious; its lesser variations also stem from a belief that the right to murder neighbors is a right that trumps government itself. There is no non-seditious version. The Ted Cruz-backed theory is that if you believe your house is in danger of catching fire, you are allowed to burn your neighbors' houses down to create a sufficient firebreak to prevent it. The Ted Cruz theory is that if someone around you is not wearing a mask during a deadly pandemic, you are allowed to shoot them in the head if you believe they are about to cough on you. It is basic self-defense. You calculated the risk; you determined your right to avoid danger to be superior to the other person's right to keep living.

Every American with a gun believes they are "good" when they pull the trigger. They believe their murder is justified. It might be because their target has something valuable that the gun holder wants to have instead, or to "defend" a wider group that all share the same tattoos or neighborhoods. It might be because if they kill an important person, a famous actress might notice them. It might be because a voice in their head told them that if they commit a massacre worse than any other, they will themselves become a household name. It might be because they have decided they themselves no longer want to live, but want the momentary satisfaction of ending the lives of whoever they believe harmed them the most.

But we are still the only country that insists on elevating the "right" to decide such things above the rights of their targets. We are the only one that insists the "good" murderer be given all possible access to weapons and that society judge whether their victims truly needed killing after the murder took place. We are the only one that looks at the victims inside a bloody grade school classroom or alongside a 4th of July parade route and declares that it is good that the murderer was able to accomplish that much because it shows future "good" killers could do at least that much, in an imagined future in which the nation might depend on a sea of "good" killers to set things right.


It is deranged. Prioritizing the rights of murderers to murder on impulse and with maximum efficiency in order to prepare for a future in which "good" murderers can dominate their enemies is absolutely deranged. The only people who would advocate for it are those that truly believe their personal or political enemies may someday need murdering, if push comes to shove.

People like Ted Cruz.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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NY judge holds Trump appraiser in contempt, fines it $10,000 a day​


A New York judge fined the Trump Organization's former appraiser $10,000 a day after holding it in civil contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas from the New York attorney general's office.

Judge Arthur Engoron said the appraiser, Cushman & Wakefield, "has only itself to blame if it chose to treat the looming deadlines cavalierly."

Engoron acknowledged the subpoenas request "an enormous number of documents" but he said the attorney general's powers are broad. The fine begins Thursday.


Appraisals performed by Cushman, which worked for the Trump Organization for years until it resigned following the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, are central to the civil investigation into the accuracy of the Trump Organization's financial statements.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Sen. Lindsey Graham is lawyered up and challenging Fulton County grand jury subpoena
Jen Hayden

Yesterday we learned a Fulton County grand jury subpoenaed numerous folks involved in the attempt to overturn 2020 presidential election results in Georgia and hand the election to Donald Trump. Those receiving a subpoena included Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis, and Sen. Lindsey Graham.

You may recall before the Georgia 2020 election was certified, Graham, a senator not from Georgia, called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to inquire whether Raffensperger could, you know, challenge more signatures and toss out mail-in ballots.

According to the subpoena (you can read it here), Graham asked Raffensperger to “reexamine certain absentee ballots” in order to “find a more favorable outcome for former President Trump.”
.........

Through his attorneys, Graham is challenging the subpoena, saying he was well within his rights as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary to make the call to a secretary of state. According to the committee’s jurisdiction, that claim seems dubious.

In addition to its critical role in providing oversight of the Department of Justice and the agencies under the Department's jurisdiction, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security, the Judiciary Committee plays an important role in the consideration of nominations and pending legislation.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary calling a secretary of state to pressure them into changing election results is highly unusual and highly unethical. But is it also criminal? Stay tuned.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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'Republicans plot vengeance on Jan. 6 committee.' This is news?
Laura Clawson

Gee, Axios, you don’t say: "Republicans plot vengeance on Jan. 6 committee."

How slow of a news day is it that we needed to be told—without any new facts or quotes from named individuals—that Republicans would like to use a congressional majority to try to discredit whatever conclusions the Jan. 6 select committee eventually releases?

One of the Republicans cited by Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan as plotting vengeance already lost his primary, so he won’t be doing squat. There will be plenty to take his place, of course: “When Republicans retake the majority, we will exercise our oversight responsibilities including subpoena authority to review all transcripts and information that the committee has access to in order to identify the truth,” according to an unnamed “senior GOP staffer on the House Administration Committee.”

