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Lasher

Lasher's Journal
Lasher's Journal
March 18, 2024

Even the Supreme Court's Conservatives Are Fed Up With the Garbage Coming Out of the 5th Circuit

What happens when a lawless judge and a terrible appeals court embrace the dopiest First Amendment claim you’ve ever heard out of pure spite toward a Democratic president? That would be Murthy v. Missouri, a brain-meltingly dumb case that the Supreme Court was unfortunate enough to hear oral arguments in on Monday. Murthy poses a question so asinine that to ask it is to answer it: Can government officials encourage social media companies to moderate certain content that they deem harmful—most importantly, disinformation about COVID-19 in the middle of the pandemic?

Yes, of course they can: The First Amendment does not gag public officials from urging Facebook or the Washington Post or anyone else to publish or not publish certain information, especially when it contains dangerous lies about a once-in-a-century pandemic that could exacerbate the crisis. The First Amendment bars government censorship, not government persuasion, and the Biden administration planted itself on the latter side of that bright line. At least six justices grasped this basic constitutional principle on Monday. Several of them used arguments to highlight how this inane case illustrates so much of what’s wrong with the judiciary today, and hinted at the dangers it could pose to American democracy in the future. That we should pay attention to. The rest was an unfortunate sideshow.

Like so many Supreme Court cases these days, Murthy is built atop a heap of fake facts. The case began when Missouri and Louisiana sued agencies and officials across the Biden administration, falsely accusing them of coercing social media companies into censoring their residents’ free speech. (These states later added a handful of fringe anti-vaxxers to the suit.) They filed their complaint in the Monroe Division of the Western District of Louisiana, where—surprise!—they were guaranteed to draw a Trump appointee, Terry Doughty, the one judge hearing cases in that division. Judge Doughty has a record of issuing nationwide injunctions against the Biden administration on the basis of dubious legal and factual analysis. Most notably, he issued a nationwide bar against Biden’s vaccine mandate for health care workers in an opinion riddled with anti-vax nonsense (which the Supreme Court reversed).

Doughty, in other words, was certain to rule against Biden in the social media case. Even still, the opinion he handed down on July 4, 2023, was a humiliating mess of contradictions, fabrications, and (ironically) misinformation. Doughty adopted the plaintiffs’ theory that the administration “coerced” social media companies into removing “conservative” speech about COVID, including posts promoting hydroxychloroquine and rejecting the efficacy of vaccines. He accused government officials of launching a “coordinated campaign” to silence conservatives by forcing private companies to take down anti-vax content, as well as false claims about election fraud. And he issued one of the most sweeping injunctions in the history of the American legal system, prohibiting any employee—including Homeland Security, the State Department, the Department of Justice, and the FBI—from “engaging in any communication of any kind with social-media companies” encouraging content moderation.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2024/03/supreme-court-conservatives-5th-circuit-dumb-case.html

January 19, 2024

Stock market today: Dow, S&P 500 hit record highs as tech stocks soar

Stocks climbed on Friday, pushing the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average to record closing highs.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 1.2% to close at 4,839. This marked the S&P 500's first record close since January 2022. The Dow (^DJI) gained just over 1% to settle at 37,863.

On a percentage basis, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) was the day's biggest winner, rising 1.7% to close at 15,310. The Nasdaq's record close stands at 16,057, reached in November 2021.

Investor focus this week turned back to Big Tech stocks pushing markets to new heights as the late 2023 rally waned.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/stock-market-today-dow-sp-500-hit-record-highs-as-tech-stocks-soar-192209321.html

This is a real big deal, right? Where's all the huzzahs in the MSM?
December 22, 2023

Lawsuit to boot Trump off West Virginia ballots is dismissed because plaintiff lacks standing

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that aimed to keep former President Donald Trump off ballots in West Virginia.

The court action never reached the point of examining a claim that Trump is ineligible under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies federal officeholders who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Instead, the case filed by Texas resident John Anthony Castro was dismissed because the judge found that he couldn’t demonstrate standing. Castro had described himself as a candidate for president and said Trump’s presence on the ballot would harm his chances.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger found that the evidence submitted removes “any doubt that Mr. Castro’s purported ‘campaign’ exists as a vehicle for pursuing litigation, not votes.”

https://wvmetronews.com/2023/12/22/lawsuit-to-boot-trump-off-west-virginia-ballots-is-dismissed-because-plaintiff-lacks-standing/

August 2, 2023

Opinion Why Trump Was Indicted (Again)

You can thank the Jan. 6 committee.

Believe it or not, President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland did not enter office planning to criminally prosecute Donald Trump. They practically had to be dragged into it.

You could be forgiven for questioning this claim considering that Trump was just indicted by the Justice Department for the second time in a matter of months — this time based on his efforts to overturn the 2020 election — and that does not even count the superseding indictment that was filed late last week for allegedly mishandling sensitive government documents and obstructing the federal investigation.

Republicans and Trump supporters on Capitol Hill and in the conservative media have certainly spent much of the last year laying the groundwork for the tendentious narrative of a “weaponized” DOJ — literally going back to the day that Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago was searched by the FBI, before any of them could possibly have known what was going on in that case.

