Fleet Street, London, August, 2010. According to my brother, this loosely translates as, “I begin to prosper starting right now”
ƒ/5.6 200.0 mm
Public pressure still works, sometimes.
The Guardian reports:
The proposal to attach [Joe Manchin’s] bill [that would weaken environmental protections and fast-track energy projects] to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual appropriations bill that will be voted on later this week, was reportedly supported by Joe Biden and House leader Nancy Pelosi.
But progressive lawmakers and hundreds of climate, public health and youth groups opposed the move to pass such consequential reforms without proper scrutiny. Manchin’s legislation would weaken environmental safeguards and expedite permits to construct pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure while restricting public input and legal challenges.
On Tuesday, more than 750 organizations sent a letter to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and congressional leadership opposing what they call a “cruel and direct attack on environmental justice communities”. Attaching the “dirty deal” to the NDAA, which would have been one of Pelosi’s final acts as speaker, threatened her legacy and the party’s climate credibility, the groups said.
The deal was ditched – for now at least – amid mounting criticism aimed at the Democratic leadership.
(click here to continue reading Democrats ditch Manchin’s ‘dirty deal’ after opposition from climate activists | Joe Manchin | The Guardian.)
Not quite sure how often I’ll use a “Micropost”, as years of mental memory route such thoughts to social media (Twitter, pre-Musk, and now Mastodon), but this is a new feature in MarsEdit 5, so I’ll try it for a few days.
Ronald Reagan, George Bush The Smarter, and other Cold Warriors must be furiously spinning in their graves over this turn by current Republicans.
The Guardian reports:
Ever since Russia launched its brutal war in Ukraine the Kremlin has banked on American conservative political and media allies to weaken US support for Ukraine and deployed disinformation operations to falsify the horrors of the war for both US and Russian audiences, say disinformation experts.
Some of the Kremlin’s most blatant falsehoods about the war aimed at undercutting US aid for Ukraine have been promoted by major figures on the American right, from Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes to ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Fox News star Tucker Carlson, whose audience of millions is deemed especially helpful to Russian objectives.
On a more political track, House Republican Freedom Caucus members such as Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Scott Perry – who in May voted with 54 other Republican members against a $40bn aid package for Ukraine, and have raised other concerns about the war – have proved useful, though perhaps unwitting, Kremlin allies at times.
(click here to continue reading Top US conservatives pushing Russia’s spin on Ukraine war, experts say | The far right | The Guardian.)
CNN Politics reports:
The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol has decided to make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, the panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, told reporters Tuesday.
Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said the committee has not narrowed down the universe of individuals who may be referred.
Asked whether Thompson believed any witnesses perjured themselves, he said, “that’s part of the discussion.”
(click here to continue reading House January 6 committee has decided to make criminal referrals, chairman says | CNN Politics.)
Unexpected, actually, because usually Democrats don’t ever go for the jugular. We’ll remain cautiously optimistic that some insurrectionists see jail time, as they should.
Who will have the courage to end this Bush-era overreaction to the 9/11 attack?
Debra Kamin, NYT reports:
After years of delays, security-enhanced driver’s licenses and other updated identification requirements were set to be mandatory next spring. Now the government is giving you another two years.
The 2005 Real ID Act, which mandates that U.S. travelers must carry more than a standard driver’s license to board a domestic flight, was set to go into effect on May 3, 2023. But on Monday, after some 15 years of delays, the Department of Homeland Security pushed the deadline for enforcement by an additional 24 months. Travelers now have until May 7, 2025, to update their documents.
The Real ID Act is a post-Sept. 11 law that requires U.S. travelers flying within the United States to show Transportation Security Administration agents either a security-enhanced driver’s license or another T.S.A.-approved form of identification like a passport. When the act eventually goes into effect, a state driver’s license that does not contain a Real ID seal will no longer be accepted at airport security checkpoints across the country.
(click here to continue reading Real ID Deadline for Domestic Fliers is Extended. Again. at The New York Times.)
