More to ignore, Book 106...

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Greg Abbott plans to place tank-like vehicles at border to meet scary asylum-seeking families

Gabe Ortiz

Right-wing Texas governor Greg Abbott has repeatedly, and falsely, claimed that there’s an “invasion” at the southern border. In reality, he’s the one trying to give off the impression of an invasion, and is apparently planning to deploy ten tank-like vehicles to the already-militarized borderlands.

The plan is part of the ongoing Operation Lone Star scheme, which is costing state taxpayers more than $4 billion so far. “The order issued Thursday by Texas Military Department officials to the headquarters overseeing Operation Lone Star reveals that the National Guard will soon deploy 10 M113 armored personnel carrier vehicles to the border,” Military Times and The Texas Tribune said in a joint report. These same machines are currently being used in Ukraine’s battle against Russian invaders.


But it seems that no one deployed to the southern border by Abbott maybe actually knows how to operate these things, because the report said that 50 soldiers first have to be trained. The report also said that the military department plans to increase aircraft flights. Hopefully those soldiers already know how to fly those planes.

“It’s not clear why the Texas Military Department plans to deploy the vehicles to the border,” Military Times and The Texas Tribune said. “Since Operation Lone Star began, the agency has not publicly acknowledged any incidents in which the protection provided by the more nimble Humvee vehicles deployed there was inadequate.”

But lack of transparency is exactly how Abbott’s Operation Lone Star has been operating. He boasts about how ****ing successful his policies have been, yet he’s fought the public records requests that could prove that. ProPublica, Marshall Project, and The Texas Tribune have previously reported that Texas has boasted of drug seizures by counties that weren’t even receiving Operation Lone Star funds.

And we actually do know why these vehicles may soon roam American soil (also, where are they coming from?). GOP governors from Texas have frequently timed their anti-immigrant campaigns when Democrats are in power, or when seeking office. Greg Abbott has already won his reelection. So it’s either a political tool against President Joe Biden and his administration, or he plans to run in 2024, or both. Ugh.

“After spending $4 billion in taxpayer funds on his disastrous border stunt, Greg Abbott has deployed 10 tanks to the Texas border,” tweeted Sawyer Hackett, senior advisor to former San Antonio mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. “Border crossings have increased since he launched Operation Lone Star.”

Let’s also not forget that Abbott didn’t launch his operation until
after Biden became president, even though it was the previous administration’s debunked Title 42 that began a rise in apprehensions.

Moving the tank-like vehicles to the southern border “didn’t surprise Fernando García, the executive director and founder of the Border Network for Human Rights, who said Abbott is ‘trying to justify the narrative of the invasion’ by casting asylum seekers and migrants seeking opportunities as violent criminals,” Military Times and The Texas Tribune continued.


“’For [Abbott] it’s easy to say there’s an invasion, and send troops to the border with a potential consequence of a major situation of human rights violations,’ García said.” Following his white nationalist declaration last week that the borderlands are under an “invasion” and that he was giving himself federal powers he doesn’t have, House lawmakers representing Texas urged a federal intervention.

“Legal authority aside, there is simply not an invasion happening at the border,” they wrote. “Many of the immigrants arriving at our border are exercising their right to claim asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief. They are not waging war against the United States or Texas.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Anti-child Greg Abbott sends another bus to Philadelphia just days after transporting sick girl

Gabe Ortiz

The reports that a 10-year-old child bused to Philadelphia by Texas’ right-wing governor arrived so sick that she had to be hospitalized did not deter him from sending a second bus just a couple of days later.

That would suggest Greg Abbott is somehow “pro-life” or pro-child, which he’s certainly not. In fact, the bus that arrived in freezing cold temperatures early Monday morning carried a larger number of passengers compared to last week.

Like when the first bus arrived on Wednesday under an expansion of Abbott’s stunt using vulnerable human beings as props, volunteers and city officials were waiting with blankets and welcomes, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “Immigrant advocates wondered if the arrival of two buses in quick succession meant that more would be coming this week, perhaps even on Thanksgiving.” Would he be callous enough? Of course he would.

