More to ignore, Book 96....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The property management subsidiary of Jared Kushner's family real estate company has agreed to pay a $3.25 million fine to the state of Maryland and to reimburse many of the tens of thousands of tenants in the Kushners' Baltimore-area apartment complexes for excessive fees and for rent they were forced to pay over the past decade despite serious maintenance problems in the units.

The agreement represents the settlement of a 2019 lawsuit brought against the subsidiary, Westminster Management, by the Maryland attorney general. The state alleged that the company's "unfair or deceptive" rental practices violated Maryland's consumer protection laws and "victimized" people, "many of whom are financially vulnerable, at all stages of offering and leasing."

"This is a case in which landlords deceived and cheated tenants and subjected them to miserable living conditions," said Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat, at a press conference announcing the settlement Friday morning in Baltimore. "These were not wealthy people. Many struggled to pay the rent, to put food on the table, to take care of their kids, to keep everybody healthy, and Westminster used its vastly superior economic power to take advantage of them.".....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Kevin McCarthy's allies have spent big bucks to retaliate against Republicans who oppose him

Hunter

We've got another press dive into the world of House Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy, and once again, it manages to be darkly, unintentionally hilarious. The political press just cannot help but paint every politician's personal acts of revenge as Machiavellian strategery, weaving a grand basket of complications around an egg of a premise that would otherwise look tawdry, just lying there on its own.

Yes, The Washington Post has a look at "How Kevin McCarthy's political machine worked to sway the GOP field," and the answer is "with money." What the Post has discovered is a devoted effort by McCarthy and his wealthy allies to sabotage the careers of would-be House Republicans who don't back McCarthy's leadership ambitions. Most of it is through the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC, but because this is American politics and American politics is deeply crooked, an assortment of other billionaire-backed PAC names pop in and out to help the cause as needed. There is no part of our election system that is not either controlled outright by money, or that cannot be tweaked by a single anonymous rich person so that it better aligns with their own anonymous interests. We do the voting, but it’s anonymous rich people that decide which names are on the ballots.

Mind you, there's a bunch of blowhardism thrown in from the parties involved about how no, no, McCarthy and his allies are just trying to make sure the party presents more "electable" Republicans than what they've currently been dredging up, to form a "more functioning GOP caucus." And it’s a pretty damn thin case: McCarthy and allies are still backing, for example, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a sedition-backing one-person wrecking crew making her way through every pretense at decency her party once tried to maintain, even as they spent freely (though secretly!) to sabotage Madison Cawthorn after Cawthorn let slip that Washington, D.C., Republicanism was a cesspit of cocaine and sex parties.

I dunno here, but let's see if we can tease out what the difference is between the pro-sedition treasonbastards that McCarthy's money team is willing to embrace and the pro-sedition treasonbastards that go too far.


"In safe Republican districts, controversial Republicans like former New York State party chair Carl Paladino, Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini and Trump-endorsed congressional candidate Joe Kent have been targeted after distancing themselves from McCarthy’s leadership

Oh. There it is right there. Well hell, why'd we need any of the rest of it?

Take, for example, the case of Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, who voted for Trump's impeachment—the sin that turned other members of the caucus into pariahs. The intolerable sin. And yet, McCarthy's allies spent big against her Trump-backed opponent, Joe Kent:

"Kent, her Trump-endorsed challenger, opposed McCarthy as speaker ..."

It does feel like a pattern:

"Sabatini, a friend of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), had been an outspoken critic of McCarthy."

So what we have here is a Republican would-be majority that is willing to tolerate political positions from pro-sedition to pro-impeaching the people who tried to do the sedition, so long as you don't tick off that one little box that will irritate Kevin McCarthy on a, shall we say, professional level.

And here we thought Republicanism didn't have coherent policy stances. Look! We just found a big one! Bow to the guy who controls the money, or get the snot kicked out of you!

As I said at the beginning, there's something deeply funny about this reporting. The whole premise is that rich people close to Kevin Owen McCarthy are trying to filter out some of the most conspicuous Nazi-loving or pro-sedition wackadoodles from Republican ranks. The people behind the PACs are trying to sell it as a noble effort to pull Republicanism back from, at the least, openly supporting the democracy-ending rebellion.