For a week now, I’ve been exploring the open source social media network #Mastodon1. Elon Musk is destroying the usefulness of #Twitter, firing staff, whining, and seemingly proceeding without a thought-out plan. I haven’t deleted my Twitter accounts, yet, but I’ve started deleting DMs, downloaded my Twitter archive, deleted the official Twitter client from my iOS devices2, unfollowing accounts, blocking accounts more quickly, yada yada.
I’ve had a Twitter account since 2007, and have been a heavy user of it ever since, for good or bad, I’m not sure. I learned a lot, but also wasted some moments that could have been more productively spent.
Anyway, Mastodon seems like a viable replacement, at least so far. It isn’t the same as Twitter, and there are some things that I wish worked differently, but all in all, worth continuing to use. I’ve had more actual conversations at Mastodon than I have had recently at Twitter, perhaps because there are less people using Mastodon. Or because it is set up differently than Twitter.
Mastodon stats from yesterday:
+5,384 in the last hour
+96,257 in the last day
+593,606 in the last week
If you want to follow me over there, use this link.
Some #DevOps statistics for #tootcommunity: There are 70 devices hitting the server, each second. That’s 1.5 million requests for the last 6 hours, in which we sent out 67GB of data.
I’m also testing out posting from WordPress to Mastodon with a new plugin. We’ll see if it works once I publish this post!
I’m not happy with the look of this site, but I never make the time to figure out how to customize it as I want. Sorry!
Also, the WordPress Block Editor is still a clunky mess, it doesn’t display well on my desktop (running an older MacOS), nor does it seem useful while using a “current” version of Safari.
Minor problems in the big scheme, of course, but means that I end up not posting much at my blog.
It would be irresponsible not to speculate, right?
First: in case you missed it…
Devlin Barrett and Carol Leonnig report:
A document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents who searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month, according to people familiar with the matter, underscoring concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about classified material stashed in the Florida property.
Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or a near-Cabinet-level official could authorize other government officials to know details of these special-access programs, according to people familiar with the search, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details of an ongoing investigation.
(click here to continue reading Material on foreign nation’s nuclear capabilities seized at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago – The Washington Post.)
Wikipedia lists eight countries with nuclear weapons in their own arsenal, US, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Israel is probably the ninth, but refuses to publicly comment. There are also nations that allow other countries to store nuclear weapons1 though this is probably not as valuable information to sell, as presumedly the nation hosting the weapons already knows about it.
Oh sure, why else would Trump want such a document? He’s long been known both as averse to reading and pro “transactional”. He wouldn’t have undertaken the effort and risk to evade government safeguards to steal all these sensitive documents without having a plan for selling the information in the future. He didn’t steal thousands of pages just to read them at his leisure.
So which country is this about? And who is the potential purchaser? Per the clues in the above cited Washington Post article and elsewhere, probably not the United States.
Putin would probably pay a lot to know what the US knows about Russia’s nuclear archive, and would probably like to know about all the other nuclear powers too.
China, the same. Are there US nukes on Taiwan still?
I don’t think the UK or France would be in the market for info on other nuclear powers, the US remains their ally, and the US has plenty of intelligence it shares with allies.
I’m not sure Trump knows much about Pakistan and India, nor would he have learned much over the years.
North Korea is certainly a prime Trump partner, they would find some way to pay Trump for information about all other nuclear states.
Israel is a very likely subject, there are plenty of potential purchasers for information about Israel’s nukes: every wealthy Middle Eastern kingdom, Syria, Russia, Egypt, plus many more.
Will we ever know? If Trump’s bumbling lawyers keep bumbling, maybe?
The Washington Post gives The Former Guy an unpaid advertorial regarding his never-ending search for competent and experienced legal advice.
The struggle to find expert legal advice puts Trump in a bind as he faces potential criminal exposure from a records dispute with the National Archives that escalated into a federal investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act and other statutes.
“Everyone is saying no,” said a prominent Republican lawyer, who like some others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential conversations.
