Nel's New Day

May 17, 2023

Supreme Court, Giuliani’s Lawsuits, George Santos

What’s with the Supreme Court?!

The conservative justices, who never saw a gun they didn’t love, temporarily blocked an Illinois ban on purchase and sale of AR-15-style weapons and large ammunition magazines after the 7th Circuit Cout ordered the laws in effect during litigation. No noted dissents, no reasoning. The law was proposed after a shooter fired 83 rounds in under a minute at a Fourth of July parade, killing seven and wounding 48. Highland Park, location of the carnage, prohibited the sale of his AR-15-style rifle, but he bought it elsewhere in the state. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has introduced a bill for the U.S. to allow everyone ages 18 and over to purchase semiautomatic rifles, return gun ownership to everyone convicted of domestic abuse, and repeal all laws since 2017 against gun trafficking and straw purchases.

In another decision, the high court unanimously ruled that noncitizens subject to deportation can go to the federal court of appeals without asking for reconsideration from the Board of Immigration Appeals. Even Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas agreed although they disagreed with some of the language that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote in the opinion. The ruling overturned a divided panel decision from the 5th Circuit Court. According the ruling, Congress permits noncitizens the right to use parallel tracks for judicial review and BIA reconsideration.

George Santos (R-NY) escaped expulsion from the House for his illegal acts, allowing him to vote with the narrow GOP majority. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) claimed he would take action if Santos’s problems rise “to a legal level.” The newly-elected representative faces 13 federal charges of wire fraud (seven counts), money laundering (three counts), stealing public funds (one count), and lying to the House of Representatives (two counts) while he fraudulently collected unemployment benefits and money from campaign contributions. He also confessed to stealing a checkbook in Brazil and was charged almost $5,000 in a settlement.

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) brought a resolution to expel Santos from the House, an action requiring two-thirds majority to pass. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) called him “a stain on this institution” before he voted against expulsion before he voted against expelling Santos. Other Republicans voting against expulsion had said that Santos should resign as did all GOP members of the ethics committee. The vote of 221-204 rejected the expulsion and moved Santos’ disposition to the ethics committee where it’s already been for over three months. Five of seven Democrats who voted present are on House Ethics Committee and wished to remain neutral.

Readers who wish to skip the salacious accounts below may want to know that a former employee of Rudy Giuliani, former personal lawyer for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), witnessed him of committing bribery and fraud.

For years, Giuliani has been a joke—booking Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping parking lot instead of the city’s posh hotel for a press conference, being photographed with brown hair dye streaming down his face, etc.  Bess Levin provides more: “he accidentally wed his second cousin (and was married to her for 14 years); appeared in a Borat film “with his hand down his pants”; shaved himself in the middle of an airport restaurant—the ridicule about him goes on. Now his former director of business development, Noelle Dunphy, describes his disgusting behavior, including his raping her, in a 70-page complaint filed in New York state court. She is suing Giuliani for $10 million.

According to Dunphy, his monstrous acts allegedly include “nonstop sexual abuse, including rape.” The complaint states:

“Giuliani began abusing Ms. Dunphy almost immediately after she started working [for him and] made clear that satisfying his sexual demands—which came virtually anytime, anywhere—was an absolute requirement of her employment and of his legal representation.”

One of the many instances described in the lawsuit:

“On January 25, 2019 … Giuliani insisted that Ms. Dunphy stay in a guest suite in his Upper East Side apartment…. Since Giuliani was her boss and attorney, she felt pressured to do as he asked and ultimately agreed to stay in his guest suite temporarily. Upon arrival at Giuliani’s apartment, Ms. Dunphy was surprised to find that Giuliani had alcoholic beverages ready for them…. After finishing their drinks, Ms. Dunphy went to the guest suite alone….

“When Ms. Dunphy got out of the shower, she was startled to see that Giuliani had entered the guest suite, uninvited…. She said she would meet him in the living room when she was ready. But Giuliani would not leave. He sat on the bed and pulled down his pants.

“Giuliani then pulled her head onto his penis, without asking for or obtaining any form of consent. He held her by her hair. It became clear to Ms. Dunphy that there was no way out of giving him oral sex. She did so, against her will. Ms. Dunphy was shocked and saddened by what had happened. She did not want to have any sexual encounter with Giuliani, of any kind. But Ms. Dunphy felt extreme pressure to go along with Giuliani’s demands because she could not lose her promised salary or her legal representation by the uniquely qualified and connected lawyer.”

Giuliani deferred her promised annual salary, $1 million, and wanted to keep her employment “secret” until his divorce—from third wife Judith Nathan—was resolved. He allegedly claimed that his “crazy” ex-wife and her attorneys were monitoring his cashflow and that if she found out he’d hired a female employee, his ex-wife would “attack” and “retaliate.” Guiliani lived in luxury, and Dunphy stated she saw no salary. In exchange, Giuliani promised to represent Dunphy pro bono in a domestic violence case against an abusive ex.

The complaint continued:

“On March 4, 2019 … Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy that he wanted her to end her domestic violence litigation because he felt it was interfering with his sex life with her, and he did not want her to be ‘distracted’ by it. Giuliani promised Ms. Dunphy that he would give her $300,000 in exchange for her waiving her legal rights as against her abusive ex-boyfriend, and if she would ‘fuck me like crazy.’ … Giuliani attempted to backtrack and stated, ‘We won’t put that last part, we’ll say for other consideration not appropriate [to] mention.’”

Giuliani also demanded oral sex while he was on the phone because it made him “feel like Bill Clinton.” He required that she work naked, in a bikini, or in short shorts with an American flag on them that he bought for her. When they worked remotely on videoconference, he almost always asked her to take off her clothes while she was on camera. Often he called from his bed, visibly touching himself under a white sheet. Giuliani tried to persuade her to watch the 1999 movie The General’s Daughter in which a woman is raped and murdered. He called it “sexy.”

Calling Dunphy his “girlfriend” to others, Giuliani at the same time told them she was his “daughter,” his “little girl.” During sexual contact, he would say he thought of her as his daughter as well as telling her she was a “fucking slut” and his “bitch.”

All these comments were recorded with his permission because she said she wanted to write a book about him and DDT. Sometimes Giuliani pressed “record” on her cell phone to tape their conversations which included “alcohol-drenched rants that included sexist, racist, and antisemitic remarks.” He implied that Jewish men’s penises were small because of “natural selection”; Black and Hispanic guys hit women more often than anyone else because it’s “in their culture”; and Mike Bloomberg “became gay” after his wife left him.

Giuliani also gave Dunphy unfettered access to his email, including “privileged, confidential, and highly sensitive” messages including to and from the Trump family, Cabinet members, DDT’s other lawyers, and DDT aides as well as foreign officials. He also said he was selling presidential pardons for $2 million which he and DDT would divide. Beginning on February 7, 2019, Giuliani told Dunphy his plan for DDT to claim “voter fraud,” that DDT actually won the election if he lost. “This plan was discussed at several business meetings with Giuliani and Lev Parnas,” Dunphy stated.

Giuliani threatened her with his access to professional investigators who could make her look very bad if she talked to the FBI about him and what she witnessed while she worked for him. In the complaint, she asserted that on January 7, 2021, she told Giuliani, “I feel scared of you, and I don’t want you trying to hurt me.” He fired her several weeks later in a text that read:

“I had hoped you got over your unjust claims of being afraid and wanting to sue. This is just not a basis for any form of communication. Sorry, I tried to make it sensible.” 

Giuliani is facing another lawsuit, this one for $2 million from a former grocery story worker who claims the ex-mayor lied to cops in 2022 to put him in jail. The employee patted Giuliani on the back, and Giuliani told police officers the employee had “hit” him, causing him pain. The video shows a pat, but the employee was in custody for 21 hours. Assault charges were dropped to a misdemeanor and then dropped, but the employee was fired.  

Having lost his New York law license in 2021, Giuliani faces criminal charges from the DOJ for the January 6 insurrection and election fraud in Georgia. His path seems to go nowhere but down. 

May 3, 2023

Supremes Accelerate ‘Above the Law’ Image

Although coverups of Clarence Thomas’ questionable behavior during his 1991 confirmation suggested an illegitimate Supreme Court, the doubts exploded when the high court appointed George W. Bush to the White House in 2000 and refused to permit the swing state of Florida to complete its ballot count. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the vote that gave Bush Florida, and the documents about her role in his appointment are coming home to roost. She openly supported Bush as president and wanted him to nominate her replacement—and she was in a position to effect this. 

Newly released documents, some of them from former Justice John Paul Stevens’ papers, include a four-page memo she sent her colleagues on December 10, 2000, before they heard arguments in Bush v. Gore, laying the groundwork for the ruling that stopped Florida’s unanimous court-order recount. Her attack was against including manual ballot recounts in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties; the three counties were given only five days to certify their results.

Future seven-count felon Roger Stone and election-denier Matt Schlapp, who is being sued by a male GOP campaign worker for sexual assault, coordinated hundreds of paid operatives to Florida to harass and intimidate Miami-Dade officials to block their court-ordered work with the “Brooks Brothers Riot.” On November 26, 2000, Florida’s secretary of state Katherine Harris, co-chair of Bush’s state campaign, declared Bush the state’s winner by 537 votes while counties were still tallying ballots. Bush’s legal team in the Supreme Court case putting him into the White House included current Justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. More details of the travesty.