But even on its own terms, it’s inconsistent with reality as we know it. McCarthy continues to make very nice with the head seditionist who got people killed inside the Capitol as part of an attempted overthrow of the government. McCarthy keeps vowing to restore the committee assignments one of the most brazen pro-seditionists of all if voters put him in charge. House leadership has
specifically worked to defend avid seditionists while punishing members who spoke out to condemn Trump for the attempted coup.

Instead, the most aggressive moves McCarthy and his allies have made against
any House Republican were reserved for the one irritant who mentioned, on tape, that boy howdy there are a lot of coke orgies going on behind House Republican scenes.

THAT SEEMS VERY RELEVANT SOMEHOW. Can't put my finger on why. But yeah, sure, these are some bold moves by Kevin McCarthy and his biggest fundraisers to, uh, kneecap the political careers of anyone who badmouths Kevin McCarthy.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Mastriano said women who violated his proposed six-week abortion ban should be charged with murder

Dartagnan

Fanatics tend to think in absolute terms, and Republican Doug Mastriano, currently running for governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is no exception.

In 2019 Mastriano gave an interview to central PA. public broadcast affiliate WITF in support of legislation he introduced as a state senator which would ban all abortions after six weeks, a time frame in which many people do not even realize they’ve become pregnant. His remarks during that interview went unreported at the time, but have since been unearthed by NBC News.

As reported by Allan Smith:

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, said in 2019 that women should be charged with murder if they violated his proposed abortion ban.

Mastriano was specifically asked if a woman obtained an abortion after 10 weeks, for example, in violation of his proposed “Fetal heartbeat” law introduced on October 18, 2019, whether they should be charged with murder.

“OK, let’s go back to the basic question there," Mastriano said. "Is that a human being? Is that a little boy or girl? If it is, it deserves equal protection under the law."
Asked if he was saying yes, they should be charged with murder, Mastriano responded: "Yes, I am."

Mastriano hasn’t commented on his 2019 statements, but acknowledged on Monday of this week that he, of course, would have to rely on the Commonwealth’s (current) Republican-controlled legislature to provide him with a bill limiting the number of weeks (if any) that he would permit women and those who become pregnant to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. His own, “public” position continues to be the same as it was in 2019, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

As Smith reports, this is the single issue that animates Mastriano’s candidacy.

At last week's Pennsylvania March for Life, Mastriano called the battle over abortion rights "the single most important issue, I think, in our lifetime." In a call last week with the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania, reported by WESA, Mastriano said: "We can fulfill and achieve most of our desires in protecting life when we win on eight November," adding he looks forward to signing into law "either [a] heartbeat bill or" other legislation that would restrict the procedure.

In his 2019 interview he also opined that doctors who performed such a procedure should also be charged with murder.

The movement to turn women and others who become pregnant into criminals for terminating their pregnancy has gained currency among the forced birth lobby since six conservative Supreme Court Justices this June overruled the constitutional protection to the right of abortion as set forth in Roe v. Wade. Mastriano’s statement that a fetus deserves “equal protection under the law” is directly in line with the thinking of these groups, who are pushing for a constitutional amendment that would declare a fetus as a person, with all of the rights that come with that status.

Based on his unequivocal statements it’s clear that Mastriano intends to put himself at the vanguard of this movement, if he should become governor.
.....
....

No money, no ads, flagging support—Mastriano's GOP gubernatorial candidacy is cratering

Kerry Eleveld



 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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UH-OH: Trump’s New $3 Million Lawyer Has Been Sidelined Less than a Month After He Was Hired

News Corpse

The clown car of lawyers that have represented Donald Trump has been a source of much ridicule for years. The roster includes Hall of Shamers like Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, Jenna Ellis, Alina Habba, and former OAN host Christina Bobb. Some have already had their law licenses suspended. Others are defendants in billion dollar defamation lawsuits. It's a rogue's gallery of legal losers.

On Tuesday it was revealed that the newest member of Trump's legal F-Team, Chris Kise, has already been sidelined from his role representing Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. This is the case wherein Trump was found to have been illegally hoarding highly sensitive national security materials at his Palm Beach hotel/home. His attorneys thus far have offered laughably lame excuses for his having done so. And those excuses just seemed to get more bizarre with each new one offered. They ranged from claiming the documents belonged to him, to insisting that everything had been returned, to allegations that the FBI planted them, to his having declassified them with his mind, and more.

Kise was just hired by Trump a few weeks ago. It was reported that he was paid $3 million dollars in advance, because Trump is so well known for stiffing his attorneys. But now Kise is no longer working on the case. According to CNN...