But there’s nothing new here. Republicans will always use any power they have not to improve people’s lives or invest in infrastructure or avert climate disaster, but to attack Democrats in hopes of getting more power. And creating an official narrative that the attack on the U.S. Capitol was no big deal is an important part of that goal, as is attacking Democrats for having investigated at all. After all, Republicans shot down the attempt to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate—because they did not want an investigation, and if there had to be one, they wanted to be able to attack it as partisan and have reporters of the Axios variety accept that more or less at face value.
..........
In an important thread, Marcy Wheeler looks at “how many ways Axios treats truth as a game in this piece,” from the acceptance of the Republican insistence that their “investigations” would somehow change the truth of what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, to the gauzy vagueness of one of the few on-the-record quotes in the piece about just what Republicans would be investigating, to this fundamental closing point:



Considering what terrible journalism it is, it’s amazing how much this article shows about why our politics are the way they are. Republicans care about nothing but dragging other people down and building their own power, and reporters are willing to treat Republican plans in that vein as news without treating it as a problem worth considering more deeply.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Christian fascist groups have had their hands in the Supreme Court for decades
April Siese

Peggy Nienaber may provide her own downfall thanks to hubris. Rolling Stone revealed on Wednesday that the Christian fascist, who serves as vice president of the nonprofit anti-abortion group Faith & Liberty and serves as hate group Liberty Counsel’s executive director of D.C. Ministry, was caught bragging about praying with Supreme Court justices. While appearing on a livestream she didn’t realize was being recorded, Nienaber confirmed that she prays with some of the justices inside the Supreme Court itself. “They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them,” Nienaber said, adding with a laugh that, “Some of them don’t!” This claim was backed up by the founder of the ministry that ultimately got absorbed into Liberty Counsel. Rob Schenck, who used to work alongside Nienaber, has since renounced his actions. Yet from the late 1990s onward, he prayed with Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia in the Supreme Court itself.

The prayers never directly mentioned cases, but clearly worked their manipulative magic, though Schenck seems shocked by this. “I was sure, while we were doing it, it would be a positive contribution to our public life,” Schenck told Rolling Stone. “It didn’t have the effect I thought it would. In some ways, it set the stage for the reversal of Roe, which I now think of as a social catastrophe.” Rolling Stone also points out the conflict of interest in this practice that Nienaber has continued, as her group, Liberty Counsel, “frequently brings lawsuits before the Supreme Court.” An amicus brief from the group was even cited in the majority opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

Liberty Counsel, a 501 tax-exempt organization allegedly dedicated to litigating cases regarding religious freedom and the so-called sanctity of life, has already been cited by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist group pushing an anti-LGBTQ agenda. It’s clear from its website that abortion is the cause du jour for the organization, which pushes outlandish talking points that reproductive rights somehow, say, constitute eugenics. And Liberty Counsel’s influence isn’t just a Supreme Court problem, either. Nienaber’s influence in politics cannot be understated: Per Rolling Stone, she’s been seen with Republicans like Sen. Lindsay Graham and former vice president Mike Pence, along with—of course—justices like Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas.

The bad news, as Rolling Stone points out, is that there are few ways to address the Supreme Court’s outright bias and impartiality. The Constitution offers minimal guidance on matters like these and a federal statute on justice recusal doesn’t offer much, either. The good news? We don’t have to let the court stand as it currently does. What are y’all doing to get more involved as we look toward the midterms? I’m looking forward to hearing y'all’s responses.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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GOP's 'island of misfit toys' candidates a gift to Senate Democrats looking to expand majority
Kerry Eleveld

After months of assuming Democrats would suffer epic losses at the polls this November, journalists are now catching on to the idea that candidates actually matter. That is particularly true in a handful of critical Senate races, where Republicans have nominated what one Democratic strategist described as an "island of misfit toys."

The New York Times has a roundup of recent missteps by GOP Senate candidates, who have been readily gifting Democrats ammunition for the fall.

Arizona Republican Blake Masters, leading the GOP Senate primary, blamed “Black people, frankly," for most of America's gun violence.

Georgia Republican and former football star Herschel Walker, who revels in railing against absentee fathers, recently admitted to fathering three children he had never publicly acknowledged before.

Pennsylvania Republican and TV huckster Mehmet Oz, a carpetbagger from New Jersey, recently misspelled the name of his new home away from home on an official campaign form.