In his prescient dissent, Stevens wrote:

“Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation’s confidence in the judges as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

Four out of the five justices who sided with Bush were accused of conflicts of interest: septuagenarians Chief Justice William Rehnquist and O’Connor said they wanted to retire during a Republican presidency; Thomas’ wife Ginni was headhunting personnel for a Bush administration; and two sons of then Justice Antonin Scalia worked for law firms representing Bush. None of them recused themselves. Bush later nominated Eugene Scalia for U.S. labor solicitor, and on election night, O’Connor said “this is terrible” to a report that Al Gore was in the lead.

In 2013, seven years after O’Connor retired, she expressed regrets for the case which she commented, “gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation”:

“It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue. Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye.'”

Thanks to O’Connor’s bad judgment, and the interference of the Supreme Court in a presidential election, Bush led the country into trillions of dollars of debt with two wars, tax cuts, and a recession that conservatives want to solve two decades later.

Justice Samuel Alito is hostile about a need for ethics rules for justices and rejects the perception that the justices’ behavior could lose respect for the high court. Instead, he blames the person who leaked his draft of the Dobbs decision overturning abortion rights in Roe v. Wade. Recently, he has claimed that he had “a pretty good idea of who is responsible”—and it isn’t a conservative. Yet he won’t give any evidence or indication of the leaker. Roberts wouldn’t allow any investigation other than his own, and justices themselves weren’t questioned. In his report, Roberts, who won’t permit any ethics’ control on the justices, accused the leak of being “a grave assault on the judicial process.”

Alito himself could have leaked the draft. Rev. Rob Schenck, one-time leader of a religious antiabortion group, said that Alito told a conservative Ohio couple sent by the organization in advance about the outcome of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014) which reduced rights to contraception. The couple had hosted Allito at lavish dinners, and evidence backs up the claim about Alito confiding in them. Schenck wrote Roberts about Alito, but the chief justice didn’t respond.

The New York Times, Politico, and Rolling Stone covered the ways that conservatives involved themselves with conservative justices through six-figure donations to the Supreme Court Historical Society and access to vacation spots such as a home in Jackson (WY). The court’s legal counsel, Ethan Torrey, wrote Schenck:

“There is nothing to suggest that Justice Alito’s actions violated ethics standards. Relevant rules balance preventing gifts that might undermine public confidence in the judiciary and allowing judges to maintain normal personal friendships.”

Torrey also repeated the Judicial Conference rule that does not permit gifts from people “seeking official action from or doing business with the judge’s court or whose interests may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the judge’s official duties.” He knew, however, that the couple were interested in “all cases related to biblical issues.” In a newsletter, they explained that they backed Schenck’s Operation Save our Nation “because we firmly believe that if we can reach our appointed and elected officials in Washington, DC with the Word of God, it is bound to have a major impact on the attitudes and actions of those in a position to shape and interpret our laws.”

Conservative justices are also involved in a newly announced Supreme Court scandal, this one involving George Mason Scalia Law School giving money to Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas for what a critic has called “all-expenses-paid vacation, with a little teaching thrown in” for the justices. The school benefits from successful fundraising and status from placements of students in prestigious positions. After Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016, Leonard Leo, a conservative behind the DDT’s far-right judicial appointments, gave $30 million to George Mason in exchange for changing the name of the law school and paying off the conservative justices.

Gorsuch has been paid to travel to Iceland and Italy; Kavanaugh lived free in a cottage near the River Thames while teaching at a university outside London. Emails show that the justices ignored the ban on using their staff to work on paid outside work, and the school’s “co-teachers” seemed to do much of the administrative load, and the professors also submitted amicus briefs to the high court to influence rulings. Thomas echoed the arguments of a professor with whom he was teaching, in a 2022 dissenting opinion. A Scalia law school professor also helped Gorsuch find a house in DC after his confirmation and later went to work for him.

The conservative justices are almost completely predictable in their rulings. Their claim of following the original wording in the constitution has worn so thin that it is shredding as they follow their ideology. In support of voting oppression, the court voted 5-4 to suspend the Voting Rights Act’s ban on racial gerrymandering in early 2022. GOP lawmakers in states like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas pack minorities into a few districts to keep Republicans elected to the state and federal legislatures. The other minorities are scattered throughout majority-white districts. For example, Alabama, one-third Black, has one predominantly Black congressional district out of seven. Even two DDT-appointed judges in a three-judge panel overturned the state decision, but the high court reinstated it, 5-4, allowing other southern racially polarized states to follow the same pattern.  

In its goal to take control from government agencies, the conservative Supreme Court will likely strip power from them in reconsidering whether judges must defer to federal agencies while interpreting ambiguous federal laws. Chevron U.S.A. v. National Resources Defense Council (1984) has been a guideline for lower courts in thousands of cases, extensively used in arguing environmental, financial and consumer protection cases. In Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the high court will hear arguments about whether the government can force herring fishers off the New England coast to fund a program providing federal monitors for their operations. Lower courts ruled for the government in the program overseen by National Marine Fisheries Service. Both Gorsuch and Thomas have given opinions to overturn Chevron, and Justice Kentanji Brown Jackson recused herself because she was on the circuit court hearing the case.

A risk for the current court is its decision regarding President Joe Biden’s student debt cancellation plan, which conservatives lean toward negating. A new report states that that the GOP officials’ center argument is “categorically false.” Missouri’s officials claimed they had standing to bring the case because the plan would “cut MOHELA’s operating revenue by 40%.” (MOHELA is the state-created higher education loan authority.) According to research from MOHELA’s “internal impact analysis, MOHELA would see its loan revenue substantially increase with Biden’s proposal and service over twice as many accounts.

In an Atlantic article, Adam Serwer describes how the current court uses the shadow docket—no arguments or opinions—to establish the current culture of the U.S.

According to journalist Emmarie Huetteman:

“The ethical conduct of the Supreme Court has been under growing scrutiny. Questions have been raised over Justice Clarence Thomas’s appearances before Republican-backed groups and his acceptance of favors from a contributor in Texas, Harlan Crow, as well as over his wife, Virginia Thomas, and her job as a conservative advocate.”

That was written in 2011. The Supreme Court ethics problem has only worsened in the past dozen years.

Carroll’s Trial, Debt Ceiling Crisis, Supreme Court Hearing in Senate

Big news for today starts with the resolution of the mass shooting in Cleveland (TX) last Friday. After four days, the man who allegedly murdered five of his neighbors after they asked him to stop shooting an AR-15-style weapons has been arrested in Montgomery County, 17 miles from the massacre. A tip led authorities where he was hiding under laundry in a closet. The home belonged to one of his relatives. The undocumented migrant possessed at least five guns, the victims’ family reported deputies were slow to respond, and the FBI published the wrong photo and spelling of his name. The 38-year-old Mexican national had been deported from the U.S. four times since 2009. His mass shooting was the 180th one in the first 120 days of 2023. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had called the victims “illegal immigrants,” but at least one of them was not undocumented. The nine-year-old boy may be a citizen if he was born in the U.S.

E. Jean Carroll’s trial continued on Monday after the judge failed to agree with multiple requests from Joe Tacopina, attorney for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), for a mistrial based on the judge’s “pervasive unfair and prejudicial rulings.” The 18-page complaint included such issues as Tacopina’s courtroom table being larger than the one for Carroll’s lawyers. Failing to understand during his cross examination that part of Carroll’s memoir was satire, like that of 18th-century author Jonathan Swift, Tacopina claimed that the judge and Carroll belong to a kind of elite culture that excludes him.  Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said that DDT’s lawyers are establishing arguments for an appeal if DDT loses.

On Tuesday, a longtime friend of Carroll’s testified about the contents of a telephone call from the plaintiff in the lawsuit minutes after the rape, and Tacopina said DDT would not be appearing to take the stand. Because the case is civil, he does not need to appear in court, but he is one of only two defense witnesses listed by his attorney. Carroll’s attorney plans to play part of DDT’s testimony from his deposition in October. Another member of DDT’s legal team, W. Perry Brandt, cross-examined her.

Jessica Leeds, an 81-year-old retired stockbroker, also testified about DDT groping her on an airplane in the late 1970s after he moved her up to first class. She did not know who he was when he made the offer to upgrade her seat. She said that after she had to fight off his attempts to kiss her and grab her breast, she returned to her seat in coach.

According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the U.S. will fail to pay all its obligations starting on June 1 because of April’s lower-than-expected revenue if the det ceiling is not raised. Without a congressional vote to raise the debt ceiling, the country and the world will be in dire financial problems. The House is gone for this week, leaving it in session for only 12 days before June 1. President Joe Biden will be in Australia and Japan for two weeks in May.

Republicans are upset about a fact sheet from the Department of Veterans Affairs describing the results of the House GOP bill cutting the department’s budget by 22 percent:  

  • Over 6,000 staff eliminated.
  • 30 million fewer Veteran outpatient visits.
  •  81,000 jobs lost in the VA causing veterans unable to obtain healthcare including wellness visits, cancer screenings, mental health services, and substance use disorder treatment.
  • 134,000 disability claims put in a backlog.
  • Stop construction on VA healthcare facilities. (The median time a VA hospital was built is almost 60 years ago compared to 13 years in the private sector.)
  • $565 million loss for construction projects including clinical upgrades to hospitals and clinics.
  • 500 staff eliminated in VA’s National Cemetery Administration including the delay of five new national cemeteries to serve almost 1.6 million veterans and eligible family members.

Outside the VA but affecting veterans:

  • Eliminate funding for Housing Choice Vouchers for up to 50,000 veterans, increasing their risk of homelessness.
  • Increase food insecurity for 1.3 million veterans relying on SNAP.
  • Deprive veterans of mental health, substance sue, and other health services.
  • Deprive veterans of mental health, substance use, and other health services.
  • Stop job training and other support for 4,200 homeless veterans.

