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Joinfortmill's Journal
Joinfortmill's Journal
December 31, 2021

Thom Hartmann gets to the heart of the matter


When fascism reared its ugly head in Europe and Japan in the 1920s, it signaled a coming war. As a newer and slicker form of that despotism rises here in America, it may well bring the same type of crisis.

We stand on the threshold of momentous change in this nation. While it’s rarely discussed in this frame, the next two elections will almost certainly determine what form of government we’ll have for at least a generation.

Will America become more free and democratic, or will we devolve into a 21st century form of Trumpy fascism?

The Democratic Party is institutionally committed to America finally realizing a republican form of democracy, rejecting gerrymanders and voter suppression while embracing the kind of “maximum participation” ease of voting seen in every other advanced democracy in the world.

Three significant pieces of legislation to reverse the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act and protect the integrity of the vote have passed the House and if Democratic Leadership (looking at you, Biden and Schumer) can get them through the Senate there is a vastly improved chance for the survival of our form of government.

Additionally, most federally elected Democrats support strengthening our democracy by ending the filibuster in the Senate and adding at least Washington, DC as a new state (with high support for Puerto Rico as well).

But do Democrats have the will and power to fight a battle against financially well-armed rightwing billionaires and their predatory and polluting industries?

Not to mention taking on today’s GOP version of Mussolini’s Blackshirts, the volunteer civilian “tough guy” militias that initially roamed around Italy beating up Jews and lefties?......click on link to read more.

December 30, 2021

From Heather Cox Richardson's daily email. If you haven't heard of her. See link below.

Yesterday, Josh Kovensky at Talking Points Memo reported that the Trump allies who organized the rally at the Ellipse at 9:00 a.m. on January 6 also planned a second rally that day on the steps of the Supreme Court. To get from one to the other, rally-goers would have to walk past the Capitol building down Constitution Avenue, although neither had a permit for a march.

The rally at the Supreme Court fell apart as rally-goers stormed the Capitol.

Trump’s team appeared to be trying to keep pressure on Congress during the counting of the certified electoral votes from the states, perhaps with the intent of slowing down the count enough to throw it into the House of Representatives or to the Supreme Court. In either of those cases, Trump expected to win because in a presidential election that takes place in the House, each state gets one vote, and there were more Republican-dominated states than Democratic-dominated states. Thanks to then–Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) removal of the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments, Trump had been able to put three justices on the Supreme Court, and he had said publicly that he expected they would rule in his favor if the election went in front of the court.

This story is an important backdrop of another story that is getting oxygen: Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro’s claim that he, Trump, and Trump loyalist Steve Bannon had a peaceful plan to overturn the election and that the three of them were “the last three people on God’s good Earth who wanted to see violence erupt on Capitol Hill.”

According to these stories, their plan—which Navarro dubs the Green Bay Sweep—was to get more than 100 senators and representatives to object to the counting of the certified ballots. They hoped this would pressure Vice President Mike Pence to send certified votes back to the six contested states, where Republicans in the state legislatures could send in new counts for Trump. There was, he insists, no plan for violence; indeed, the riot interrupted the plan by making congress members determined to certify the ballots.

Their plan, he writes, was to force journalists to cover the Trump team’s insistence that the election had been characterized by fraud, accusations that had been repeatedly debunked by state election officials and courts of law. The plan “was designed to get us 24 hours of televised hearings…. But we thought we could bypass the corporate media by getting this stuff televised.” Televised hearings in which Trump Republicans lied about election fraud would cement that idea in the public mind.

Maybe. It is notable that the only evidence for this entire story so far is Navarro’s own book, and there’s an awful lot about this that doesn’t add up (not least that if Trump deplored the violence, why did it take him more than three hours to tell his supporters to go home?). What does add up, though, in this version of events is that there is a long-standing feud between Bannon and Trump advisor Roger Stone, who recently blamed Bannon for the violence at the Capitol. This story exonerates Trump and Bannon and throws responsibility for the violence to others, notably Stone.

Although Navarro’s story is iffy, it does identify an important pattern. Since the 1990s, Republicans have used violence and the news coverage it gets to gain through pressure what they could not gain through votes.

Stone engineered a crucial moment for that dynamic when he helped to drive the so-called Brooks Brothers Riot that shut down the recounting of ballots in Miami-Dade County, Florida, during the 2000 election. That recount would decide whether Florida’s electoral votes would go to Democrat Al Gore or Republican George W. Bush. As the recount showed the count swinging to Gore, Republican operatives stormed the station where the recount was taking place, insisting that the Democrats were trying to steal the election.