"The newest addition to former President Donald Trump’s legal team, Chris Kise, has been sidelined from the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation less than a month after he was brought on to represent Trump in the matter, two sources familiar with the move tell CNN." [...]

"The move is notable given Kise, the former solicitor general for Florida, was brought on to the team after a weeks-long search and struggle to find someone willing to take on the case who was also experienced in Florida law. The legal strategy for fighting the Justice Department following the August seizure of over 100 documents marked as classified was also in disarray."

Trump's spokesman, Taylor Budowich, told CNN that "Kise's role as an important member of President Trump’s legal team remains unchanged." However, he has not been observed at any of the other hearings for the pending Trump investigations, such as the January 5th insurrection or the lawsuit filed by the New York State Attorney General.

Perhaps Kise made the fatal mistake of giving Trump some rational legal advice. That would surely have resulted in Trump souring on him and shoving him aside. Or maybe Kise outlined the legal peril that Trump is facing and he got depressed. Although Sean Hannity did the same thing a few days ago so, unless he's blocking it out, Trump must know the trouble he's in.

At least Kise got well paid for his month of work. And now he can watch from the bleachers as Trump guides his loony legal league through the quagmire that he's created for himself. Look for Trump seek new representation from the only "lawyers" who would still work for him - Fox News hosts Jeanine Pirro or Mark Levin. Barring that, he'd better call Saul (who Trump probably thinks is real).
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A gutless Ken Paxton tries to preen after bravely fleeing from a court's process server

Hunter

At this point, we have probably all heard of “indicted for seven damn years now” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's brave efforts to dodge a process server trying to serve him with a subpoena. But hearing about it is not enough. It's important to also make fun of him, because Jeebus, this dude is going all-in trying to portray himself as having barely dodged some of the rampant violence going on down in Texas these days.

He didn't face anything as scary as the average Texas public school student is asked to put up with, mind you. But he's still going to play the victim here because, and I cannot stress this patriotically enough,
a process server showed up at his house.

You can see why a (checks notes) state attorney general who's long been under indictment for general crookedness would be absolutely bewildered by such an event. Yes, this may be Ken Paxton's very first run-in with the American legal system since, uh, whenever he last phoned his own office. And it's got him completely shaken up. Truly, never has anyone suffered more.


Paxton took to Twitter to tweet his victimhood, and you'll have to bear with him if his own statement bears little to no relation to what actually appears to have happened. In estimating which version of events is the more accurate one, note that the process server's testimony of what happened was submitted under oath, and Ken Paxton's version was, again, submitted as Twitter-burped press release. So you know this is gonna be good.



Paxton:

"This made-up controversy around serving me a subpoena is nothing more than a shameless stunt from my political opponents—a stunt that a federal judge dismissed today by quashing the subpoena. Here are the facts: a strange man came up to my property at home, yelled unintelligibly, and charged toward me. I perceived this person to be a threat because he was neither honest nor upfront about his intentions."

Now, it would be wonderful if Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was willing to say the same sentences under oath or, say, produce security camera footage backing up his claims, but what we know from the court records that have been submitted paints a different picture. The process server reports he knocked on the door, only to be told by Paxton's wife that Ken was on the phone and couldn't speak to him. The server waited outside, where a black Chevy Tahoe soon pulled up to presumably take the attorney general to do some attorney generaling: the process server approached him to serve the subpoenas, upon which ol' Ken bolted back inside his house, presumably worried he was going to get a paper cut.

After 20 minutes of further waiting, Ken's wife came out, opened the rear door of another Chevy parked in the driveway, got in the passenger seat, and started the truck. The attorney general of Texas then emerged from a door "inside the garage" and "ran" to the open truck door, ignoring the process server and his subpoenas, and then Ken's wife bravely drove away.

Now, to you, I, and the process server who presumably has been around the block a few times and is pretty damn familiar with people frantically dodging being served with legal papers, this all looks like a bizarrely pathetic attempt to dodge being served with legal papers. But to Indicted For Seven Damn Years Now Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, it was a harrowing experience involving a "strange man" who "yelled" and "charged."

