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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
December 14, 2023

Michigan elections director testifies at first hearings in fake electors case

(Detroit Free Press) The first major hearing in a case against a group of Republicans facing election-related charges got underway Wednesday, as the preliminary examinations for the first of Michigan's fake electors began.

Six of the 16 individuals initially charged by Attorney General Dana Nessel's Office had their hearings begin in Ingham County's 54-A District Court in Lansing in front of Judge Kristen Simmons. The group has been charged over a scheme to falsely give Michigan's electoral votes to former President Donald Trump instead of President Joe Biden in 2020, despite Biden's victory in Michigan by about 154,000 votes. Those whose preliminary examinations began Wednesday were:

* Kathy Berden
* Meshawn Maddock
* John Haggard
* Michele Lundgren
* Amy Facchinello
* Mari-Ann Henry

The group and others signed documents attempting to give the state's electoral votes to the former president instead of Biden. That slate was eventually transmitted to Congress and the National Archives as if Trump had won Michigan, although the state's electoral votes were awarded to Biden.

These individuals had attempted to gain access to the Michigan Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, to cast votes for Trump, but were denied entry by Michigan State Police. ............(more)


December 14, 2023

"I don't regret it": Rudy Giuliani's defense is Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman should accept his abuse

"I don't regret it": Rudy Giuliani's defense is Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman should accept his abuse
Doubling down on lies and defamation backfired on both Donald Trump and Alex Jones, but Rudy's going for it anyway

Senior Writer

(Salon) Rudy Giuliani has lost a lot due to his fanatical devotion to Donald Trump. Once referred to as "America's mayor," his reputation is now in tatters. He's broke and faces disbarment. The former mayor of New York city may very well lose his freedom as one of the 19 co-defendants charged in Georgia for conspiring to steal the 2020 presidential election. Despite all this, Giuliani's faith in his glowering orange idol has not wavered. He is even borrowing directly from Trump's playbook in defending himself in a lawsuit filed by two Georgia election workers he defamed as part of the attempted coup.

Here is the MAGA defense strategy: Refuse to admit error and instead double down on the very lies that led to so much legal trouble to begin with.

"Everything I said about them is true," Giuliani told reporters outside the courtroom Monday, repeating his false allegations that the two election workers, Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, were "engaged in changing votes."


The underlying assumption tying Giuliani's behavior together is white privilege: A belief shared by him and his MAGA followers that he, a white man, should get to do whatever he wants to whomever he wants. And his victims, two Black women, are expected to simply take it. That it's the "death penalty" for Giuliani to lose his fancy Manhattan apartment. But when it comes to these two women suffering fear and poverty because of Giuliani's lies, he and his allies view that as the natural order that MAGA is meant to restore. ...........(more)


December 14, 2023

Rudy convinced nervous "fake electors"

(Salon) Top Donald Trump campaign advisors knew in early December 2020 of concerns that criminal charges could arise after submitting certificates falsely claiming the Republican won battleground states like Michigan that he'd actually lost, documents first obtained by The Detroit News show.

The emails and text messages between campaign officials and volunteers show supporters of Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election made attempts to quell fears about the potential for prosecution in Pennsylvania and New Mexico. Those supporters, however, declined to act on the concerns in Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin, according to records from a lawyer who assisted the former president's campaign.

A group of Republicans in Pennsylvania — where Joe Biden won in 2020 by 1 percentage point — had hesitations about authorizing certificates claiming to be the state's official presidential electors, the documents show. They expressed legal concerns during a Dec. 12, 2020 conference call with personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and campaign official Mike Roman, according to emails about the conversation.

"The electors are concerned about the partisan AG targeting them," wrote Trump-aligned attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who was also involved in the Dec. 12 call, in an email sent the same day to Matthew Morgan, a lawyer for the Trump campaign. ..............(more)


December 12, 2023

'Stunning' threat in Texas abortion case steps up Paxton criminalization crusade

(Guardian UK) When a Texas court ruled that a 31-year-old woman with a non-viable pregnancy could have an abortion despite the state’s strict bans, the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, responded with a brazen threat to prosecute “hospitals, doctors, or anyone else” who would assist in providing the procedure. The letter he sent Texas hospitals hours after the ruling, threatening first-degree felonies that could result in life in prison, was a “stunning” move indicative of his longstanding crusade to criminalize abortion care, say legal experts and advocates.

