Comments

  1. says

    Followup regarding the GoFundMe set up to raise funds to pay Trump’s legal bills:

    It may be shut down, because even if it is legit, it has been set up to help someone evade legal punishment.

  2. says

    Hello readers of The Infinite Thread. We reached the limit of 500 comments in the previous chapter, and now the thread has automatically rolled over to begin again at comment number 1.

    For the convenience of readers, here are a few links back to the previous group of 500 comments:

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2024/01/07/infinite-thread-xxx/comment-page-4/#comment-2212146
    Elena Cardone created a GoFundMe trying to (not joking) raise $355 million dollars to pay for Trump’s legal judgements.

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2024/01/07/infinite-thread-xxx/comment-page-4/#comment-2212143
    House Republicans constructing new border bill without foreign aid

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2024/01/07/infinite-thread-xxx/comment-page-4/#comment-2212141
    Trump owes a total of $542 million … for now. The interest fees are still increasing: [list at the link]

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2024/01/07/infinite-thread-xxx/comment-page-4/#comment-2212108
    Georgia senator vows to protect girl, but then runs away after learning she is trans

  3. Reginald Selkirk says

    Man, who ran for Texas House seat in 2022, and wife found guilty on Jan. 6 riot charges

    A Texas couple including a man who in 2022 ran a failed campaign for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives have been found guilty of several felony and misdemeanor crimes for their part in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.

    Mark Middleton, 55, and Jalise Middleton, 54, both of Forestburg, Texas, were found guilty by a federal jury of two counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers; civil disorder; and obstruction of an official proceeding., according to the release. All of those charges were felonies…

    I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that the 14th amendment is not exclusive to the orange one.

  4. says

    GOP conspiracy crumbles, Johnson bumbles, plus Gaetz’s latest stumbles

    FBI informant charged with lying about Joe and Hunter Biden’s ties to Ukrainian company

    Smirnov, 43, was indicted on charges of making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record. No attorney was immediately listed for him in court records. He was expected to make a first court appearance in Las Vegas, where he was arrested Wednesday after arriving from overseas, prosecutors said.

    If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

    The charges were filed by Justice Department special counsel David Wiess, who has separately charged Hunter Biden with firearm and tax violations.

    Republicans’ favorite Biden conspiracy theory has now totally collapsed.

    Alexei Navalny, opposition leader and Putin’s fiercest foe, dies in prison.
    Footage reportedly shows Navalny in good spirits just yesterday.

    Uh-oh. Things just got even worse for Matt Gaetz in ethics investigation
    And his defense? “He takes thousands of selfies each year.”

    On Wednesday, ABC News reported on texts House ethics probe investigators had discovered between Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and an unnamed woman. Those texts purported to show the Florida congressman propositioning the woman to come on a three-day weekend trip to the Florida Keys. A Gaetz spokesperson told ABC News, “Rep. Gaetz does not know anything about the woman you’re referencing, though he takes thousands of selfies each year.”

    Selfies? The Daily Beast is now reporting that they have obtained at least some of the texts and spoke with the woman’s attorney about her previous testimony to investigators, and that story doesn’t jibe with the “does not know anything about the woman you’re referencing” response. […] he woman, in fact, received payments in connection with multiple sex parties with people in Gaetz’s circle. Her lawyer said that, in response to a subpoena, she testified about her experiences to the U.S. Attorneys investigating Gaetz. And she turned over text messages, photos, and other evidence to the Justice Department as part of its child sex trafficking inquiry into the Florida congressman, the lawyer said. […]

  5. larpar says

    From tomh in previous thread, #498
    “Quote of the day:
    “My father built the skyline of New York City: And this is the thanks he gets….
    Eric Trump on Fox News.”
    Even if he did (he didn’t), he (and you) did it fraudulently. That’s the point.

  6. says

    […] Anyway, $364 million dollars, a three-year ban on running any business entities in New York, a ban on borrowing money from any bank licensed to do business in New York […], and the Trump Organization has to be overseen by a permanent and independent compliance director for as long as it exists. There’s also some interest already due on that puppy, which is estimated to put the fine north of $450 million. US.

    But Donald Trump can still be president of the United States, somehow. Hell, after this and being banned from running charities or “schools” like Trump University, POTUS might be the only job he can have. And even then, he’ll be criming before his hand is even off the Bible.

    https://www.wonkette.com/p/judge-engoron-scorches-trumps-ass

  7. says

    Alexei Navalny’s death is confirmed, family calls for immediate return of his body

    Alexei Navalny’s team confirmed the Russian opposition figure’s death Saturday, a day after Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service announced that he had fallen unconscious and died following a walk in the Arctic prison where he was being held.

    “Alexey Navalny was murdered. His death occurred on February 16 at 2:17 p.m. local time, according to the official message to Alexey’s mother,” his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on X Saturday.

    “An employee of the colony said that the body of Navalny is now in Salekhard. It was picked up by investigators from the IC. Now they are conducting ‘investigations’ with him,” she added.

    “We demand that Alexey Navalny’s body be handed over to his family immediately,” she said. […]

    Navalny’s family awaited independent confirmation on the news of his death following the announcement by Russian authorities yesterday, with Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, saying, “We cannot believe Putin and his government. They are lying constantly,” during a speech at the Munich Security Conference.

    “But if it is the truth, I would like Putin and all his staff, everybody around him — his government, his friends — I want them to know that they will be punished for what they have done with our country, with my family and with my husband,” she said. “They will be brought to justice, and this day will come soon.”

    On Saturday, Vice President Kamala Harris told press that she had met with Navalnaya, describing her husband as “a brave leader who stood up against corruption and autocracy, and he stood up for the truth.”

    His death served as “further proof of Putin’s brutality,” she added, and “reminds us why our fight for Ukraine is so important.”

    […] Navalny, an outspoken critic of Putin, has been the largest thorn in the Kremlin’s side for years.

    In 2020, he was poisoned with a military nerve agent — an attempt on his life that he blamed directly on Putin — and had been given multiple successive prison sentences with the aim that he would not pose a political threat to Putin for the remainder of the Russian president’s life.

    Responding to Navalny’s death on Friday, President Joe Biden said “there is no doubt” that his death “was the consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did,” following it with a call to increase funding from Congress to help Ukraine fight Russia’s invasion.

    Video of Biden speaking is available at the link.

  8. says

    Ukrainian forces withdrawing from key city of Avdiivka

    It marks the most high-profile retreat for Kyiv’s forces since Russia’s capture of Bakhmut. A lack of military aid has forced Ukrainian commanders to ration ammunition.

    […] Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the withdrawal was necessary to spare soldiers’ lives.

    “We are just waiting for more weapons,” Zelenskyy said in Munich, Germany, during a high-profile security conference. “We don’t have long-range weapons, so our main weapon today is our soldiers, our people.”

    […] an artillery sergeant fighting in the town for several months told NBC News that his unit had faced severe restrictions on how many rounds it could fire daily amid shortages compounded by dwindling human resources.

    […] The nearly ruined town had a prewar population of 32,000. Its seizure by Russian forces would expand Moscow’s control of the eastern Donetsk region, but Ukraine is still far from losing the remainder of the region, at least for now.

  9. tomh says

    Dallas Morning News
    Judge rejects AG Ken Paxton’s bid to dismiss securities fraud case
    By Philip Jankowski / Feb 16, 2024

    HOUSTON — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal trial appears poised to begin in two months after a judge on Friday denied his request to dismiss charges.

    Paxton’s long-awaited trial is set to begin April 15 in Houston on nearly 9-year-old charges of felony securities fraud. He has pleaded not guilty.

    Paxton was indicted in 2015 on two counts of securities fraud related to allegations that he solicited investors in a Collin County company without disclosing that he was being paid for the work.

    The first-degree fraud charges carry up to 99 years in prison if Paxton is convicted.
    […]

    The securities fraud case is the most severe pending legal matter for Paxton, who is one of the highest-profile state attorneys general in the country and is widely supported by the Republican base for his work to further conservative causes through the courts.

    Paxton also is facing an ethics complaint for his legal challenge to results in the 2020 presidential election, a whistleblower lawsuit that could cost taxpayers millions and an ongoing FBI investigation into allegations that he misused his office to help a friend and political donor.
    […]

  10. says

    Fox News hyped a flimsy report that made dubious claims about Joe Biden. The FBI just arrested the informant who falsified the information.

    For months, Fox hosts and congressional Republicans have relentlessly pushed the incredibly dubious and unproven claim that then-Vice President Joe Biden was bribed by Ukrainians during the Obama administration. The informant who is the sole origin of those claims was just indicted for lying to the FBI. After news broke earlier in the day, none of Fox’s prime-time hosts even mentioned the indictment.

    Fox News spent years spreading allegations that Biden was involved in corrupt practices in Ukraine in a baseless smear campaign against the president and his family. The resulting investigations led by House Republicans have all been futile, despite the constant promise of a smoking gun. (Trump’s personal attempt to get involved led to his first impeachment. Fox News’ research arm, the so-called “brain room,” at the time made clear that this was a right-wing disinformation campaign.)

    The latest Republican theory to collapse centers on a partial copy of an “FD-1023,” a summary document of an FBI interview, with a confidential informant, which Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) circulated in 2023. The document says the informant claimed Biden accepted bribes from the Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his son, Hunter Biden, was serving on the board of the company.

    On February 15, authorities arrested that same informant, Alexander Smirnov, in Las Vegas and charged him with lying to the bureau about Hunter and Joe Biden. The indictment alleges that Smirnov falsely told the FBI that Burisma officials told him they hired Hunter Biden to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.” Smirnov also allegedly lied to the FBI that Burisma officials had confirmed Joe Biden accepted $5 million in bribes from the company.

    The contents of the FD-1023 form were never verified, but that did not stop Fox News from whipping up hysteria around the baseless allegations and decrying the alleged scandal. Host Sean Hannity alone aired 85 segments promoting the claim, including 28 monologues. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump estimates that Fox News mentioned the claim about 2,600 times in the last 12 months.

    Here are a few examples to show just how far Fox personalities went with the unsubstantiated claim (which was also not limited to Fox News, spreading throughout MAGA media):

    Fox News’ Jesse Watters cited an “allegation that Joe Biden accepted a “$5 million bribe … from a foreign national” to justify his claim that as vice president, Biden was working as “an intelligence op” for the FBI. Watters then claimed the FBI was “caught in a cover-up.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 6/5/23]

    […]

    Many video segments, and more details are available at the link.

    In addition to Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Martha MacCallum, Ainsley Earhardt, Rachel Campos-Duffy, all of the Fox & Friends hosts, Will Cain, and Jesse Watters promoted the lies dozens of times on a daily basis for months. None of the Fox hosts have aired corrections. In other words, Fox News viewers may not know that the foundation of the House Republican’s investigation has crumbled.

  11. says

    Followup to comment 10.

    Sean Hannity did not apologize, but he did react:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I’m mad at the FBI that they got it wrong on the Christopher Steele dossier and he was a “credible informant” to them that was paid by them and paid by Hillary Clinton. I’m mad that the FBI informant, the 1023 form in this case, that now this guy has been charged. It appears that Alexander Smirnov was not to be trusted. […]

    “See! Hannity didn’t tell the truth about the FBI informant!” I guess I was stupid. I should’ve learned from Christopher Steele. They have a bad taste in picking out FBI informants. That’s on the FBI. That’s on the FBI. What we reported on the FBI was factual, until they told us this week that it wasn’t factual. It doesn’t negate any part of the Biden family syndicate. Oh, I’m going to have fun with this when we have more time.

  12. Reginald Selkirk says

    EU seizes $130m assets linked to money laundering in Lebanon

    France, Germany and Luxembourg have seized properties and frozen assets worth 120 million euros ($130m) in an operation linked to money laundering in Lebanon, according to the EU’s justice agency.

    “Five properties in Germany and France were seized as well as several bank accounts [were frozen],” Eurojust said in a statement on Monday.

    The Hague-based Eurojust said the operation on Friday was directed against five people who were suspected of embezzling public funds in Lebanon of more than $330m between 2002 and 2021…

    The agency did not give any details on the suspects, saying, “They are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty”…

  13. tomh says

    Election Law Blog
    In Trump Immunity Case at SCOTUS, Alabama and 21 States Ask for Stay Because of “Speculation,” “True or Not,” That Trump Election Subversion Prosecution “was Calculated to Silence or Imprison President Biden’s Political Rival”
    Rick Hasen / February 16, 2024

    From the brief of Alabama and 21 other states (full text)

    The sudden urgency has invited public speculation that this case has an improper purpose—to influence the 2024 election. Amici States represent millions of Americans, many of whom worry that the timing of this prosecution was calculated to silence or to imprison President Biden’s political rival.

    True or not, such fears are deeply corrosive. And by acquiescing in the rush to trial, the courts below have only amplified the perception of impropriety. Denying the stay would greenlight the prosecution to proceed at breakneck speed and to put the apparent frontrunner for the presidency on trial in the lead up to the election. Granting a stay would calm the fervor, reassure the public, and permit the normal and orderly review of these weighty issues. Properly understood, the public interest demands a stay.

    The brief asks for the Supreme Court to impose a “semblance of normalcy.” Indeed.

  14. says

    Good news, the polls are off by quite a bit:

    In New Hampshire, Biden was polling at 56, but actually got 64 as a write in candidate. In South Carolina, the one poll had him at 69, with a 64 point lead — but he actually got 96! In Nevada, again, only 1 poll, with him at 78, with a 76 point lead, but he actually got 90 (though to Williamson’s credit, she too smashed her 2% polling by getting 3%).

    In other words, it’s not just Dems generically, but Uncle Joe specifically who seems to be performing better — much better — than he’s polling.

    And on the Trump side, it’s the inverse. Leaving aside Nevada (which given the caucus/primary mess is basically impossible to disentangle), we’ve got:

    Iowa, in which the polling had Trump at 53, and a combined Haley and DeSantis at 34. On caucus night, it was Trump 51, H+D=40. Not a huge underperformance, but an underperformance nevertheless. (And mind you, this was during a huge snowstorm, and a caucus, in which Trump’s zealots were expected to come out in relatively greater force).

    New Hampshire, in which the polling had Trump at 54, Haley at 36, an 18 point margin. But while Trump got actually did get 54, his margin over Haley was only 9.

    Look, I don’t know what November will bring, but I think it’s foolish to think that today’s result in New York is just a blip. We’ve been seeing months and months of Dems (and more specifically Biden) significantly overperforming polls, and Republicans (and more specifically Trump) underperforming theirs.

    Link

  15. says

    Good News:

    To date, over 50,000 infrastructure and clean energy projects have now been announced thanks to Bidenomics and President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

    […] and mobilized over $640 billion in private sector clean energy and manufacturing investments.

    Link

  16. says

    DOJ: Confiscated Russian funds will support Ukraine — via Estonia

    It is the first time the U.S. will transfer funds to a foreign ally for the explicit purpose of assisting Ukraine and comes as foreign aid for the embattled nation has stalled in Congress.

    The U.S. will transfer confiscated Russian funds to Estonia to be used in support of Ukraine, the Justice Department announced Saturday.

    The nearly $500,000 sum was secured from “an illegal procurement network attempting to import into Russia a high-precision, U.S.-origin machine tool with uses in the defense and nuclear proliferation sectors,” according to a DOJ press release.

    It is the first time the U.S. will transfer funds to a foreign ally for the explicit purpose of assisting Ukraine and comes as foreign aid for the embattled nation has stalled in Congress.

    The funds are being transferred to Estonia because current authorities do not allow for a direct transfer to Ukraine. According to deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco, the funds will be used for a project designed to streamline damage assessments of Ukraine’s electrical transmission and distribution systems.

