All posts by cjjohns08

Criminologist, writer, actor, storyteller, painter and a lover of all things feline.

Impeach Bret Kavanaugh

IMPEACH BRET KAVANAUGH

Kavanaugh Notes

kavanaugh      chris coons

  • According to reporting this morning, not ONE Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Bret Kavanaugh about his finances during the confirmation hearing.
  • Who paid off Kavaaugh’s debts?
  • How did he maintain membership in a $90,000 a year country club?
  • Why did Anthony Kennedy retire (leaving a spot for Kavanaugh) shortly after his son was outed as having gotten a loan for Trump from Deutsche Bank?
  • Chris Coons (A DEMOCRAT) arranged a “compromise” with Jeff Flake which helped the Kavanaugh nomination get through the confirmation. This was an agreement about having a limited “investigation.”  Why isn’t Chris Coons being called in front of a Senate Committee and asked about the details of that agreement?  You can phone and thank Coons for his service to the country and women at this number (202) 224-5042.
  • Presidential candidates Warren, Castro, and Harris have come out asking for Kavanaugh to be impeached. All agree that the process which resulted in his confirmation was flawed.  That’s a polite term.  The process was a set up which succeeded in getting Kavanaugh confirmed with the help of at least one Democrat, Coons.
  • Who participated in the investigation of Kavanaugh at the FBI? Who talked to the corroborating witnesses? What are their names?  Why aren’t they being called in front of a Senate Committee?
  • Who at the FBI gave field agents word that they were not to do a vigorous investigation?
  • Who gave the FBI the word that this investigation was to be a pro-forma piece of work.
  • According to Joyce Vance, the FBI has refused to allow Congress to look at the 500-page “investigation” of Kavanaugh. They are denying access in response to a FOIA request claiming executive privilege.
  • There are also notes that FBI agents filed along with the investigation report. Why aren’t these being subpoenaed?
  • During the confirmation hearings, John Cornyn whined and lamented the fact that people wouldn’t come forward publicly with their accusations against Bret Kavanaugh. At that time corroborating witnesses were trying to have the FBI listen to their testimony.
  • The FBI, according to these witnesses, assigned low-level staffers to do a cursory interview and then never contacted them again.
  • The bottom line is that the Republicans couldn’t care less if the accusations against Bret Kavanaugh are true (financial, sexual any). He is there to advance a right-wing, anti-democratic, kleptocratic agenda.  That’s all they care about.
  • The Courts (packed with right-wing ideologues) will bring down democracy as fast and as conclusively as any coup.

 

Some thoughts about the The Wider Significance

  • Pro forma investigations (like the Mueller Report) are a well-used way of burying, and denaturing incriminating information. The people who participate in them are part of the cover up (Mueller, Rosenstein, Barr, etc).   Democrat Chris Coons is as much a part of the covering up of incriminating information against Kavanaugh and his successful confirmation as any Republican.
  • Corroborating witnesses for Blasey Ford were given little attention and investigation and weren’t called upon to testify at the confirmation hearing.
  • This is EXACTLY what Joe Biden helped engineer for Anita Hill. There were women willing and ready to go before the committee and give testimony and Biden helped block it along with the Republicans.
  • Nobody is asking Biden about this on the campaign trail.
  • We must remove the entire leadership class of the Democratic Party. They must go if we are ever going to have a decent country.
  • One of the corroborating witnesses coming forward says that he remembers Bret Kavanaugh at another party, not the one where Blasey Ford was raped, where Kavanaugh had his pants down and his friends shoved his penis in the face of a woman. What kind of people participate in a party where men handle and shove another man’s penis in the face of a young woman?  What kind of man drops his pants and allows, directs, orders other men to handle his penis and shove it in the face of a young woman?  Exactly what level of perversion are we dealing with among the men in this cohort?  If this is what’s on the surface, what’s underneath?
  • Who are the men at these parties? What are their names?  Where are they now?  What positions of public trust do they hold?  Who is covering up for them?
  • Jeffrey Epstein was selling little girls to other men and raping them himself. Think of all the men who covered up for him.  What more is there underneath this behavior?
  • We still don’t know exactly what role Kavanaugh played in the Bush/Cheney torture program. According to Thom Hartmann, 90% of Kavanaugh’s paperwork on this was never released.
  • I would also like to remind you that cheerful, laughing, having a great time covering all this Nicolle Wallace had no moral qualms working in the Bush/Cheney torture administration. She has often on her show, issued self-righteous calls for other members of the Trump administration to resign, but she never did.  She worked for a man who lied us into a war and manipulated the legal system to justify torture.  But, now, she has her own show on MSNBC and defends the Bushes.
  • Trump is tweeting today that the Justice Department should come to Kavanaugh’s rescue. Seems like to me they already have.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is your Justice Department – a corrupt organization working for a corrupt president.