Numerous reports last week said that the 10-year-old girl who had arrived ill was suffering from a high fever and dehydration, and was taken to get immediate medical care. Local officials, including Philadelphia council member Helen Gym, “lashed out” at Abbott’s inhumanity, calling it “a terrible situation."

Two infants were among the children who arrived on the first bus, The Texas Tribune reported. That bus carried about 28 people. Monday morning’s carried about 48.

While Texas made clear in its official statement announcing the expansion of busing to Pennsylvania that this was basically a troll—“Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has long-celebrated and fought for sanctuary city status, making the city an ideal addition to Texas' list of drop-off locations,” it read—the city of Philadelphia’s statement welcomed arriving families.

“As a proud welcoming city, we will greet our newly arrived neighbors with dignity and respect. City agencies, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) mass care partners, immigrant leaders, and immigrant-serving nonprofits are working together to welcome, assist, and provide support to these individuals and families,” as well as acknowledged the generosity of local residents and community partners who rushed to aid arriving migrants.

”The mood is good,” Pennsylvania state Rep. Amen Brown told The Texas Tribune about arriving migrants. “They’re excited to see family members. Philly stepped up.”

Still, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that at least one person who arrived early Monday appeared to be quite distraught. One photo taken by the Associated Press last week showed one migrant covering their face with a piece of paper, perhaps for their own safety, or perhaps overwhelmed by cameras thrust on them by Texas. It’s unclear if there was any attempt by Texas to coordinate Monday’s arrivals. Kenney said last week that his office was told to expect arrivals, but that was about it.



The continued arrivals come as Abbott has also issued a white nationalist declaration purporting to give himself federal powers against an alleged “invasion.” There is no invasion, just vulnerable people, like the 10-year-old girl he stuck on a bus because he maybe wants to run for president in 2024.

These are all people who have been processed by U.S. immigration officials and then put onto government-contracted buses to the tune of $2,166 per person. These companies apparently felt safe enough to transport them. Federal officials felt safe enough to allow them to continue on to U.S. destinations, and Texas officials apparently also felt safe enough to swoop in on them. So who are these supposed “invaders” you keep talking about, Greg?

Notable in Philadelphia’s statement are some words on what asylum means, and why vulnerable people might be forced to migrate. It’s worth sharing here, especially when the public perception seems to have become that asylum is something that can be waived away, when it is our law, and that seeking asylum is just something people just wake up one morning and decide to do.

“Families seeking asylum have arrived in Philadelphia,” the statement read. “Asylum is a form of protection available to anyone at risk of serious harm in their home country who must leave in search of safety in another country.”

“The first step for a person seeking asylum is to leave one’s home, one of the most challenging decisions a person will ever make,” the statement continued. “In fleeing their home country, they must leave behind everything they’ve ever known—their friends, family, home, job, personal belongings, and sense of security.”

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
111,594
18,769
1

The Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy trial is now in the jury's hands

Brandi Buchman

The seditious conspiracy trial of five Oath Keepers, including the extremist organization’s founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes, now goes to a jury after extensive evidence has been presented for nearly two months.

In the end, when it came time for Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler to deliver the very last words jurors would hear before they begin deliberations in the first sedition trial in 12 years, he urged them to cut through the noise that has blared at them from the defense.

“Each of these defendants lied to your face,” Nestler said, his voice carrying loud and clear. “But it’s important to ask not just whether they lie. Ask yourself: Why? Because the truth is so damning.”
..........
Rhodes and co-defendants Jessica Watkins, Kelly Meggs, Thomas Caldwell, and Kenneth Harrelson have stood on trial for seven weeks as the Justice Department has worked to convince jurors of that “truth.”

Through the Oath Keepers’ own words at meetings and in thousands of text messages; in underground garages or while traveling across the country, from November through January 2021, prosecutors say the defendants had every intent to stop a tradition in the United States that has been unbroken for two centuries.

“They explained how they wanted to join together to do whatever was necessary to prevent Joe Biden from becoming President,” Nestler said.

The Oath Keepers saw Jan. 6 as an “opportunity” and “seized it” after amassing weapons from all four corners of the United States and attempting to recruit as many willing participants as they could.