    “This is an incremental step toward justice and restoration. But it is a necessary step. And it blazes a new trail towards combatting Russia’s ongoing brutality,” said Monaco in remarks prepared for delivery at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

    “The Department of Justice will continue pursuing creative solutions to ensure the Ukrainian people can respond and rebuild. Dollar by dollar. House by house. Town by town,” Monaco added, noting that the administration would not wait for Congress, but rather would use existing authorities to provide assistance to Ukraine.

  17. John Morales says

    Backdoor ways to arm Ukraine:

    RUSSIA – Putin Goes Bananas Over USA Arms Deal as Ukraine Ecuador Swap Deepens Economic Cold War

    President Putin is Furious about an Arms Swap Deal brokered by the USA under which Ecuador has agreed to Swap all of its Russian manufactured Military equipment for $200 Million worth of USA Arms and the Russian Arms will be sent directly to Ukraine to assist with the war against Russia. Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of BANANAS and Russia buys around 20% of its total exports however as a result of this Arms Swap Russia issued a Health & Safety Notice against these bananas. In this video I provide more details of the Arms Swap deal, the trade between Ecuador and Russia and discuss the new ECONOMIC COLD WAR.

    Chapters:
    0:00 Intro
    3:15 ARMS DEAL
    6:32 ECUADOR SCRAP METAL
    7:40 RUSSIAN RESPONSE
    10:21 BANANAS
    15:25 SUMMARY & CONCLUSION

  18. Reginald Selkirk says

    Santos hits Kimmel with suit over alleged misuse of Cameo videos, claiming ‘fraud’

    Former Congressman George Santos (R-N.Y.) sued Jimmy Kimmel on Saturday over alleged misuse of Cameo videos the lawmaker has been making since being expelled from the House.

    The former New York congressman filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, suing the late-night television host for fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and copyright infringement. ABC and Disney were both also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

    Kimmel requested at least 14 videos from Santos on Cameo, a video-sharing website where celebrities sell personalized videos.

    Kimmel submitted requests by giving “phony names and narratives.” Those requests were sent from “fake User profiles” made by Kimmel as part of a “fraud,” according to the lawsuit.

    The late-night show “falsely represented” himself as multiple users when requesting Santos’ Cameos, according to the lawsuit which was first reported by The New York Post. Santos is seeking at least $750,000 in damages…

    I have opinions on how that suit is going to go.

  19. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Supreme Court of Canada unanimously affirms Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare (Feb 9)

    The federal Act […] affirms that Indigenous peoples have an inherent right to jurisdiction of child and family services
    […]
    “Canada” has jurisdiction to delegate the force of federal law to Indigenous governments. […] Friday’s Supreme Court decision dismisses Quebec’s appeal and upholds that Indigenous laws will prevail over any conflicting provincial laws.
    […]
    The decision also points—several times—to its dedication towards UNDRIP [Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples]. […] As it stands, there’s no obligation within the Act for the federal government or provincial governments to fund the implementation of Indigenous laws. But […] the Supreme Court’s decision will help put the pressure on Canada.

  20. Reginald Selkirk says

    Trump hawks $399 branded shoes at ‘Sneaker Con,’ a day after a $355 million ruling against him

    As he closes in on the Republican presidential nomination, former President Donald Trump made a highly unusual stop Saturday, hawking new Trump-branded sneakers at “Sneaker Con,” a gathering that bills itself as the “The Greatest Sneaker Show on Earth.”

    Trump was met with loud boos as well as cheers at the Philadelphia Convention Center as he introduced what he called the first official Trump footwear.

    The shoes, gold lame high tops with an American flag detail on the back, are being sold as “Never Surrender High-Tops” for $399 on a new website that also sells Trump-branded “Victory47” cologne and perfume for $99 a bottle. He’d be the 47th president if elected again…

  21. Reginald Selkirk says

    Trump opts against Supreme Court appeal on civil immunity claim over Jan. 6 lawsuits

    Lawsuits seeking to hold Donald Trump personally accountable for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol can move forward after the former president chose not to take his broad immunity claim to the Supreme Court.

    Trump had a Thursday deadline to file a petition at the Supreme Court contesting an appeals court decision from December that rejected his immunity arguments, but he did not do so.

    The appeals court made it clear that Trump could still claim immunity later in the proceedings in three cases brought by Capitol Police officers and members of Congress…

  22. Reginald Selkirk says

    Japanese American prison camp site in Colorado is now a national park

    Nearly 80 years after the end of World War II, a site in Colorado that once held thousands of Japanese Americans opened its doors this week as the country’s newest national park.

    The Department of the Interior reopened what was Camp Amache on Thursday, nearly two years after President Joe Biden signed the park into law following a multiyear bipartisan effort by Colorado lawmakers.

    “As a nation, we must face the wrongs of our past in order to build a more just and equitable future. The Interior Department has the tremendous honor of stewarding America’s public lands and natural and cultural resources to tell a complete and honest story of our nation’s history,” Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement…

  23. birgerjohansson says

    Farron Cousins at ‘Farron Balanced’ at Youtube has an idea why the polls are skewed. The polls start off by checking the wossname, when you count all people living in USA. Then they check how many registered Democrats and Republicans that live in those states, before they start polling.

    But the last… wossname, I am not an English speaker goddammit, was before the pandemic. Since then, a disproportionate number of Republicans have died, för reasons we all know (they still keep dying, because COVID is still here, and even the ‘mild’ variants are twice as deadly as the flu).

    Farron Cousins is saying, the way the polls are designed they have not corrected for the demographic shift and are acting on obsolete data.
    I do not know the nuts and bolts of how polls are designed (and it is 41 years since I took a course in statistics) so I have to trust Cousins is processing the numbers right.
    But this could help explaining the discrepancy between polls and election results.

  24. johnson catman says

    re Reginald Selkirk @20: Sneaker CON indeed!! I bet the sneakers are almost as good as tRump Steaks or tRrump University. And I wonder if the “Victory47” cologne has the stink that reportedly surrounds the former president?

  25. tomh says

    WaPo:
    Texas builds base near border where the state is quarreling with feds
    By Ben Brasch / February 17, 2024

    Flanked by armed National Guard members, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced on Friday plans to build a base housing up to 1,800 troops in Eagle Pass, close to the riverfront area where state leaders have been at loggerheads with the Biden administration over immigration enforcement.

    The base, planned to house an initial 300 troops by April, is the latest effort by Abbott to curb border crossings into Texas under a mission dubbed Operation Lone Star that he began less than two months after President Biden was inaugurated….

    The base “will amass a large army at a very strategic area. It will increase the speed and flexibility of the Texas National Guard to be able to respond to crossings,” Abbott said Friday during a news conference in Eagle Pass. “This will organize substantial forces also to expand the razor-wire barriers that are going up.”

    The 80-acre “forward operating base” — a phrase the U.S. military used to label many of its camps dotting Iraq and Afghanistan — will sit near the Rio Grande. It will also include command posts, weapons storage rooms, vehicle maintenance bays and a helicopter pad, according to Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer, the head of the Texas Military Department.
    […]

    A contract, awarded Feb. 9 to the New Braunfels, Tex., company Team Housing Solutions, lists a completion date of Sept. 7 and a price of $131 million for the construction of the base, the military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported.

    The base will be about 6 miles south of Shelby Park — the battleground between Texas and the federal government that has been the site of thousands of unauthorized border crossings from Mexico.

    Abbott seized control of Shelby Park, located in Eagle Pass along the banks of the Rio Grande, in January. He blocked Border Patrol agents from the park, which they have long used as a staging point….

    In January, the Biden administration sued Texas over its immigration policies. Later that month, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that Abbott let the Border Patrol remove the razor-wire barriers that prevented agents from reaching the river to help migrants in distress. Instead, Abbott installed more razor wire — a move encouraged by 25 Republican governors who signed a letter of support.

    Abbott said Friday that the new base allows National Guard members to more efficiently install that razor wire. “Our goal is to make sure we expand the effectiveness of that razor wire to more areas along this border,” he said.

  26. says

    Mike Johnson pretends to care about Navalny while having raked in the rubles.

    Mike Johnson’s campaign donations have come back to haunt him as scrutiny of Russians donating to his coffers before he became Speaker, and after he and his caucus refused the needed 60 billion USD funding for Ukraine to defend themselves from the war crimes of Vladimir Putin.

    […] American Ethane is a United States-based company headquartered in Houston, TX. It is building an export facility on the Neches River in Beaumont, Texas. American Ethane sounds as American as apple pie, but it is not. The company helped fund Johnson’s election in 2018 with donations from some of Putin’s favorite vicious oligarchs. […]

    Newsweek:

    In 2018, a group of Russians were able to donate to Johnson’s bid for the Louisiana seat he eventually won as the money was funneled through the Texas-based American Ethane company.

    While American Ethane was co-founded by American John Houghtaling, at the time it was 88 percent owned by three Russian nationals—Konstantin Nikolaev, Mikhail Yuriev, and Andrey Kunatbaev. Nikolaev is known to be a top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    A spokesperson for Johnson previously assured in 2018 that the campaign returned the money that was given to them by American Ethane once it was “made aware of the situation.” [I want to see proof of that claim.] There was no indication that Johnson’s campaign team willfully broke federal law, which makes it illegal for a campaign to knowingly accept donations from a foreign-owned corporation, a foreign national, or any company owned or controlled by foreign nationals.

    A number of social media users have now brought up the campaign money amid Johnson’s opposition to the long-debated foreign aid bill, which would send $60 billion to Ukraine as the country continues to fight off Russia’s invasion.

    According to reporting by the Daily Beast, Mike Johnson has had no checking or savings account for at least eight years.

    At least, that’s what Johnson reports on years of personal financial disclosures, which date back to 2016 and reveal a financial life that, in the context of his role as a congressman and now speaker, appears extraordinarily precarious.

    Over the course of seven years, Johnson has never reported a checking or savings account in his name, nor in the name of his wife or any of his children, disclosures show. In fact, he doesn’t appear to have money stashed in any investments, with his latest filing—covering 2022—showing no assets whatsoever.

    Of course, it’s unlikely Johnson doesn’t actually have a bank account. What’s more likely is Johnson lives paycheck to paycheck—so much so that he doesn’t have enough money in his bank account to trigger the checking account disclosure rules for members of Congress. […]

    But Johnson’s household income puts him in the top 12 percent of earners in the United States. And it’s extraordinarily rare for members of Congress to not list a qualifying bank account—let alone zero assets whatsoever.

    In 2018, E&E News wrote on the Russian connection to American Ethane. It’s a shady group linked to the National Rifle Association, Russian spy Maria Butina, Donald Trump, Sander Resources, and Barbour Griffith & Rogers (Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour–Mississippi Lobbyists, Associates in Thick of Trump’s Ukraine-Russia Web).

    Houston-based American Ethane Co. touts itself as a “U.S.-based energy company.” But a newly revised lobbying disclosure shows three Russian businessmen own nearly 90 percent of the company.

    The company’s lobbyist revised its filings with Congress last month as it was being linked to an unfolding spy scandal that has drawn in the Kremlin and the National Rifle Association.

    The filings now show that Konstantin Nikolaev, Mikhail Yuriev and Andrey Kunatbaev together own 88 percent of the fuel-export company. On previous disclosures dating back to 2014, company representatives had indicated there was no substantial foreign control.

    Nikolaev has been linked in news reports to Maria Butina, the Russian woman accused of acting as an unregistered agent of her government. In a July 22 story, The Washington Post quoted a source as saying Butina had told the Senate Intelligence Committee she’d received financial support from Nikolaev.

    American Ethane played a prominent role in a trade ceremony during President Trump’s November trip to Beijing. […] The Guardian in the same story reported that Voloshin is part of a consortium of Russian investors that at one point included the oligarch and billionaire Roman Abramovich.

    Will the press ask about the Russians who helped put Johnson in office? […]

    That article leaves too many questions unanswered, and not enough proof of Mike Johnson’s connections to funding from Russians is provided. Still, it does look like a worthy target for investigation.

  27. says

    High-altitude winds over Washington soared to 265 mph, near record.

    Washington Post link

    Propelled by the jet stream, at least two flights departing from hubs in the Mid-Atlantic reached speeds over 800 mph.

    Winds roared to speeds of 265 mph high over Washington late Saturday — at about 35,000 feet above ground, cruising altitude for airplanes — as a powerful jet stream swept over the region.

    The National Weather Service office serving the Washington-Baltimore region said the 265-mph wind speed was the second-highest measured since records began in the 1950s. The only higher wind speed recorded at a comparable altitude was 267 mph on Dec. 6, 2002.

    “For those flying eastbound in this jet [stream], there will be quite a tailwind,” the Weather Service wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

    Virgin Atlantic Flight 22, from Washington Dulles International Airport to London, took off at 10:45 p.m. Saturday and landed 45 minutes ahead of schedule.

    Boosted by the extreme tailwind, the Virgin Atlantic jet reached a peak speed of 802 mph at 11:20 p.m. Saturday, data from the online tracker Flight Aware indicated. It attained that velocity over the Atlantic Ocean just east of Long Island as it was gaining altitude and entering the jet stream’s fast flow.

    But after it exited that stream farther north, its speed leveled off to between 600 and 700 mph, which is still a bit faster than typical cruising speed.

    While the flight’s peak speed of 802 mph was higher than the speed of sound (767 mph), the aircraft did not break the sound barrier. Although its ground speed — a measure that combines the plane’s actual speed and the additional push from the wind — was greater than the speed of sound, it was still moving through the surrounding air at its ordinary cruise speed. It just so happened that the surrounding air was moving unusually fast.

    United Airlines Flight 64 from Newark to Lisbon, which departed at 8:35 p.m. Saturday, reached a ground speed of 835 mph just off the East Coast, according to Flight Aware, which would rank among the highest on record. The flight reached Lisbon 20 minutes early. It comes less than a month after a China Airlines flight reached a speed of 826 mph over the Pacific Ocean. It was also propelled by a tailwind over 250 mph.

    Saturday night’s powerful winds in the Mid-Atlantic were detected by a weather balloon launched from the Weather Service’s office in Sterling, Va. The office releases weather balloons every 12 hours, and the data from the balloons feeds computer models that aid prediction. […]

    Wind and weather charts are available at the link.

  28. says

    “Goodbye to my fearless friend,” Alexei Navalny, by Michael McFaul

    Washington Post link

    […] The Alexei I knew was extremely charming. I remember our first meeting at the White House in 2009 when I worked at the National Security Council. My boss at the time, Barack Obama, was known for his charisma. Navalny had Obama-caliber presence. I understood that day why Putin feared him. In a free and fair election, Navalny would have destroyed Putin. Remember that the next time you read a poll in the media about Putin’s popularity.

    […] When I once called Russia a “wild country” after a group of paid Putin agitators accosted me on the street, it felt like the whole world, including many in the United States, berated me for my “undiplomatic” outburst. Not Alexei. He asked on Twitter why I did not just belt them, since I had diplomatic immunity.

    […] The Alexei I knew was a fierce family man. He was so proud of his daughter, Dasha, when she got into Stanford, where I teach. He and his wife, Yuliya, were just like all the other excited Stanford parents when they dropped Dasha off on campus her first year. And they have watched her grow into a strong, principled, charismatic leader, just like her dad and mom. Of course, Alexei had to watch from afar.

    In fact, well before he decided to go back to Russia, it seemed to me his deepest anxiety was not about enduring torture in Putin’s gulag or even facing death, but about being an absentee father and husband. By doing what he thought was right for his country, he knew that he was asking his family to sacrifice a lot, too. And today, that sacrifice has grown so much larger.

    Navalny dreamed of a free Russia. Barbaric dictators such as Putin can kill men, but they cannot kill ideas. I do not know when, but I am confident that Navalny’s ideas of freedom will outlive Putin’s ideas of tyranny.

