More to ignore, Book 94.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows complies with Justice Department Jan. 6 subpoena

Brandi Buchman

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows—who is still under investigation by the state of North Carolina for possible voter fraud—has complied with a subpoena tied to the Justice Department’s sprawling probe of the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

According to an exclusive report from CNN published late Wednesday night, Meadows has now remitted “the same materials he provided to the House select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack” to the department. That would include a large number of emails plus the roughly 2,300 text messages he gave to the committee before he abruptly ended his cooperation and courted a contempt of Congress charge from the House of Representatives. The department declined to take up that charge.

In addition to complying with the Department of Justice subpoena for the records he gave to the select committee, last month Meadows started turning over texts and emails to the National Archives that were left over from his time in the Trump White House.
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Important to note, however, is that this recent bout of cooperation has apparently not precluded Meadows from keeping close to Trump or doing his bidding. He’s currently joined a lawsuit with former Trump adviser Stephen Miller targeting county officials in Pennsylvania over the use of ballot drop boxes. They, and the America First Legal Foundation, are citing issues with vote integrity in the state.

How much Meadows truly understands about the integrity of elections is up for earnest debate. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations is still probing whether Meadows acted unlawfully when he used the address of a mobile home he reportedly does not live in to vote absentee in the 2020 election. A spokesperson from the state’s bureau of investigation told North Carolina news outlet The Citizen-Times this week that as of Sept. 14, the investigation into Meadows’ voter registration continues.

The Justice Department’s probe of Jan. 6 has continued apace.

Several former high-ranking Trump White House officials have complied with subpoenas for grand jury testimony, including former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy, Patrick Philbin. Members of former Vice President Mike Pence’s staff have also testified before a grand jury investigating Jan. 6, like Pence’s onetime Chief of Staff Marc Short. Short provided the Jan. 6 committee with key details about the pressure Pence faced as Trump and a cadre of his attorneys and advisers pushed to stop the certification of the 2020 election by Congress.

But that’s not all: The department has also doled out some 40 subpoenas to a mass of Trump White House insiders in the last week.

Trump’s Save America political action committee (PAC) is getting attention, too. A grand jury issued several subpoenas tied to the former president’s fundraising efforts. Reportedly, investigators are seeking clarity around how the PAC was formed and how funds flowed in and out or were otherwise spent. The PAC, according to the Jan. 6 committee, may have raised funds or handled its donor cash fraudulently. Dubbing it the Big Rip-Off, investigators say that Trump premised collections from donors on the bald lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him and did so in a seemingly endless number of email blasts and text messages, flyers, and tweets. Trump and his campaign would seek these donations for what he dubbed his “legal defense.”

But important questions abound over the propriety of the PAC.

As ABC News reported first, public records show that the Save America PAC was established just days after the 2020 election and in conjunction with the pro-Trump fundraising group, the Trump Make America Great Committee, and the Republican National Committee.

From the ABC report:

Similar to regular political action committees, leadership PACs can only accept up to $5,000 per donor, far less than the upwards of $800,000 donations that the Trump campaign and the Republican Party's high-dollar joint fundraising committee, Trump Victory, had previously raised.

Public disclosures show that the Save America PAC has raked in over $130 million and that includes transfers from “affiliated committees.”

As for Meadows: His cooperation in several facets of the department’s Jan. 6 investigation could prove deeply valuable.

Meadows not only had a front-row seat in the Trump White House in the runup to Jan. 6, but he was also an active and key intermediary. Already public text messages have shown Meadows fielding demands, concerns, and questions from a large pool of Trump’s allies and aides about attempts to overturn the election or advance fake electors.

Meadows also trafficked in baseless conspiracy theories about voter fraud, including the theory that Italy used satellites to rig voting machines against Trump. Meadows even went so far as to ask the Justice Department to investigate voter fraud in Georgia and other states despite widespread and credible intelligence that no such fraud had occurred.

During the select committee’s public hearings, a former aide to Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, offered chilling testimony about his behavior before and on Jan. 6. Hutchinson testified under oath that Meadows warned her “things might get real, real bad” on Jan. 2 after he met with Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

This remark came literal minutes, Hutchinson said, after Giuliani told her: “We are going to the Capitol. It’s going to be great, the president is going to be there and he’s going to look powerful.”