When Republicans claimed they didn’t make these cuts, Biden provided them with a diagram to show they did.

Question: “Did you vote for a bill that cuts domestic spending by 22%?”

If answer is yes – question: “Did the bill say, ‘This does NOT apply to veterans benefits?'”

If the answer is no – statement: “You voted to cut veterans benefits.”

With the bill’s growth cap at one percent per year exempting military spending, Social Security, and Medicare, cuts must be at least 22 percent across the board, perhaps 28 percent. If veterans’ care isn’t cut, everything else must be cut by one-third in 2024, increasing to 59 percent in 2033.

Republicans have vowed not to raise taxes, but 218 GOP House members voted to do exactly that. Their bill repeals clean-energy tax credits created last year, raising taxes on manufacturers, car buyers, etc. by $300 billion in the next decade. Republicans simply believe, however, that this tax doesn’t exist.

A large number of current Republicans in the House were not present for the last crisis in 2011, and their level of incompetence is stunning. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), in his second term, thinks that September is the “actual drop-dead rate, so we’re good.” In only his third term, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) said the Senate could “take the heat for shutting [the government] down.” A default is far more than a simple “shutdown.” Coming into Congress in 2012, Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY) still hasn’t learned that the Federal Reserve is an independent agency. And others, including House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-IN) who is in his fourth term, think that the debt-limit bill used a process known as the “committee of the whole,” meaning devised on the chamber floor during discussion, although the bill came from a secret backroom deal.​

Predictably, the GOP threat of a debt default is driving the stock market down. The pain to investers and the destruction of the economy can help Republicans in 2024—or so they think. The House GOP insists it will crash the economy on purpose unless its radical demands are met, and Democrats refuse negotiations with threats of deliberate harm to people in the U.S. Emmer declined to say whether the U.S. would default.

In addition, a default will increase the debt, even temporarily, because it will cause the relatively low interest on current debts to skyrocket. Global investors may also look for alternatives because the U.S. would no longer be considered a safe asset.  

Biden has invited the four congressional leaders—Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)—to the White House on May 9 for discussions about the House’s bill. Of the five, only one, McCarthy, is charging toward default, and presently he is out of the country telling Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Biden is wrong about the U.S. foreign policy. Schumer has begun the Senate process of both a clean debt ceiling bill to suspend the limit for two years and one to consider the House bill for future budget negotiations.

Heather Cox Richardson wrote about whether the constitution requires the government to pay its bills whether Congress actually raises the debt ceiling or not. She quotes the fourth section of the Fourteenth Amendment:

“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

Richardson’s explanation of the GOP lawmakers adding this section to the constitution after the Civil War:

“When Republican lawmakers wrote the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866, they recognized that a refusal to meet the nation’s financial obligations would dismantle the government, and they defended the sanctity of the commitments the government had made. When voters ratified that amendment in 1868, they added to the Constitution, our fundamental law, the principle that the obligations of the country ‘shall not be questioned.’”

The other big news of the day is a rancorous Senate hearing about the Supreme Court justices’ ethical problems. Democrats want a code of ethics, either from the justices themselves or, if they refuse, from Congress. Republicans say everything is just fine and that the Democrats are being political, just like the “liberal media.” For 32 years, the Supreme Court admits it is bound under federal financial disclosure rules—although they don’t follow them—but no other code of judicial conduct. Minority ranking member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went so far as to accuse Democrats of encouraging assassination attempts against conservative justices. Other dialog disagreed about whether Congress could take action with authorities on both sides.    

Noted conservative J. Michael Luttig, a former appeals court judge, wrote that the constitution gives Congress the power “to enact laws prescribing the ethical standards applicable to the non-judicial conduct and activities of the supreme court of the United States” although it cannot mandate that the court “prescribe such standards for itself.”

Michael Mukasey, a former attorney general under George W. Bush, said “the public is being asked to hallucinate misconduct,” ignoring the evidence of unethical and inappropriate “record-keeping” by some of the justices.

Over half the people in the United States don’t trust the Supreme Court—and for good reason. Three of them—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas—think a man should be executed without permission for DNA testing that could prove his innocence.

Out of room for today—more about the Supreme Court tomorrow!

April 27, 2023

Trials, GOP Extortion, Supreme Court,

President Joe Biden announced his run for a second term on the first day of his major opponent Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) civil trial for allegedly raping E. Jean Carroll 27 years ago. Carroll, the second witness, described the assault’s trauma and the disastrous aftermath that destroyed her ability to have intimate relationships. Furious, DDT posted smears of her and her attorney on social media. The trial judge warned DDT’s attorneys to tell their client to stop the posting with the possibility of a contempt of court ruling or other legal consequences if he continued and said that DDT appeared to be trying to influence the jury.

DDT’s first posting, that LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman was paying Carroll’s legal team, violated a previous order from the judge who ruled that Hoffman’s involvement should not be mentioned in front of the jury. Another post demanded that the DNA on her dress be considered although DDT waited until past the deadline to submit a DNA sample. The judge also barred any mention of the DNA. DDT’s lawyer Joe Tacopina struggled in court because he had already argued that the DNA be excluded. He told the judge he would talk to his client about restraining himself in his posts “to the degree that I have an ability to,” sounding meeker than during his hostile opening statements on April 25 attacking Carroll’s account.

Former U.S. attorney and MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance stated:

“Trump can’t be bothered to be in the court room & has said he won’t testify–probably afraid of cross ex. It’s easier to take cheap, untrue shots on social media.”

Former VP Mike Pence must testify before the DOJ grand jury probing the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court. DDT sued to block the testimony and then appealed after he lost.

The Supreme Court has returned the fate of mifepristone, an abortion medication, to the 5th Circuit Court. The Biden administration has filed an appeal to overrule the ruling by federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas to outlaw the drug in the entire U.S. Plaintiffs have until May 8 to respond to the government’s filing; the appeals court will hear arguments on May 17.

The bill designed to strip millions of people in the U.S. of assistance to give a small amount increasing the national debt for a few months passed the House in a squeaker—217 Republicans to a total of 215 nays from all Democrats and GOP Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (R-CO), Tim Burchett ((TN), and Matt Gaetz (FL). Burchett realistically pointed out that the bill will “cut the rate of growth [and] actually add to the deficit over 10 years.”

Despite his win, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), needing the bill to keep his position, doesn’t look pleased with himself as he meets with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Biden. His only hope is that passing the bill will force the president to “negotiate” with him over its terms although McCarthy repeatedly said that he will not negotiate anything in the bill. The measure has no hope in the Senate, according to Schumer.

Biden said he would meet with McCarthy but not give in to his demand for negotiations. Deciding whether the debt limit gets extended is “not negotiable.” Biden has always been open to talking about the GOP budget, but the House cannot come up with one. A White House official said that the bill is “not a real budget, but they’ve now put forward a plan.”

Biden’s meeting will also not be with only McCarthy; it will include the top four House and Senate leaders and possibly top appropriators.

“I will not change the [debt ceiling] bill,” McCarthy had said and then changed the bill at 2:00 in the morning to get enough votes, caving into Midwestern GOP congressional members demanding the measure include ethanol tax credits. It also accelerated the time for work requirements for benefits to October. The bill cuts Medicaid and food stamps recipients with stricter limits for work requirements, especially difficult in rural areas, predominantly GOP. SNAP already requires able-bodied adults without dependents to spend 20 hours a week in employment or training, a mandate which states could waive during the pandemic from a DDT bill.

Even without the GOP bill, benefits have been cut this year for millions of people. Over 16 million households have seen shrinking amounts for food through the supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). Seniors receiving an increase two years ago from the pandemic saw their allotment go from $295 a month to as little as $23. Up to 15 million individuals are soon losing Medicaid since the change in the pandemic policies that now requires continuous rechecking of eligibility.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) summarized what the GOP vote means:

“In tax cuts in 2017 passed by the other side of the aisle, we see wonderful tax cuts for yacht owners and private jets. But in order to balance our budget now, we’re talking about cuts to SNAP, to food out of babies’ mouths.”

Ocasio-Cortez was referring to the GOP tax cuts that gave massive benefits to the wealthy and big businesses. McCarthy and his tribe refuse to even consider any partial replacement of those cuts.

McCarthy lied when he said “a no-strings-attached debt-limit increase cannot pass,” according to Jonathan Chait. A bill to raise a clean debt ceiling would require very few Republicans to join the Democratic caucus. “Republicans say their least conservative members might be willing to raise the debt ceiling without concessions, but they are afraid of what the craziest Republicans would do to them,” Chait wrote.  McCarthy needed the bill for a ransom in his extortion plan.

Republicans are following the same pattern as they have for decades: the GOP automatically raises the debt ceiling when they control the government, but House Democrats don’t use the same extortion against a Republican president. The GOP is playing a game of chicken, risking the global economy, and Biden won’t pay the ransom.

In the Senate, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has refused an invitation from Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) to testify at a hearing about the high court’s ethics rules and potential reforms. Roberts indicated that doing so would threaten judicial independence because it is a separate branch. The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate aspects of the court’s structure and procedures. One of these categories is “Judicial Ethics.”

In a letter to Roberts, Durbin stated, “It is time for Congress to accept its responsibility to establish an enforceable code of ethics for the Supreme Court.” Roberts responded with a restatement of court’s ethics, principals, and practices. He called the requested testimony “exceedingly rare” for what he called “mundane matters.”