But the notion that Biden or Garland was somehow determined to prosecute Trump relies on a serious distortion of the public record. Indeed, that record vexed some observers, including me, who repeatedly expressed frustration over how the two men seemed to be going out of their way for most of the first two years of the administration to avoid investigating and potentially prosecuting Trump.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/08/01/trump-indictment-jan-6-committee-00109235
March 12, 2023

Pence says 'history will hold Donald Trump accountable' for January 6th

Source: CNN

Former Vice President Mike Pence made his most blistering comments yet about former President Donald Trump’s role in the January 6th attack on the US Capitol during remarks Saturday evening at the annual Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington, DC.

Pence began his remarks at the dinner, which traditionally features politicians making jokes about notable Washington figures, with lighthearted comments about Trump, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and several Republicans expected to run for president in 2024, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

He then took a serious tone, noting the attack on the Capitol was “one thing I haven’t joked about” and calling January 6th “a tragic day.”

Pence rebuked Trump for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack, saying he was “wrong” for claiming Pence had the authority to overturn the results of the 2020 election in his role presiding over Congress that day, saying “history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/11/politics/mike-pence-gridiron-dinner/index.html

January 5, 2023

A good wish list.

But I predict Democrats will approach a GOP moderate, to offer their support in the vote for Speaker. I don’t know who this person will be, but it won’t be McCarthy. After all, this same scenario just played out in the election of Speaker of the Ohio state legislature.

None of us knows what will happen next but this is my guess.

September 17, 2022

Ukraine war: this map holds an important clue about Kremlin fears of NATO expansion

As Russian forces withdrew in the face of the recent Ukrainian counteroffensives, the Kremlin repeated its claim that its military invaded because of the threat of Nato’s possible expansion.

This has been a constant refrain of Kremlin military briefings. For example, following the humiliating sinking of Russia’s Black Sea flagship, Moskva, in April, Margarita Simonyan, the head of broadcaster RT and a major Putin cheerleader, said:

We need to understand, when we see difficult events taking place, the losses, we are not fighting against Ukraine … from an entirely technical, military point of view we are fighting with Nato. We are fighting against an enormous armed opponent, the most powerful and in essence the only one of its kind.

https://theconversation.com/ukraine-war-this-map-holds-an-important-clue-about-kremlin-fears-of-nato-expansion-190677

I am not defending Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but this is their side of the story, so to speak. They feel threatened by the expansion of NATO.

August 20, 2022

Mexico arrests ex-attorney general in missing students case

Source: Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Federal prosecutors said Friday they have arrested the attorney general in Mexico’s previous administration on charges he committed abuses in the investigation of the 2014 disappearances of 43 students from a radical teacher college.

Prosecutors also announced they had issued arrest warrants in the case against 20 army soldiers officers, five local officials, 33 local police officers and 11 state police, as well as 14 gang members.

The roundup included the first arrest of a former attorney general in recent history, and one of the biggest mass arrests ever by civilian prosecutors of Mexican army soldiers.

Jesús Murillo Karam served as attorney general from 2012 to 2015, under then President Enrique Peña Nieto. The office of the current attorney general, Alejandro Gertz Manero, said Murillo Karam was charged with torture, official misconduct and forced disappearance

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/mexico-caribbean-arrests-4d219a28ac3294e76b3254a93ac855fa



I'm sure some of you remember the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico during 2014. Looks like the perps have been brought to justice.
August 18, 2022

Liz Cheney releases call to Trump-backed opponent who said she didn't concede

Cheney releases recording of her call to Harriet Hageman, conceding her loss in the Wyoming US House primary on Tuesday

Liz Cheney has released her concession call to Harriet Hageman, after the Trump-backed Republican who won the Wyoming US House primary on Tuesday told Fox News her rival had not made “any kind of concession or anything else”.

Cheney gave a recording of the call to Politico. In it, she said: “Hi, Harriet, it is Liz Cheney calling. It is about 8.13 [pm] on Tuesday the 16th. I’m calling to concede the election and congratulate you on the win. Thanks.”

Hageman beat Cheney, a three-term congresswoman, in a landslide.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/18/liz-cheney-concession-call-trump-harriet-hageman

Why do they always tell such horrid lies? Maybe she didn't have time to check her voicemail.
July 30, 2022

Sinema indicates she may want to change Schumer-Manchin deal

Source: Axios

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) had a message for her Democratic colleagues before she flew home to Arizona for the weekend: She's preserving her options.

Why it matters: Sinema has leverage and she knows it. Any potential modification to the Democrat's climate and deficit reduction package — like knocking out the $14 billion provision on carried interest — could cause the fragile deal to collapse.

Her posture is causing something between angst and fear in the Democratic caucus as senators wait for her to render a verdict on the secret deal announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin last Thursday.

Driving the news: Sinema has given no assurances to colleagues that she’ll vote along party lines in the so-called “vote-a-rama” for the $740 billion bill next week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/2022/07/30/sinema-schumer-manchin-deal-democrats



We might have celebrated too soon.

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