“It is that simple,” Nestler said.

The Oath Keepers defense has relied chiefly on the claim that there was never an explicit plot or plan to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6. Nor, they have argued, was there a plan to stop the certification of the joint session of Congress or now-President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021.

As closing arguments were presented Monday for defendants Jessica Watkins, Thomas Caldwell, and Kenneth Harrelson, emphasis was again heavily placed on this premise. But with no time to waste, it was also coupled with yet more allegations of impropriety by the Justice Department and FBI and aspersions cast on the credibility of the evidence. (It is worth noting the evidence was authenticated and agreed upon by all parties before the trial convened.)

When jurors meet on Tuesday morning to begin deliberations, they will have an unquestionably formidable task before them.

Nestler told the jury that in order to sort out whether the defendants are guilty of seditious conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, they must understand: they do not have to establish there was a concrete plan.

The defense’s reiteration to this point has been a “colossal waste of time,” Nestler added.

To find the defendants guilty, the jury must establish whether there was a mutual understanding or agreement.

“That’s what a conspiracy is,” Nestler said before quickly reminding jurors that it was Jessica Watkins who barked into her walkie-talkie on Jan. 6 that she was “sticking to the plan” while storming the Capitol.

Further, to prove guilt, the government is not required to show that conspirators had a written or oral agreement nor does the government need to prove that the conspirators were aware of every detail or even agreed about every detail of a conspiracy.

“To be clear, the evidence has shown you the defendants did have an express agreement. An express agreement to oppose by force if necessary the lawful transfer of power. But you can find these defendants guilty without even finding an explicit agreement, implicit will also suffice,” he said.

Prosecutors say Rhodes directed Oath Keepers from outside of the Capitol on Jan. 6, moving from one side of the complex to another to survey his foot soldiers' movements and report information and updates back to Oath Keepers via phone or through the encrypted texting app, Signal.

Defendants Watkins, Meggs, and Harrelson went inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 as part of a larger “stack” formation of Oath Keepers before splitting off once in the rotunda. Watkins, who admitted to felony civil disorder on the stand last week, went “looking for Senators” Nestler said Tuesday. Meggs, according to his own text, said he was looking for then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Once he was inside, Meggs spent most of his time near Pelosi’s office and it was there that he interacted with the overrun but quick-thinking U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn.

As Harrelson breached the Capitol, he screamed “treason!” with Oath Keeper Jason Dolan to intimidate congresspeople. Dolan has already pleaded guilty and has already told jurors that he was willing to take up arms against the government. Thomas Caldwell, who recorded himself and his wife Sharon Caldwell on the lower west terrace and the inaugural stage, sent updates about the breach while it was happening, and long before then, prosecutors say, he coordinated attempts to secure a boat intended to ferry weapons into Washington, D.C. from nearby northern Virginia.

That boat never came to pass but the Oath Keepers did bring a huge arsenal of weapons to a hotel in Arlington, Virginia anyway. The group dubbed this arrangement in countless texts as its “quick reaction force” or a QRF.

At trial, Rhodes sought to play the QRF down, saying it was only there in case Trump invoked the Insurrection Act and he would need Oath Keepers on “standby” to defend him or the White House. At the same time, he largely denied having any direct involvement with it. But in a covert meeting with Jason Alpers, a military veteran who told jurors he had “indirect” ties to Trump, Rhodes told Alpers in November 2020 that “the QRF will be awaiting the president’s orders.

“That’s our official position. And the reason why we have to do it that way is because that gives you legal cover,” Rhodes said on Nov. 9.



Rhodes also said in that video: “Fight against the government no matter what.”

“Legal cover,” according to the Justice Department, is precisely what Oath Keepers deployed at trial while claiming they were merely conducting personal security details on Jan. 6 for Trump VIPs like Roger Stone or Michael Flynn. Other names, Nestler noted, were mysteriously difficult for Rhodes, Watkins, or Caldwell to recall when testifying.

Texts show Rhodes called on Oath Keepers to come to the Capitol during the breach on Jan. 6 while Oath Keepers were allegedly serving on “security details.”