…Ordinarily, the prestige and publicity of representing a former president, as well as the new and complex legal issues at stake in this case, would attract high-powered attorneys. But Trump’s search is being hampered by his divisiveness, as well as his reputation for stiffing vendors and ignoring advice.
“In olden days, he would tell firms representing him was a benefit because they could advertise off it. Today it’s not the same,” said Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for Trump who was convicted of tax evasion, false statements, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress in 2018.
“He’s also a very difficult client in that he’s always pushing the envelope, he rarely listens to sound legal advice, and he wants you to do things that are not appropriate, ethically or legally.”
(click here to continue reading Trump is rushing to hire seasoned lawyers — but he keeps hearing ‘No’ – The Washington Post.)
I suppose competency and the ability to follow the news are often related, perhaps that is why TFG cannot seem to find counsel. I mean, a lawyer could get disbarred, or worse, have criminal exposure all without the certainty of being paid. Dream job! A legal firm could potentially bill a lot of hours working on the 381 cases currently being litigated, but again, with a high probability of not being paid in full. TFG expects to have the RNC pay for many of these fees, but this interesting arrangement might be unsustainable for the full docket, especially if The Lord God Emperor Tiny Hands does in fact declare a run for 2024.
Meanwhile, for an allegedly wealthy man, TFG sure does need to fundraise a lot. At least the money that he manages to skim from his sheeple won’t get spent on political races to benefit Republicans.
Compare and contrast…
Josh Dawsey and Isaac Arnsdorf report:
Former president Donald Trump bombarded his supporters with more than 100 emails asking for money based on the FBI’s search of the Mar-a-Lago Club for classified materials last week. They paid off.
Contributions to Trump’s political action committee topped $1 million on at least two days after the Aug. 8 search of his Palm Beach, Fla., estate, according to two people familiar with the figures. The daily hauls jumped from a level of $200,000 to $300,000 that had been typical in recent months
(click here to continue reading Trump rakes in millions off FBI search at Mar-a-Lago – The Washington Post.)
Shane Goldmacher reports:
Online fund-raising has slowed across much of the Republican Party in recent months, an unusual pullback of small donors that has set off a mad rush among Republican political operatives to understand why — and reverse the sudden decline before it damages the party’s chances this fall.
Small-dollar donations typically increase as an election nears. But just the opposite has happened in recent months across a wide range of Republican entities, including every major party committee and former President Donald J. Trump’s political operation.
The total amount donated online fell by more than 12 percent across all federal Republican campaigns and committees in the second quarter compared with the first quarter, according to an analysis of federal records from WinRed, the main online Republican donation-processing portal.
More alarming for Republicans: Democratic contributions surged at the same time. Total federal donations on ActBlue, the Democratic counterpart, jumped by more than 21 percent.
The overall Democratic fund-raising edge online widened by $100 million from the last quarter of 2021 to the most recent three-month period, records show.
Exacerbating the fund-raising problems for Republicans is that Mr. Trump continues to be the party’s dominant fund-raiser and yet virtually none of the tens of millions of dollars he has raised has gone toward defeating Democrats. Instead, the money has funded his political team and retribution agenda against Republicans who have crossed him.
(click here to continue reading Republicans Confront Unexpected Online Money Slowdown – The New York Times.)
Charlie Savage, The New York Times, reports:
Early reports that the F.B.I. search of former President Donald J. Trump’s residence in Florida related to an investigation into whether he had unlawfully taken government files when he left the White House focused attention on an obscure criminal law barring removal of official records. The penalties for breaking that law include disqualification from holding any federal office.
Because Mr. Trump is widely believed to be preparing to run for president again in 2024, that unusual penalty raised the prospect that he might be legally barred from returning to the White House.
Specifically, the law in question — Section 2071 of Title 18 of the United States Code — makes it a crime if someone who has custody of government documents or records “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies or destroys” them. If convicted, defendants can be fined or sentenced to prison for up to three years. In addition, the statute says, if they are currently in a federal office, they “shall forfeit” that office, and they shall “be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.” On its face, then, if Mr. Trump were to be charged and convicted of removing, concealing or destroying government records under that law, he would seem to be ineligible to become president again.