Nevada Republican Adam Laxalt, the state's former attorney general, derided the landmark Roe v. Wade decision as "always a joke" while attending a pancake breakfast in June. A survey last year found that 65% of Nevadans identify as pro-choice, including 66% of independents. Laxalt even lamented during his remarks, "We’re not a pro-life state. We all have to be honest about that. It’s sad, it doesn’t make me happy,

Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson's attempt to deliver two slates of fake electors on Jan. 6 to Vice President Mike Pence was recently revealed during House a select committee hearing. Oops. Johnson's alibi has been a work in progress ever since.

At this point in time, with the election still four months away, Senate Democrat incumbents stand a legitimate chance of holding the line in November. That includes the three most endangered incumbents, Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona, Raphael Warnock of Georgia, and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.

At the same time, Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman, current lieutenant governor, appears decently positioned to capture the state's open Senate seat (a flip for Democrats), while GOP Sen. Johnson could be vulnerable to attacks waged by his eventual Democratic challenger (primary on Aug. 9).

The Democratic-aligned political group Future Majority PAC recently released polling showing improving prospects for Democrats following the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe.

As Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg noted regarding Democratic incumbents:
  • AZ – Mark Kelly leads Republicans Blake Masters, 48-39, and Jim Lamon 47-41. He trailed a generic Republican 43-45 in March.
  • GA – Raphael Warnock leads Herschel Walker 48-44. He trailed 48-49 in March.
  • NH – Maggie Hassan leads Republican Don Bolduc 49-40. They didn’t poll NH in March.
  • NV – Catherine Cortez Masto leads Adam Laxalt 46-43. She trailed Laxalt 43-45 in March.
As Rosenberg also writes, GOP incumbents are looking weak.

Ron Johnson trailed 3 of his 4 opponents in a new Marquette University poll, a poll that suggests that Johnson – even before Roe and his admitted involvement in Trump’s effort to overturn the election – is in serious trouble. ...
Bottom line – Dems are in our book now favorites to keep the Senate, and have a shot at picking up 1-2 seats.

Far from Senate Republicans being on a glide path to victory in November, they are instead more likely to lose seats than gain them. Mainstream media is starting to catch up.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Richmond, Virginia, police credit ‘hero citizen’ for thwarting mass shooting on July 4
Rebekah Sager

Just as we’re all trying to keep ourselves from completely falling apart after what feels like a constant and unrelenting flurry of mass shootings across the nation, the Richmond, Virginia, Police Department announced Wednesday a foiled attempt of yet another attack.

During a press conference Wednesday, Richmond Police Chief Gerald M. Smith explained that the primary target for the thwarted shooting was the Dogwood Dell Fourth of July event.

“A hero citizen picked up the phone and called our brave men and women at the second precinct,” Scott said.
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After the tip came in on July 1, the police went to the subject’s house and seized two assault rifles, one handgun, and 223 rounds of ammunition.

Two suspects were ultimately arrested, and both were charged with “possession of firearms while being in the U.S. illegally.”

“They were planning to shoot up our Fourth of July celebration,” Smith said. “We know the intent. We do not know their motive,” Smith added.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said it could have been “a terrible day” for Richmond, adding that “no community is immune [from mass shootings].”

WRIC-8 in Richmond reports that there was another shooting on July 4 in Richmond that left six people injured near a nightclub in the city. Four men and two women were shot, leaving two of the victims with life-threatening injuries.

According to The Marshall Project, about 124 people die in the U.S. every day as a result of gun violence.

The Violence Project defines mass shootings as events where four or more people who are unknown to the shooter are slaughtered. Under this definition, there’ve been four so far in 2022, all in recent weeks: Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Highland Park, Illinois.

The Gun Violence Archive (GVA) defines mass shootings as ones that “have a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may also have been killed or injured in the incident.” Under this definition, the U.S. has seen more than 300 mass shootings in 2022.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Convoy protesters hit a roadblock when leader was arrested during livestream
Jen Hayden

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David "Santa" Riddell

David “Santa” Riddell, anti-vaxxer and leader of 1776 Restoration Movement, a spin-off of the People’s Convoy, is back in Washington, D.C., with a couple of big rigs to protest 'non-existent mandates.'

The protest hit a major roadblock when he was arrested on a warrant for his July 4 escapades in Maryland. From
The Washington Post:

The Maryland State Police charged Riddell, 57, a trucker from Ohio, with disobeying a lawful order from police and willfully driving a vehicle at a slow speed “impeding normal and reasonable traffic movement.”
The group had been called the “People’s Convoy.” But a small group spun off and rebranded as the “1776 Restoration Movement,” and drove on I-495 on the July Fourth holiday, slowing traffic.

