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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
December 23, 2023

Michigan Republicans Turn on Controversial Election-Denying State Party Chair: 'Tyrannical, Incompetent Dumpster Fire'

(Mediaite) A civil war has broken out within the Michigan Republican Party, amid growing efforts to oust the party’s controversial chairwoman, who one disgruntled member referred to as a “tyrannical, incompetent dumpster fire.”

The state is expected to be a critically important battleground in 2024, with Cook Political Report recently moving the state from “lean D” to “tossup” for the presidential election, CNN News Central anchor Kate Bolduan noted, with President Joe Biden winning in 2020 and former President Donald Trump winning it in 2016.

But now there was “serious trouble brewing” within the Michigan GOP at “the worst possible time for this to be happening, all centered on the state party leader,” Kristina Karamo, Bolduan added before introducing CNN national correspondent Jason Carroll.


One state committee member called Karamo “a tyrannical, incompetent dumpster fire,” said Carroll, and other critics have accused her of being the reason that the state party is “bogged down with in-fighting, dysfunction and — according to the documents — dismal fund-raising.” ..............(more)


December 22, 2023

RWNJs in Huntington Beach CA propose ban on Pride, Black and women's history celebrations

(Guardian UK) The southern California city of Huntington Beach, a bastion of conservative voters, has made the move to block diverse monthlong celebrations of Black history, women’s history and Pride, in favor of observing the revolutionary and civil wars, California’s history and America’s independence.

An agenda item introduced on 19 December forbids any programming that pertains to previously established honorary celebrations for women, people of color and LGBTQ+ groups from taking place on city-owned property, including libraries, or of being featured in city communications such as social media posts, according to Natalie Moser, a city council member who voted against the action.

This means that programming meant to acknowledge and teach the history of historically marginalized groups such as Black Americans and LGBTQ+ people will be replaced by “content” about local railroad and surfing history and a monthlong tribute to the discovery of oil in Huntington Beach called Black Gold Jubilee, according to the agenda item’s language.

“I was really disappointed to see it on the agenda but wasn’t surprised given the past year,” said Moser, who is from Huntington Beach. “I want Huntington Beach to be seen as a welcoming and inclusive community. Instead, we are thrust into this war and I think that this council majority is trying to make a name for itself as a model or symbol of the extreme-right side of that war.” .................(more)


December 22, 2023

Former Michigan House GOP staffers charged with embezzlement and conducting a criminal enterprise

(Michigan Advance) Two top aides to former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield were charged with several felonies apiece by the Attorney General’s Office on Thursday for what the office is saying was a repeated pattern of illegal activity for them to fraudulently obtain more than half-million dollars.

The two individuals charged Thursday are married couple Robert and Anne Minard of Bath Township. Robert Minard served as the Republican’s chief of staff and Anne Minard was the external affairs director.

Anne Minard faces 12 felonies and Robert Minard faces nine felonies, including embezzlement, conducting a criminal enterprise and filing a false tax return. Some of the charges carry a 20 year maximum prison sentence.

“These are concrete abuses in black and white, so much so that in some instances, it’s obvious that they were counting on the fact that no one would ever review it,” Nessel said at a news conference in Lansing on Thursday. .............(more)


December 22, 2023

The Eye-Popping Details of Rudy Giuliani's Bankruptcy Filing

The Eye-Popping Details of Rudy Giuliani’s Bankruptcy Filing
Trump’s former lawyer may be liable for up to $500 million in unpaid debts.

Dan Friedman
Senior Reporter

(Mother Jones) Rudy Giuliani filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, a step he said was unavoidable after he was ordered to pay $148 million to two former Georgia election workers he defamed by falsely accusing them of election fraud. The former New York mayor’s Chapter 11 filing was no surprise. It came the day after federal district court judge Beryl Howell ordered Giuliani to immediately pay Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss before entering an appeal regarding the award.


The man once known as “America’s mayor” has now become arguably the country’s best-known debtor. Among the debts cited in Giuliani’s filing today are legal bills going back to his role as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, in the former president’s first impeachment, along with mounting legal fees from his involvement in Trump’s effort to use election fraud lies to steal the 2020 election. Obviously, Giuliani is unable to pay Moss and Freeman $148 million. His personal lawyer and friend, Robert Costello, is suing Giuliani for $1.4 million in unpaid legal fees. Giuliani also reports about $3.5 million in additional debts to lawyers.