Roberts’ attitude indicates that all is well with his court, far from the truth. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) requested a full account from Harlan Crow of extravagant undisclosed trips, gifts, and payments he gave Justice Clarence Thomas as well as evidence that Crow complied with federal tax law. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is the second senator to call for Clarence Thomas’ resignation.

In a bipartisan action, Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are introducing legislation requiring the high court to create its own code of conduct within a year and publish the code on its website to be available to the public. The court would name someone to handle complaints of code violations and give the court authority to initiate investigations for conduct by justices or staff affecting the administration of justice or violating federal laws or codes of conduct.  

Ocasio-Cortez declared:  

“Under Roberts, the Supreme Court has unraveled constitutional rights and seen several justices engage in corrupt financial arrangements. Now he is refusing to answer questions. How does Roberts expect SCOTUS to maintain authority if they reject accountability themselves?”

In June, only 25 percent in a Gallup poll found people having “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the Supreme Court, a drop from the 36 percent of respondents who said so in 2021. 

Thomas justified his actions by claiming Crow had not had cases before the court, but he was wrong—or lied. In January 2005, when Thomas stopped disclosing Crow’s gifts, the Crow family had a “non-controlling interest in a commercial real estate development company sued by an architecture firm for more than $25 million. Thomas did not recuse himself in the court decision declining to hear an appeal from the architecture firm. Crow’s company said tenant protections threatened its profits so Thomas voted to end them—twice. 

In another Supreme Court ethics problem, Justice Neil Gorsuch made as much as $500,000 on a real estate sale of $1.825 million but didn’t mention it was from the chief executive of law firm Greenberg Traurig with business before the high court. The offer was made for the property a few days after DDT nominated Gorsuch on January 31, 2017, eleven days after DDT was inaugurated and almost a year after the position had been vacated. Then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) held it open until DDT could name the nomination. The firm has been involved in at least 22 cases at the court; in 12 cases, Gorsuch voted for the firm eight times.

April 24, 2023

DDT’s Desperate Moves Usually Fail

After a win from the 2nd Circuit Court, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has reached a settlement with Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) Judiciary Committee to allow it to interview former Mark Pomerantz who investigated former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Bragg’s general counsel will be present during the interview that Jordan wants in his struggle to protect Deposed Donald Trump (DDT).

DDT’s latest attack is on the Wall Street Journal, owned by Fox network owner Rupert Murdoch. While pleased with the WSJ report that polls show him defeating Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the primaries by over 20 points, it also stated that DeSantis has a better chance of defeating than DDT by 41 percent to 31 percent.

A leading antiabortion group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America (SBA), may not support DDT after his campaign said abortion policies should be decided at the state level. SBA said his position is “morally indefensible.” The group also called this claim “a completely inaccurate reading of the Dobbs decision” although the opinion clearly makes this statement.

In mid-January 2021, DDT’s legal team texted with two men hired to breach the voting machine in Coffee County (GA) about whether to use its data to decertify the state’s pending runoff results electing Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate. DDT’s lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell orchestrated the breach to put the Senate into GOP control. Considering a racketeering case, Fulton County (GA) DA Fani Willis has subpoenaed several people in the breach, including Giuliani, Powell, and the two men hired by DDT’s legal team.

At a December 18, 2020 White House meeting prior to the breach, Giuliani had recommended the accessing of voting machines as an alternative to ordering the military of DHS to seize voting machines.  Witnesses said DDT attended what aides and allies described as a lengthy and acrimonious meeting in the Oval Office which one of them called “the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency.” DDT presided over the meeting while his advisers argued about whether they should have federal agents seize voting machines. Giuliani suggested the access would be “voluntary.”

Surveillance photos show a fake DDT elector walking operatives into the county elections office before the voting machine breach. The data has not yet been recovered, raising concerns about how it could be used to disrupt future election results, and has been “shared covertly with an unknown number of election deniers,” according to a senior advisor for election security.  

The use of breached voting data to give GOP control of the Senate may have broken more laws than DDT’s calls to Georgia officials demanding they change Georgia votes to change the state popular vote for Biden. The unauthorized access to privileged computer data is a conspiracy to obtain and distribute the data, “interfering with the rights of the people of Georgia to have a free and fair election,” according to former prosecutor Michael Zeldin.  

DDT is denying any problem with stealing classified documents by declaring that the Presidential Records Act (PRA) requires him “to negotiate with NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration… There is no criminality,” he maintains, calling the situation “the boxes hoax.” According to a fact check, the law which he referenced was passed in 1978 after former president Richard Nixon tried to keep millions of documents and White House tapes exposing the Watergate affair.

Collections of presidential papers were lost before the PRA was passed because presidential records were considered private property. That guideline ended in 1981 when the PRA declared that “complete ownership, possession, and control” would rest with the public once the president left office. The law defines “presidential records” as documentary materials received by the president, his immediate staff, or members of the executive office “to advise or assist the President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.” Only during his presidency can he “negotiate” with NARA about what records are personal; that right ends the minute the next president is inaugurated.

In a March 27 interview with Sean Hannity, DDT claimed the right to documents and said that Nixon got $18 million for his records. Nixon left office in 1974, seven years before the PRA went into effect. Because of a 23-year lawsuit culminating in 2000, the lawyers got all except for the $90,000 that went to Nixon’s family six years after he died. DDT also accused George W. Bush of taking “millions and millions of documents to a former bowling alley pieced together with what was then an old and broken Chinese restaurant” and that there was “no security.” In fact, NARA kept the documents there while Bush’s presidential library was being built, with protection from uniformed guards, closed-circuit monitors, and sophisticated electronic detectors on walls and doors.

DDT also claimed that Bill Clinton “kept classified recordings in his sock” and “took millions of documents from the White House to a former car dealership in Arkansas.” The tapes were of Clinton’s personal conversations with author Taylor Branch for an oral history of his presidency, which NARA determined were his own records as defined under the law, and Clinton leased a former Oldsmobile dealership while his library was being built. DDT also accused President Obama of keeping “33 million pages of documents, much of them classified,” but NARA has possession of these documents.

The PRA has no criminal enforcement provision, but a judge ruled during the lawsuit about Clinton’s tapes that the Federal Records Act grants NARA the authority to initiate “action through the Attorney General for the recovery of records wrongfully removed and for other redress provided by law.” The FBI’s search warrant cited statutes related to three possible offenses: one, willfully retaining national defense information and failing to deliver it to the proper official; two, willfully and unlawfully concealing or removing a document filed with a public officer of the United States; and three, criminal violation of laws regarding the destruction of evidence in obstruction of certain federal investigations or proceedings.

For his false claims, Glenn Kessler gave DDT Four Pinocchios. 


DDT’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, has recused himself from DDT’s legal problems regarding the stolen government documents because he claimed that DDT had no more materials after the search warrant discovered hundreds of them, many of them classified. A new lawyer, Joe Tacopina, may lose his place in the DDT’s indictment because of a conflict of interest. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has asked the judge to order Tacopina to open up his law firm’s files for his legal involvement with Stormy Daniels who had asked Tacopina for possible representation. In a 2018 CNN interview, he told Don Lemon that he had “an attorney-client privilege that attaches even to a consultation.” Later he denied that was true because he refused the case.

In the E. Jean Carroll rape case, the judge is not requiring DDT to attend the trial, but he cannot tell jurors he will be absent to protect New York City from “alleged burdens.” The trial is expected to begin on April 25; two days later DDT is scheduled to be at a New Hampshire campaign rally. According to Carroll, DDT’s deposition already has damaging admissions, including his confusion between her and his ex-wife Marla Maples in a photo after he said Carroll wasn’t his “type.

Tacopina has already lost several filings both to delay the Carroll trial and to know the identities of the jurors, declared anonymous by the judge. The four-week “cooling off” period requested was unnecessary, according to the judge who said that DDT had caused much of the publicity surrounding his April 4 indictment and that the request was a “delay tactic.” He also pointed out that the trial for 79-year-old Carroll has been pending for three years, and she deserves a fair trial.

Tacopina’s first request for the jurors’ identities requested their names, employment, and 38 other pieces of information on a questionnaire submitted to him. DDT’s lawyers have been preparing questions for screening the jurors. A few of them:

  • List every social platform you are on.
  • What cable news network do you watch?
  • Have you ever used the hashtag #BelieveAllWomen when discussing sexual assault?
  • Do you think that the #metoo movement has gone too far?
  • Are you familiar with the allegations made against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh before he was confirmed to the Court?

Carroll’s lawyer argued against any delay, saying that DDT faces other criminal investigations such as the one in Fulton County (GA) and one by a federal special counsel regarding the January 6, 2021 insurrection and the theft of the federal documents.

Happiest in court, DDT is suing his former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen for $500 million, accusing him of breaching confidentiality and “spreading falsehoods” about DDT. His complaint not only gave evidence of his involvement in the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels but also will reveal more secrets about DDT in the discovery process. The accusation that Cohen lied to Congress inadvertently concluded that he did it to protect DDT’s covert business dealings with Russia and a reliable source for special counsel Robert Mueller. And possibly no one knows more about DDT than Cohen.

Election-denier Adam Laxalt, who lost his candidacy for U.S. Senate from Nevada last year despite DDT’s support, has now transferred his allegiance to Ron DeSantis.

April 21, 2023

Supreme Court, DeSantis, More News

Mifepristoine, the abortion drug, is available—for now. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on April 21 that a lower court’s decision supporting antiabortion groups to restrict the drug terminating early pregnancies is on hold. Matthew Kacsmaryk, a judge appointed by former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), had totally overturned FDA approval, making the medication illegal in the entire United States, and the 5th Circuit Court upheld some restrictions. 