Meggs also called on Oath Keepers to join him at the Capitol.

“If you’re protecting a human being, do you bring them to a riot? Or lead them away from a riot...Even if they were a personal security detail, they had another intent. To stop Congress. And they did. They can still be found guilty,” Nestler said.

Both the prosecution and the defense rested last week and Nestler’s remarks on Monday served as the government’s searing rebuttal. Of the five defendants, Rhodes, Watkins, and Caldwell testified. Meggs and Harrelson opted against it.

The decision to testify was unequivocally risky.

Rhodes was frequently arrogant while testifying and he tripped over key details. Caldwell’s testimony was riddled with conflicting information and like Rhodes, Caldwell’s tone was often defiant once confronted.

Watkins was perhaps the most sympathetic and compelling witness to testify, offering jurors repeated apologies for being another “idiot running around in the Capitol” on Jan. 6 and explaining her actions as a product of many trauma-filled years at home and later, struggles with her transgender identity.

When Nestler addressed Watkins’ “remorse,” he told jurors to look on her with a deeply skeptical eye.

The only evidence of her remorse for her conduct was her “self-serving testimony now that she faces accountability.” Nestler said.

“They took matters out of the hands of the people and put rifles into their own hands. They claimed to be “oath keepers.” They did not live up to that creed. They claim to wrap themselves in the Constitution. They trampled it instead. They claimed to be saving the Republic but they fractured it instead,” Nestler said.


Jurors will begin to deliberate on Tuesday and then break for the Thanksgiving holiday from Wednesday to Friday. They will then return Monday to continue deliberations.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta took a moment to offer his final thoughts to all of the attorneys after the sprawling case finally went to the jurors.

“If the American people are looking for an example of how our institutions work, how our democracy works, how our criminal justice system operates, we have no better example than this case,” Mehta said. “The lawyers on both sides of this case, notwithstanding the high stakes, the novel principles, and the volume of evidence for months and months and months demonstrated nothing but the highest degree of professionalism.”

He added: “I’ve been honored to preside over this trial with all of you here. Frankly, you have done more to show people how this country runs... in ways that frankly, I don't think you can appreciate.”

The last time the Department of Justice secured a conviction for sedition was 1995. Jurors found Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as The Blind Sheikh, guilty of seditious conspiracy along with nine others for their role in the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Weeks after the U.S. midterm elections, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers jetted to an international security conference in Canada to deliver a message to the United States’ allies: Don’t believe the wingnuts; we’re all in on Ukraine.

“This is probably one of the most bipartisan issues that I’ve seen since I’ve been in Congress,”

“We are bound to do this on a bipartisan basis. We’re arm in arm on this.”

“There are only a handful of people that are balking at engaging in this struggle in Ukraine. They’re getting a whole lot of ink”

“So focus on the majority.”

The message seemed to allay any lingering doubts among Ukrainians and other NATO allies—at least in the short term......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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The nation's biggest firms reported a record sum of capital expenditures (capex) — investments in buildings, new machinery or technology.

Higher rates of capital spending is a vote of confidence in the economy.
When companies invest in new equipment, or break ground on new factories and manufacturing plants, they are betting healthy consumption will ensure those investments pay off.

"there is no recession in corporate earnings. Cash flow is still there,".....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Democratic strategists launch 'war room' project to investigate and unmask GOP House inquisitors

Dartagnan

It seems only fair that if Hunter Biden’s alleged substance abuse issues, Anthony Fauci’s COVID strategy and alleged relationship to “China,” and Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas’ immigration policies are fair game for exploration in House Republicans’ planned, upcoming Benghazi-style show trials, then so is Rep. Jim Jordan’s alleged enabling of sexual predators, the ties of Rep. Paul Gosar and others in the Republican party to virulent white supremacist organizations, even Matt Gaetz’s alleged afterparty cocaine antics. After all, the American people certainly deserve to be fully apprised of the character of the people most responsible for these hearings, in order to best make an informed judgment.