The IRS in August filed a $549,435 tax lien against Giuliani for the 2021 tax year, and his bankruptcy petition says he now owes a total of about $989,000 in unpaid taxes. He also cites “unknown potential obligations” to Dominion and Smartmatic voting machine companies who have sued him for defamation, and to Hunter Biden, who has sued Giuliani for violating his privacy by “hacking into, tampering with, manipulating, copying, disseminating, and generally obsessing over” material on Hunter’s laptop. He also cites potential obligations to Noelle Dunphy, a former employee who has sued Giuliani for “sexual assault and harassment, wage theft,” and “rape.”He denies those allegations and well as claims in other suits against him.

Giuliani’s overall liabilities? An estimated $100 million to $500 million. He says his assets total between $1 million and $10 million. ................(more)


December 22, 2023

Experts: Despite Giuliani's bankruptcy, defamed election workers "can collect every penny he has"

(Salon) Afederal judge ruled Wednesday that former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani must immediately pay $148 million to the two former Georgia election workers he falsely accused of ballot manipulation after the 2020 election. The next day the former mayor of New York filed for bankruptcy.

Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, the two Georgia election workers who won the defamation verdict against Giuliani, asked the judge to waive the standard 30-day waiting period and force him to pay them as soon as possible.


Giuliani, who continues to be buried in legal challenges and debt, on Thursday filed for bankruptcy, claiming he had between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities and $1 million to $10 million in assets, according to a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.


Despite Giuliani filing for bankruptcy, “debate for intentional torts are not dischargeable” and plaintiffs can “garnish any sources of income,” former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor, told Salon. ...............(more)


December 21, 2023

Mike Johnson owes "the secretive networks that form the backbone of the American Right" big time

Mike Johnson owes "the secretive networks that form the backbone of the American Right" big time
Inside the Christian supremacy movement that propelled Johnson to the top

Senior Writer

(Salon) On Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Donald Trump is disqualified from the presidency and should therefore be removed from the ballot in that state because of his role in the Jan. 6 coup attempt, which is an act of insurrection as determined by the United States Constitution. This ruling will be used by Trump and his White Christian followers and other cultists as more evidence that Trump is a divine figure who is being persecuted by his enemies in the "secular world" and "deep state."


In all, Trump and the American neofascist movement, anchored by the Christian Right, is an existential threat to the country’s multiracial pluralistic democracy and society. This danger has been greatly increased by how the Christian Right, as the result of decades of careful movement-building and strategizing, now has key figures in great positions of power throughout the United States government and across society. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is one such leader.

As has been widely documented, Johnson is a Christian Nationalist (which in practice means a White Christian supremacist) who holds such odious and cruel beliefs as gays and lesbians and transgender people are some type of abomination that should be removed from American life, women are the de facto chattel and property of their husbands and should not have control over their own bodies, birth control and abortion should be illegal, and that White Christianity should be the official religion of the United States and only “Christians” should be allowed to hold public office.


How does Speaker of the House Mike Johnson's ascent fit into the White Christian political and social project?

(Bradley B. Onishi, president of the Institute for Religion, Media, and Civic Engagement) All of the sociological studies tell us that white Christian nationalists, like Mike Johnson, see the United States as in decline. For them, returning to a time when the country was in obedience to God is the key to national renewal. When asked about what that time would be, they often point to the 1950s. So, the 1950s represent a time of American renaissance. And everything afterward represents American decline. Well, the sixties are what gave us the civil rights movement. The Voting Rights Act, immigration reform. Queer liberation movements. Women's liberation movements. I could go on and on and on. .................(more)


December 21, 2023

Risk of penile fractures rises at Christmas, doctors find

(Guardian UK) It may be the season of loving and giving, but doctors have warned against embracing this spirit too enthusiastically – at least where sexual relations are concerned. They have discovered that the Christmas period is associated with a significantly increased risk of penile fractures – a medical emergency in which the erection-producing regions of the penis snap, usually as a result of forceful bending during over-enthusiastic sexual intercourse.

“This injury tends to occur during wild sex – particularly in positions where you’re not in direct eye contact [with your partner], such as the reverse cowgirl,” said Dr Nikolaos Pyrgides, a urologist at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, who led the research.

The fractures are often heralded by an audible crack, followed by severe pain, rapid loss of erection and severe swelling and bruising. “When [patients] present to their doctor their penis often looks like an eggplant,” Pyrgides said.