 

Please don’t hold out the notion that we have a functioning democracy any more.  This is a kleptocracy masquerading as a government.  To do anything about it people are going to have to start realizing that this is a war not a garden party and every person must stop laughing, giggling, making jokes, saying “ain’t he awful,” boosting their careers, white-washing what’s going on.

It no good to bury your heads and complain that discussing politics makes your lunch uncomfortable.  “Oh, it upsets me too much.”  Upsetting?  Damn right it is.  What’s going to be more upsetting is living in a country with a totally corrupt political, legal, criminal justice system.  Its high time people got upset, protested, went to the streets demanded that politicians act.  This nice, polite, oh somebody will sort it out, is not going to work.  You can’t be friends with people who are enemies of democracy.  You just can’t.  Old Scottish song: Which side are you on?

“We’re Going to Continue Fighting.” ACLU. Immigration and the Roberts Court

roberts

We must continue fighting the Roberts Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court today issued a ruling that would allow the Trump administration to bar most Central American migrants from seeking asylum.

“They’re fleeing from violence and poverty,” notes a representative from the ACLU, referring to the migrants.  But, over on Fox News, people seeking asylum are being presented as drug dealers and participants in human trafficking.

The new rules sought by the Trump Administration forbid asylum applications from those who have gone through another country and not been refused asylum in that country.  In other words, people who have not sought asylum in the third country.

In July, the Roberts Court allowed Trump to begin using $2.5 billion in Pentagon money to construct a barrier along the Mexican border.

Last year, the Roberts court upheld the ban on travel from several predominately Muslim countries, rejecting the argument that the ban was targeting a religious group.

The Courts did not even come up in the questions asked by the ABC commentators in the Democratic Debate.  But, any candidate must come up with a plan for what Democrats propose to do about the packing of the court by the Republicans and the effects of the Roberts Court.

Morning: Elie Mystal, Bolsonaro, Individual rights and the modern conservative movement.

elie

It’s morning, for me at least.  Massive amounts of coffee with heavy cream, the Tuesday trip to the vet to get my 21 year old cat fluids.

I spent most of the night dreaming that I was struggling to get to Trump’s funeral.  The rest of the night I spent angry and frustrated because my brother-in-law burned down our hour.  Sign of the times?

Jair Bolsonaro says he is refusing to accept $20 million from the G7 to help fight the fires in the Amazon.  Of course he did.  He helped start the fires by announcing publicly that the Amazon was open for exploitation.  If he accepts the money he would be admitting that there is a problem.  What’s the problem?  The entire modern Conservative movement is telling us that individuals pursuing their own self-interest will provide Nirvana for us all.  Burn away.  We’re on the way to utopia.

Elie Mystal, lawyer, editor of Above the Law, and national treasure has published an article detailing the kinds of hateful, horrid tweets he gets on a regular basis.  This is a man who is not afraid to speak the truth even if it’s uncomfortable.  He regularly talks about things like Mueller’s disastrous chickenshit report and how Mueller has failed us.  This is a subject media anchors cut off as soon as they can.  Mystel also displays the utter rage that many of us feel about what is going on in the country not only with Trump, the Republicans and the conservative movement in general.  He also talks about the cowardice of the Democratic Party, a discussion that definitely needs to be had.  He fights for us.  That’s why he’ll never be given a show on MSNBC.

Under the heading of gratuitous Bernie bashing today: Richard Haas said on @morningjoe that Bernie Sanders would contribute a lot of “Trumpisms” in terms of foreign policy if he were elected.  The casual Bernie Bashing has become endemic among the punditocracy.