But there was reason for caution
several legal scholars — including Seth B. Tillman of Maynooth University in Ireland and Eugene Volokh of the University of California, Los Angeles — noted that the Constitution sets eligibility criteria for who can be president, and argued that Supreme Court rulings suggest Congress cannot alter them. The Constitution allows Congress to disqualify people from holding office in impeachment proceedings, but grants no such power for ordinary criminal law.
(click here to continue reading Can Donald Trump Run for President Again If He Broke This Law? – The New York Times.)
So, maybe? Can a law passed by Congress supersede a provision in the Constitution? And will states allow a criminal on the ballot?
Maybe this has happened for a long time, and we didn’t notice it, but in 2022, several primary races between Republicans have had Democrats spending on ads for the more extreme Republican, with the thought being the extremists will be easier to defeat in a general election.
This strategy better be right! or else a whole cadre of MAGA zealots are going to be in a position to really really really wreck havoc. 2016 – 2020 was bad enough, and most Republicans voted in lock-step with Trump because essentially their policy goals overlapped. But if the 2022 New MAGA gets elected, you better start looking for the exit signs.
Allegedly, Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 encouraged Trump to run, with the expectation that the country wouldn’t vote for such an obviously deranged and stupid man, we know how that turned out – not good.
Governor Pritzker allegedly helped notorious White Nationalist and potential anti-semite Darren Bailey win the GOP IL primary, Pritzker better mop the floor with the guy, or Democrats and other sane voters in Illinois are going to be pissed.
A dangerous gambit, and it better work in all cases it was attempted! For all of our sakes…
One China Policy is polite fiction, at best. A nation of millions simply does not vanish because their antagonistic neighbor wants them to.
The island democracy governs itself, but China claims it as its territory. Rumors of Pelosi’s visit launched a geopolitical firestorm amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and China.
The Taiwanese government has operated separately from the mainland since nationalists fled there after losing the civil war to communists in 1949. Thirty years later, the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, adopting what’s known as the “One China” policy, in which Washington acknowledges Beijing’s position that Taiwan is a part of China. However, the U.S. has never supported China’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan and maintains a substantial, though unofficial, relationship with the island.
Pelosi penned an opinion piece published by the Washington Post upon her arrival citing the Taiwan Relations Act as establishing a commitment to Taiwan’s democracy and defense, adding, “We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience.” She said Taiwan is under threat by the government in Beijing economically, in cyberspace, and potentially by military force.
By law, the U.S. is obligated to provide Taiwan with weapons and services. But the U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” keeps open the question of whether it would intervene in the case of a military invasion by China. The Biden administration has been accused of mixed messaging on this, after Biden said on multiple occassions that the U.S. would come to Taiwan’s defense; a sentiment the White House walked back.
The Chinese government remains adamantly opposed to any official exchanges between Taiwan’s government and other foreign governments, and views official American contact with Taiwan as an indication of support for its independence.
(click here to continue reading House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lands in Taiwan : NPR.)
The issue, besides military posturing, is economics. American businesses rely heavily upon both China and Taiwan, any additional escalation will be devastating to economies of the world.
From the People’s Republic of China perspective, One China policy is akin to Putin’s One Russia policy, namely that everywhere Russia once held territory, it should take it back, by force if necessary. The PRC hated Hong Kong when it has democracy so took action to crush independent Hong Kong, and hates that Taiwan is thriving capitalist democracy right across the Taiwan Strait. There is real danger that the PRC has plans to invade Taiwan, or otherwise attack it, and they should be stopped.
From Speaker Pelosi’s OpEd:
Today, America must remember that vow. We must stand by Taiwan, which is an island of resilience. Taiwan is a leader in governance: currently, in addressing the covid-19 pandemic and championing environmental conservation and climate action. It is a leader in peace, security and economic dynamism: with an entrepreneurial spirit, culture of innovation and technological prowess that are envies of the world.