For several hours on Wednesday morning, Riddell had been livestreaming on the National Mall. Although he was just out of sight when the arrest was made, you can see the commotion in the distance and someone gathered his belongings shortly afterward. The arrest appears to happen around the 2h 23 min mark of this livestream.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Jennifer Rubin gives Dems good advice: Follow VP Harris
MikePhoenix



1) She is putting the Supreme Court on the ballot as a threat to equality and democracy.
Harris started her career as a prosecutor, and if ever the country needed a lawyer to dissect the right-wing Supreme Court justices’ sloppy reasoning and warped history, it is now.

2)
She is calling out Republicans for what they are: extremists.
As an example Rubin uses this powerful quote from VP Harris:


These extremist so-called leaders fought against raising your pay … These extremist so-called leaders refuse to keep assault weapons off our streets and out of our classrooms and tried to silence your voice through your union …
While you work hard to teach the principles of liberty and freedom in your classroom, these so-called leaders are taking freedoms away: freedom away from women and the freedom to make decisions over their own bodies; freedom away from a kindergarten-to-third-grade teacher in Florida to love openly and with pride; and away from every American as they intentionally try to make it more difficult for folks to vote.

3) She is expressing contempt for Republicans’ ludicrous defense of easy access to semiautomatic weapons.
In the same speech on Tuesday, she declared over applause that “teachers should not have to practice barricading a classroom. Teachers should not have to know how to treat a gunshot wound. And teachers should not be told that ‘Lives would have been saved if only you had a gun.’ ”

4) She is redirecting Democrats to productive action.
In her Tuesday speech, Harris reiterated a promise that most Democrats have made on the campaign trail: “Congress needs to have the courage to act and renew the assault weapons ban.” For that to happen, voters must send more help so the administration can get this done.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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James Comey and Andrew McCabe were audited by the IRS - while a Trump appointee was running the show
ARodinFan

The New York Times Michael S. Schmidt has just published a story revealing that both Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe were audited by the IRS — during the time when a Trump appointee was the IRS director. Neither man was aware the other was subject of an audit until they were informed by the NYT. The type of audit they were subjected to is supposed to be random, but that odds of that are astronomical. www.nytimes.com/…

Here are some highlights.

The odds of being selected for that audit in any given year are tiny — out of nearly 153 million individual returns filed for 2017, for example, the I.R.S. targeted about 5,000, or roughly one out of 30,600.

The audit of the Comeys began in November 2019. The audit of the McCabes started in October 2021, nine months after Mr. Trump left office. At the time both audits occurred, the I.R.S. was run by Mr. Rettig, whom Mr. Biden has allowed to stay on for a term set to expire in November.
During the 2016 election, Mr. Rettig, a Los Angeles-based tax lawyer, said that because Mr. Trump was under audit, he should “absolutely not” release his tax returns.

“When something like that happens, the president’s involvement inevitably casts a shadow over an otherwise routine government function and harms the public’s confidence in the fair administration of taxes,” said Scott D. Michel, a longtime lawyer who specializes in tax disputes.

Trump says he knows nothing about it.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Marjorie Taylor Greene embraces July 4 mass shooting conspiracy
Walter Einenkel

Calling Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ignorant is like calling an iguana an … iguana. Her life has been one silver-spooned race to outpace the demons she perceives are chasing her. Those demons are likely a mixture of anger and self-hatred, but it is what it is. When the Georgia carpetbagger isn’t harassing teen gun violence survivors, she’s promoting bigotry.

Frequently, Greene uses what has become pretty standard GOP practice: Spew some vague and easily debunked conspiracy theories that include Jewish space lasers, but make sure you say you are just asking questions or something to that effect. That way you can sort of deny you are promoting some next-level bullshit because you don’t have the intellectual facilities to do the hard thinking it takes to solve real problems.