  29. says

    Over 400 detained in Russia as country mourns the death of Alexei Navalny

    Hundreds of people across Russian cities streamed to makeshift memorials and vigils for victims of political repression, following news of Navalny’s death in an Arctic penal colony.

    Over 400 people were detained in Russia while paying tribute to opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died at a remote Arctic penal colony, a prominent rights group reported.

    The sudden death of Navalny, 47, was a crushing blow to many Russians, who had pinned their hopes for the future on President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest foe. Navalny remained vocal in his unrelenting criticism of the Kremlin even after surviving a nerve agent poisoning and receiving multiple prison terms.

    The news reverberated across the globe, and hundreds of people in dozens of Russian cities streamed to ad-hoc memorials and monuments to victims of political repressions with flowers and candles on Friday and Saturday to pay a tribute to the politician. In over a dozen cities, police detained 401 people by Saturday night, according to the OVD-Info rights group that tracks political arrests and provides legal aid.

    More than 200 arrests were made in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city, the group said. Among those detained there was Grigory Mikhnov-Voitenko, a priest of the Apostolic Orthodox Church — a religious group independent of the Russian Orthodox Church — who announced plans on social media to hold a memorial service for Navalny and was arrested on Saturday morning outside his home. He was charged with organizing a rally and placed in a holding cell in a police precinct, but was later hospitalized with a stroke, OVD-Info reported.

    [Video of Kamala Harris talking about Navalny’s death.]

    Questions about the cause of death lingered on Sunday, and it remained unclear when the authorities would release his body to his family.

    Navalny’s team said Saturday that the politician was “murdered” and accused the authorities of deliberately stalling the release of the body, with Navalny’s mother and lawyers getting contradicting information from various institutions where they went in their quest to retrieve the body. “They’re driving us around in circles and covering their tracks,” Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, said on Saturday.

    A note handed to Navalny’s mother stated that he died at 2:17 p.m. Friday, according to Yarmysh. Prison officials told his mother when she arrived at the penal colony Saturday that her son had perished from “sudden death syndrome,” Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

    […] After the last verdict that handed him a 19-year term, Navalny said he understood he was “serving a life sentence, which is measured by the length of my life or the length of life of this regime.”

    Hours after Navalny’s death was reported, his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, made a dramatic appearance at the Munich Security Conference. […]

  30. Reginald Selkirk says

    An ordinary squirt of canned air achieves supersonic speeds – engineer spots telltale shock diamonds

    Ordinary canned air products shoot out jets of gas with a surprising amount of vigor. A precision engineering and machining YouTuber, Cylo’s Garage, noticed telltale ‘shock diamonds’ in the stream emitted by his Staples-branded canned air and felt compelled to investigate further. Using a Schlieren imaging setup, the YouTuber managed to confirm that the humble air duster was pushing out a supersonic flow of gas (h/t Hackaday)…

  31. says

    ‘How will he pay?’ and other reactions to that $355 million verdict against Trump

    […] On Friday, Judge Arthur Engoron put an exclamation point at the end of Donald Trump’s New York civil fraud case, ordering him to pay $355 million, plus interest payments that could bump the bill up to $450 mill or more.

    So the obvious question now is, “How the fuck is he going to pay that?” His devotees’ GoFundMes—that’s not a joke; there are at least two—have so far barely raised enough to cover ketchup stain removal. And he’d need to come up with all that cash before he can appeal the verdict, it’s unclear whether he has it, or whom he might convince to give it to him. […]

    In the final weeks of his 2020 presidential campaign, Trump claimed a Joe Biden victory would “unleash an economic disaster of epic proportions” and cause a severe depression. Hardly anyone took him seriously at the time, but for once his prediction was spot-on. What our fave unseemly solipsist neglected to mention, of course, was that the crash would be narrowly focused, affecting only Trump’s businesses and the MAGA fools who send him money.

    The correct answer to the “how will he pay” question is, of course, “Who the fuck cares? I have my own problems, like paroxysms of uproarious laughter brought on by acute episodes of schadenfreude, for which there is no known cure.”

    But several experts have somehow been able to think this through […]

    On Friday, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins interviewed Forbes senior editor Dan Alexander, who bluntly assessed Trump’s predicament.

    “He doesn’t have the cash right now, especially if you add on that penalty with that interest and the E. Jean Carroll penalty, which comes to—with the two rulings on that comes to $88 million. Altogether you’re looking at over half a billion dollars.”

    Alexander noted that the $400 million in cash reserves Trump claims to have still wouldn’t be enough, and even so, “You can’t just empty out your coffers and say, ‘Okay, I’m now down to zero. I’m still going to operate a major real estate company.’ He needs to have some cushion here.”

    As a result, Trump’s options seem to be limited. He could try to refinance, sell his assets, or fall back on that old Trumpian standby: open corruption and graft.

    “As you guys have talked about, the banks are going to have issues with being able to lend to him,” said Alexander. “He can’t even apply for a loan with many of these banks. But there are, for example, plenty of rich guys who might be interested in lending him $100 million, $200 million and may have good interest in wanting to do that for somebody who might become the president of the United States here in about a year. Another option is that he could sell assets, but Donald Trump has always been reluctant to sell things for what they’re actually worth, not to mention much less than they’re actually worth. He could be forced into a fire sale here and get really desperate.”

    It’s actually rather astounding how matter-of-factly Alexander mentioned the “rich guys” loan option, considering that those rich guys could very well want something in return for their help—like, say, all of Ukraine. But you just know Trump would sell out his country before he’d ever consider selling one of his golf courses, so that’s almost certainly the option he’ll go with.

    […] Meanwhile, if Trump can’t pay, things could go cattywampus pretty quickly.

    POLITICO:

    In the civil fraud case, which is in New York state court, if Trump can’t post the funds or get a bond, then the judgment would take effect immediately and a sheriff could begin seizing Trump’s assets.

    The rules are slightly different in federal court, which is the venue for the $83.3 million judgment that Trump owes for defaming the writer E. Jean Carroll after she accused him of raping her. (He also owes Carroll an additional $5 million from a separate verdict last year.) Carroll could pursue post-judgment discovery under the jurisdiction of the judge who oversaw the trial. Through that process, the judge could order Trump to produce his bank account records, place liens or garnish his wages. […]

    If Trump truly can’t afford the judgments, he would have to declare bankruptcy.

    Really? Again? While it’s doubtful Trump has ever gotten to chapter 11 in any book, it’s no secret that he’s seen—and lived—the movie half a dozen times.

    Seeking a bond to cover the judgment while he appeals the case is also an option, but it comes with its own costs, including hefty fees and interest. And as POLITICO notes, it “would require Trump to find a third party willing to take on the risk of loaning him money.”

    Could he grift his campaign donors or plunder his PACs for the cash? That might be tough. POLITICO spoke with Richard Pildes, a professor of constitutional law at the New York University School of Law, who stated, “Campaign funds cannot be used for that purpose regardless of whether the PAC is the decision-maker.”

    And, regardless, those PAC funds are shrinking fast.

    Meanwhile, Trump’s sole remaining primary opponent, Nikki Haley, is hoping the RNC will resist funneling money to Trump to cover his legal bills, even though the organization has now been entirely coopted by MAGA.

    POLITICO:

    “My biggest issue is I don’t want the RNC to become his legal defense fund. I don’t want the RNC to become his piggy bank for his personal court cases. We’ve already seen him spend $50 million worth of campaign contributions toward his personal court cases,” Haley told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Friday.

    “Now we see him trying to get control of the RNC, so he can continue not to have to pay his own legal fees,” Haley continued. […]

    [video and text messages from Trump's woebegone sons]

    Meanwhile, Fox News spoke with several “experts”—one of whom was George W. Bush’s ex-press secretary Ari Fleischer—who are convinced this is terrible news for New York. For one thing, it may prompt Trump to move his flaming husk of a business empire to Florida. […]

    Good luck with your personal Great Depression, Donny. Though I hope you won’t mind if the rest of us enjoy this roaring Biden economy.

  32. says

    Michael Cohen — who long served as former President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer — warned Sunday of the potential risk of sending Trump back to the White House with mounting legal fees and financial liabilities.

    “We need to be very careful about him as a potential president because he is for sale,” Cohen, now an outspoken critic of the former president, said in an interview on MSNBC’s “The Weekend” on Sunday.

    “He needs to figure out where he is going to raise $500-plus million over a short period of time,” Cohen continued.

    When MSNBC host Symone Sanders-Townsend suggested Trump “is open to the highest bidder at this point because the tab keeps being run up,” floating “the Saudis, the Russians,” as options, Cohen agreed.

    “Thoroughly compromised, yes,” Cohen said. […]

    Link

  33. Reginald Selkirk says

    J.D. Vance goes abroad to prove he is a ‘useful idiot’

    Republican opponent of US aid to Ukraine brings his case to an international conference

    A Republican opponent of new U.S. funding for Ukraine argued at an international security conference Sunday that the package stuck in Congress wouldn’t “fundamentally change the reality” on the ground and that Russia has an incentive to negotiate peace.

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and others have advocated passage of the $60 billion in aid at the Munich Security Conference, which coincided with Ukraine withdrawing troops from the eastern city of Avdiivka after months of intense combat.

    But Sen. JD Vance, an Ohio Republican and ally of Donald Trump, said “the problem in Ukraine … is that there’s no clear end point” and that the U.S. doesn’t make enough weapons to support wars in eastern Europe, the Middle East and “potentially a contingency in East Asia.” …

  34. Reginald Selkirk says

    Pavel: Czechia can deliver 800,000 shells to Ukraine if allied financing secured

    Czechia identified around 800,000 artillery shells abroad that could be sent to Ukraine within weeks if provided funding from other partners, Czech President Petr Pavel said on Feb. 17.

    Artillery shells are among the most crucial military supplies for Kyiv, as they are used daily in high numbers on the Ukrainian battlefields.

    The EU conceded that it would be able to deliver only half of the promised 1 million shells by the March deadline, while defense assistance from the U.S., including artillery support, is held up by domestic political disputes.

    Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, recently said that the EU aims to deliver more than 1 million shells to Ukraine by the end of 2024…

  35. Reginald Selkirk says

    Ukraine shoots down 4 Russian fighter jets in weekend killstreak, says air force chief

    On Saturday, the Commander of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, wrote on Telegram that “units of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed three enemy aircraft at once – two Su-34 fighter-bombers and one Su-35 fighter.”

    Another Russian Su-34 fighter bomber was destroyed on Sunday morning, said Oleshchuk…

  36. John Morales says

    Ah, religion.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/feb/18/hindu-nationalists-court-lion-named-after-muslim-emperor-india

    An Indian Hindu nationalist organisation has launched a court petition to stop two lions named after a Hindu deity and a 16th-century Muslim emperor from sharing a zoo enclosure.

    Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a prominent rightwing Hindu organisation, went to court in the state of West Bengal after reports a lioness named Sita had been put with a lion called Akbar.

    Akbar was a Mughal emperor who extended Muslim rule over much of the Indian subcontinent, a time Hindu nationalist groups consider to have been a period of slavery.

    “Sita cannot stay with the Mughal emperor Akbar,” the VHP official Anup Mondal said on Sunday, suggesting it would offend religious sentiments in the Hindu-majority country.

    “Such an act amounts to blasphemy and is a direct assault on the religious belief of all Hindus,” the VHP said , after having lodged a plea on Friday calling for a name change.

  37. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @John Morales #44:

    “Sita cannot stay with the Mughal emperor Akbar,” […] it would offend religious sentiments

    The Hindu epic Ramayana’s plot involves Sita getting abducted by a foreign ruler and imprisoned in a garden until her partner Rama rescues her. Sita’s faithful chastity was a central element. Mating would be a hangup.

    Later in the article:

    the lion called Akbar had previously been named after the Hindu deity Rama

    Oh come on!

  38. StevoR says

    “Excuse me, miss?” “How can I help you, ma’am?” “And what would the lady like?” I hear phrases like these every day, and as someone who is not a miss, ma’am, or a lady, they make my intestines curl. I’m non-binary. I came to terms with this recently, after living socially as a woman for many years — but I think I knew from a very young age. I just didn’t have the right words for it. ..(Snip).. Nowadays, I use they/them pronouns, and I try to let people know that upfront — but a funny thing tends to happen when people look at me.

    You see, their eyes always trend downwards, scoping out what you might call the ‘traditionally feminine’ body I live in. You might also call it my ‘massive boobs’. When this elevator-eye assessment is complete, I like to think that a little switch flips over in the cis person’s brain to a ‘SHE/HER’ setting. When this switch is flipped, it takes a gargantuan effort to reset it to neutral. I am misgendered constantly, and it’s all thanks to a part of my body I can’t control. Being misgendered is incredibly uncomfortable, and can make me sad and anxious for many hours afterward.

    Source : https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/what-its-like-to-be-non-binary-and-have-a-feminine-body/103416006

    As they note in this good article, they don’t owe anyone androgyny.

  39. StevoR says

    Aopologies if already posted but via Aussie ABC :

    Alexei Navalny, who was found dead in prison on Friday, got under the skin of Vladimir Putin like no-one else. The 47-year-old exposed the so-called “strongman” of Russian politics for what he really was — an authoritarian president fearful of free elections, free speech and a free press. An insecure man who is terrified of the truth and of justice, who crushes any form of dissent through violence and incarceration.

    “He’s never participated in any debates or campaigned in an election,” Navalny said of Putin during his fateful court hearing in February 2021 that led his long-term imprisonment. “Murder is the only way he knows how to fight. He’ll go down in history as nothing but a poisoner.” Knowing Putin’s obsession with his own skewed version of history, Navalny pushed it further in his speech to the court, mocking the president’s place in the bastion of great leaders. “We all remember Alexander the Liberator and Yaroslav the Wise. Well, now we’ll have Vladimir the Underpants Poisoner.”

    Source : https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-18/alexei-navalny-impact-on-vladimir-putin-analysis/103480870

  40. Reginald Selkirk says

    @48: “He’ll go down in history as nothing but a poisoner.”

    Maybe not, he’s been mixing it up lately. It was windows for a while, and then an exploding airplane.

  41. Reginald Selkirk says

    New Survey of Scholars Finds Lincoln Remains America’s Greatest President

    A new poll of experts on the American presidency reveals several intriguing new findings, including a shakeup among the top-ranked presidents and an early assessment of where President Joe Biden stands.

    This is the third survey conducted by co-directors of the Presidential Greatness Project, University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus and Coastal Carolina University political science professor Justin Vaughn. Results are based on nearly 200 responses from scholars across multiple disciplines whose work engages presidential politics.

    The survey shows that while presidential scholars continue to consider Abraham Lincoln the nation’s greatest president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt has passed George Washington as the second-greatest president. President Biden enters the rankings at #14, behind recent Democrats Barack Obama (#7) and Bill Clinton (#12), but ahead of recent Republicans Ronald Reagan (#16), George H.W. Bush (#19), George W. Bush (#32) and Donald Trump (#45)…

    And the occasional reminder:

    My new hobby is taking graphs of economic data over time and indicating the year that Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, in case people find that helpful or informative.
    The Ward on Christmas

  42. Reginald Selkirk says

    A shallow lake in Canada could point to the origin of life on Earth

    Imagine an entirely barren world. Before you is a volcanic landscape, devoid of flora and fauna. Scattered throughout this gray and black expanse are shallow bodies of water. In each of these natural pools brews a precise blend of chemicals and physical conditions that could serve as the source of life on our planet.

    Some scientists have theorized the scene might have looked much like this, rather than an ocean setting, when life first emerged on Earth roughly 4 billion years ago, and a study centered around a present-day lake in the Canadian province of British Columbia offers new support for that idea.