Maybe the day will get better.

 

 

 

 

 

The Authoritarian Bubble: Bolsonaro, the Amazon, Trump and George Orwell

trump empty chair

Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. – George Orwell

Two weeks into the Trump administration thousands of documents detailing animal welfare violations nationwide were removed from the website of the Department of Agriculture which had been posting this information for decades.  The records included inspection records and animal abuse reports from commercial animal facilities in the U.S. including zoos, breeders, factory farms, and laboratories.

To some that might seem like a trivial concern given the enormity of the threat that the Trump administration presented.  It is far from trivial.

As an animal lover I was incensed by the action.  But as a social scientist, I saw this move for exactly what it was – an attempt to control information, as Orwell wrote to “control the past.”  It was an attempt to own reality and I knew that it would not stop.

Predictably, the Trump administration soon started trying to control and distort information about climate change.  It has been doing so ever since.

As just one recent example, in March of 2019 officials of the Trump Administration neutered a news release written by scientists which showed that climate change could have a withering effect on the economy of California by inundating real estate over the next few decades.  An earlier draft, written by scientists, was “sanitized” to mute the impact of the research.

The report had detailed that California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, would face more than $100 billion in damages related to climate change and sea-level rise by the end of the century.  But, people realizing the effects of climate change might lead to action.  It’s better for authoritarians to manipulate and create their own information.

In an article in the Nation, George Grandin, has written about how fundamental to the ideology of the modern conservative movement is the notion that only individual rights have any standing.  Social rights – the rights of the collective – to health care, education, clean environment are considered dangerous.  The lie that the Conservative movement tells itself and us is that individuals, pursuing their own self-interest will somehow, miraculously, provide a society that functions in the interests of us all.

This is bull shit.

Those committed to the primacy of individual rights pit them in opposition to social rights and despise even the notion of the wider good.  They try to destroy any talk of, thought of, example of or advocacy of social rights.  This is one of the reasons they have fought so hard against the ACA.  It is why they are so terrified of science, of facts.  They wish to convince the American people, and indeed the world, that individual rights if allowed to be expressed unfettered will result in the good of all.

Grandin calls it individual rights exclusivism.

Authoritarian governments around the world are denying social rights and manipulating information to make it seem as if unfettered capitalism will reward us all.  The Brazilian government, for example, recently sacked the head of the National Institute for Space Research who had released data showing a 278 percent increase in deforestation in July compared with the figures for a year ago.  Bolsonaro portrays himself as a champion of indigenous people by taking measures to open the Amazon to exploitation.  If he can, he will hide the science, the facts that demonstrate the lie of his actions and the devastation that will result.

At the G7, Trump refused to attend a crucial meeting on climate change, biodiversity and the Amazon fires.  If you ignore the problem, it goes away at least in the bubble you and your media outlets create.

 

Destroying the Planet for Profit

bolsonaro

As Jon Lee Anderson wrote recently in the New Yorker, authoritarian leaders around the world share a “vocabulary of intolerance, insult and menace.”  Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil is one of those leaders.

Bolsonaro has made statements such as: “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son.”  “I would prefer that my son die in an accident than show up with some guy with a mustache.”  He called a political rival, Maria do Rosario, “not worth raping.”  And, he has called immigrants “scum.”  The United Nations he called “a bunch of communists.”  He supports the torture of drug dealers, approves of the use of firing squads and advocates for a macho hyper-aggressive police force.  “A policeman who doesn’t kill,” he has said, “isn’t a policeman.”

His insult and menace extend to the environment.  Soon after taking office, he announced that he would open the Amazon to the private agribusiness interests who support him.  Bolsonaro and his administration cynically present themselves as acting in the interests of the indigenous population, allowing them to open up their lands to private exploitation and therefore gain themselves.  But, the indigenous populations will not gain from private exploitation of the Amazon, Bolsonaro and his class will.

Authoritarian leaders are destroying the planet for profit and we have to stop them.

 

 

See the full New Yorker Article

 

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/01/jair-bolsonaros-southern-strategy