Suspecting that the intimacy and euphoria of the festive season might be a risk factor for this type of injury, Pyrgides and his colleagues examined hospital data for 3,421 men who sustained penile fractures in Germany between 2005 and 2021. .............(more)


December 21, 2023

Rite Aid facial recognition misidentified Black, Latino and Asian people as 'likely' shoplifters

(Guardian UK) Rite Aid used facial recognition systems to identify shoppers that were previously deemed “likely to engage” in shoplifting without customer consent and misidentified people – particularly women and Black, Latino or Asian people – on “numerous” occasions, according to a new settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. As part of the settlement, Rite Aid has been forbidden from deploying facial recognition technology in its stores for five years.

The FTC said in a federal court complaint that Rite Aid used facial recognition technology in hundreds of stores from October 2012 to July 2020 to identify shoppers “it had previously deemed likely to engage in shoplifting or other criminal behavior”. The technology sent alerts to Rite Aid employees either by email or phone when it identified people entering the store on its watchlist.

The FTC said in its complaint that store employees would then put those people under increased surveillance, ban them from making purchases or accuse them in front of friends, family and other customers of previously committing crimes. The facial recognition system was largely used in New York City; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Detroit; Atlantic City; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; Wilmington, Delaware and Sacramento, California, according to the settlement. ..............(more)


December 20, 2023

Rudy Giuliani was MAGA before MAGA

Rudy Giuliani's 90s-era war on art and dancing shows he didn't change — he was MAGA before MAGA
Long before Moms for Liberty, Giuliani abused his power to silence artists and decimate New York's nightlife

Senior Writer

(Salon) One New Year's resolution that journalists need to start adopting right this minute: Stop saying Rudy Giuliani has changed. The latest iteration of this annoying truism comes to us courtesy of David French of the New York Times, who argues "Rudy Giuliani isn’t truly Rudy Giuliani any longer," but has experienced a "long descent from a post-9/11 American hero to a mocked, derided and embattled criminal defendant ." French is a never-Trump Republican, but even liberals who should know better have embraced this "fall from grace" narrative. John Oliver on "Last Week Tonight" exclaimed Sunday that the modern iteration of Giuliani is "desperately trying to coast off of the guy that Giuliani was 20 years ago."

There's been some pushback against this line, most notably from Jamelle Bouie of the New York Times. Back in August, Bouie reminded readers that, decades before Giuliani was sued for defaming two Georgia election workers as part of a larger attempt to steal the 2020 election, he was a "scowling demagogue who stoked the flames of chauvinism and racial hatred." The story that Bouie tells, of Giuliani participating in a racist police riot in 1989, is revolting. But wildly, it's also just the tip of the iceberg that is Giuliani's long and ugly history of being the absolute worst.


In late 1999, the Brooklyn Museum scheduled an art exhibit titled "SENSATION: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection," which had first been displayed at the Royal Academy of Art in London. Many of the pieces in the exhibit have become famous, in no small part due to Giuliani's over-the-top histrionics in denouncing the exhibit and threatening to literally shut down the entire museum if they would not comply with his demands to cancel the show. Giuliani claimed to be especially outraged by Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary," which Ofili described as "a hip-hop version" of the classic artistic subject.


The dancing ban under Giuliani is a good reminder that he hasn't just always been a fascist at heart, but that he's also always been a straight up weirdo. "As mayor of NYC from 1994 through 2001, Rudy Giuliani demonized nightlife as our city's bastard child, trying to smooth it over in order to make things safe for tourists and co-op owners," Michael Musto wrote in 2017 in a history of Giuliani's war on dancing for Vice. .................(more)


December 20, 2023

Ford just added 100 hidden-for-decades photos of concept cars to its online archive

(Detroit Free Press) The hunt to find rare car photos of early prototypes, hidden for decades, just got a little easier.

Merry Christmas.

But be cautious about spreading the word. In January, when Ford Motor Co. did a photo dump of vintage F-Series pickup truck photos, fans crashed the computer system. The tech team immediately fixed the issue and took action to keep a shutdown from happening again by doubling capacity.

This time, Ford is revealing 100 new concept car images, including 45 new vehicles, to total 378 unique concept vehicles online. It looks like a study in futuristic automotive car design executed decades ago. Overall, the Ford Heritage Vault now hosts 1,844 concept car images from 1896 to 2021. Plus, the site includes all the old news releases and brochures for the concepts. ................(more)


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