    The shallow, salty body of water situated on volcanic rock — known as Last Chance Lake — holds clues that carbonate-rich lakes in ancient Earth could have been a “cradle of life,” according to study coauthor David Catling, a University of Washington professor of geosciences. The finding, published in the journal Nature on January 9, could advance scientific understanding of how life began.

    “We were able to look for the specific conditions that people use to synthesize the building blocks of life in nature,” Catling said. “We think that we have a very promising place for the origin of life.” …

  43. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Frozen embryos are ‘children,’ Alabama Supreme Court rules

    Three couples whose frozen embryos were destroyed when a wandering Mobile hospital patient dropped the specimens can sue for wrongful death because the embryos were “children,” the Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday in reversing a judge’s decision to throw out the case.

    Court Opinion, p37 Chief Justice (pdf)

    In summary, the theologically based view of the sanctity of life adopted by the People of Alabama encompasses the following: […] human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself. [Alabama’s constitution] Section 36.06 recognizes that this is true of unborn human life

     
    MoDOT claims unborn baby killed in crash as an employee

    Kaitlyn Anderson was nearly six months pregnant and an employee for the Missouri Department of Transportation when a vehicle struck and killed her at a worksite.

    MoDOT has attempted to claim Anderson’s unborn child, Jaxx, as an employee […] Workers’ compensation laws in the state of Missouri shield employers from wrongful death lawsuits when an employee dies on the job.

    “I think that if an unborn fetus is an employee, then every pregnant MoDOT employee should be paid double,”
    […]
    “That baby didn’t have a driver’s license or Social Security ID, how on earth can he be claimed as an employee?”
    […]
    Anderson had requested a safer position when she found out she was pregnant. MoDOT did move her out of buffer trucks where she had been hit three times.
    […]
    A Missouri Supreme Court trial is set for March.

  44. Reginald Selkirk says

    Obama Wasn’t The First Black President, According to Persistent Theories

    Theories have swirled for the better part of two centuries regarding whether some U.S. presidents – including Founding Fathers – had some surreptitious Black ancestry while running a country that, during their eras, didn’t even have to pretend that they found us subhuman.

    Many of these allegations fall in the realm of conspiracy theory and have been debunked by historians. However, DNA testing is a relatively recent science but Black people “jumping the fence” in order to pass for white has been successfully done for centuries. Could it be possible that some of these presidents were “passing” or their parents or grandparents had passed for white during the height of racial viciousness?

    The topic is salacious enough that there exist books, essays, New York Times articles and NPR discussions on whether America already had a Black president before Obama. In the 1990s, pamphlets entitled “The Five Negro Presidents” and “The Six Black Presidents” were passed around and read by Black high school and college students everywhere.

    So, strap on your tinfoil hat and consider this crop of dead presidents who just might’ve successfully dodged the one-drop Rule to run the free world…

  45. Reginald Selkirk says

    Get Ready to Grow Purple Tomatoes This Summer

    This cherry tomato, simply named the Purple Tomato, is a genetically modified organism (GMO)…

    NPR reports that the Purple Tomato, created by a company called Norfolk Plant Sciences, was deliberately designed to carry purple color genes from a snapdragon flower. The purple coloration doesn’t just provide a royal color, but it also has high levels of anthocyanins, which are are antioxidants that have promising health effects like anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Plus, hey, the tomatoes just look cool.

    There’s also a marketing purpose to the Purple Tomato: to shift the public’s perceptions of GMOs…

  46. Reginald Selkirk says

    John Oliver just made Clarence Thomas an offer he thinks the SCOTUS judge can’t refuse

    John Oliver says he will give Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas a million bucks a year if he quits the Supreme Court immediately.

    “This is not a joke,” he said on the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” which aired Sunday. “This is real. A million dollars a year until you or I die.”

    Besides offering Thomas money, Oliver said he would also throw in a $2.4 million motor coach. The offer, he said, would be valid only for the next 30 days…

  47. Akira MacKenzie says

    Sita’s faithful chastity was a central element. Mating would be a hangup.

    For fuck sake… WHAT THE HELL IS WITH RELGION AND THE GLORIFICATION OF VIRGINITY!? How did sex, a pleasurable act that perpetuates the species, become something dirty, filthy, and otherwise “unholy” to the magical beings that supposedly rule our universe?

  48. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Akira MacKenzie #63:

    VIRGINITY!?

    Different misogyny.

    Prince Rama had married Sita at the beginning and was about to be crowned. Someone called in a favor to exile him for 14 years. Rama and Sita had been married 13 years living in wilderness by the time she was abducted. She was utterly devoted to Rama and refused the captor’s “one year to marry me or I’ll eat you (literally)” proposal for nearly the whole year. Rama kills the captor and rescues her.

    Wikipedia – Ramayana

    On meeting Sītā, Rāma says; “The dishonour meted out to him and the wrong done to her by [the foreign ruler] have been wiped off, by his victory over the enemy […] However, upon criticism from people in his kingdom about the chastity of Sītā, Rāma gets extremely disheartened. So Sītā, in order to prove the citizens wrong and wipe the false blame on her, [sets herself on fire] in order to prove her conjugal fidelity. [The Hindu god of fire] restores her to Rāma, testifying to her purity.
    […]
    The return of Rāma [from exile] was celebrated with his coronation.

    Wikipedia – Sita, Second Exile

    Rama was crowned as the king with Sita by his side. While Rama’s trust and affection for Sita never wavered, it soon became evident that some people in [the kingdom] could not accept Sita’s long captivity […] an intemperate washerman, while berating his wayward wife, declared that he was “no pusillanimous Rama who would take his wife back after she had lived in the house of another man”. The common folk started gossiping about Sita […] as a king, he had to make his citizens pleased and the purity of the queen […] has to be above any gossip
    […]
    Thus Sita was forced into exile a second time. […] pregnant […] Sita raised her sons alone, as a single mother. […] Once she had witnessed the acceptance of her children by Rama, Sita sought final refuge […] from an unjust world and from a life that had rarely been happy, the Earth dramatically split open […] and took Sita away.

  49. says

    Some campaign news tidbits, as summarized by Steve Benen:

    * In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has now signed into law new legislative maps that will end the state Republican Party’s gerrymandered lock on power.

    * During her latest Fox News event, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley had plenty of criticisms for Donald Trump, but the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations nevertheless vowed to pardon the former president if elected.

    * TPM reports that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is positioning herself, either for a statewide campaign or for a possible position in Trump’s cabinet. In a statement to TPM, the Georgia Republican confirmed that she has “big plans for the future of this country.” [Oh dear. Please, no. Just no.]

    * Ahead of Michigan’s March 27 presidential primaries, Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib is publicly urging her allies in Dearborn to vote against President Joe Biden and instead cast a ballot for “uncommitted.” The point would be to protest the administration’s policies in the war between Israel and Hamas. [Bad idea, I think. Protest, but don’t urge people to vote against Biden. In the long run, that will only help Trump because people remember that instruction and then apply it even in the general election in November.]

    * Speaking of presidential primaries, Rep. Dean Phillips is apparently still challenging Biden, the Minnesota Democrat announced late last week that he’s laying off a significant portion of his campaign staff.

    * In Colorado, where Rep. Lauren Boebert has represented the western part of the state in recent years, the Republican congresswoman is now trying to win over the eastern part of the state. The Wall Street Journal reported that Boebert is part of a crowded GOP primary field, and she’s facing a “chilly reception” from local groups.

    * Remember Herschel Walker’s failed U.S. Senate campaign in Georgia? The Republican’s campaign account is apparently still sitting on millions of dollars, and no one’s sure what, if anything, he intends to do with the money.

    Link

    In other news, love those tomatoes pictured at the link in comment 60.

    Quoted in comment 55:

    […] human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself.

    So, God can righteously destroy human life. And God may have arranged for the destruction of frozen embryos in Alabama?

  50. says

    Liz Cheney:

    “I think that we have to take Donald Trump very seriously. We have to take seriously the extent to which you have now got a Putin wing of the Republican Party. I believe the issue this election cycle is making sure the Putin wing of the Republican Party does not take over the West Wing of the White House.”

    The Hill:

    Senate Republicans who voted to advance aid for Ukraine last week are taking heavy incoming from allies of former President Trump, who are calling them out publicly and threatening primary challenges after they defied Trump’s calls to oppose the package.

    Pew Research Center:

    Two years on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 74% of Americans view the war there as important to U.S. national interests — with 43% describing it as very important. … When asked how important each conflict is to them personally, 59% of Americans say the war between Russia and Ukraine is important to them.

    Commentary:

    […] Not surprisingly given the larger context, there’s a partisan gap, and Democratic voters are more likely than GOP voters to see the Russia-Ukraine war as important to U.S. national interests. But the split wasn’t overwhelming: 81% of Democrats vs. 69% of Republicans.

    With this in mind, to the extent that the Republican Party has a “Putin wing,” it’s succeeding in blocking bipartisan legislation on Capitol Hill, but it’s finding less success in convincing the American mainstream.

    Link

  51. says

    Kamala Harris made a persuasive case that the war in Ukraine has been an “utter failure for Russia.” It’s a case Republicans should take seriously.

    Vice President Kamala Harris appeared at this year’s Munich Security Conference, which included a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Not surprisingly, the Democrat praised his resolve and successes in the fight against Russia.

    But a Reuters report highlighted a statistic that seemed especially notable.

    Russia, meanwhile, has suffered more than 300,000 casualties in the Ukraine war and depleted its military’s stockpile, [Harris] said, calling it an “utter failure for Russia.”

    That was, to be sure, a striking figure. Vladimir Putin invaded a neighboring country, launched an avoidable war, and two years later, his country has suffered more than 300,000 casualties.

    It’s also a statistic that’s easy to believe. NBC News published this report a couple of months ago:

    In the past 22 months, 315,000 Russian troops have been killed and wounded, according to the assessment provided to lawmakers. Prior to the invasion, Russia had a ground force strength of about 360,000. Russia has also sustained huge losses in equipment, with 2,200 tanks destroyed out of a force of 3,500 and one-third of its armored vehicles knocked out of action, the assessment said.

    The report added that Moscow’s military resources were depleted to such an extent that Russia was forced to “draw on Soviet-era hardware to replace the lost equipment, even bringing 50-year-old T-62 tanks onto the battlefield.”

    Around the same time, a New York Times report added, after Russia’s army lost 315,000 out of 360,000 troops, Putin’s government was forced to “recruit and mobilize new recruits and convicts from their prison system.”

    I’m trying to think of these developments from the perspective of an American policymaker. The Ukrainian military, thanks in large part to support from the United States, has been able to inflict devastating losses on the Russian military. After two years of an avoidable war, Putin has seen his army shrink, his tanks destroyed, his armored vehicles knocked out of action, his economy weakened, and his international reputation left in ruins.

    All of this has unfolded without sending U.S. troops into battle, and without the death of any U.S. soldiers.

    I’m also trying to imagine why some American policymakers in one political party would see this assessment and think, “Let’s stop helping our allies defend themselves against a foreign invasion and stop weakening an adversary that’s suffered brutal casualties as a consequence of a war they didn’t have to launch.”

    Republican lawmakers do not deal in logic, good judgement, or facts. They listen to their cult leader, Hair Orange Furor the Demented One. And he has a personal beef with Ukraine.

  52. says

    “Ultimately, these things do start to seem like a pattern,” Rachel Maddow observes, after running through the growing list of legal catastrophes Donald Trump has suffered. Maddow joins Lawrence O’Donnell and Alex Wagner in discussing the political fallout for Trump in the wake of a nearly half billion dollar civil fraud trial loss in New York.

    YouTube link to ten minute video.

  53. says

    Followup to Reginald @62.

    On Sunday’s edition of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” host John Oliver made a direct offer to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. After showcasing a new, luxury RV valued at $2.4 million, Oliver offered to give the RV to Thomas, along with $1 million a year in cash, if the justice would sign a contract promising “to get the fuck off the Supreme Court.”

    He isn’t the first to think of such an offer. Former crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, who is awaiting sentencing on seven criminal counts, reportedly attempted to negotiate with representatives for Donald Trump over how much money it would take to keep Trump from running again in 2024. They reportedly settled on $5 billion, and Bankman-Fried was reportedly willing to pay, but he got arrested before he could cut the check.

    Both of these offers seem like they should be illegal. Because they should be illegal. But they’re just the flip side of what’s already happening—wealthy patrons buying figureheads who will do exactly what they want in office.

    Thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision and other egregious decisions on campaign financing, political candidates are absolutely awash in funds from those with business before the government. Dark-money groups, billionaire donors, and massive super PACS have the kind of leverage over candidates that makes the idea of buying a vote seem old hat. Now they buy candidates by the dozen, with the knowledge that in a system where running for Senate can top a quarter of a billion dollars, their favor is necessary for most candidates to remain competitive.

    In the Supreme Court, there are essentially no rules other than don’t get impeached—despite a recently announced but utterly toothless code of conduct. Conservative super-patron Harlan Crow has showered gifts on Thomas. That includes globe-spanning superyacht cruises, more pricey vacations and retreats, school tuition for one of Thomas’ relatives, and a house where Thomas’ mother lives. In return, Crow has gotten reliable rulings from Thomas that have more than paid him back.

    Besides, this is all peanuts for Crow. Forbes estimates his and his brothers’ net worth around $2.5 billion. That’s nearly 13,000 times the median net worth of American families. Picking up the tab on a quarter-million-dollar gift means about as much to Crow as it would for most people to give a waiter a $20 tip. And Crow is a piker compared to the wealth of the folks at the top of Forbes’ list.

    From state legislatures to the Supreme Court, politicians can be rewarded with essentially anything to run for office, and even more is available to reward them for votes once they are elected. This is exactly what opponents of Citizens United and advocates for campaign finance reform have warned about for decades.

    The issues always existed, but it’s grown massively worse since former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demonstrated that a government based on tradition and respect for the nation was like a house built on sand. Any jackass could smash it. All it took was a total lack of decency.

    Paying Thomas to step down may seem like a ridiculous step. But he’s already being paid handsomely to stay. Providing a counteroffer may be the simplest solution—and even if it’s not successful, it does highlight the flaws in a deeply broken system.

    If $5 billion would actually keep Trump from running, the money could probably be raised in an afternoon. Unfortunately, at this point, Trump seems more interested in smiting his seemingly endless enemies and protecting himself from the consequences of his crimes. Which are also endless. Besides, even if he made the deal, he’d just take the money and run (for office) anyway.

    […] in the meantime … Dear Clarence, that motorhome looks really sweet. Take it. Please take it.

    Link

  54. says

    The Lies Are Very Obvious

    […] The person who sent the email, who hoped to entice Joe Biden to take a stake in a planned venture, merely posed a question, which was promptly answered in writing with a definitive NO. Which is why we know with mathematical certainty that the multitudes who invoke the phrase, “10[%] for the big guy,” to impugn Joe Biden are indefensibly trafficking in lies.

    We also know with mathematical certainty that Bobulinski [Biden Accuser Tony Bobulinski] never “discussed business” with Joe Biden in 2017, because there was never any business to discuss, only his hopes and dreams, which went nowhere.

    Bobulinski’s planned venture was never launched because the deep pocket that was supposed to fund everything, a multibillion dollar conglomerate called CEFC China Energy, proved to be a house of cards that collapsed in early 2018. So we know with mathematical certainty that it was physically impossible for the Bidens to peddle influence on behalf of CEFC during and after the Trump Administration. […]

    And we know with mathematical certainty that Bobulinski never observed the Bidens doing business with anyone, which is why we know that Fox traffics in lies when it reports, “Joe Biden ‘enabled’ family to sell access to ‘dangerous adversaries,’ Tony Bobulinski testifies.”