“It is extraordinary that Paxton would threaten hospitals and doctors with this letter before even winning an appeal,” Mary Ziegler, a UC-Davis law professor who focuses on reproductive rights, told the Guardian. “It’s a very unusual maneuver, but does certainly reflect his ultimate goal of wanting to go after abortion providers and supporters at all costs.”

After Paxton sent his menacing letter to Texas hospitals, the state petitioned the all-Republican Texas supreme court to block the ruling allowing Kate Cox to access an abortion in Texas. On Friday, the state’s highest court temporarily halted the lower court order that had allowed Cox to receive emergency abortion care, before ruling on Monday to vacate the order that would have permitted her to get care in her home state.

With a risky pregnancy that threatened her health, Cox waited nearly three days for the Court to issue a final order. On Monday, hours before the final order from the court, she finally fled out-of-state for abortion care at 20 weeks pregnant. ............(more)


December 12, 2023

Higher education must help protect democracy

Higher education must help protect democracy
Intellectual isolationism won’t help the Ivy League — or the United States


(Salon) There is a clear and present danger to American democracy: Donald Trump’s populist authoritarianism. This is no secret, and yet many in higher education would prefer not to talk about it. Instead, we find ourselves wondering if elite school presidents should resign.

It is not a matter of supporting a political party or issue. We in higher ed must stand up for the values that make free inquiry and teaching possible. We must defeat a movement that has already promised to seize control of how we study, conduct research, and teach. This is no time to seek refuge in doctrines of neutrality. Such doctrines led to the kind of flaccid, lawyerly responses we heard from Ivy League presidents testifying in front of Congress last week. “That depends,” is not an answer you want from someone whose job it is to protect students confronted with calls for their annihilation.


While commentators rail against high education’s efforts at inclusion and the cultivation of so-called woke ideologies, students are increasingly choosing to focus their studies in fields more quantitative than value-laden. Disengagement, not protest, is the norm. Even some humanists urge their colleagues to stick to disinterested scholarship and preserve the “contemplative mood.” According to the author of an ill-timed recent NYT op-ed, this will somehow make those in the Humanities especially “irresistible.”


The urgency of this work has only grown, and now we’re calling for schools to double down on student democratic participation in 2024. We hear talk almost every day about the threats to our democracy – not just that one’s preferred candidate might lose but that the electoral system and the civic culture in which it is embedded is at profound risk. In order to do our part to shore up democracy and combat the rampant cynicism about elections, we must seize this moment to galvanize learning through political participation. By defending democracy, we will deepen learning; by deepening learning we will defend democracy. Both will make our educational institutions more effective, and this will create a virtuous circle of civic preparedness for the country as a whole. ...................(more)


December 12, 2023

Satan exposes GOP free speech hypocrisy

An Iowa fight over a Satanic display reminds us: Republicans believe "free speech" is only for them
The key to understanding the GOP furor over "anti-semitism" on campus? A altar to Lucifer in the Des Moines Capitol

Senior Writer

(Salon) It's become a holiday tradition, especially in the red states. Every year, in response to overtly Christian displays put up in government buildings, the Satanic Temple petitions to set up a display honoring Lucifer in state capitols. They usually succeed. See, the Supreme Court long ago created a loophole in the First Amendment to allow religious displays, by arguing that as long as every group gets to have one, it doesn't violate the "no establishment of religion" clause. By putting up altars to Satan next to the annual nativity scenes, the Satanic Temple makes their point about the silliness of this loophole.


It's hardened into a ritual because both sides get something out of it. The fundamentalists get a chance to freak out and use this as evidence for their lurid conspiracy theories claiming demonic forces are out to get them. The Satanists and their fans get a chance to remind everyone that Republicans are hypocrites who never really believed all that "free speech" talk. This year, the annual rite is playing out in Iowa, where the Satanists have antagonized the Christians with a goat's head wreath in the Des Moines capitol building.


But while people get into often-incomprehensible arguments over the finer points of defining "genocide" and "free speech," what is getting lost is the most important issue: Republicans are a bunch of lying hypocrites. It's this message the Satanic Temple is trying to remind us all of with their holiday display. The MAGA right has been wailing for years about the alleged threats to free speech from hazily defined social pressures like "wokeness" and "cancel culture," but when it comes to opinions they don't like, they don't hesitate to call for the blunt force of censorship.