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump allegedly offered to gift King Abdullah II the West Bank.

Pakalolo

Trump offered King Abdullah II of Jordan the West Bank. Though he had no authority to do so, he thought it was a great deal. Abdullah? He was horrified. What the traitor wanted in exchange for his generous offer of land that is sacred to all three Abrahamic religions is unknown.

From the Washington Post:

President Trump once offered what he considered “a great deal” to Jordan’s King Abdullah II: control of the West Bank, whose Palestinian population long sought to topple the monarchy. There are a few nuggets of the Trump crazy not previously reported in a book to be published next week.
“I thought I was having a heart attack,” Abdullah II recalled to an American friend in 2018, according to a new book on the Trump presidency being published next week. “I couldn’t breathe. I was bent doubled-over.”
The unreported offer to Abdullah is among the startling new details about Trump’s chaotic presidency in the book “The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017-2021” by Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for the New York Times, and Susan Glasser, staff writer for the New Yorker.

The book, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the latest in a long-running series of deeply reported behind-the-scenes accounts featuring, or written by, Trump administration insiders, with some claiming that they tried to curb the 45th president’s worst instincts.

snip

The offer to Abdullah of the West Bank — which is bordered by Israel and Jordan, and which Trump had no control over — came in January 2018. Trump thought he would be doing the Jordanian king a favor, not realizing that it would destabilize his country, according to the book.

What an ignorant and dangerous buffoon. Though we are on the precipice of multiple catastrophes, this monster continues to dominate the news cycle.

That will never change; his rap sheet is so long that the conversation will always be all Trump. Even after his death, his death cult will continue to stir up trouble for a long time.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Massive, crippling railway strike averted -- President Biden saves the day (again)

Dartagnan

Breaking from the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Freight rail companies and unions representing tens of thousands of workers reached a tentative agreement to avoid what would have been an economically damaging strike, after all-night talks brokered by Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh, President Biden said early Thursday morning.
The agreement now heads to union members for a ratification vote, which is a standard procedure in labor talks. While the vote is tallied, workers have agreed not to strike.

Not sure everyone has contemplated the magnitude of what could have occurred here, or the electoral consequences to Democrats in the midterms. Imagine the impact such a total disruption of the supply chain would have caused. Empty shelves (not just “I can’t find my favorite spaghetti sauce,” but really empty shelves) and absolutely skyrocketing prices for Americans less than two months before the 2022 midterms, as delivery of food, crops, raw materials and consumer goods all came to a sudden halt, on top of an already-fragile economy and an electorate unhappy about stubborn inflation. Guess who would have gotten the blame?

You don’t have to guess. Republicans were salivating for this strike, despite going through their usual anti-labor motions. They were going to try to paint President Biden and Democrats into a corner, knowing full well that Bernie Sanders and pro-labor Democrats would oppose any effort to force a deal on the railway conductors and workers via Congressional fiat. And even the Democratic Congress did that, they’d end up alienating one of their largest constituencies: organized labor. What could be better, from the GOP’s standpoint?

The Republican party would have loved nothing more than an acute economic crisis to take the focus off of Donald Trump their planned national abortion ban, even if it plunged the country into a recession. Blaming it all on unions would have been the icing on the cake.

President Biden, Labor Secretary Walsh and his team just saved the country from months of misery. In doing so they also probably saved the Democratic Senate, possibly the House, and everything that entails.



From President Biden’s statement:

The tentative agreement reached tonight is an important win for our economy and the American people. It is a win for tens of thousands of rail workers who worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that America’s families and communities got deliveries of what have kept us going during these difficult years. These rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned. The agreement is also a victory for railway companies who will be able to retain and recruit more workers for an industry that will continue to be part of the backbone of the American economy for decades to come.

Not bad for a (20-hour) day’s work.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: This war just broke Central Asia

kos

The consequences of European colonialism in Africa are ever apparent. Arbitrarily drawn borders have split tribes and regions of common interest, leading to decades of war, instability, and famine. For example, the Somali people in the Horn of Africa were split three ways: Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya by the French, British, and Italians. Ethiopians were split three ways: Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti. This unstable region suffers from near-perpetual war and has recently been a breeding ground for ISIS militants.

The Tankies may not like to hear it, but Russia isn’t just a colonial empire. It has made exactly the same mistakes with arbitrary borders. Crimea, for example, only became part of the Ukraine in 1954 and is a major factor in this war.