    Bobulinski’s incessant lying, and his difficulty in distinguishing fantasy from reality, became painfully apparent during his interview with the House Oversight Committee. But for three years he proved to be the useful idiot for Trump allies who opened a Firehose of Falsehoods to fabricate a nonexistent Biden scandal, first by alleging that Joe Biden’s denial of involvement was false, second by claiming that anyone who refuted or ignored Bobulinski’s transparent lies was engaged in a coverup, and third by providing fodder for other dishonest “whistleblowers” like Gary Shapley and Gal Luft, who peddled other bogus accusations that crumble under basic fact checking.

    From the date of his first “no questions” press event, arranged by the Trump Campaign on October 22, 2020, up until now, Bobulinski’s handlers have limited his public availability, for obvious reasons. He’s clearly in over his head. He first presented himself as an “institutional investor,” which is obviously untrue. He also struggled with basic concepts, like the distinction between consulting on business acquisitions and investing in new businesses. The moniker useful idiot is no exaggeration in this instance.

    And for a guy who claims to be an astute and seasoned businessman, Bobulinski showed an inability to focus and remain levelheaded during an episode-long interview on Tucker Carlson on October 27, 2020. He kept dwelling on superfluous details like an overexcited teenager, going on and on about being escorted to the VIP table at the Milken Conference where Joe Biden spoke on cancer research, while recounting nothing substantive about his discussion with the former Vice President. But members of the House Oversight Committee, who questioned him for six hours recently, missed an opportunity to ask him to fill in the huge gaps in his background, which you can drive a truck through.

    […] No one, aside from Bobulinski, ever imagined that Joe Biden was involved in the transaction.

    But in 2020 Bobulinski fantasized that Gilliar’s [one prospective partner, an Englishman named James Gilliar] hopes had somehow morphed into reality. He learned that Hunter and Jim Biden had signed a side deal to start a CEFC venture without him, and seemed bent on revenge. But no one else would care about Bobulinski’s story unless he pulled in the father. So he perversely cites inconsequential communications–Gilliar’s messages advising him to not mention Joe Biden, Gilliar’s email question (“10 for the big guy?”), and Hunter’s admonition to not mention business when he met Joe Biden–as proof that Joe was involved in their never-started enterprise.

    […] He seems to have a childlike view of how the business world operates, imagining that reality occurs through some kind of secret code, instead of legal documentation. Which is why we should wonder about Bobulinski’s murky background, and how he became a business colleague of Gilliar. Here’s one fantasy-laden passage of his House testimony:

    The [Democratic] minority seems to want to, like, bifurcate it and differentiate between relationship development and actual business. The relationship development is business. Joe Biden walking into a room and shaking Chairman Ye’s hand is business, in the world I live in. You don’t have to take my word. Call, you know, Jamie Dimon, you know, the chairman of J.P. Morgan. He doesn’t sit down at meetings and say, okay, I’m going to sit for this 2-hour meeting. He comes in and shakes three hands and walks out of the room. And that handshake is business. That’s why he’s the chairman of J.P. Morgan and has, you know, made himself a billionaire.

    Actually, in the world Jamie Dimon lives in, nobody rises to the top because they’re good at handshakes, and J.P. Morgan doesn’t execute any deals based on a handshake, even Jamie Dimon’s. Every transaction, large and small, is based on heavily negotiated legal documentation, and the commercial deals require detailed memoranda prepared by analysts and overseen by executives.

    Bobulinski’s lawyer should have prepared him for moments when his fantasy might be punctured by the text of a three-year-old article in The Wall Street Journal, which triggered one of his many unhinged rants:

    [Rep. Dan] Goldman. The next paragraph in the Wall Street Journal article, it says, “Mr. Gilliar told the Journal: I would like to clear up any speculation that former Vice President Biden was involved with the 2017 discussions about our potential business structure. I am unaware of any involvement at anytime of the former Vice President. The activity in question never delivered any project revenue.'”

    […]Mr. Bobulinski. It’s a lie. It’s a lie.
    Mr. Goldman. So what is —
    Mr. Bobulinski. The Wall Street Journal printed a lie —
    Mr. Goldman. Okay.
    Mr. Bobulinski. — a blatant lie.
    Mr. Goldman. What is the lie? What is the lie?
    Mr. Bobulinski. They had documents that proved otherwise. The exhibits that you reference where James Gilliar says to me, “Don’t mention Joe being involved,” I know The Wall Street Journal had that screenshot.
    Mr. Goldman. Yup.
    Mr. Bobulinski. They knew Joe was involved. And this is James Gilliar lying to The Wall Street Journal however many days this is before the election, because his opinion —
    Mr. Goldman. Well, let me just ask you about that, because —
    Mr. Bobulinski.- because his opinion was he —
    Mr. Goldman. Sir, let me ask you —
    Mr. Bobulinski. – did not want us to come out to the public and correct the record and educate the American people.
    Mr. Goldman. Do you agree –
    Mr. Bobulinski. He is not an American.
    Mr. Goldman. Sir, do you agree with me –
    Mr. Bobulinski. And I have recordings —
    Mr. Goldman. Sir —
    Mr. Bobulinski. – where he was —
    Mr. Goldman. You have recordings?
    Mr. Bobulinski.- arguing with me, trying to keep me from going public and talking about the facts to the American people.
    Mr. Goldman. You have recordings? Did you turn those over?
    Mr. Bobulinski. I have not.
    Mr. Goldman. Hm. Let’s just be very clear here that the text messages that you are referring to are conversations between James Gilliar and you about whether or not Joe Biden was involved or what his involvement was. They do not – do not – dispute his statement that he is unaware of any involvement at any time of the former Vice President. I want to move on, just because that took longer than I expected.

    Later when an unnamed lawyer tried to reconcile the names on the legal documents with Bobulinski’s fantasy, he became unhinged again, so Goldman attempted to tally up the dozen people he accused of lying:
    Mr. . The Biden family — the Biden family — exhibit 6, your partners are — called Bidens — are James Biden and Hunter Biden, right?
    Mr. Bobulinski. Why did I meet with Joe Biden? You are obfuscating the fact of what transpired by talking —
    Mr. Goldman. Sir, he’s asking you a simple question.
    Mr. Bobulinski. It isn’t a simple question, Congressman Goldman.
    Mr. Goldman. It’s not a simple question?
    Mr. Bobulinski. No, it’s not a simple question.
    Mr. Goldman. Who are the partners from the LLC?
    Mr. Bobulinski. You continue to lie and obfuscate the facts to the American people. That’s why my voice is raised —
    Mr. Goldman. Good. So now we’re back —
    Mr. Bobulinski. — because he’s about to do it.
    Mr. Goldman. So the FBI, The Wall Street Journal, Cassidy Hutchinson, all of us — there was another one. Who else lied? Yeah, the FBI agents. We’ve got that. […]

    That’s six FBI agents who interviewed him on October 23, 2020, the four other partners in the stillborn joint venture, reporters at The Wall Street Journal, Cassidy Hutchinson, and anyone else who doesn’t indulge his wild fantasies.

    […] But the bigger story, which deserves deeper coverage, is not that Bobulinski is a delusional crackpot. There were obvious signs of that on Tucker Carlson back on October 27, 2020. It’s that the credibility of rightwing enablers who turned him into a meme is punctured as well. Which is why Bobulinski’s counsel Stefan Passantino, who pimps out his law license for Trump, flooded the zone with more lies on Fox. “Mr. Bobulinski has the facts and the receipts, and no amount of character assassination will change that,” he wrote, plus, “it is categorically false to assert that Mr. Bobulinski failed to “provide any evidence at all that President Biden was involved in his family’s business dealings” or that he did not testify that ‘Joe Biden was not part of [the Biden family’s] business structure’”. Passantino couldn’t substantiate those claims if threatened with a firing squad.

    Which is why the New York Post’s Miranda Devine, who devoted her career to parroting and amplifying Bobulinski’s nonsense, doubled down and let loose, tweeting that Dan Goldman was “trying recover his manhood after Bobulinski destroyed him yesterday.”

    Link

    Posted by readers of the article:

    Bobblehead Bobulinski is charging that six FBI agents lied. Maybe they, and Hunter Biden, could file a defamation case against him, and name some of his enablers as well. It’s time to stop letting these people get away with lies and defamation.
    —————————-
    Lies don’t become truths just by your shouting them over your questioners.
    ——————————
    many other countries have stricter laws about reporting, in the guise of news, “facts” that can be verified to be untrue (with consequences like stiff fines, or loss of licenses).
    —————————
    Rambling incoherent bs. Bobulinski reflects the GOP’s entire existence of rambling incoherent bs.
    ——————————
    The recordings are among the partners telling Bobulinski not to talk to the press, because his claims of Joe Biden’s involvement were false. And his personal grievance against Hunter and Jim Biden is irrelevant.
    ——————————–
    “He seems to have a childlike view of how the business world operates, imagining that reality occurs through some kind of secret code, instead of legal documentation.”

    This is how mob functionaries behave. It’s so obvious that these guys are “might makes right” operators and have no clue how legitimate business is conducted.
    ——————————–
    Another day, another Bobulinski, dare say the hunt is on for yet another “whistle blower” and another idiotic claim.

  55. tomh says

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
    Gov. Tony Evers signs new election maps, ending Wisconsin Republicans’ grip on legislative power
    Molly Beck, Eva Wen, and Andrew Hahn / 2/19/24

    MADISON – Wisconsin Republicans lost their more than decade-long grip on control of the state Legislature Monday after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed into law new electoral maps that reshape down-ballot races in this battleground state.

    Evers signed a bill put forward by GOP lawmakers last week implementing new legislative maps the Democratic governor drew himself that dramatically weaken the advantages Republicans have enjoyed each election cycle since 2011….

    The new map gives Democrats a chance to compete with Republicans for control of the Legislature for the first time in more than a decade. Even so, the vast majority of Democratic lawmakers voted against the plan, arguing the state Supeme Court should pick new boundaries instead. State Sen. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, voted against the maps but stood behind Evers on Monday to celebrate signing them into law. He was one of just four Democratic lawmakers to join Evers at the bill signing ceremony.

    “My vote was never about the map itself. It was about the process. It was about making sure we looked at all the legal angles to make sure there wasn’t a Republican trick here to avoid fair maps. And I trust the Gov. Evers has done that,” Spreitzer said Monday.

    The move by Republicans to diminish their own power comes two months after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the GOP-drawn legislative maps as unconstitutional and ordered lawmakers to come up with a new plan or allow the court to create a new set of legislative boundaries.

    The 99 Assembly districts proposed by Evers are about evenly split between Republican and Democratic-leaning districts. Forty-five districts are more Democratic than Republican, and 46 districts are more Republican than Democratic.

    That leaves eight districts that are more likely to be a toss-up between Democrats and Republicans.

    Under the current gerrymandered maps, Republicans hold 64 of 99 Assembly seats and 22 of 33 Senate seats.

  56. Reginald Selkirk says

    Capital One to buy Discover

    McLean-based Capital One Financial is buying Discover Financial Services in what would be its largest ever deal, Bloomberg reported Monday.

    A deal between the two credit card giants could be announced as soon as Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal…

  57. beholder says

    @68 Lynna

    Bad idea, I think. Protest, but don’t urge people to vote against Biden.

    So don’t protest. Rally to Genocide Joe no matter how high the piles of human skulls are. Got it.

    If this is your strategy for responding to horrific Biden policies you deserve a thrashing in November.

  58. Reginald Selkirk says

    Winthrop University Makes History with Inaugural Cornhole Team

    Winthrop University has embarked on a groundbreaking journey in the realm of college sports, signing Gavin Hamann and Jaxson Remmick, two high school players from Denver, Colorado, to its inaugural cornhole team. The duo, notable for their adept skills, are two-time American Cornhole League high school national champions and are esteemed as five-star recruits by Winthrop’s experienced cornhole coach, Dusty Thompson, a former pro player himself.

    Winthrop University is pioneering an initiative that could revolutionize the face of college sports. The scholarships offered to Hamann and Remmick are partial at present, but the university has opened the door to the possibility of increasing these as the sport gains traction. Thompson envisions cornhole evolving into a full scholarship sport, much like the university’s successful Esports program. This program, too, started small but rapidly expanded, now boasting a large team and offering scholarships…

  59. says

    […] The good news is that the expensive gold sneakers have reportedly sold out. The bad news is that even without subtracting manufacturing costs, that won’t make a dent in his debts. He will still need to sell (sans manufacturing costs) about 2,721,613 ugly sneakers. Trump owes roughly $542 million in recent legal judgments: his civil fraud judgment and two judgments in cases with E. Jean Carroll. Fortune Magazine reports that while Trump claims to be worth around $10 billion, most estimates of his fortune settle in around $2 billion.

    In 2022, Digital World Acquisition Corp., the special purpose acquisition company trying to take Trump’s “Truth Social” media platform public, was required to file a public listing of Trump’s failures as a businessman and brand before selling stock in the company. Here are some noteworthy highlights:

    “The Trump Taj Mahal, which was built and owned by President Trump, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991.”

    “The Trump Plaza, the Trump Castle, and the Plaza Hotel, all owned by President Trump at the time, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992.”

    “THCR, which was founded by President Trump in 1995, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004.”

    “Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc., the new name given to Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts after its 2004 bankruptcy, declared bankruptcy in 2009.”

    “Trump Shuttle, Inc., launched by President Trump in 1989, defaulted on its loans in 1990 and ceased to exist by 1992.”

    “Trump University, founded by President Trump in 2005, ceased operations in 2011 amid lawsuits and investigations regarding the company’s business practices.”

    “Trump Vodka, a brand of vodka produced by Drinks Americas under license from the Trump Organization, was introduced in 2005 and discontinued in 2011.”

    “Trump Mortgage, LLC, a financial services company founded by President Trump in 2006, ceased operations in 2007.”

    “GoTrump.com, a travel site founded by President Trump in 2006, ceased operations in 2007.”

    “Trump Steaks, a brand of steak and other meats founded by President Trump in 2007, discontinued sales two months after its launch.”

    Trump has a long history of really classing up hucksterism. Who could forget 2016, when instead of using a press conference to crow about primary victories, he hawked newly Trump-branded steaks, water, and wine? Branding has been Trump’s main source of revenue for some time, which is why he (and his daughter Ivanka) used his position as president to get dozens of trademarks approved in markets like China at record speeds.

    There is a positive takeaway for the conman: Russian CEO Roman Sharf placed a winning $9,000 bid for an autographed pair of Trump’s gold sneakers. So Trump can either find himself 60,000 more Russian CEOs to buy autographed pairs of tacky gold sneakers, or he can just ingratiate himself to a single wealthy authoritarian Russian leader.

    Link

  60. birgerjohansson says

    Beholder @ 78
    About backing Biden…

    The American muslims have realised they have leverage, and are using it. They want real changes in the middle east policies and are holding Joe Biden over a barrel to get it.
    From their point of view Democratic presidents have proven disappointing again and again.

    Yes I know Trump is much, much worse but the genocide in Gaza is happening right now and the election is in November. From the point of the muslims their reaction is rational, after decades of disappointments. Good luck telling them otherwise, this revolt has been long time coming.

  61. says

    Behold, The Terrible AI Cartoon That Explains The World As MAGA Sees It

    https://www.wonkette.com/p/behold-the-terrible-ai-cartoon-that

    Lots of screen grabs from the video are available at the link, so you can see for yourself.

    So there’s this episode of “30 Rock” where Jack tells Kenneth the Page that he wishes he could see the world through his eyes — and it turns out that in the world, through Kenneth’s eyes, is a world in which everyone is a singing puppet. Like on “Sesame Street.”