“The idea we were putting out there was that this was a left-wing power grab by Gore, the same way Fidel Castro did it in Cuba,” Stone later told legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. "We were very explicitly drawing that analogy.” “It had to be a three-legged stool. We had to fight in the courts, in the recount centers and in the streets—in public opinion,” Bush campaign operative Brad Blakeman said.

As the media covered the riot, the canvassing board voted to shut down the recount because of the public perception that the recount was not transparent, and because the interference meant the recount could not be completed before the deadline the court had established. “We scared the crap out of them when we descended on them,” Blakeman later told Michael E. Miller of the Washington Post. The chair of the county’s Democratic Party noted, “Violence, fear and physical intimidation affected the outcome of a lawful elections process.” Blakeman’s response? “We got some blowback afterwards, but so what? We won.”

That Stone and other Republican operatives would have fallen back on a violent mob to slow down an election proceeding twenty years after it had worked so well is not a stretch.

Still, Navarro seems eager to distance himself, Trump, and Bannon from any such plan. That eagerness might reflect a hope of shielding themselves from the idea they were part of a conspiracy to interfere with an official government proceeding. Such interference is a federal offense, thanks to a law passed initially during Reconstruction after the Civil War, when members of the Ku Klux Klan were preventing Black legislators and their white Republican allies from holding office or discharging their official duties once elected.

Prosecutors have charged a number of January 6 defendants with committing such interference, and judges—including judges appointed by Trump—have rejected defendants’ arguments that they were simply exercising their right to free speech when they attacked the Capitol. Investigators are exploring the connections among the rioters before January 6 and on that day itself, establishing that the attack was not a group of individual protesters who randomly attacked at the same time, but rather was coordinated.

The vice-chair of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, Liz Cheney (R-WY), has said that the committee is looking to see if Trump was part of that coordination and seeking to determine: “Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s official proceedings to count electoral votes?”

Meanwhile, the former president continues to try to hamper that investigation. Today, Trump’s lawyers added a supplemental brief to his executive privilege case before the Supreme Court. The brief claims that since the committee is looking at making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, it is not engaged in the process of writing new legislation, and thus it is exceeding its powers and has no legitimate reason to see the documents Trump is trying to shield.

But also today, a group of former Department of Justice and executive branch lawyers, including ones who worked for presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging it to deny Trump’s request that the court block the committee’s subpoena for Trump’s records from the National Archives and Records Administration. The brief’s authors established that administrations have often allowed Congress to see executive branch documents during investigations and that there is clearly a need for legislation to make sure another attack on our democratic process never happens again.

The committee must see the materials, they wrote, because “t is difficult to imagine a more compelling interest than the House’s interest in determining what legislation might be necessary to respond to the most significant attack on the Capitol in 200 years and the effort to undermine our basic form of government that that attack represented.”

December 27, 2021

OMG! This will likely make the Proud Boys throw their fearful leader under the bus.


Trump seems to throw the Proud Boys under the bus for Capitol riots in new legal filing

In his effort to have a lawsuit accusing him of sparking the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol dismissed, former President Donald Trump is arguing he's not responsible for the violent actions his supporters took, Bloomberg reports.

“Speakers at political rallies do not owe a duty of care to members of Congress or Capitol Police Officers not at the rally,” Trump’s lawyer Jesse Binnall said in the Dec. 24 court filing.

Trump's team argued that his words on Jan. 6 were in line with a president’s right to “take advantage of the bully pulpit.”

"The complaint, which also names right-wing groups like the Proud Boys, alleges many of the defendants 'planned, aided, and actively participated in that attack' and that 'all defendants are responsible for it,'" Bloomberg reports.
December 24, 2021

The long answer to What To Do About Lt. General Michael Flynn. (retired)....


This is a long, but thorough analysis of the legal conundrum of retired Lt. General Michael Flynn.

"While Flynn could certainly be held accountable for some of his actions in a civilian Article III court, the choice of military court venue uniquely addresses the needs of the force to maintain good order and discipline and for leaders’ accountability for violations of uniquely military offenses.