After speaking with his wife, leaving his business card, waiting outside the house, identifying himself again when Ken finally appeared, and so forth. Not too many charging men go to the effort to leave a business card identifying as a process server with the wife before they do their "unintelligible" yelling and charging and document-holding, so it's nice to see politeness hasn't fully died out in Texas. Still, though, Ken here couldn't decipher from all that that the man was simply a delivery guy trying to serve court documents, and apparently instead decided he should wet every pair of pants he owned.

"In light of the constant threats against me, for which dangerous individuals are currently incarcerated, I take a number of common sense precautions for me and my family's safety."

For example, when Ken sees a "dangerous individual" who is no doubt another part of the "constant threats" around him, he sends his wife out to start the car so that he can run out of the house slightly faster than he could if he had to start it himself. Take that, dangerous individual! Didn't expect me to send my wife out to face your dangerous wrath, did ya!

Anyhoo, the rest of Ken's statement consists of braggadocio suggesting that the court's process server is darn lucky Ken didn't just murder him, which Ken totally would have done if his wife wasn't there to face the scary court man on her own. "Given that this suspicious and erratic man charged me on my own private property [after knocking on my door and handing my wife his business card while explaining why he was here], he is lucky this situation did not escalate further or necessitate force. As leaders across America, from elected officials to Supreme Court Justices, face unprecedented threats of politically motivated violence [see: Trump-backed attempted coup that saw armed anti-government militias scouring the halls of the Capitol in an attempt to kidnap or kill Trump-named enemies], I believe this type of behavior utilized by radical activists is thoroughly disgusting and should be met with swift condemnation [...]"

Dude, you
ran from a process server. It's the rote delivery of a court-ordered subpoena that you're freaking out over as the work of "radical activists."

You're telling me the Texas attorney general never served a subpoena against anyone, in all his still-indicted years of work? That this is Ken's first experience with that thoroughly terrifying bit of American life known as "hey buddy, got some papers for you?"

This is the thing that Ken is trying to play off as the work of RaDIcAL EmNITiES, something super-duper close to political terrorism?

Dude. Buddy. There aren't enough words in American English to explain to you how pathetic that sounds. And that's the thing about Republicans, and Texas Republicans in particular. They're all about the tough-guy stance, when it comes to dishing out terrifying experiences for all the little people they have contempt for. There's nothing wrong with carrying assault rifles outside of public schools. How dare you get pissed off at a heavily-armed mob of terrorist-looking "patriots" wandering into whatever business establishment they want to, in the great state of Shoot First Ask Later.

If you're a woman in Texas, Ken here has a law for you saying any man in Texas can stalk you, as much as they want, combing through your online data or following you home from doctor's offices or photographing your license plate if you head across the Texas border for some reason, all so that any man in Texas can try their hand at claiming a reward if they catch you or someone around you "abetting" an abortion.

But you, Ken? You get a legal subpoena, and you piss your pants, scurry for cover and make your wife go out to warm up the car for you.

You gutless little
baby. You pathetic, spineless little twerp. A single process server comes to your door and hands your wife a business card, and you melt the hell down like you've just been targeted by Chucky or Freddy or the chainsaw guy. You would never make it in a fourth-grade classroom. Do you have any idea, any at all, what the laws say a fourth-grader in your state has to put up with?

Hey Ken, ever had state authorities knock on your door asking to interview your kid because they're not acting enough like a "boy" at school, and the state needs to decide whether your parenting is to blame? Never had that happen?

Baby.

Ken Paxton is a big, tough guy when he's got a wife willing to start his car for him. He's the picture of manly conservative manliness when he's telling the women of Texas that, from now on, they're gonna be the up-close-and-personal targets of a movement responsible for more domestic terrorism than any other. He's a real stud, when it comes to backing up Texas Republican efforts to station other people at the border and leave them there, high and dry and unpaid, so that Republicans can say they're "protecting" things.

But he can't handle the same subpoenas that he says every woman in Texas should expect to receive if a bunch of domestic terrorists think they've done something
suspicious.

God, what a gutless little weasel Indicted For Seven Damn Years Now Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turns out to be, yet again. What a spineless little turd.

And now he's trying to make up for his show of gutless panic by putting out a super-statement saying the process server was a "yelling" "radical activist" who "charged" him and threatened to make him
read shit, and that, well, this time Ken was bein' nice, but the next time an officer of the court tries to serve him with a subpoena in the same manner as every other goddamn person in Texas, then maybe next time, Ken will shoot them dead.