    Now, we all know that we see the world through our own lenses, and we can assume that the world we see is very different from the world that Trumpists see. Though just how different, I admit, was not entirely clear to me until I saw this absolutely batshit pro-Trump AI cartoon that some guy made for Presidents’ Day. It was always going to have to be a cartoon, you see, because the world as they see it does not exist in real life.

    The video was made by Joseph Youngbluth, a man who describes himself as an “AI Artist.” and Jason Coursey, whose Twitter profile specifies that USA’s pronouns are USA, which we will certainly respect.

    “In honor of Presidents Day,” Youngbluth wrote, introducing the video, “and to support the greatest president of our lifetime, President Donald J. Trump, we are presenting ‘America Lives,’ possibly the first AI-animated video of its kind.” And oh boy, is Team MAGA ever going bananas over it, both because it gives them “hope” and because it shows the world as they see it.

    According to the description, “America Lives” is “a patriotic AI-animated video that captures the essence of Donald Trump’s vision.”

    “The idea of America lives in each of every one of us,” says the narrator in the traditional action movie trailer voiceover voice. “But a storm has gathered at our shores, a tempest that seeks to tear apart the fabric of our nation. It seeks nothing less than the wanton destruction of this great nation of men and women.”

    We are then treated to the very fiery visual representation of the world these people think they are currently living in.

    It’s got a whole lot of coastal erosion that of course has nothing to do with climate change!

    It’s got blue-haired Black Bloc anarchists running through fiery protests!

    A self-immolating constitution!

    Exploding heterosexuals!

    Guys in suits doing a jigsaw puzzle … of doom.

    Satanists hanging out in cloaks on a bloody floor — just as voice-over guy says, “they have existed throughout time!”

    It’s got scary-looking drag queens that look like more like scary clowns coming for your children! In classrooms where they are taught that Trump is bad, white people are evil and their parents are liars!

    A dark scary city with trash everywhere! And trash bins on fire! Because basically everything is on fire all the time.

    Art installations downtown!

    People being barred from getting on the subway because their “social credit score” is low! (I think?)

    Those people from that one “Twilight Zone” episode taking absolute power over everything and probably also planning to force all of the good Americans to get plastic surgery so they can have weird pig faces!

    An exploding Capitol! It, well … it’s a lot!

    Don’t worry though, because Donald Trump is here to come to the rescue and stare solemnly at all of our nation’s most famous monuments! [I see that the managed to make Trump look thinner, even from the back.]

    But he can’t do it alone! He needs you to get your 1920s cosplay on and … start hauling some bags out of the ocean?

    So, so, so many bags.

    And then you have to stand on the bags and plant an American flag on top of them.

    And look! The heterosexual couple is not exploding anymore! You saved them! You saved everyone! With all the bag moving!

    And then there are fields of wheat!

    Fields and fields and fields of wheat! Maybe that’s what was in the bags?

    And there are very few people, because all of the bad non-MAGA people spontaneously combusted as soon as Trump was re-elected.

    People are going absolutely wild over this, how it gives them hope for a future in which they will, I guess, haul some heavy bags from the ocean and stand in fields of wheat that will eventually rot due to that 72 percent population reduction that just came out of nowhere (74 million people voted for Trump in the last election and there are 258 million adults over 18 in the US). It’s not clear what else will happen, but there will be bag-hauling and wheat for sure.

    “This literally moved me to tears, not just from what we have endured but because there is still hope to Save America. Do not sit idle but stand and fight for America and for President [Trump] 2024,” wrote one.

    Others said “Powerful Video. WOW!” or that it gave them “chills and goosebumps.”

    This just shows, I think, that as hard as we may try to Lee Strasberg ourselves into knowing what the hell is going on inside these people’s heads (and I do!), it’s never going to be enough. We will never be able to fully grasp what it is they are on about, because the world they live in is based less in reality than one in which we are all singing puppets, and that is that.

  62. says

    Washington Post:

    Sinclair’s local network of 185 stations across the country makes it an influential player in shaping the views of millions of Americans, especially at a time when local newspapers are rapidly being gutted — or closed altogether. As Sinclair increasingly fills the void, it offers its viewers a perspective that aligns with Trump’s oft-stated opinion that America’s cities, especially those run by Democratic politicians, are dangerous and dysfunctional. […]

  63. birgerjohansson says

    Large administrative regions.
    Russia never disappoints🫡

    .https://youtube.com/shorts/hQwlbpOGDD   
    The Kiruna municipality they mention mostly consists of alpine tundra with nearly all people living  in a mining town. The good part is, they have a rocket launch site because there is zero risk of the spent rockets hitting anyone.

    Western Australia is so far from the more populated states in the east it practically functions as its own country.

  64. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @birgerjohansson #77:

    (43:09): biggest backfire to happen in the Soviet Union, at least until the first flight of the Tu-22

    That history only mentions it in passing then stops short of the 1960s when it flew.

    BlueJay – How to Win the Cold War, Tupalev Tu-22 (22:26 to 26:00)

    the first supersonic bomber to enter production in the Soviet Union—even after both prototypes were destroyed in testing […] Design issues included wings that would deform and partially melt at high speeds […] an astronomical failure rate [23% of units were lost.] Pilots were not very excited to fly this death trap. However it was an extremely sought-after assignment for crews.
    […]
    The cockpit had an overheating problem […] coolant was a mixture of 60% distilled water and 40% ethanol. […] It ran on vodka, yes. Naturally there were numerous reports of crews drinking the plane’s coolant […] the coolant was utilized with a shocking efficiency […] 100% of it was used during flights.

  65. Reginald Selkirk says

    Measles erupts in Florida school where 11% of kids are unvaccinated

    Florida health officials on Sunday announced an investigation into a cluster of measles cases at an elementary school in the Fort Lauderdale area with a low vaccination rate, a scenario health experts fear will become more and more common amid slipping vaccination rates nationwide.

    On Friday, Broward County Public School reported a confirmed case of measles in a student at Manatee Bay Elementary School in the city of Weston. A local CBS affiliate reported that the case was in a third-grade student who had not recently traveled. On Saturday, the school system announced that three additional cases at the same school had been reported, bringing the current reported total to four cases.

    On Sunday, the Florida Department of Health in Broward County (DOH-Broward) released a health advisory about the cases and announced it was opening an investigation to track contacts at risk of infection…

  66. Reginald Selkirk says

    Astronomers find what may be the universe’s brightest object with a black hole devouring a sun a day

    Astronomers have discovered what may be the brightest object in the universe, a quasar with a black hole at its heart growing so fast that it swallows the equivalent of a sun a day.

    The record-breaking quasar shines 500 trillion times brighter than our sun. The black hole powering this distant quasar is more than 17 billion times more immense than our sun, an Australian-led team reported Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy…

  67. John Morales says

    Another video from Vlad Vexler: VLAD REACTS: Trump on Navalny

    I adduce it because in his preamble he clarifies a concept that eludes many people and I think it’s an important one, so I’ve put the work in.

    Here’s my slightly summarised transcribed excerpt of that concept. I have taken the liberty to add punctuation and adjust it for readability, since Vlad is one of those YouTubers who speaks extemporaneously though rather slowly, and what he says is quite dense in meaning but somewhat stream-of-consciousness.

    … because if anything is true of our current political predicament it’s that in fact the Gap in sophistication and in particular in ethical Integrity between the average citizen and their political representative has shrunk you know indeed we’re getting increasingly political Representatives who have less Integrity than just the average citizen so that’s important [to] know but we are sometimes inclined to forget it or inclined to [not] face it properly and waking up to that makes all the difference when it comes to understanding the pathologies of our politicians so I’m going to say a few things

    […] the first thing I want to say: liar politicians deceive their citizens; PTPs (posttruth populist politicians) enter into a co-conspiracy with citizens in which both parties agree the truth doesn’t matter or doesn’t matter much; deceiving, leaving you versus entering a co-conspiracy with you (with some of you) in which both you and your political representative agrees the truth doesn’t matter so we’re talking about a social “Dynamic of Liberation” through the denial of truth: the truth puts me in chains, engaging in the co-conspiracy in which I throw it off liberates me. It’s a social phenomena of our age.

    The second thing I want to say is that liar politicians misrepresent the difference between particular truths and particular lies; post-truth populist politicians misrepresent the difference between truth and lies in general, undermine the difference between truth and lies in general.

    So these two things we’ve put on the table clearly suggest that something is going wrong with the internal coherence of statements that some of our political representatives make and that this degeneration in internal coherence is not simply imposed upon the citizenry, but the citizenry in part engages in a co-conspiracy with its political representatives to deny the stability of the difference between
    truth and lies which wasn’t denied let us say only 10 years ago in Western politics, and […]

  68. Reginald Selkirk says

    Man who authorities say bragged of ‘kinda’ breaking Pelosi sign on Jan. 6 arrested

    An Oregon man who allegedly broke a Speaker of the House sign during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol has been arrested, authorities say.

    David Medina, 34, was arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges, the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington announced Friday. He is charged with multiple misdemeanor charges, including destruction of government property, entering or remaining in a restricted area without authority and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted area, among others.

    According to court documents, Medina was identified in open-source images and video footage as slamming the wooden sign above the Speaker’s office, which read, “Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi” in an attempt to break it. He was then seen next to other rioters who were holding pieces of the broken sign, according to the documents…

  69. Reginald Selkirk says

    Trump mentions Navalny … but that’s it

    Seventy-two hours following the death of Alexei Navalny, Donald Trump made his first comments on the death of the Russian opposition leader Monday but stopped short of condemning anyone or offering sympathy.

    Instead, the former president related his own legal woes to the death of Navalny, who died in prison on Friday at the age of 47. Trump on Friday was ordered to pay a $354.8 million penalty payment as part of civil fraud trial decision.

    “The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country,” Trump posted to Truth Social on Monday. “It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction. Open Borders, Rigged Elections, and Grossly Unfair Courtroom Decisions are DESTROYING AMERICA. WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION! MAGA2024.” …

    Surprise, it’s all about him.

  70. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    ArsTechnica – Air Canada must honor refund policy invented by airline’s chatbot

    According to Air Canada, Moffatt never should have trusted the chatbot and the airline should not be liable […] “the chatbot is a separate legal entity that is responsible for its own actions,” […] the first time a Canadian company tried to argue that
    […]
    Tribunal member […] who decided the case in favor of Moffatt, called Air Canada’s defense “remarkable.” “Air Canada argues it cannot be held liable for information provided by one of its agents, servants, or representatives—including a chatbot […] It does not explain why it believes that is the case”
    […]
    Air Canada has disabled the chatbot. Air Canada did not respond to Ars’ request to confirm

  71. birgerjohansson says

    Dang. It was intended to be a pun, but spell check altered “badgering” to a swedish word.

    Damn you, spell check, damn you to hell!
    .
    Biology.
    “Common plant (Carolina azolla) could help reduce food insecurity, researchers find”
    https://phys.org/news/2024-02-common-food-insecurity.html

    “Anoxic marine basins are among the best candidates for deep-sea carbon sequestration, say scientists”
    .https://phys.org/news/2024-02-anoxic-marine-basins-candidates-deep.html

  72. John Morales says

    CA7746 @94, perhaps you too will appreciate Peter Watts’ take on that:
    https://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=10977

    Reginald @92, that’s a rather simplistic take; cf. my #90 — the reference is later on in the video, where Vlad talks about an algorithmic jump (linkage) in political utterances.

  73. Reginald Selkirk says

    Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

    Authorities in Colorado have confirmed the death of a 34-year-old local resident four days after he was bitten by one of his two pet Gila monsters.

    The creatures are venomous reptiles native to the south-western United States. Their bites are not normally fatal to humans.

    But an expert told the BBC’s US partner CBS News that the victim may have suffered an allergic reaction…

  74. says

    Followup to Reginald @92.

    […] Trump wrote nothing about Navalny’s life or cause. He wrote nothing about Putin or the authoritarian government responsible for Navalny’s life. Instead, the presumptive GOP nominee took the opportunity to briefly reference Navalny before listing some of the things he doesn’t like about the United States.

    Indeed, Trump’s condemnation of his own country wasn’t much different from what one might expect from a foreign opponent of the United States, disparaging American institutions from afar.

    Soon after, House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi sat down with MSNBC’s Jen Psaki and said Trump’s statement was “beneath the dignity of a human being.” The California Democrat added, “It is so horrible you think, ‘No, somebody must have made this up. Not even Donald Trump could go this far.’ … This statement should disqualify him from running for anything, much less President of the United States.”

    […] as part of the same comments, Pelosi also raised a related question:

    “You wonder, what does Putin have on Donald Trump that he always has to be beholden to him, his buddy in vileness? … I don’t know what [Putin] has on [Trump], but I think it’s probably financial.”

    […] Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who also served as a Republican senator before joining Trump’s team, had similar concerns. […] Trump’s handpicked director of National Intelligence reportedly suspected that Trump had been compromised by Russia — and the longer Coats served alongside the GOP president, the more he feared his suspicions were true.

    I wonder what Coats is thinking now after Trump used the occasion of Navalny’s death to criticize the United States.

    Link

  75. says

    https://www.threads.net/@maddowmaddow/post/C3ibDRwubyM

    This is worth watching if you haven’t yet. Subtitled in English.

    “Putin not only killed the man called Alexei Navalny, he also wanted to kill our hopes, our freedom, and our future. He wanted to destroy and erase the best proof that Russia can be different…

    That we are strong, that we are courageous, that we believe and fight desperately. And that we want to live differently.”

    Video at the link.

  76. says

    Followup to comments 92 and 103.

    […] So, let’s put this all together: Trump implies he is like Navalny because both men were the victims of “CROOKED” prosecutors and judges—even though unlike Navalny, whose crimes were never proven outside of a small room in a maximum security prison, the evidence against Trump has been widely available for the public to see. Also, the Russian dictator who orchestrated Navalny’s imprisonment and suspected murder is someone Trump has repeatedly spoken of with great admiration.

    Having taken a little break from fulminating, Trump returned one last time to offer a new complaint: His criminal and civil prosecutions should have happened years ago! Not after evidence and testimony was methodically collected. […]

    Here’s hoping you enjoyed your Presidents Day more than Donald did!

    Donald Trump spent Presidents Day in full meltdown mode

    I didn’t post the all-caps screeds. Those are available at the link. Here’s a snippet that reveals the general tenor of the screeds:

    MY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS WERE UNDERSTATED, NOT OVERSTATED! […] THIS IS COMMUNISM!

  77. says

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from Sidney Powell and other lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump over $150,000 in sanctions they were ordered to pay for abusing the court system with a sham lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results in Michigan.

    The justices did not comment in leaving in place the sanctions against seven lawyers […]

    Link

  78. birgerjohansson says

    Sabine Hossenfelder:
    “Good News: Small Nuclear Thorium Reactors are Coming to Europe.”
    .https://youtube.com/watch?v=Tf4XahwtJUk

    A few questions for engineers: 
    -would standardised nuclear powerplants be significantly cheaper than the unique snowflake powerplants or is this wishful thinking?

    Also, if huge battery parks really become affordable around 2030, can this solve most of the problems with the intermittent solar and wind power production? (I am making the assumption that legacy coal/oil powerplants are kept in reserve for extreme shortfall events) 

  79. says

    Nazis marched through downtown Nashville:

    […] note the guy taking the video you’re watching, he’s the guy screaming “Show me your faces!” repeatedly at this phalanx of Neo-Nazis, who according to Frank Figliuzzi, national security analyst for MSNBC and former Asst Dir. of Counterintelligence at the FBI, call themselves ‘Blood Tribe’, and are led by a former Marine named Christopher Pohlhaus. The group dispersed fairly quickly after this minor confrontation.