Dissents from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito stated they would not have granted a stay. Thomas gave no reason, and Alito said no one would have been harmed by opposing the FDA scientific opinions. The appeals court had removed telehealth for mifepristone, availability of prescriptions at pharmacies, and use of the drug until ten weeks of pregnancies. The 5th Circuit Court will probably not change its position with the return of the case to its jurisdiction. The U.S. Supreme Court may need to readdress its ruling because another federal judge has approved the use of mifepristone for 17 states.

The argument against the use of mifepristone came from the 1873 Comstock Act that opposed obscene materials.  Kacsmaryk’s ruling ignored standing, that the plaintiffs had suffered harm, and used antiabortion language such as “abortionists” and “unborn humans” because he used information from antiabortion groups for his ruling. The case was a direct attack against the FDA; antiabortion plaintiffs said that the agency “have brazenly flouted the law and applicable regulations, disregarded holes and red flags in their own safety data, intentionally evaded judicial review, and continually placed politics above women’s health.”

In allowing states to ban abortion last June, the decision stated that abortion was a states’ decision. Kacsmaryk’s decision covers the entire nation.

Philippe-Alexandre Langlois, press secretary to Canada’s Families Minister Karina Gould, said people from the U.S. can go to Canada for abortions, including mifepristone, because non-Canadians can obtain abortions there:

“Our government has and will always defend a woman’s right to choose. We have taken action to not only protect, but also improve access to reproductive health services, including abortion. In Canada, there is no prohibition on the provision of health care services to citizens of other countries.”

Dick Durbin (D-IL), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked Chief Justice John Roberts to testify before Congress about the justices’ ethics rules and possible reforms. In his letter, Durbin stated that Roberts had not addressed these issues since a 2011 report. Since that time, “there has been a steady stream of revelations regarding Justices falling short of the ethical standards expected of other federal judges and, indeed, of public servants generally.”

Roberts has not responded, and some Republicans, who benefit from the lack of ethics display in the high court, oppose his testimony.  Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said he recommended Roberts not testify “because it will be a circus,” pretending that the problems with the Supreme Court is not already a circus. Senate Republican Whip John Thune (SD) said Congress should interfere with the court’s internal affairs. Democrats cannot subpoena Roberts for an appearance because Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) absence removes their majority, and Republicans refuse to allow her replacement after she resigned from the Judiciary Committee.

The chief justice may be reluctant because his wife has extensive connections with lawyers appearing before the Supreme Court.

After a DDT-appointed judge ordered former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Pomerantz to be deposed by Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) judiciary committee, the 2nd Circuit Court blocked the subpoena. Both Pomerantz and Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg had sued Jordan to stop the deposition. The deposition was seen as retaliation for Bragg’s indictment of DDT for allegedly falsifying business records.

The judge presiding in E. Jean Carroll’s sexual assault lawsuit told DDT’s attorneys that his appearance at the trial would not be a burden on New York City, DDT’s excuse not to attend. He also said that DDT was not required to be present.

MyPillow founder Mike Lindell promised to pay anyone $5 million who could prove his data showing Chinese interference in the 2020 election is not from that election. A computer forensics expert who voted for DDT found the proof, along with no evidence that the election had been falsified, and Lindell now claims he never made this statement. Lindell called his challenge “Prove Mike Wrong,” and an arbitration panel ruled that he has to make the payout, ordering Lindell’s firm to pay within 30 days. The contest rules stated disputes would be “resolved exclusively by final and binding arbitration” and that arbitration “is subject to very limited review by courts.” Dominion Voting Systems still has a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Lindell, and one of Dominion’s former executives is suing Lindell for defamation.

Republicans like old laws, like the antiabortion one from 1849 and the 1873 Comstock Act, again used to block medical abortion. In Michigan, nine Republicans, half those in the Senate, opposed the overturning of a 1931 law punishing unmarried couples living together. During the debate to repeal the law, a Republican said the law was “passed for the betterment of society, particularly for children.” The repeal passed, and the bill goes to the other chamber.

One of the Republicans who voted to expel two Black legislators from the Tennessee House supporting gun control has resigned after his ethics violation on the legislator’s workplace discrimination and harassment policy became public. No more information will be released. The resignation came hours after a Nashville TV station asked him about sexual harassment allegations involving legislative interns. He said, “I had consensual, adult conversations with two adults off property.” The legislator stayed in office after the ethics finding to vote in expelling the two legislators who have been reappointed by their districts.

Taxpayers paid thousands of dollars to cover up the ethics violation: one of the victims had been relocated from the apartment building where she and the former legislator had apartments, her furniture was shipped to her home in another part of the state, and she stayed in a downtown hotel at taxpayer expense for the remainder of her internship.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie appears to be considered a presidential run, as evidenced by his attacks against potential opponents, for example this one about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ retaliation against Disney:

“If he was so offended by the Reedy Creek District, why didn’t he do something the whole first four years he was there? It’s not like—don’t tell me that the governor of Florida didn’t know that Disney had its own governing body. ‘Cause if he didn’t, then he’s an incompetent.”

In New Hampshire, Christie compared DDT to Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series.

Although not declaring his candidacy, DeSantis has been traveling the country campaigning using a pitiful impersonation of Winston Churchill and touting his book while Florida suffers from gas shortages and rising gas prices while parts of the state are inundated with serious flooding. DeSantis’ message:

“We fight the woke in the legislature, we fight the woke in the schools, we fight the woke in the corporations. We will never ever surrender.”

During DeSantis’ stop in Washington, D.C., several members of Congress, including from Florida, endorsed DDT.

In North Carolina, state Democratic senator Michael Garrett, filed a bill to give Disney a home for its holdings. Called Mickey’s Freedom Restoration Act, the measure asks for $750,000 to study a plan intended to lure Disney to the state.

“North Carolina is a great place to do business. Politicians who put their state’s economy at risk to boost their own selfish political ambitions are a liability. In North Carolina, we’ve learned this lesson the hard way. When HB2, the so-called ‘bathroom bill’ passed, other states capitalized on our state’s disgraceful misstep.”

Furious with Disney for controlling its business, DeSantis has proposed building a prison or another amusement park next to Disney World. Unfortunately for the possibility of a Garrett’s proposed move, two North Carolina Republicans filed a bill to add drag shows to “adult” entertainment, banning them to anyone “younger than 18.” Drag shows would be labeled as “prurient,” legally defined as “having a tendency to excite lustful thoughts.” The bill doesn’t clarify performances with cross-dressing characters such as Hairspray Jr. and Tootsie, or cartoons with cross-dressing appearances of Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, and Quick Draw McGraw.

In Florida, Disney covers about 43 square miles with two small municipalities where Disney controls public safety, roads, utilities etc. usually provided to cities and counties. Central Florida has 145,000 hotel rooms, mostly in Orlando, and Disney is the biggest attraction in the state.

The spectacular explosion of Space X’s new Starship rocket four minutes after it left the launch pad is theorized to be a “successful failure,” accelerating development of the vehicle. The rocket lasted only 20 miles into the sky after the Raport engines malfunctioned and Starship did not separate from its Super Heavy rocket booster. Planetary scientist Tanya Harrison expects humans on Mars within a decade. The explosion caused Elon Musk’s assets to plummet $13 billion, leaving him only $164 billion, and his Tesla stock dropped by 10 percent in 24 hours after its net income dropped 20 percent.

April 16, 2023

Revelations, Updates – Supreme Court, Kacsmaryk, Dominion, Book Banning, Etc.

The five percent annual inflation rate increase through March is the lowest in two years. Inflation rate increase for only March was only 0.1 percent. Energy costs fell 3.5 percent and food prices were flat while egg prices dropped 10.9 percent. Vehicle prices also declined 0.9 percent for a total of 11.2 percent for the past year. Medical care also fell 0.5 percent in March. A shortage of workers has also helped pushed up wages and prices.

More updates and revelations:

Justice Samuel Alito issued an administrative stay to eliminate mifepristone, an abortion pill, in all 50 states from far-right Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. DOJ now has time to appeal. The full Supreme Court will issue a ruling on April 18.

The polling on Kacsmaryk’s mifepristone decision is bad news for Republicans—not from those in the party but from independents. Democrats and Republicans are typically polarized, but each party needs a majority from independents to win an election. In this case 72 percent of independents favor the availability of mifepristone in states where abortion is legal, bringing the total for everyone to 67 percent.

 Washington state AG Bob Ferguson stated that a federal judge in Texas cannot overrule a federal judge in Washington state. Judge Thomas Rice had ruled for the 17 states represented by his plaintiffs, determining that the FDA approval of mifepristone is legal. Rice’s order applies to Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Kacsmaryk needs to be investigated, not only for his colluding with anti-abortion groups for his bogus decisions but also for his lying about authorship of an article. Before his confirmation hearings for the judgeship, Kacsmaryk asked that his name be removed from an article and be replaced with the names of two colleagues. Either he lied about writing the article or not writing it. Judicial nominees are required to disclose publications with which they are associated. Kacsmaryk asked his name be removed on April 11, 2017, before he completed the questionnaire and didn’t mention his authorship of the article. In his request, he cited “reasons I may discuss at a later date” and omitted telling about his interviews for a judgeship by his state’s two senators on April 3, 2017, and expectations of an interview at the White House.

The article, “The Jurisprudence of the Body,” criticized President Obama’s protections for transgender patients and people seeking abortions and stated that Obama’s administration discounted religious physicians who “cannot use their scalpels to make female what God created male” and “cannot use their pens to prescribe or dispense abortifacient drugs designed to kill unborn children.” The right-wing Texas Review of Law and Politics, which Kacsmaryk led when he was a law student at the University of Texas, published the article in September 2017, the same month that DDT first nominated Kacsmaryk as a federal judge. The appointment was rejected, and DDT renominated him in January 2018. The Senate confirmation vote was 51 to 48 with Democrats, Independents, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) voting against it.