Mass shootings in New York and Texas were followed up with two shootings during July 4 festivities. Greene went to her Facebook account to do a live show about it all on Tuesday. Greene’s a real messed up person, as people used to say.
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First Greene proposed that Highland Park, Illinois, mass shooter Robert E. Crimo III was a “leftist” (even though there is video and photographic evidence he was a Trump supporter). Her reasoning was that he followed the World Health Organization on his social media accounts and seemed to have “liked” a story about Greene being fined for refusing to wear a mask in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, after settling on the “fact” that Greene deemed Crimo a “leftist” and a “run-of-the-mill Democrat,” she wondered how and why he wore an FBI hat, saying she only knew FBI people who wore FBI hats. Of course, this will be news to the manufacturers of one of the over 1,000 FBI hats you can buy on Amazon. But Greene is working towards something here. She offered up this theory on gun violence:

“Two shootings on July 4, one in a rich, white neighborhood and another at a fireworks display. It almost sounds like it’s designed to persuade Republicans to go along with more gun control. We didn’t see that happen at all the Pride parades in June, but as soon as we hit MAGA month, the month that we’re all celebrating loving our country, we have shootings on July 4.”

She also scattershot “questions” about pharmaceutical drugs, gun laws, mental health issues while importantly not offering up a single whiff of an idea of what she would do to fix these conspiracy theory issues. She alternately asks why law enforcement didn’t stop this shooting and why red-flag laws didn’t work, but not because she thinks they are incompetent or that red flags don’t work, but because they clearly purposefully let it happen. At least that is the implication she is hammering with her lowest common denominator ideas.

This live broadcast of bullshit comes hours after Greene posted a very fake image of Crimo in what looks like a jail cell. Her post at the time promoted the image as real and tried to drive home the narrative that mental health issues were the single determining factor in the Highland Park shooting. Not the guns and the ammo and the easy loophole in the law that got those weapons into Crimo’s hands in the first place.

Considering she has voted against regulating the pharmaceutical industry and has voted against increasing funding and access to mental health, it makes it pretty clear what she thinks of her own ideas.




If you really really really want to punish yourself, you can watch her one-hour-and-almost-10-minute rant here.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Bill O’Reilly throws racist fit over ‘minority gangs’ after white shooter kills 7 in Highland Park
Rebekah Sager

A day following the mass shooting during a July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, disgraced Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly went on an asinine and (even for him) deeply racist rant on his No Spin News and Analysis podcast in response to a recent press conference by Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker.

“There are no words for the kind of evil that turns a community celebration into a tragedy,” Pritzker said. “As we mourn together, the State of Illinois will provide every available resource to Highland Park and surrounding communities in the days and weeks ahead as the community works to recover from this horrific tragedy.”

O’Reilly responded to this very measured address with a wholly out-of-touch and bigoted fit. He pretended to be utterly unaware that the shooting, which left seven dead and nearly 40 others injured, had nothing to do with drugs or gangs. He ignored the fact that the shooter himself is a young, white man. In fact, O’Reilly didn’t even bother to mention that the neighborhood is wealthy and predominantly Jewish. Yet O’Reilly continued to blast Pritzker about “minority gangs,” which he implied were behind the shooting in the city. This is the usual GOP hate whistle, and Chicago is the usual target.
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"You, J. B., are not gonna stop loons! And you won’t stop crime, drug crime, drug gangs, because they are minority gangs! That's why you won't stop 'em!" O'Reilly foamed. "You!!! Aid and abet this murderer in Chicago every blanken' day!" O'Reilly then hollered. "You! Don't be sanctimonious with me!"



The reality is that most of the guns coming into the city of Chicago come from states with much more lax gun laws, as ProPublica reported in 2017. But the narrative that the gun violence in the city is a Black, brown, or gang-related issue continues to be proffered.

"Chicago remains one of America’s most economically and racially segregated cities," InjusticeWatch wrote. "Amid the skyscrapers on The Magnificent Mile, wealthy tourists and residents shop at pricey retailers where a pair of sandals can easily cost $200. Just four miles west, in the shadow of that storied skyline, some of the city’s young people live in poverty and are surrounded by a pervasive sense of danger, where even a walk to school can feel perilous. These experiences can lead them to join cliques, which provide a sense of safety and community."

O’Reilly made his millions blowing the racist dog whistle, and this time is no different. But, instead of looking at facts or figures, the bloated blowhard blames “minority gangs,” when the shooter is, like so many mass shooters in this nation, a white man in his early 20s with an AR-15 and a penchant for killing large numbers of people.

O’Reilly, who was kicked out of Fox in 2017 amid a slew of sexual harassment lawsuits, was eventually forced to settle the cases to the tune of $32 million.

For old time's sake, here’s more of O’Reilly losing his shit.