    […] these ‘tough guys’, considered the fringe of the fringe, are insecure enough to hide their identities, just like the KKK found it was necessary to do because their ‘ideas’ have no legitimate purchase in majorities of mainstream America, who consider their activities as irresponsibly provocative.

    Second, that it didn’t take much to scare them off, in Nashville, Tennessee, no less. It doesn’t appear from the video there was much public affinity by passersby to the spectacle of uniformed — but masked — Blood Tribe neo Nazis. In fact, the last part of the clip with Blood Tribe marchers passes by a bystander watching the videographer, and also shouting “Cowards!” at the group, for hiding under their masks.

    […] So far, the provocation methods of groups like this are designed to invite a confrontational overreach that would justify a violent response. Which they don’t usually get. Just bigger crowds that can yell just as loudly […] Luckily, Americans are used to people getting in their faces for one thing or another, while honoring the right to speak your mind.

    […] We’re capable of distinguishing between free speech and hate speech. If we persevere, if we keep up the pressure, while Trump keeps faith with his pathological belief that his flamethrower of lawlessness and chaos is something Silent Majority America is pining for, Trumpism is going down.

    We’re a long way from beating this thing, but the signs are looking good that Good People are not willing to make the same allowances to political intimidation that occurred in the 1930’s, that their grandfathers lost their lives to defeat militarily in Europe and Asia in defense of democracy. […]

    the passage of the 13, 14, and 15th Amendments, providing suffrage for all free [p]ersons and the protection of the Law, for the purpose of political representation as citizens of the United States […]

    While plenty of mistakes were made in the name of that ‘Cold War’, some good things came about domestically that held Americans to their better natures, in order to demonstrate a reasonable fidelity to the words written on pieces of paper. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, once again guaranteeing political suffrage to structurally-disenfranchised peoples in America, was one of those things.

    Nearly 60 years later, it’s evident that Jim Crow is not coming back to town […]

    We are gonna beat this thing. Election 2024 is just the start of something Big. […] Once again, citizens stepping up, in ways large and small, to defend Democracy and make it their own. Let’s continue to ‘show our faces’ and confront this narcissistic Menace to our society. […]

    Link

    Video at the link. The Neo-Nazis in the video also shouted homophobic slurs.

  80. says

    Photo of Mike and Trump available at the link. Two insufferable, smug assholes sharing a moment at Mar-a-Lago.

    Why is Traitor Mike Johnson in Palm Beach kissing Traitor Trump’s behind as an updated IAEA warning on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (Europe’s largest) in Ukraine is increasingly in danger from bloodthirsty Putin’s war machine?

    According to the IAEA, the contamination from Zaporizhzhia would leave Ukraine, Turkey, and large swathes of Europe uninhabitable.

    As far as I can tell, only annieli has reported on the looming disaster. Rachel Maddow reported on the situation last night. That is where I saw the video.

    A title on a possible nuclear power plant meltdown in Ukraine deserves some credibility. From Richard Engle’s reporting: [video at the link, important]

    Let’s review the criminal activity that occurs at Mar-A-Lago below.

    Meanwhile, Elon Musk was in Mar-a-Lago on his knees, kissing the ring.

    [Tweets and images at the link]

    Pro-Putin Elon Musk visited Mar-A-lago. Of course, reporting will be minimal because Donald Trump expects loyalty. But blocking Twitter accounts always draws scrutiny. Holy Canolli!

    [Tweet showing that Elon Musk suspended Yulia Navalnaya’s account!]

    Musk reverses course just now. It’s likely due to furious backlash; he banned her one day after stating she was going to carry on her murdered husband’s work. [More tweets at the link]

    Link

  81. says

    RFK Jr. Super PAC Puts Promoters of Conspiracy Theories on the Payroll

    The list includes a 9/11 truther and election denialists.

    A songwriter who produces rap songs with conspiracy theories about Covid; an academic who has championed debunked and bizarre notions about 9/11, the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the 2020 election, and other public events; a polygraph examiner who wrote a novel tying Russian mobsters and sexual predators who exploit disabled children to a government plot to cover up the tie between vaccines and childhood autism; and the head of an autism activists group who believes pharmaceutical companies, Big Tech, the media, and the government are scheming to acquire total control of humanity—these are some of the people hired as consultants by American Values 2024, the super PAC that’s supporting the independent presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy Jr.

    American Values 2024, which spent $7 million to air a controversial pro-RFK Jr. ad during the recent Super Bowl, was co-founded by Mark Gorton, the chair of a computerized trading firm, and Tony Lyons, the head of Skyhorse Publishing, which has published books by Kennedy that promote conspiracy theories and debunked notions about vaccines and Covid. […]

    More details about the doofuses and dunderheads the Super PAC hired are available at the link.

  82. says

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to revive a lawsuit from three House Republicans after their pay was docked for not complying with a pandemic-era mask requirement on the chamber floor.

    In a brief order without any noted dissents, the court let stand a lower ruling that tossed the constitutional challenge filed by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.).

    The three conservative lawmakers were fined $500 in May 2021 after flouting the House floor mask mandate that was put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic, kicking off a years-long attempt by the trio of lawmakers to get the penalties lifted.

    House rules fined lawmakers $500 for their first infraction with the mask mandate, and $2,500 for subsequent breaches. It would be withdrawn from their yearly pay. Greene racked up more than $100,000 in fines, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. […]

    Link

  83. says

    You’ll Never Guess What Anti-Vaxxers Think Alexei Navalny Died From

    Okay, fine, you absolutely will.

    https://www.wonkette.com/p/youll-never-guess-what-anti-vaxxers

    […] They claim Navalny actually died from complications related to the COVID vaccine, because of how he took the “bad” MRNA vaccine and not the “good” Russian vaccine.

    As you may recall, unless you’ve blocked it out, anti-vaxxers believe that “sudden death,” “died suddenly,” or any death related to a heart issue or a blood clot is secret code for “they died from the vaccine but we won’t tell you because want more people to die from the vaccine!

    One blue-checked user, who apparently falsely claims to be an ER nurse at Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, claimed that she heard “doctors suspect it was caused by the Pfizer vaccine.” [Tweet at the link]

    I do hope for her next act she claims to be the real Anastasia.

    “Alexei Navalny died from the COVID vaccine and the fact that nobody wants to admit it is shameful,” wrote whoever is in charge of the account for the Bruin Republicans of UCLA. “Why would you blame Putin for something Navalny did to himself by taking an experimental mRNA vaccine?” [Tweets at the link restating vaccine conspiracy. Looks like Russian bots to me.]

    […] Again, these doctors who “suspect it was caused by vaccination” do not exist. Also, there has not been an autopsy yet and we will likely not get any results for a while. These people are all just repeating the same nonsense they read in other people’s tweets.

    Now, some state-run media outlets like RT have reported that Navalny died from a blood clot, but they have not provided any sources for that assertion. Additionally, the New York Times reports that “Anna Karetnikova, who oversaw pretrial detention centers in the Moscow region, said in her experience ‘blood clotting’ was a common shorthand for lethal cases that prison authorities had no intention of investigating.”

    […] The thing that breaks my mind here is that someone had to come up with this to begin with. […] It is a statement of “facts.” it is nonexistent doctors saying things no one ever said. […] That lady who doesn’t work at the hospital she says she’s working at should know she’s lying about at least that.

    […] This is far from the only conspiracy going around about Navalny’s death and we can surely expect more in the coming days, weeks, months, years, etc. The fact is, it is highly unlikely that we’re ever really going to know for sure what actually killed him — though we can be pretty darn sure that that it wasn’t the Covid vaccine.

  84. says

    Bullet-riddled body found in Spain was Russian defector, Ukraine says.

    Washington Post link

    A man’s corpse, found riddled with bullets and run over by a vehicle in Spain last week, was identified as that of Russian military pilot Maksim Kuzminov, who flew his Mi-8 helicopter to Ukraine in a dramatic defection last August, Ukrainian officials said.

    His apparent murder — after a very public threat to his life last year on Russian state television — has raised questions about whether this was a Russian-ordered assassination carried out on European soil.

    The spokesman for Ukraine’s intelligence service, Andriy Yusov, confirmed to The Washington Post on Tuesday that the body found at the entrance to a residential complex in Villajoyosa, in Alicante, was Kuzminov’s.

    Russian officials have not claimed responsibility for the killing. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the case Tuesday, saying it was “not on the Kremlin’s agenda.”

    But Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, spoke to Russian journalists Tuesday, saying that Kuzminov was dead the moment he started planning his defection.

    “In Russia, it is common to speak well of the dead or say nothing at all. This traitor and criminal already became a moral corpse at the moment when he was planning his dirty and terrible crime,” Naryshkin said, according to reports in Russian state news agencies Tass and Ria.

    Last October, Dmitry Kiselyov, host of the state television news program Vesti Nedeli, aired a segment on Kuzminov’s defection. The report ended by quoting three masked men in camouflage, identified as special forces members of Russian military intelligence, stating that they had been given the order to eliminate Kuzminov.

    “We will find the man and punish him to the full extent of the law of our state for treason,” said one. “We have long arms.” […]

  85. says

    One of my parents came to me once a long time ago wanting to challenge the theory of evolution. I don’t remember precisely what the challenge was but within about 20 seconds they had dashed off with a “stop attacking my faith!”.

    They came to me, and acted like my response was an attack. This isn’t quite the same but here’s a legislator who thinks it’s an attack to be asked questions about support by someone and their child.
    https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2024/02/gop-lawmaker-runs-away-when-he-finds-out-he-was-talking-to-an-8-year-old-trans-girl/

    There’s something here that needs calling out.

  86. whheydt says

    Re: Lynna, OM @ #108…
    Grumble… All these people who think it was GRANDparents who were involved in WW2. My FATHER was in the Maritime Service training ships engineers on the new power systems being installed in ships, and my late wife’s father was in the Army training pilot cadets on aircraft recognition.
    If it comes that, my late wife had an UNCLE who was a pilot in the Lafayette Escadrille in WW1.
    If you get back to great-grandparents, we’re talking US Civil War.

  87. Pierce R. Butler says

    Lynna… @ # 103 quoting Benen quoting Pelosi: … what does Putin have on Donald Trump that he always has to be beholden to him, his buddy in vileness? … I don’t know what [Putin] has on [Trump], but I think it’s probably financial.

    I often wonder why politicians and “pundits” across the board so frequently speculate about that but so rarely mention what seems to me the most obvious scenario. Before they collapsed, Trump’s chain of casinos earned the largest fine then imposed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for failing to use the bookkeeping methods required to detect money laundering, with the foremost unquestioned and never-found “person of interest” in that case bearing the name of “Ivanov”.

    We should also note that many sources report considerable overlap between Russian intelligence services and Russian organized crime – and that the former in particular, unlike the Trump Org, have a reputation for thorough and meticulous record-keeping. (Cue Dragnet theme music.)

  88. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @Brony #115:
    Same story as just before the thread rolled over. Linked here at #2. Similar text.
    The rest of your comment was novel ofc. Good delivery.

  89. says

    Rep. Tim Burchett falsely blamed an “illegal alien” for the Kansas City Super Bowl parade shooting. The Republican is now backpedaling, but not well.

    […] Last week, after the shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl celebration, the Tennessee Republican published a social media message that read, “One of the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade shooters has been identified as an illegal Alien.”

    Part of the problem with the message, of course, was the underlying effort to tie the deadly shooting to an anti-immigrant agenda. But more importantly, the congressman was simply wrong: The shooter wasn’t an undocumented immigrant, and the man in the photograph accompanying Burchett’s tweet wasn’t a gunman. [!!!]

    As The Daily Beast reported, it took a while, but the GOP lawmaker is now backpedaling.

    Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) backtracked on Monday afternoon and deleted a tweet that wrongly identified a local resident as being an “illegal alien” and one of the gunmen in the Kansas City Super Bowl parade shooting. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Burchett only deleted the post after the outlet contacted him on Monday and asked about the tweet, which falsely claimed Kansas native Denton Loudermill was one of the suspected shooters.

    In Burchett’s latest message, published roughly 24 hours ago, the Tennessean wrote, “It has come to my attention that in one of my previous posts, one of the shooters was identified as an illegal alien. This was based on multiple, incorrect news reports stating that. I have removed the post.”

    That was a step in the right direction, though the congressman’s explanation wasn’t quite right, either: Reports from independent local media showed the man in question being briefly detained, but they did not identify him as either the shooter or an undocumented immigrant.

    Or put another way, after Burchett made a claim that wasn’t true, he offered an explanation based on details that were also not true.

    The local football fan who was falsely accused is now scrambling to clear his name — he’s reportedly received death threats — and it’s not yet clear whether the Republican congressman intends to issue an apology to the innocent man he featured online.

    But complicating matters further, Burchett didn’t have credibility to spare. Ron Filipkowski did a nice job summarizing some of the GOP lawmaker’s greatest hits, and it’s not a record the congressman should be proud of.

    Excerpt from Ron Filipkowski’s summary:

    […] Last June, Tim Burchett who is obsessed with UFOs, said that he has never seen one but he knows that they are real because they are in the Bible.

    […] Burchett also said that Speaker Johnson should send the House Sgt. at Arms out to find and arrest Hunter Biden if he isn’t prosecuted by DOJ for Contempt of Congress, even before any vote had been held to refer the matter to DOJ.

    […] After the huge J6 hearing in the House in 2022 that had over 20 million people watching it live, Burchett claimed that more people were watching the Cartoon Network that day. […]

    Ah, an excellent example of an elected Republican official.

  90. says

    “President Biden’s reelection campaign hammered former President Trump on Monday for coming in last among presidents in a new survey,” The Hill reports.

    “Trump found himself at the very bottom of the list, while Biden was ranked the 14th-best president in the 2024 Presidential Greatness Project Expert Survey, which was conducted from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31 by a panel of experts specializing in the American presidency.”

    From a Biden email: “Happy Presidents’ Day! … Unless You’re Donald Trump.”

    Link

  91. says

    […] some solid political reporting has been done on what to expect in a Trump II. I’ll credit some of our own coverage in that regard, too, including our January story on the plan to target the independence of independent agencies and our December story on how Trump is laying the groundwork to co-opt the military.

    This morning Politico has a new piece out on the effort to infuse Trump II with the fervor of Christian nationalism. It serves as a good reminder that while Trump himself remains dangerous he also serves in an additional role as a conduit for all sorts of bad actors, conspiracists, grifters, ne’er-do-wells, hangers-on, con artists, extremists, and ideological wackadoodles.

    Some of the names coming in to a second Trump administration under the Christian nationalism rubric are familiar: former Trump OMB director Russell Vought, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, and former Trump official William Wolfe.

    As Politico notes:

    Freedom of religion would remain a protected right, but Vought and his ideological brethren would not shy from using their administration positions to promote Christian doctrine and imbue public policy with it, according to both people familiar with the matter, granted anonymity to avoid retaliation. He makes clear reference to human rights being defined by God, not man.

    The range of policy matters implicated by Christian nationalist precepts is as vast as the array of hot button social issues that the GOP draws from to drum up “culture wars” of one kind or another. But for Christian nationalists, it really is warfare. […]

    Link

    See also: Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration

    Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, president of The Center for Renewing America, part of a conservative consortium preparing for Trump’s return to power.

  92. says

    Oh FFS.

    In an 85-12 vote, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would amend its 1931 obscenity code to authorize felony charges and $25,000 fines for librarians, museum curators and teachers who intentionally display “obscene matter” to minors.

    What is “obscene matter”? Why, anything an average person believes “depicts or describes sexually explicit conduct, nudity, sex or certain bodily functions.” Sound vague? That’s the point!