The public has discovered more of Justice Clarence Thomas’ “inaccuracies” (lies?): he continues to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in rental income from a real estate company that closed in 2006 with a newly created firm taking control of its leasing business. His wife and her relatives had created the Nebraska firm, Ginger Ltd. Partnership, in 1982. Thomas does not mention the new firm, Ginger Holdings LLC, on his forms, but income from the former company has grown exponentially in the past decade. The transfer in 2006 to the new company listed leases for over 200 residential lots.

Asked about the two companies, Joanne Elliott, listed as the new company’s manager, referred questions to her sister Ginni Thomas. Thomas’ wife is not named in the new company’s state incorporation records. The justice estimated in 2021 that his family’s interest in the defunct firm is worth between $250,000 and $500,000.

In 2011, Thomas, caught in misrepresentations on his financial disclosure reports, updated several years of them to include employment details for his conservative activist wife, Ginni Thomas. On his forms, Thomas originally listed no income for his wife who was paid $686,000 by the Heritage Foundation from 2003 until 2007 and worked for the conservative Hillsdale College in 2008 and 2009. He said he didn’t understand the filing instructions but had correctly reported his wife’s employment before 2003. In 2020, he was forced to revise forms after failing to report reimbursement for transportation, meals, and lodging while teaching at two separate law schools in 2018 and at another law school in 2017.

Thomas’ failed to report the sale of three Georgia properties to his benefactor Harlan Crow in 2014, properties he had owned since 1983. In 2010, he began to put the location of the properties in Liberty County instead of their actual location in Chatham County.

Fox may be trying to settle the $1.6 bill lawsuit filed against them by the Dominion Voting system; the trial has been postponed for one day after scheduled to begin jury selection on April 17. No reason was given. A twist in the lawsuit came recently when the network issued a formal apology to the judge for lying about Rupert Murdock not having an official title at Fox News. One of Fox’s attorneys said the network takes responsibility for the “misrepresentation” causing the judge to announce an investigation into the possibility of the network withholding evidence.

The trial is testing libel law about whether the network can be legally accountable for lying about election fraud connected to the voting machines and software. Discovery for the proceedings has shown the operations of a popular right-wing media company supporting GOP politics, and the network’s celebrities will likely testify, including its conservative billionaire founder Rupert Murdoch. On trial, too, may be the “alternative facts” culture defining DDT’s time in the White House, putting disinformation on trial.

Media are traditionally permitted wide latitude in making honest mistakes, but internal emails and texts demonstrate that the purpose for Fox’s lies was to bolster its ratings by appeasing DDT supporters while spreading tremendous damage to the U.S. A jury will need to determine whether Fox deliberately lied and, if so, how much Fox should pay for the transgression. First Amendment advocates pushing freedom of the press see a win for Dominion as support for a strong press.

Exactly one year after 17 books were removed from the three county libraries for content, Llano County commissioners unanimously voted to postpone a vote about closing their three libraries after a federal judge ordered the censored titles be returned to the shelves. Outside the meeting, protesters were clear about keeping the libraries open and the books in them. Only 35 people were allowed in the meeting room inside the building. Authorities who removed the books said that it was part of a “weeding” process to replace outdated and irrelevant books to make room for new ones. County officials blamed the people suing to return the books for endangering the community resource.

When one patron complained about “pornographic filth” in the libraries, the county replaced the libraries’ advisory board with advocates of book removal, including the woman who complained. After people objected to the books’ removal in a legal case, a judge ordered them returned. The fight isn’t over; a local judge and part of the group to remove books said the issue will be tried “in the courts” and another judicial hearing will decide how library books will be censored.

Another state legislature has expelled a member, but this time from their own party. Arizona House Republicans voted Rep. Liz Harris (R-Chandler) after an ethics investigation found her guilty of “disorderly behavior” for deliberately bringing a speaker to a public hearing who falsely accused lawmakers of taking bribes from a drug cartel. The party of Kari Lake and the Cyber Ninja audit clown show view Harris as too out of bounds.

In a 41-minute presentation at the joint House and Senate Election Committee hearing in February, Scottsdale insurance agent Jacqueline Breger accused Gov. Katie Hobbs, House Speaker Ben Toma, lawmakers, judges, Mesa City Council members, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and others of conspiring with a Mexican drug cartel and receiving bribes through a scheme using property deeds. The expulsion vote was 46-13 because Harris lied about knowing the content and tried to cover up what the presentation would be. One Democrat could not attend because he was ill.

Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives are down one member after Harris’ expulsion to 30-29. A bill requires 31 votes to pass a bill, but a new Republican will soon take over her seat to recreate the slim GOP majority. That person will complete Harris’ term which ends in 2025.

Leaks from Pentagon classified information about Russia’s invasion and other world affairs have repeatedly been published in the past few days. A racist, anti-Semitic gun-lover sent material to impress a young audience fascinated by guns. Earlier materials were typed, and later copies were heavily annotated in the margins, both allowing the leaks to have sensational representations. Ukraine has already stated that some of the material was “not true.” Officials say that versions of some documents appear to be doctored. The question is what is not real. The leaks did damage world affairs, and the media broadcasting them as all fact only exacerbates the problems. I choose not to repeat any of this information until it has been officially verified.

January 26, 2023

Corruption of Barr/Durham Report to Prove Conspiracy Theories

Former AG Bill Barr, appointed by former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to cover up DDT’s crimes, tried to make himself look honest a month after DDT lost the 2020 election when he told the country that the election was not rigged, that there was no widespread fraud. He later testified to the House January 6 investigative committee against DDT, clips played during the public hearings, when he called DDT’s stolen election claims “bullshit.” He added about his departure from the DOJ:

“And I didn’t want to be a part of it, and that’s one of the reasons that went into me deciding to leave when I did.”

The supposed nobility of Barr’s faux integrity exploded in a report about his May 2019 assignment of John Durham as special counsel to investigate the Robert Mueller investigation about the Russian connection to DDT’s campaign. Barr planned to prove that the much maligned DDT was not involved in any nefarious activities with Russia during his campaign by the “deep state” trying to destroy DDT. Details in a New York Times article from Durham’s investigation negates Barr’s declaration of being on the up and up. 

A ”special counsel” is supposed to be independent, but the two men exhibited a remarkable closeness until Barr’s resignation 18 months later. Weekly updates in Barr’s office and consultations about Durham’s day-to-day work were sometimes accompanied by sipping Scotch and dining together. Together, they traveled the world for the investigation. Revering the office of attorney general, Durham was caught in the web of Barr’s conspiracy theories.

During the fall of 2019, a tip from Italian officials expanded Durham’s inquiry into suspicious and possibly criminal activities connected to DDT. Durham considered the secret information “too serious and credible to ignore,” but Barr told his handpicked counsel to check it himself, even giving him prosecution powers, although this search didn’t fit into Barr’s original assignment to Durham which was to examine the origins of the Russian inquiry.

Barr wanted Durham to find evidence for their shared theory that Mueller’s investigation came from a conspiracy by intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Interviews with over a dozen current and former officials found internal dissent and ethical disputes riddling the Durham investigation as it consistently failed, no matter what path it took, despite DDT and Barr pushing their misleading narratives. Durham used Russian intelligence memos with disinformation to obtain emails to an aide for George Soros, the liberal billionaire frequently used as a right-wing scapegoat. Although a judge twice rejected access to the emails, Durham went to a grand jury; the emails had no evidence cited by Durham.

Durham also suffered from resignations, beginning with his longtime aide, Nora Dannehy, after ongoing disputes about prosecutorial ethics in front of other prosecutors and FBI agents. Dannehy complained to Durham about Barr’s unsupported hints about the investigation direction and urged Durham to ask Barr to keep to DOJ policy by not publicly discussing the investigation. Durham refused to challenge Barr. She also opposed Durham’s circumventing a judge’s ruling when he used grand-jury powers to violate a citizen’s right to privacy, saying that he took that step without telling her.

In summer 2020, Barr tried to get an interim report with theories about Clinton’s campaign and FBI gullibility or willful blindness. On September 10, 2020, Dannehy discovered a draft report written by other team members and said no report should be issued before the investigation was completed, especially immediately before an election. She sent a memo detailing her concerns and resigned.

Two other members of the Durham/Barr team resigned after he decided to indict attorney Michael Sussman on flimsy charges. A jury had quickly dismissed the charges in court.

DDT repeatedly claimed the Mueller report found “no collusion with Russia,” but the report detailed “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.” It described how the Kremlin worked to help DDT win and how his campaign expected to benefit from foreign interference. Barr also ordered Paul Nakasone, head of the National Security Agency, to have his agency cooperate with Durham and that NSA’s “friends” helped instigate Mueller’s investigation by targeting DDT’s campaign. Durham combed CIA files but found nothing.

In December 2019, the DOJ independent inspector general, Michael Horowitz, completed its report with a minor discovery that an FBI lawyer had doctored an email to hide errors and omissions in wiretap applications. Its general findings, however, refuted DDT’s accusations and Barr’s rationale for Durham’s inquiry. No evidence existed that FBI actions were politically motivated, and the basis for Mueller’s investigation, an Australian diplomat’s tip that a DDT campaign adviser had advance knowledge that Russia would release hacked Democratic emails, was enough to open the probe.