Yeah, the attorney general of Texas is suggesting that it's all right to kill process servers. Of
course he is. He's a cheap little crook who's risen to his cheap little post because Republicanism only awards big cowards with even bigger mouths.

What. A. Baby.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Nearly 1 in 20 deputies in California county deemed ‘Not Suited’ for work with public

Walter Einenkel

A very distressing report released Monday revealed that 47 Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies were removed from service on Friday, Sept. 23. Since the agency has roughly 1,000 active officers, this means that nearly 5% of the active police force suddenly did not have law enforcement powers. The former officers’ firearms and badges were taken from them. They will retain their benefits and salary as they are officially on “restricted desk duties.” KTVU reported that this seemingly sudden move was the result of failed psychological exams the deputies had taken—dating back to 2016.

A letter obtained by the media outlet that was sent to those put on leave showed that these deputies received a “Not Suited” classification to serve as a peace officer in California as a result of their tests. The fact is that 2022 minus 2016 equals six years; the reason that these psychological exams were finally “audited” is a clear result of the double homicide that rocked the department earlier this month. On Sept. 7, 42-year-old Maria Tran, a psychiatric nurse, and her 57-year-old husband Benison Tran were shot and killed at their Dublin, California, home. The main suspect, who has been arrested and charged, is 24-year-old sheriff's deputy Devin Williams Jr.

The initial reports painted these shocking murders as an act of passion, saying that Williams had been having an affair with Maria Tran, who had subsequently broken off the short relationship. The Alameda County Sheriff’s office told reporters on Sept. 7 that Williams’ record was “immaculate,” saying there were no red flags or warning signs leading up to this tragic event. It turns out that Williams is one of the officers who received a “Not Suited” test score.
.....
The Sacramento Bee reports that the sheriff’s office said the six-year-long delay is a result of overlooking “a 2016 rule change disqualifying deputies who would previously have passed their psychological exams.” At the time, Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesperson Lt. Ray Kelly specifically said: “We looked into the files. We began to see that the rules had changed. The scores that we thought were passing (state standards) were just below passing, and as a result of that, the people that we employed would not qualify with their psychological exams to be peace officers.”

According to Kelly, the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training greenlit written and verbal messages in 2016 to hire people who received a score of “D-Not Suited” on a scale of “A” to “F.” The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training says it is looking into the “situation.”

Alameda County Chief Public Defender Brendon Woods told SFGate that his office was not informed of this turn of events in regards to 47 deputies placed on leave. He found out when reporters called him up to get his opinion on the matter. "If these deputies were not fit for duty, then how can we trust them to investigate our clients and testify against them in court? How can we trust them to treat people properly at the jail? This revelation could compromise hundreds of cases — closed and pending. Unfortunately, we will not know how bad it is until we get more information from the Sheriff and the District Attorney’s Office," Woods said.

In the letter, Sheriff Gregory Ahern said he hoped to "resolve this issue as quickly as possible" and hoped to do so by scheduling new psychological examinations. Lt. Ray Kelly told reporters that the new testing would take place over the next “couple months.” He didn’t speak to the fact that of the 47 deputies who failed the test, 30 work at Santa Rita Jail. Santa Rita jail, according to KTVU, has had 59 “in-custody deaths since 2014.”

Kelly also went on to say something very strange in defense of these in-limbo deputies: "I know that people are going to assume that all these deputies are killers. But that's not true. This test tries to find out if you are psychologically suitable for the job, to handle all the horrible things we see. At the age of 22, sometimes you're not. I know this isn't good. But it's not as bad as it sounds."

Actually, that is exactly as bad as it sounds. Kelly’s defense is that the psychological test that they give to prospective recruits at the hiring age of 22 means there’s a good chance you are going to fail, but somehow still get hired because “all these deputies” aren’t “killers.” It’s a meaningless thing to say. Unless, of course, you don’t believe in having a psychological evaluation for police officers. But then again, Lt. Kelly had to talk with the press about a fortnight ago about how one such young deputy is suspected of murdering two people.

Kelly went on to explain to KRON4 that “Young people, fresh out of college with very little life experience, very little work experience, tend to not do as well on the psychological exams as people with more life experience. It’s based on your emotional intelligence and a bunch of other factors.” But his explanation was in comparison to taking an “SAT test” or an “IQ” test. Which, frankly, is the whole point. If you could easily
game the test, then the test would be useless, wouldn’t it?
 

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