"If there is a decision to pursue a court-martial in this case, it should not be hindered by the false concept that the legal foundations of retiree jurisdiction are unsound. Those legal foundations are still firm. The lack of recent retiree recall cases underscores that in many situations such jurisdiction is unnecessary and should calm fear that this prosecutorial tactic will be wielded haphazardly. Seditious speech calling for the disruption of the nation’s civilian leadership through military force must be taken seriously – that’s why it is a crime under both “regular” federal law and the UCMJ. Such speech from a civilian is deleterious to the national security; however, when the remarks come from a retired general officer they are especially corrosive to that which sustains a credible, effective, and trustworthy fighting force – and to the maintenance of a military subordinate to legitimate civilian political authority regardless of partisanship or policy."

December 24, 2021

Will Lieutenant General Michael Flynn ever face court martial?

Here's what Glenn Kirshner thinks:

December 23, 2021

The Obscure Charge Jan. 6 Investigators Are Looking at for Trump


While the DOJ pursues the rioters, the special House Jan. 6 Committee is separately collecting evidence to formulate a picture about how this all came together. And legal scholars say a strategy is taking shape—one that builds a case to criminally charge the former president.

“The DOJ and the committee are building a pyramid of guilt to get to the top. The more people who plead guilty, the more the top of the pyramid begins to take shape,” said Joshua E. Kastenberg, a professor at University of New Mexico’s law school.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of the two GOP members on the congressional panel investigating the insurrection, first drew attention to that possibility during a televised hearing last week. That’s when she made an obscure reference to “another key question before this committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’ official proceeding to count electoral votes?”

On Monday, The New York Times pushed that idea further when it revealed that the House committee investigating the insurrection is considering referring Trump to the Justice Department.

David Schultz, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, said congressional investigators could be building a case that Trump “aided and abetted” the rioters to interrupt the vote count. And Cheney’s statements, combined with the Justice Department’s aggressive use of this federal charge, hint at what might come.

“We are seeing a pattern of establishing an obstruction of justice that takes it up the food chain,” he said.
December 23, 2021

Top officials feared Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act to prevent the transfer of power


Crisis of Command: The Pentagon, The President, and January 6

Milley, according to multiple reports, “feared it was Trump’s ‘Reichstag moment,’ in which, like Adolf Hitler in 1933, he would manufacture a crisis in order to swoop in and rescue the nation from it.”

Miller does not specify who held the fears that Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act, and he wasn’t asked by Congress. However, it’s now clear that such concerns were shared by General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as former CIA Director and at the time Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Before Nov. 3, Milley and Pompeo confided in one another that they had a persistent worry Trump would try to use the military in an attempt to hold onto power if he lost the election, the Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker reported. “This military’s not going to be used,” Milley assured Pompeo.
December 21, 2021

Gina. Rosanne. Guy. What do you do the day after you storm the Capitol? Amazing read.


Gina. Rosanne. Guy. What do you do the day after you storm the Capitol? By Kerry Howley

"They can’t arrest us all,’’ a future defendant had posted days before, and this was the vibe in the moment, the ecstatic invulnerability that leads someone to smear feces on the floor of the building in which the most powerful country on earth writes its rules. The worry set in later,....
No Paywall, folks.
December 21, 2021

So.... I mean....

Linguists and English teachers everywhere, help! A few years ago I noticed media commentators beginning statements with the word, 'So'. At the time I found it a mild oddity for folks who were considered professional speakers. A few months ago, 'So' morphed into 'I mean' which is cringe worthy. So, I mean, can we stop this? Asking for listeners everywhere.

December 20, 2021

Thom Hartmann - The "In Emergency, Break Glass" Moment For Democracy Is Here


There is a “potential power,” a tightly coiled force quietly waiting for a real emergency, buried deep in our Constitution for 232 years. It's time to unleash it.

....Section 4 of Article IV of the Constitution:
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

The opening of the Freedom To Vote Act lays it out clearly:
“Congress also finds that it has both the authority and responsibility, as the legislative body for the United States, to fulfill the promise of article IV, section 4, of the Constitution, which states: ‘The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a “Republican Form of Government.”’” [emphasis added]

The proposed law even notes as justification for its existence how the Supreme Court has dropped — or laid down — the ball and therefore Congress must pick it up:

“Congress finds that its authority and responsibility to enforce the Guarantee Clause is clear given that Federal courts have not enforced this clause because they understood that its enforcement is committed to Congress by the Constitution.”

The Freedom To Vote Act ensures a “Republican Form of Government”

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Name: Jo
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Member since: Sat Jun 15, 2019, 11:56 PM
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About Joinfortmill

self published fiction writer
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