Durham tried to convince Horowitz to drop his findings about the tip, but Horowitz refused. Barr and Durham planned how to scuttle Horowitz’s report, and Barr issued a statement in opposition to Horowitz’s report just minutes before the inspector general’s conclusions went online. Durham, however, never produced any evidence contradicting Horowitz’s factual explanation about the FBI officials opening the investigation. By summer 2020, Durham knew he had no evidence for Barr’s theory about intelligence abuses, but Barr didn’t make the announcement of no sign of “foreign government activity” and that the CIA “stayed in its lane” until after the 2020 election in November.

Italian officials gave the tip to Barr and Durham on one of their trips to Europe in a search for evidence. Information about Durham’s investigation into the tip—its level, steps taken, revelations, etc.—was never released. The media reported a criminal investigation, but no information was provided about the crime, especially any that might be tied to DDT who promoted the belief that Durham might charge President Barack Obama and VP Joe Biden. In August, DDT said in a Fox interview that the two men, along with top FBI and intelligence officials, were caught in “the single biggest political crime in the history of our country” and the only thing stopping charges would be if Barr and Durham wanted to be “politically correct.”

Not stopping DDT’s lies, Barr and Durham continued their inquiry after the search for intelligence abuses hit a dead end. They then looked for a reason to accuse Hillary Clinton’s campaign of conspiring to defraud the government by creating suspicions that DDT’s campaign colluded with Russia. Durham used dubious sources which the intelligence community doubted, memos written by Russian intelligence analysts about purported conversations involving U.S. victims of Russian hacking. Some U.S. analysts believed Russia wrote the inconsistent, inaccurate, or exaggerated claims as disinformation. To justify access to a U.S. citizen’s private communications, Durham wanted to use memos of descriptions of people in the U.S. discussing Clinton’s plan to link DDT to Russia’s hacking and releasing Democratic emails in 2016 as a frame for DDT.  

Because of the weak basis, a judge refused requests to violate the man’s privacy, first from one of Durham’s prosecutor and later from Durham himself. After his losses, Durham invoked grand-jury power to demand documents and testimony directly from the Soros’ foundation and the man. Rather than fighting in court, they complied, but again Durham reached a dead end.

The irony of the NYT report is that Barr and Durham did almost everything that Republicans accused the Democrats of doing in Mueller’s investigation. DDT’s supporters incessantly complained about the possible mistakes in a report by former British spy Christopher Steele, but Durham used disinformation from the Russians in their emails and memos for his inquiry.

Barr had one goal in appointing Durham to do an investigation: “proving” every conspiracy theory that DDT had invented during his campaign and first years in the White House. The AG even accused the National Security Agency of conspiracy against DDT when he set up the meeting with Durham and threatened the agency if it didn’t give Durham whatever he wanted.

Durham was selected for the job because he had a good reputation for following the facts and finding corrupt officials. In a sad end to a long career, he became one of those corrupt officials after Barr picked him to exonerate DDT. Mark Sumner wrote:

“When Barr appointed Durham, he was supposed to be the squarest of square pegs, a tough-guy, no nonsense prosecutor who would follow the facts like Joe Friday on the most deadpan episode of Dragnet. However, those who encountered Durham over the course of the investigation found something different. They found a man who was willing to warp any statement and twist any fact in an effort to find the conspiracy that Trump and Barr had charged him to deliver.”

After over three years, $40 million from taxpayers, and trips to three continents, Durham’s results proved the Mueller investigation to be accurate. His conclusions gave the FBI and DOJ participants top ratings for following procedures, the same ones in the report by the DOJ inspector general that Durham and Barr rejected. Durham put no one in jail and lost both cases he took to trial. One person gave a guilty plea but faced no jail time. Thanks to Barr, Durham has completely lost the reputation he brought into the investigation.

Durham’s report in February 2022 indicated a possible conflict of interest with a law firm, and DDT called for the death penalty. No final report has been issued almost four years after after Barr worked with Durham to prove conspiracy theories. The entire debacle disappeared—until the NYT report today.

January 24, 2023

Pence Caught with Classified Documents, Grand Jury Report Subject of Georgia Hearing

The classified document scandal took a twist yesterday when “a small number of documents bearing classified markings” was discovered at the home of former VP Mike Pence, “small” meaning about a dozen—thus far. Republicans have focused the last few weeks on denigrating President Joe Biden after his lawyers had discovered possibly 30 classified documents from the past 50 years in his office and home, compared to the 350+ documents DDT tried to keep from the National Archives.

Pence repeatedly said he had no documents and, critical of the surprise finding of some classified documents in Biden’s home and office, demanded a special counsel to investigate the situation. He had earlier explained that he wouldn’t have taken documents because of the process he followed. The search uncovering documents in Pence’s possession came at his request. House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-KY) Pence “agreed to fully cooperate with congressional oversight and any questions we have about the matter” but said nothing about an investigation like he demanded for Biden.  

Former FBI Director James Comey violated that policy by announcing a news—and evidence-free—review of her earlier emails just 11 days before the 2016 presidential election. [ I figured it out, but you might want to mention Clinton’s name before you refer to her emails.]

Earlier Jake Tapper asked Comey why he only cares about Democrats’ mishandling of classified document. Comer kept waffling but finally  undercut his entire argument by saying, “Every president—Bill Clinton, Obama, Bush–every president has accidentally taken documents that were deemed classified.” Now it’s Pence.

Republicans are going to have difficulty exonerating Pence without doing the same for Biden. Both of them, along with DDT, had classified documents; the difference is what the three of them did after the discoveries.

Biden/Pence told authorities they had the documents, returned them, promised to cooperate with investigators, and invited searchers into their homes to look for more documents.

Neither of the two former vice presidents rejected requests to return the materials. They didn’t ignore federal subpoenas. They didn’t keep documents, hiding them while they may have returned others.

They didn’t go to court to obstruct the retrieval or fight against federal law enforcement, calling them “the Gestapo.” They didn’t accuse FBI agents of “planting” incriminating evidence or pretend the search and discoveries were part of a “witch hunt.”

They didn’t push fake excuses of having declassified the documents.  

Senators like Marco Rubio (R-FL) are confused by the discovery in Pence’s home but said it wasn’t “nefarious.” He expects the subject will be addressed on Wednesday in a closed hearing of the Intelligence Committee with Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines about unrelated topics. Committee chair Mark Warner (D-VA) requested information from Haines about the appearance of over 100 classified documents in an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, the residence and club owned by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), last August under a search warrant. Congressional members may view classified documents only in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) located in the basement of the Capitol; legislators may not take these documents. The White House occupants have not used the same process.

Until the discovery of documents in Pence’s home, Republicans viciously attacked Biden for the discovery, particularly after a “small number” was found in his home last weekend. On Face the Nation, CBS’ Margaret Brennan corrected the rantings of Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) calling President Joe Biden “a serial classified document hoarder” and following it up with rabid accusations. Brennan explained that some of Biden’s few pages predated his White House tenure, going back to his Senate terms.  In contrast, the hundreds of documents discovered at Mar-a-Lago, DDT’s club and residence, were all from only four years. Brennen added:

“Just to clarify, when you reference President Trump, there were 300 classified documents. There was a warrant. There was refusal to comply in terms of handing things over. And the White House and the president’s lawyer are pointing out that in the case of Biden, he granted permission, and this was consensual for the DOJ to come in and search. Does the fact that the Justice Department conducted the search signify anything more to you and give any insight into the sensitivity of the documents?”

According to Turner, “the only reason you can think of as to why anyone would take classified documents out of a classified space at home is to, is to show them to somebody.” That has been the premise of DDT taking the documents since the beginning of the discovery. Yet Turner accused the appointment of Robert Hur, a DDT appointment to US attorney for Maryland in 2018, as a “coverup.” Brennan asked for evidence behind Turner’s allegation; he said that the documents “went on a train with him from his Senate offices” which, of course, Turner doesn’t know. Turner has not asked for a special counsel for Pence.

A major criticism of Biden, voiced by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was Biden’s waiting until after the midterm election to publicize the discovery of documents on November 2, 2022. The DOJ, however, has a longstanding policy to not reveal information about candidates before the election that would influence the results. Former FBI Director James Comey violated that policy by announcing a news—and evidence-free—review of her earlier emails just 11 days before the 2016 presidential election. Comey ignored senior DOJ officials who told him not to go public.Studies indicated that the revelation likely influenced the outcome of the election, which DDT won with under 100,000 votes in swing states. 

In contrast to the Comey/Clinton debacle, the FBI hid their probe of the ties between DDT’s campaign and its ties to Russia during the summer of 2016 as did the DOJ. Another investigation possibly damaging DDT’s 2016 election campaign, communications between the Trump Organization and the Russian Alfa Bank through back channels, was also kept under wraps and later dropped.

The first discovery of classified documents in Biden’s possession was on November 2, 2022. Biden’s lawyers immediately told the National Archives who gave the information to its inspector general the next day. On November 4, he told the DOJ who examined the situation and began an assessment on November 9.

On the other hand, The National Archives waited for almost four months after Biden’s inauguration before requesting the records that DDT took. Seven months later, DDT’s lawyers told the Archives “they had located some records,” and two months later the Archives took 15 boxes of presidential records from Mar-a-Lago—a year after Biden’s inauguration. On February 8, 2022, the Archives went public about searching for more of the classified documents that DDT took, and the House Oversight Committee subsequently announced an investigation into his handling of them. Investigations and requests continued for another four months while DDT’s lawyers stalled. In June the lawyers returned a few more documents after claiming a “diligent search.” Use of a search warrant on August 8, 2022, revealed “more than twice the amount produced June 3 in response to the grand jury subpoena.” A defensive DDT fought their removal through lies, public statements, and court cases.