Although they won’t have the ability to issue the subpoenas themselves, there is nothing stopping Democrats or their agents from researching public records or conducting detailed interviews with folks who have first-hand knowledge of the sterling character qualities of these House Republicans, all of whom appear so intent on highlighting their own moral authority in these hearings. It might also prove useful to understand exactly who funds their campaigns, to satisfy American citizens that there are no hidden interests motivating them in their official duties.

Others appear to agree. As reported by Heidi Przybyla and Jordain Carney for Politico, Democratic strategists have launched a “war room” dedicated to exploring, highlighting and publicizing the character and connections of the Republican inquisitors and their colleagues who will be inflicting this investigation-o-rama on the American people.

The newly relaunched Congressional Integrity Project initiative, details of which were shared first with POLITICO, will include rapid response teams, investigative researchers, pollsters and eventually a paid media campaign to put congressional Republicans “squarely on the defense,” founder Kyle Herrig said in an interview.

The “multi-million dollar” effort is designed to create an effective counter-narrative that will be impossible for anyone ignore (except, perhaps, Fox News).

It’s designed to serve as the party’s “leading war room” to push back on House Republican investigations, Herrig said in an interview. He added that the project would “investigate the investigators, expose their political motivations and the monied special interests supporting their work, and hold them accountable for ignoring the urgent priorities of all Americans in order to smear Joe Biden and do the political bidding of Trump and MAGA Republicans.”

The project (which, according to Politico, has been cleared by Democratic House leadership) will “immediately” target the chairpersons and lead participants of these investigations. That laudable goal notwithstanding, there appears to be no reason for this project to limit itself to merely unmasking those Republicans on the Oversight Committees alone. Hunter Biden, for example, is a private citizen whose name Republicans (like Gaetz, for example) have seen fit to drag through the mud at every turn. Likewise, Anthony Fauci holds no elective post in government. If Republicans intend to score their political points at the expense of intruding on these people’s privacy and personal lives — or cast unfounded aspersions on their alleged motivations -- they would appear to have forfeited the right to protest any counter-investigations and publication of the foibles of their own colleagues and associates: As the old saying goes, “What’s good for the goose…”

Interviewed for the Politico article, one of the leaders of the project, Democratic strategist Brad Woodhouse, emphasized that their group will employ “every tactic available” in order to ensure that Americans forced to witness these spectacles will have a clear picture of these Republican inquisitors and their motivations. The project will also employ the services of former Obama administration officials and senior aides and advisors to President Biden’s transition team and former senate office.

As Przybyla and Carney explain:

The Congressional Integrity Project is also aiming to raise funds for a paid media campaign, including dedicated websites, digital ads, mobile billboards, newspaper ads and, occasionally, TV ad buys. Its public opinion research will be shared with like-minded organizations and congressional allies to contrast GOP investigations with issues the American public cares most about, project leaders said.

Their overall goal is to ensure that the Republicans’ planned inquisition prompts a voter backlash from Americans dismayed at these pointless, staged fiascos, and specifically to ensure there is no repeat of Republicans’ colossally wasteful, two-year “Benghazi” debacle.

So, by all means, let the games begin. No doubt there are some families of Ohio State alumni, at least, who might express an interest.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Prosecutors investigating the slayings of two teenage girls in Delphi, Indiana, have said that they have "good reason to believe" more than one person is connected to the killings.

One suspect, Richard Matthew Allen, was arrested last month and charged with two counts of murder, but in a hearing on Tuesday, Carroll County prosecutor Nicholas McLeland said that he believed others were connected to the murders, according to the Associated Press.

The comments were made during a discussion about whether court records that led to Allen's arrest should be unsealed. The documents, a probable cause affidavit and other charging information, were sealed last month at McLeland's request. On Tuesday, McLeland said the documents should remain sealed or be released with redactions to prevent witnesses from being harassed, according to the AP.

Indiana law allows courts to withhold records in "extraordinary circumstances," CBS Chicago reports.

The decision will be made by Special Judge Fran Gull, who was assigned to the case after a local judge recused himself. According to a spokesman for the judge, there is no timeline on when the decision might be made. Allen will next appear in court on Feb. 17, 2023, for a bail hearing. He is currently being held without bond.....