Saturday Report 8/19/23 - People are "shocked" & "never seen this" about Jared Kushner: where is the investigation?
The Best of the Rest of the News
— New tapes show the fake electors plot goes all the way back to before the election was even held! Jack Smith and the DC indictment of Trump for trying to overturn a free and fair election puts the beginning of the plot to steal our republic at November 18th. New reporting from MSNBC, however, based on recordings of Roger Stone bragging about how that was exactly what they intended to do, puts the start of the plot on November 5th, two days before America even finished counting the votes (the election was called on November 7, 2020). You may remember that after the 2016 election we discovered that Stone and Trump had registered a “Stop The Steal” website in anticipation of losing to Hillary Clinton: they fully intended to run this scam against her back then but didn’t have to because Putin’s 29 million targeted Facebook posts and ads had their desired effect on about 70,000 people in 5 swing states. And Roger Stone had every reason to believe it would have worked in both 2016 and 2020 because it worked for him and George W. Bush back in 2000. Stone was on the ground in Miami helping organize the “Stop the Steal” protests that succeeded in getting five Republicans on the US Supreme Court (based on legal arguments written by then-Bush campaign attorneys John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett) to stop the Florida ballot recount and award the election to Bush. You’ll recall that Roger Stone was already convicted of three felonies (witness tampering, lying to Congress, and obstructing an official proceeding) around Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election but Trump pardoned him. Will he be indicted for what we now know about his earlier November 5th role in this effort to corrupt our republic? Particularly since he’s been doing dirty tricks like this for Republicans ever since the days when he, Paul Manafort, and Lee Atwater worked for Richard Nixon? Stay tuned.
— Some on the right are saying “please stop with the progressive hero worship of Jack Smith & Tanya Chutkan” — but aren’t they in fact heroes? Michael Shaffer writes at Politico that progressives should stop praising Smith, Chutkan, and Willis, et al, because it makes it look like their actions are based in politics and that’s pretty much the entirety of Donald Trump’s claim to unfairness. Shaffer points out bobblehead dolls, candles, tee-shirts, and all sorts of other paraphernalia celebrating these prosecutors and judges, complaining that it’s all unseemly and implies politics. My take on this is pretty straightforward: I frankly don’t give a damn what Republicans think, and I do believe these people are heroes. The judges are less so because they picked up the cases by the luck of the draw, but Willis, Smith, Bragg, and James all stepped forward to initiate prosecutions of Trump for his crimes and every one of them could have just as easily ignored things and stayed comfortably obscure. The bigger question, IMHO, is why aren’t the DAs and AGs for the capitals and states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Pennsylvania prosecuting Trump and the criminals who conspired with him?
— People are “shocked” and have “never seen anything like this” about Jared Kushner’s billions. Where is the investigation? MSNBC analyst Steve Rattner brought this up on Morning Joe and it’s a damn good question. Jared was put in charge of Middle Eastern policy by his father-in-law with no experience other than being a minor slumlord, and he then spun US policy toward the dictatorships in the region, helping cover up Khashoggi’s murder and selling billions in weapons to Saudi Arabia over the objections of the Pentagon. He was pretty clearly repaid for his efforts with these billions and nobody appears to be looking into it. The House Oversight Committee, which should be investigating this, is instead going after Hunter Biden for something, something, something dick pics. That said, the Senate is still controlled by Democrats and inquiring minds want to know where the hell Chuck Schumer is when his country needs him on this issue?
— If the ruling of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is upheld by the Supreme Court, the abortion drug Mifiprestone will become almost impossible for women to access in Republican-controlled states that have outlawed abortion. While the court didn’t go along with the rightwing crank Texas judge’s ruling that would have banned it nationwide, they did outlaw sending it through the mail, and ruled that only physicians (not nurses, PAs, etc.) can prescribe it and prescriptions must be filled in person at pharmacies (which can refuse to fill them because of “sincerely held religious beliefs”). SCOTUS may go along with the Texas ban, ratify the Fifth Circuit’s restrictions, or leave it as available as it is right now: with an all-Catholic and all-anti-abortion Republican lineup on the Supreme Court anything is possible. The only way around the Court doing this is for Congress to act, but Republicans controlling the House pretty much rules that out, at least until after January 20, 2025 if Democrats can re-take that body and hold the Senate and White House. This is another lesson about the importance of staying politically involved and making sure everybody you know is registered to vote!
— Good News Alert! Climate Change: the kids won their trial in Montana! Our Children’s Trust sued the state of Montana for promoting fossil fuels when that state’s constitution has a provision guaranteeing every Montanan the right to a “clean and safe environment.” This week, a state court judge ruled in their favor. While Montana’s Republican administration has said they’ll appeal the win to the state supreme court, and the fossil fuel billionaires and companies who own them will do everything they can to insure an outcome favorable to them, this is still a huge victory. A handful of other states have similar constitutional provisions, dating back to the 1970s when Earth Day and the environmental movement were launched. What state will be next? Our Children’s Trust has active lawsuits going in all 50 states, so this is group one to watch.
— Electric cars are facing punitive fees in Red states: why are they blocking progress? The newest way Republican legislators in Red states are repaying the fossil fuel billionaires and oil companies that fund their elections is by imposing draconian fees, taxes, and paperwork on people buying electric vehicles (EVs) in some of those states. Texas now has the lowest gas tax and the highest EV tax in the country, for example. While it’s clear that many of these provisions are designed to discourage the transition to clean vehicles, there is a larger issue here that does have to be addressed: how do states (and the feds) pay for repairing roads when the day comes that there are so many EVs that gas taxes no longer cover those costs? The simplest solution would be to break the connection between road repairs and gas taxes and simply fund roads through general funds, but every state and the federal government are going to have to figure out how to handle it. In the meantime, expect more and more Red states to impose fees and penalties on EVs.
— Geeky Science: To paraphrase Napoleon Hill, think and grow young! An op-ed in The Washington Post this week cites research finding that people with a positive attitude toward aging (“I’m wise, not just old” etc.) often live as much as 7.5 years longer than people who obsess on their gray hairs and occasional memory lapses. The author suggests people over 50 — and society, generally — need to re-calibrate our language and internal dialogue around aging to be more positive. While the article doesn’t go into it, one of the things I learned when working among tribal aboriginal people on several continents was that most view age as a plus: a sign of wisdom worthy of great respect and deference. Like the idea that every political decision should be made with its impact on the seventh generation in mind, there’s a lot we can learn from the Older Culture people who (as I point out in my new book) invented the models for our democracy.
— Crazy Alert! 13 yr old girl emerges as the new head of QANON cult and vows to indoctrinate kids...
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