With no evidence, GOP legislators accused Biden of knowing that he had the documents, but DDT went through the documents before he refused to return them.

Other big news of the day was the hearing in Fulton County (GA) regarding the grand jury report of gathered evidence regarding the investigation of DDT and his allies to reverse the 2020 presidential election results in the state. The report will remain secret until a judge permits it to be public. During the proceedings, Fulton County DA Fani Willis said that decisions on whether to seek indictments for “multiple people” were “imminent.” She urged the judge to oppose requests to publicly release the probe’s findings, saying that the public release could jeopardize impending prosecutions.

The grand jury probed DDT’s January 2, 2021 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to “find” enough votes for DDT to win the state, DDT’s national attempt to overturn the election, and the abrupt resignation of former U.S. AG in Georgia B.J. Pak after he said no “suitcases” full of ballots were being mishandled by election workers. Among the 75 people appearing before the grand jury were DDT’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, his then-attorney Rudy Giuliani, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, attorney John Eastman, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who had also tried to persuade Georgia elected officials to favor DDT in the election.

The grand jury had no legal right to make formal indictments. Any charges against DDT and/or others would have to be from a traditional grand jury after Willis presents her evidence to the jurors. Sixteen Republicans meeting at the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, in a plot to falsely certify the election for DDT have been targets of the investigation and could face criminal charges.

A lawyer for the media argued for the immediate release of the report and said that individual grand jurors could simply tell others about the findings in their report. The judge stated he wanted more time to consider the arguments and his ruling would have significant advance notice before any potential release of the report. The Brooking Institution found several state and federal statutes possibly violated through the attempts to reverse the election results.

DDT’s attorneys did not attend the hearing, stating, “We have never been a part of this process.”

Part of the hearing’s arguments concerned whether the report is classified as a “presentment,” or indictment, under Georgia law. If that is the classification, the judge must follow the jurors’ recommendation to release the information.

January 20, 2023

Supreme Court ‘Explains’ Investigation, More News Bits

Despite their big win in the Supreme Court last year with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion activists returned to Washington, D.C. with their “March for Life.” Half of all states have banned or heavily restricted abortion access, but the marchers want legislation to restrict abortion in all the states. The event started in 1974 after Roe was decided the year before.

Roe v. Wade was overturned in the 2022 Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson concerning a 2018 Mississippi state law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Lower courts had blocked Dobbs with the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, preventing states from banning abortion before fetal viability, generally 24 weeks, because a woman’s choice during that time is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A 6-3 vote from conservative justices reversed lower court rulings on the basis that abortion is not a constitutional right because it isn’t mentioned in the constitution and its right is not “deeply rooted” in U.S. history.

Ruth Marcus explains why the decision to overturn Roe was a “religious view,” as Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked the Mississippi lawyer during oral arguments. His only answer was that “the people should get to debate these hard issues.” The opinion, written by Samuel Alito, didn’t deal with religious freedom and its prohibition against state establishment of religion, but the issue has been raised many times since the opinion was announced. The ban on abortion conflicts with religions other than that of fundamentalist Christians. The decision by five Catholic justices and one who was raised Catholic opposes Jewish law which states abortion “is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman,” as stated in a lawsuit against Dobbs.

A new lawsuit from 13 clergy members in Missouri uses its anti-abortion law to protest an establishment of a state religion. The 2019 Missouri law with an almost complete ban on abortion is based on religion “in recognition that Almighty God is the author of life.” Lead sponsor, Catholic Nick Schroer, said he based the law on his Catholic belief that “life begins at conception and that is built into our legislative findings.” Another state representative supported his religious beliefs. According to the Missouri lawsuit:

“Questions such as the point at which life begins and whether or when ensoulment occurs are quintessentially religious ones, about which different religions hold differing views. … The explicit invocations of conservative Christian notions of ‘conception’ and sanctity of life in the text and legislative debate on H.B. 126 to justify banning abortion impose these particular religious beliefs on all Missourians, coercing people and faith communities with different beliefs and commitments to adhere to religious requirements of a faith that is not their own.”

Even if the clergy wins their lawsuit, Missouri can pass another law without the religious language. Marcus writes, however, that “abortion is uniquely grounded on metaphysical and, ultimately, religious convictions about when life begins.”

Over six weeks before the final decision overturning Roe was released, a draft of the opinion was leaked to the press. It turned out to be highly similar to the final ruling, and the highly incensed Chief Justice John Roberts initiated an investigation. According to a report from the Supreme Court, an exhaustive investigation didn’t discover who leaked the draft opinion last spring that eliminated the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade.


The report of formal interviews of 97 employees with a focus on 82 people with access to electronic or hard copies of the opinion left out whether the justices were interviewed—indicating they likely were not. The high court’s spokesperson did not answer a question about whether justices were interviewed, but Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley said she “spoke with each of the justices.” She did not say she interviewed them, and they were not required to sign sworn affidavits as others were.   

The draft was “unlikely” to have been hacked; system logs showed no evidence of electronic intrusion of the court’s devices, networks or systems. The report didn’t indicate how this search was done.

Some employees said they told their spouses or partners about the divided court in private discussions about the Dobbs’ case, split 5-4 in overturning the constitutional right to abortion which determined Roe 50 years ago. Sharing the information is “in violation of the Court’s confidentiality rules,” but some staffers said they were not aware of this rule. The report did not state whether any employee shared the full text of the draft opinion.

The court will increase its security in handling physical and electronic copies of opinions and internal communications. Allowing many staff members to work from home during the pandemic made the weaknesses worse.

No one justice signed the report from the Supreme Court; it was anonymous.

Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) solution to find the leaker is to jail journalists who published the draft if they don’t reveal the source. Although Clarence Thomas has been blamed for the leak, rumors addressed the possibility that the author of the opinion, Samuel Alito, is responsible.

The report uses the term “protest,” indicating Chief Justice John Roberts blame liberals objecting to overturning Roe. Another theory is that the leak came from conservatives to keep the five justices considering the overturn of Roe to not change their minds and side with a narrower opinion by Roberts. Last spring, Nina Totenberg, long time Supreme Court reporter, said this theory is the only one that makes sense.

Last November, a former antiabortion activist said a conservative donor who had dined with Justice Alito and his wife gave him advance information about the impending 2014 decision of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, another conservative victory for antiabortionists. Rev. Rob Schenck used that information for a public relations push and later tipped off the craft store’s president who won the case. Alito also wrote the opinion for that case.

Some online pharmacies selling abortion pills report to Google and other third-party groups to allow prosecution of those using medication to end their pregnancies. U.S. privacy laws, including HIPPA, don’t constrain data collected from people. At least 13 states ban medication abortion although the FDA permits retail pharmacies to dispense abortion medication to people with prescriptions. Alabama’s AG said anyone taking these drugs while pregnant can be prosecuted although he changed the statement later to say the law can only be used to prosecute providers. Nineteen states ban the prescriptions without people seeing clinicians in person or finding abortion medication online on their own. Prosecutors in Georgia, Idaho, and Indiana have charged people with illegal abortions with evidence of online abortion medication orders.

The Supreme Court refused six New York firearms dealers’ request to block a new law regulating commercial gun sales. The law requires dealers secure guns in safe or unlocked area and have security systems on their premises; prevent people under 18 from entering gun retail stores without a parent or guardian; and provide records of gun sales to government law enforcement agencies and manufacturers upon request. The dealers also protested a licensing requirement for semiautomatic rifles; requiring background checks for ammunition sales and directing New York State Police to establish a database for such sales; and requiring gun dealers to maintain records of ammunition sales. In the request to the high court, dealers said they have been “fighting in courts for nearly two straight months to try to find a judge” to grant their request for injunctive relief and have been out of compliance with the new laws since December 5.

To help mass shooters, the 5th Circuit Court voted 13-3 to permit “bump stocks” which create semi-automatic rifles into weapons even more rapidly spraying bullets as Stephen Paddock used to kill 60 people and wound another 500 in a 2017 Las Vegas massacre. Three other appeals court—the 6th, the 10th, and the Washington, D.C.—have agreed.

Children will have an easier chance of killing people with an “JR-15” rifle designed for them, “just like Mom and Dad’s gun” according to its manufacturer called WEE1 Tactical. Last year, when the weapon was first advertised, the company’s marketing used an image with two different gendered children’s skulls. 

Federal prosecutors seized almost $700 million in cash and assets related to Sam Bankman-Fried, the former FTX chief executive who allegedly embezzled the cryptocurrency and fled to the Bahamas. In December, he was arrested on criminal fraud charges and is released on a $250 million bond.

Dominion Voting Systems is questioning Fox Corp Chair Rupert Murdoch, 91, under oath for his network’s coverage of unfounded vote-rigging claims during the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Fox claims it can report on DDT’s election-fraud allegations under the First Amendment. A judge refused to dismiss the case in December 2021, and Dominion accused Fox of “knowingly” spreading lies about the company in an attempt to prove “actual malice” necessary for defamation cases. A defamation lawyer said that Fox hosts pushed the vote-rigging allegations “well after it was quite clear that these claims were demonstrably false.”

Alabama’s new governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was forced to defend her elimination of the word “Latinx” in all state communications to Fox host Shannon Bream. Sanders also focused on banning CRT in schools, where it doesn’t exist, instead of dealing with state problems: sixth-highest per-capita Covid death rate, 15th-highest per-capita Covid case rate, 49th healthcare ranking, and 41st education ranking. Sanders said, “Our job is to protect the students.”

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