    Would a diagram of lady parts in a textbook count? A graphic novel about fully clothed and accessorized vampires who are lesbians in love? Twilight? A cartoon spokesbear attending to the hygiene of his bodily functions in the woods? And would you wanna risk jail to find out […]

    https://www.wonkette.com/p/west-virginia-house-gonna-put-those

  93. says

    Followup to comment 123.

    Christian Nationalists trying to hide their agenda … and failing.

    […] Vought has publicly said he wants tough immigration restrictions that would limit it to people who have “accept[ed] Israel’s God, laws and understanding of history,” and they don’t mean Israel in its modern incarnation as a Jewish state. Which seems as if it would be bad news for, say, Muslims or Hindus or atheists or Rastafarians or anyone in Korea still clinging to Cheondoism or … eh, you get the idea.

    Vought is also affiliated with one William Wolfe, who also worked in the Trump administration at both the State and Defense departments:

    In a December post, he called for ending sex education in schools, surrogacy and no-fault divorce throughout the country, as well as forcing men “to provide for their children as soon as it’s determined the child is theirs” — a clear incursion by the government into Americans’ private lives.

    This is hilarious because elsewhere, Politico quotes Vought has having once written that his form of Christian Nationalism allows for “institutional separation of church and state,” which, if you can square that with Christian Nationalist policies that would make significant changes to the institutions of marriage and public schools in America, you are smarter than we are.

    […] For its part, the Trump campaign is very indignant at the idea that anyone but Trump is responsible for making staffing and policy decisions for a new Trump term:

    In response to various news articles about how conservatives are preparing for a second Trump term, campaign advisers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita said in a memo late last year: “Despite our being crystal clear, some ‘allies’ haven’t gotten the hint, and the media, in their anti-Trump zeal, has been all-too-willing to continue using anonymous sourcing and speculation about a second Trump administration in an effort to prevent a second Trump administration.”

    Of course no one in the media is denying that the Trump campaign is in charge of staffing and policy decisions. Reporters are just looking at policies and staffers like this from the first Trump administration:

    In 2019, Trump’s then-secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, set up a federal commission to define human rights based on the precepts Vought describes, specifically “natural law and natural rights.” Natural law is the belief that there are universal rules derived from God that can’t be superseded by government or judges.

    Why yes, we do remember that.

    And yes, if this is ringing your bells, Vought advises that Heritage Foundation Project 2025 thing we’ve written about previously, which comprises 75 some-odd think tanks full of people who can’t wait to create an authoritarian Christian nationalist second Trump term, completely untethered from American values. Heritage Foundation also denies that its project is about any of that though, heaven forfend, why would you suggest?

    So reporters are looking at all these people and the policies they have been promoting and wondering, at least in Russ Vought’s case, “Hm, I wonder if this guy who worked in the first Trump administration and still reportedly talks to Trump at least once a month and who espouses all these Christian nationalist-based policies is going to get hired in the next Trump administration, and if literally everything he’s said and done for the last few years would in any way influence his work there.”

    We can’t help it if the conclusion is something besides, “Nah, probably not.”

    https://www.wonkette.com/p/trump-team-not-preparing-to-turn

  94. whheydt says

    Re: Lynna, OM @ #124…
    Is eating a “bodily function”? If so…there go all the cook books.

  95. Reginald Selkirk says

    Bible gamers:

    AARP The Magazine, February/March 2024, p. 89 BrainGames:

    “C” What’s Missing
    The name of which of these animals does not appear in the King James Bible?
    Camel
    Cat
    Cow
    Chameleon

    The answer is allegedly “Cat”, bit I direct your attention to Ep.Jer.1, 21

    Upon their bodies and heads sit bats, swallows, and birds, and the cats also.

  96. says

    whheydt @126. Good point. LOL

    In other news:

    […] Beyoncé is now the first Black female artist to top the Hot Country Songs chart.

    […] the artist’s venture into country hasn’t been without controversy already. Although Black artists have a long influence in country music, fans of the genre have tended to skew white and conservative in recent decades — and many Black artists have found their country music sidelined by country fans and radio.

    […] Which brings us back around to today, where, as Forbes reports, though Beyoncé has indeed charted in country, it’s no small feat that this happened at all. As of last Tuesday, only eight of the 150 stations that report to Billboard’s Country Airplay chart said they had played “Texas Hold ‘Em” in its first day. Meanwhile, none reported playing “16 Carriages.”

    […] Given this week’s chart placement, it would appear many stations have started putting Beyoncé in the rotation after all.

    Meanwhile, Oklahoma radio station KYKC, which originally responded to fan requests for the song saying that it “did not play Beyoncé as we are a country music station” reversed course after pushback. The station later elaborated that they hadn’t known Beyoncé had even released music classified as country and had sent a standard reply. […]

    Link

  97. Reginald Selkirk says

    Parkland survivor trolls Trump’s new sneaker venture by buying domain and directing visitors to gun safety site

    Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg has bought a website address referencing former president Donald Trump’s new sneaker brand and turned it into an anti-gun violence website with the ability to call lawmakers to advocate for legislation.

    Mr Hogg, who is now the president of Leaders We Deserve, an organisation dedicated to electing young candidates to Congress, made the announcement on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

    “I just bought shoptrumpsneakers.com” the activist wrote. “I have redirected you to a page to call your member of Congress. The twist is the person who makes the call is a victim of gun violence whose voice has been re-created with AI to call for gun safety.” …

  98. says

    Followup to comment 123.

    President Biden’s reelection campaign said Tuesday that a second term for former President Trump would be “straight out of the Handmaid’s Tale.”

    The criticism toward the former president comes in light of a Politico report detailing how Trump allies are working on infusing “Christian nationalist ideas” into a potential second term.

    “This is straight out of the Handmaid’s Tale. Nationwide abortion bans, attacks on same-sex marriage, and restrictions on contraception — this is the horrifying reality being openly discussed by Team Trump and the likely architects of his second term agenda,” said Biden campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt.

    The Biden campaign outlined that Trump has said he would be dictator for a day at the start of a new administration and pointed to a Rolling Stone report that the former president would embrace recommendations from the conservative Heritage Foundation in a second term.

    “Every day Donald Trump openly supports an agenda of restricting Americans’ freedoms, dividing our country, and attacking our rights. That’s what he will do as president. It’s not who we are as Americans,” Hitt said. “Like they’ve done election after election, Americans will reject Donald Trump and his out-of-touch extremism again this November.”

    The campaign also pointed to a New York Times report that said Trump told advisers and allies that he favors a 16-week ban on abortion, a story that the Trump campaign pushed back on but didn’t contradict. […]

    Link

  99. birgerjohansson says

    Lynna OM @ 129

    Being from Europe I do not think of Beyoncé as ‘black’, she could easily be from Southern Asia like KIA. Merican society -having been obsessed with race since goddamn Cotton Mather- just has to pigeonhole everyone to race as well as musical category.
    .
    Aaargh, time for a review of another of those films.
    “GAM444 Messiah – Netflix Episodes 3 & 4 ”
    .https://youtube.com/watch?v=4xxcFrE82Uk

    The christians behind the film had good intentions – they wanted to criticize the cruel border policies of Trump, but they screwed up big, as becomes evident if you listen to this podcast.

  100. says

    2 men charged with murder in Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade shooting

    Previously two minors had been charged in the deadly violence the officials have said started as a dispute between several people.

    Two men have been charged with murder in the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade shooting that killed one woman and injured more than 20 people last week.

    The defendants were named by prosecutors as Dominic M. Miller of Kansas City and Lyndell Mays of Raytown. They each face charges of second-degree murder, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon, according to a statement from the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.

    “The defendants attended a Super Bowl parade and rally on Feb. 14, 2024, and were armed with firearms,” the office said. “A verbal altercation occurred and gunfire broke out with no regard for thousands of other individuals in the area.”

    Previously, two juveniles were charged in the Feb. 14 shooting in downtown Kanas City, Mo. Baker would not clarify if those minors had any connection to the adults who have been charged.

    The charged adults, who were injured in the shooting and remain hospitalized, are being held on $1 million bond

    The prosecutor said preliminary evidence indicates the deadly shooting started after one of them got into a verbal argument with someone he had no prior connection to.

    “That argument very quickly escalated,” Baker said. “Almost immediately, others pulled their firearms.”

    According to court documents in the case, the altercation started with a remark about whether one person was looking at another.

    “Four males approached Lyndell Mays and one of the males asked Lyndell Mays what he was looking at, because they didn’t know him,” the charging documents allege.

    “They began arguing about why they were staring at each other,” Det. Grand Spiking wrote in the documents of Mays and a group of men involved in the confrontation.

    Guns were drawn, some from backpacks, on both sides, prosecutors said.

    Miller allegedly opened fire, along with at least one other person, and it was his gunfire that struck Lisa Lopez-Galvan, there to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl win, prosecutors alleged at the news conference, according to KSHB.

    Lopez-Galvan, a mother of two and local radio DJ, was killed, and 22 other people, ranging from 8 to 47 years old, were injured.

    The shooting is under investigation, and more charges may be filed against others, Baker said.

    “We seek to hold every shooter accountable for their actions on that day. Every single one,” Baker said. “So, while we’re not there yet on every single individual, we’re gonna get there.”

    Baker is asking anyone with information on the shooting, specifically those who were injured during the incident, to come forward.

  101. Reginald Selkirk says

    LockBit digital gang disrupted by international law enforcement in ‘Operation Cronos’

    LockBit, a notorious cybercrime gang that holds its victims’ data to ransom, has been disrupted in a rare international law enforcement operation by Britain’s National Crime Agency, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Europol and Canadian authorities, according to a post on the gang’s extortion website on Monday.

    “This site is now under the control of the National Crime Agency of the U.K., working in close co-operation with the FBI and the international law enforcement task force, ‘Operation Cronos,'” the post said.

    An NCA spokesperson confirmed that the agency had disrupted the gang and said the operation was “ongoing and developing.”

    The post named other international police organizations from France, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Germany…

  102. Reginald Selkirk says

    @134
    After years of losing, it’s finally feds’ turn to troll ransomware group

    The top-notch trolling came after authorities from the US, UK, and Europol took down most of the infrastructure belonging to Lockbit, a ransomware syndicate that has extorted more than $120 million from thousands of victims around the world. On Tuesday, most of the sites Lockbit uses to shame its victims for being hacked, pressure them into paying, and brag of their hacking prowess began displaying content announcing the takedown. The seized infrastructure also hosted decryptors victims could use to recover their data…

    The razzing didn’t stop there. File names of the images had titles including: “this_is_really_bad.png,” “oh dear.png,” and “doesnt_look_good.png.” The seized page also teased the upcoming doxing of LockbitSupp, the moniker of the main Lockbit figure. It read: “Who is LockbitSupp? The $10m question” and displayed images of cash wrapped in chains with padlocks. Copying a common practice of Lockbit and competing ransomware groups, the seized site displayed a clock counting down the seconds until the identifying information will be posted…

    In all, authorities said they seized control of 14,000 accounts and 34 servers located in the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, France, Switzerland, Australia, the US, and the UK. Two Lockbit suspects have been arrested in Poland and Ukraine, and five indictments and three arrest warrants have been issued. Authorities also froze 200 cryptocurrency accounts linked to the ransomware operation.

    “At present, a vast amount of data gathered throughout the investigation is now in the possession of law enforcement,” Europol officials said. “This data will be used to support ongoing international operational activities focused on targeting the leaders of this group, as well as developers, affiliates, infrastructure, and criminal assets linked to these criminal activities.” …

  103. says

    johnson @135, yeah that “he’s looking at me” excuse for shooting someone really struck me too. Petty, childish. Except they had guns. They killed or injured many people.

  104. says

    Ron DeSantis pretends he isn’t at fault for book ban he signed into law

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, thoroughly spanked on the public stage by Donald Trump (and Gov. Gavin Newsom), is back in his home state trying to clean up some of the mess he made. On Thursday, DeSantis and his team released an announcement that he will continue “to debunk the false narrative that the state of Florida bans books,” [LOL] calling on the state legislature to “make necessary adjustments so that we can prevent abuses in the objection process and ensure that districts aren’t overwhelmed by frivolous challenges.”

    Unable to admit that HB 1069, which he signed into law in May 2023, has led to Nazi-esque book bans, DeSantis’s announcement instead blamed “people [who] have abused this process in an effort to score cheap political points.” It is a rich sentiment coming from the guy who appointed the co-founder of the far-right Moms for Liberty to the state ethics commission last fall in an attempt to drum up excitement for his flailing presidential campaign.

    The announcement came with a bizarre video uploaded to the right-wing and libertarian-catering Rumble platform. The video claims that any reports from “the media” concerning books like “The Diary of Anne Frank” being banned is false. In fact, it was one of those Moms for Liberty that DeSantis likes so much who got the book banned from her local high school.

    In an attempt to revise very recent history, DeSantis’ announcement claims, “No district in Florida has removed any dictionaries or thesauruses,” calling that assertion “ridiculous.” They have as recently as last month.

    DeSantis also forgot to cover how editions of books like “Sleeping Beauty” and Jon J. Muth’s acclaimed series of illustrated children’s books “Zen Shorts” found their way onto his state’s banned book lists.

    The book bans are just some of the more glaring results of DeSantis and Florida Republicans’ authoritarian, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-education, anti-Black history policies. The Parental Rights in Education Bill along with the Stop Woke Act (the latter led a textbook company to strip out the mention of race in the section about Rosa Parks) are also a part of the culture war policies the Florida governor has overseen. DeSantis’ announcement wasn’t interested in addressing those concerns.

    Florida Republicans tend to really lean into the lying and hypocrisy once their bad and frequently unconstitutional policies are exposed. So in that way, DeSantis is just doing what Republicans in his state have been doing for years: Lying and revising the history of their terrible decision making.

  105. says

    Politico:

    Yemen’s Houthi rebels shot down a U.S. drone and damaged a Belize-flagged, British cargo ship in their latest assault against commercial vessels, their spokesperson claimed Monday. The Iranian-backed group, which has been targeting commercial shipping since the outbreak of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, said they hit the cargo ship Rubymar in the Gulf of Aden.

  106. Reginald Selkirk says

    Mask mandates? Supreme Court rejects appeal from Marjorie Taylor Greene, GOP lawmakers

    Three Republicans who had their pay docked in 2021 for flouting a mask mandate on the floor of the House of Representatives during the COVID pandemic got no help from the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

    The justices, without comment, declined an appeal from Reps. Tom Massie, Ralph Norman and Marjorie Taylor Greene in their suit against former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    Lower courts had said Pelosi could not be sued because courts don’t have jurisdiction over Congress’ internal rules…

  107. Reginald Selkirk says

    Alito says he was right to fear that opponents of gay marriage would be treated as bigots

    Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito attempted an “I told you so” on Tuesday when he criticized a judge’s dismissal of potential jurors in a workplace discrimination case because they believed homosexuality is a sin.

    Alito said that’s exactly the type of outcome he warned against when, against his objections, the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

    Alito said he’d anticipated that Americans would be labeled as bigots unless they hid their traditional religious beliefs about “homosexual conduct.” …

    Yes, and…? What exactly is his objection to calling bigots bigots? Does he think that is worse than being denied basic human rights?

  108. johnson catman says

    re Reginald Selkirk @141: Doncha know that the REAL bigots are the people who call bigots bigots?

  109. Reginald Selkirk says

    ‘Extremely rare event:’ Satellite images show lake formed in famously dry Death Valley

    Kayakers and nature lovers are flocking to Death Valley National Park in California to enjoy something exceedingly rare at one of the driest places in the United States: Water.

    A temporary lake has bubbled up in the park’s Badwater Basin, which lies 282 feet below sea level. What is typically a dry salt flat at the bottom of Death Valley has for months been teeming with water after record rains and flooding have battered eastern California since August…

Leave a Reply