The reaction to the Satanic altar in Iowa shows the emptiness of GOP rhetoric about "free speech." State Rep. Brad Sherman is on the warpath, insisting it's "a tortured and twisted interpretation of law that affords Satan, who is universally understood to be the enemy of God, religious expression equal to God in an institution of government that depends upon God for continued blessings." ..............(more)


December 11, 2023

Kate Cox Flees Texas To Seek Abortion

(Mother Jones) Kate Cox, the woman at the center of a Texas court case to terminate her pregnancy for medical reasons, has been forced to leave the state for care, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Last week, Cox filed a petition for a temporary restraining order to halt enforcement of Texas’ near total abortion ban so she could undergo an emergency termination of her pregnancy. ​​Cox’s petition was the first time since Roe was decided in 1973 that an adult pregnant person asked a court for permission to get an abortion.

In a historic ruling, lower court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble said Cox could receive the care. But within hours, state Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a threatening letter to the employers of Cox’s doctor. “We feel it is important for you to understand the potential long-term implications if you permit such an abortion to occur at your facility,” the letter said. Paxton then appealed the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court. ............(more)


December 11, 2023

Trump's campaign is growing nervous about his behavior

Trump's campaign is growing nervous about his behavior
The Trump campaign understands that his mouth is lethal for Trump's chances in the general election


(Salon) ....(snip)....

Last week, Fox News' Sean Hannity asked Trump a simple question: "Do you in any way have any plans whatsoever have any plans if you are re-elected president to abuse power, to break the law, to use the government to go after people" and Trump said, "like they are doing now" and went on to talk about how he's been indicted more than one of the greatest criminals of all time, "if you happen to like criminals" —- Al Capone.


Trump's answer was, "except for day one." Hannity was taken aback. Trump explained, "He says you’re not going to be a dictator, are you? I said, no, no, no. Other than day one. We’re closing the border and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator. Okay?"


Many of the stories last week featured background quotes from people dropping names of potential Cabinet picks and other personnel choices for a second Trump term which clearly spooked the campaign. Axios had reported that people like Tucker Carlson were on a short list for VP while cronies Steve Bannon and Kash Patel were named for other important posts in the administration. Patel immediately appeared on Bannon's podcast to declare that they certainly did have big plans, one of which was to go after the media, "whether it’s criminally or civilly, we’ll figure that out." He told Bannon that they had a "bench" of "all-American patriots" who would get the ball rolling immediately.

This is likely what led senior campaign advisers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita to issue a statement on Friday, saying that "no aspect of future presidential staffing or policy announcements should be deemed official" unless it came from them. This was on the heels of a similar statement from a couple of weeks ago after the first flurry of reports about the planned dictatorship started appearing in the mainstream media, in which they proclaimed that "any personnel lists, policy agendas, or government plans published anywhere are merely suggestions." ............(more)


December 10, 2023

The "dark money ATM of the right" is funneling money to hate groups while hiding donor identities

(Salon) Donors Trust, also known as the “dark money ATM of the right,” funneled $257,600 to six organizations that have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Accountable.US review of Donors Trust’s 2022 tax filing revealed.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center, an SPLC-designated anti-Muslim hate group, received the highest amount of donations totaling $142,000, followed by The VDARE Foundation, a white nationalist hate group, which received $34,500.

The Thomas More Law Center, another SPLC-designated hate group and “religious-right organization,” which has worked to overturn federal hate crimes law, pulled in $30,000. No Left Turn in Education and the Center for Immigration Studies both received $20,000 each while the Family Research Council pulled in $11,100.

It comes as “no surprise” that Donors Trust dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into “known radical hate groups,” Caroline Ciccone, Accountable.US president, told Salon. “Donors Trust has become infamous as a massive war chest for the far-right’s most extreme causes,” Ciccone said. .............(more)


December 9, 2023

Florida 19-year-old arrested for threatening mass shooting in NYC

A Florida man accused of threatening a mass shooting in New York City over Thanksgiving weekend promoted himself as a mixed martial arts fighter, according to new documents in Tampa Federal Court.

Robert Trout III posted on social media promotional ads depicting himself in boxer shorts and promoting appearances at “gyms, locations, and events” on Florida’s Gulf Coast, says a criminal complaint.

At a hearing Friday, a judge ordered Trout, 19, jailed while his case is pending trial.


“I’m gonna shoot anybody I see on on [sic] that f***in’ train – I’m just gonna walk on that train and start f***ing unloading,” Trout said, according to the criminal complaint. ...........................(more)


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