Yet, disturbingly, this vibrant, robust democracy — named one of the freest in the world by Freedom House and proudly led by a woman, President Tsai Ing-wen — is under threat.
In recent years, Beijing has dramatically intensified tensions with Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has ramped up patrols of bombers, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft near and even over Taiwan’s air defense zone, leading the U.S. Defense Department to conclude that China’s army is “likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with the PRC by force.”
The PRC has also taken the fight into cyberspace, launching scores of attacks on Taiwan government agencies each day. At the same time, Beijing is squeezing Taiwan economically, pressuring global corporations to cut ties with the island, intimidating countries that cooperate with Taiwan, and clamping down on tourism from the PRC.
In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) accelerating aggression, our congressional delegation’s visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands with Taiwan, our democratic partner, as it defends itself and its freedom.
(click here to continue reading Opinion | Nancy Pelosi: Why I’m leading a congressional delegation to Taiwan – The Washington Post.)
The PRC cannot back down at the moment due to domestic politics, but let’s all hope1 that cooler heads prevail. Not many truly want a war in Asia. A more likely outcome will be military displays off the coast of Taiwan and bluster. And bluster. And bluster…
Taiwanese government officials confirm they have received notice that Pelosi will definitely arrive in Taipei tomorrow evening
US Navy sent the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan/two assault ships USS Tripoli and USS America with F-35 fighters to the Taiwan area pic.twitter.com/l8O8KcawnK
— Herman van Noordwyk (@NoordwykHerman)
The Guardian U.K.
China has strongly objected to Pelosi’s visit, with a foreign ministry spokesperson warning on Tuesday afternoon that the US would be “held liable and pay the price for hurting China’s sovereignty and security interests”.
“Faced with reckless US disregard of China’s repeated and serious representations, any countermeasures taken by the Chinese side will be justified and necessary,” said Hua Chunying.
Earlier on Tuesday, Reuters reported several Chinese warships and planes had travelled near the median line – an unofficial border between China and Taiwan in the Taiwan strait. Citing unnamed sources, the report said the vessels had been in the area since Monday, while the latest flights occurred on Tuesday morning, prompting Taiwan’s air force to scramble its aircraft in response.
Taiwan’s defence ministry has earlier reportedly adjusted and strengthened its military’s combat readiness in response to the threat of China. According to the public broadcaster CNA, it had not formally changed the readiness level, which relates to two stages: the current regular staging, and wartime.
On Chinese social media on Tuesday there were multiple photos of dozens of tanks and other military vehicles on the streets in Xiamen, a Chinese city five kilometres across the water from the Taiwan island of Kinmen.
(click here to continue reading Taiwan and China step up military rhetoric as expected Pelosi visit looms | Taiwan | The Guardian.)
The fake electoral vote creator aka insurrectionists need to serve time in prison.
The New York Times reports:
Previously undisclosed emails provide an inside look at the increasingly desperate and often slapdash efforts by advisers to President Donald J. Trump to reverse his election defeat in the weeks before the Jan. 6 attack, including acknowledgments that a key element of their plan was of dubious legality and lived up to its billing as “fake.”
The dozens of emails among people connected to the Trump campaign, outside advisers and close associates of Mr. Trump show a particular focus on assembling lists of people who would claim — with no basis — to be Electoral College electors on his behalf in battleground states that he had lost.
In emails reviewed by The New York Times and authenticated by people who had worked with the Trump campaign at the time, one lawyer involved in the detailed discussions repeatedly used the word “fake” to refer to the so-called electors, who were intended to provide Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Trump’s allies in Congress a rationale for derailing the congressional process of certifying the outcome. And lawyers working on the proposal made clear they knew that the pro-Trump electors they were putting forward might not hold up to legal scrutiny.
In a follow-up email, Mr. Wilenchik wrote that “‘alternative’ votes is probably a better term than ‘fake’ votes,” adding a smiley face emoji.
(click here to continue reading Emails Reveal Details of Trump Fake Electors Plan – The New York Times.)