Indeed, those arbitrary borders (along with forced deportations and ethnic Russian in-migrations) are a major reason Russia has been able to stir up so much shit in its former colonies.

seperatists.jpeg

Russian-fueled separatist conflicts in former Soviet republics.

Russia hasn’t just been able to foment such conflict when it suited it, but also used its perceived might to squelch conflict when that was the better option. Two of its tools have been the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a customs and economic cooperation union, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a NATO-style military alliance that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. When a protest movement threatened the repressive Kazakh regime earlier this year, the CSTO, led by Russian VDV airborne “peacekeepers,” intervened to save the day.


Yet those arbitrarily drawn borders and Russia’s precipitous loss of prestige and military might are suddenly igniting the region in war.

Earlier this week, ignoring Russian peacekeeping forces (and shelling them in at least one case), Azerbaijan invaded its neighbor Armenia, looking to recapture the breakaway regions of Nagorno-Karabakh, populated mostly by ethnic Armenians. The region had been mostly occupied by Armenian separatists following a 1991-1994 war in the wake of the Soviet Union’s dissolution.

Azerbaijan clawed some of that territory back in a 2020 war, but Russian pressure brought on an uneasy truce that finally fell apart this week. To be clear, I lack the knowledge to provide a nuanced view of the situation, particularly in a conflict that incites the same kind of passions as the Israel-Palestine one does. No one wades into this debate and walks out unscathed.

I mean, who can make sense of this?



As a responding tweet explains: “Armenia is a Christian nation where a guy is waving an Iranian flag and a bunch of people are waving French flags. Azerbaijan is a Muslim nation and they are dancing with an Israeli flag.” Yeah, I’m not the guy to unravel all that as it delves into the 1915 Armenian genocide by Turkey, a close Azerbaijan ally, and literally hundreds of years of grievances.

Armenia is a member of the CSTO and triggered the mutual defense clause of their alliance. Yet Russia has shrugged it off. Not only does it lack any spare forces to engage, but it is still mad at the current Armenian government for making kissy-faces at the European Union a few years back. The ascendent opposition would be far friendlier with Moscow, so Russia seems happy to see the government flail and likely collapse in the next few days.

The European Union, for its part, is depending on Azerbaijani oil to help make up Russia’s shortfall. So their support for the democratic Armenia will be muted by their need for fossil fuels from yet another dictatorial regime. And the rest of the CSTO is also sitting things out. NATO it is not.

And part of the reason is because CSTO members Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are too busy lobbing mortar and machine gun fire at each other. One-third of their 1,000-kilometer border lacks demarcation, and border clashes are common. Yet Russia has had military bases in both countries helping keep tensions to a slow boil. Without Russia holding the leash, the odds of war between these two nations increases.

Meanwhile, despite being bailed out by Russia earlier this year, Kazakh dictator Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has been increasingly hostile to Moscow in recent months. It started with refusing Russia’s request for troops in Ukraine, then escalated with this from back in June:



Putin retaliated on stage by arguing that all the territories of the former Soviet Union historically belonged to Russia, which must’ve felt like a nuclear bomb to those former republics—they were just as at risk as Ukraine.

Tensions have escalated to the point that China is swooping in, seeing an opportunity to fill Russia’s leadership and military void.

After meeting President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Kazakhstan’s capital, [Chinese leader Xi Jinping] made it clear that Beijing would not tolerate any encroachments on Kazakhstan’s territory.
“I would like to assure you that the government of China pays huge attention to relations with Kazakhstan,” he said, in remarks quoted in Russian in Tokayev’s office’s readout of the meeting.
“However the international situation changes, going forward we will also resolutely support Kazakhstan in the defense of its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; firmly support the reforms conducted by you to assure stability and development; [and] categorically come out against interference by any forces in the internal affairs of your country.”

There is only one country that threatens Kazakhstan’s sovereignty, so it’s clear at whom this was directed. So much for Russia and China’s “no limits” friendship, declared shortly after the Winter Olympics.

Yet as much trouble as we might see in Central Asia, that might pale in comparison to what a breakup of the Russian federation might look like. Russia has 85 federal subjects, 21 of them republics like Chechnya, Dagestan, and Buryata. If those names sound vaguely familiar, it’s because those poor regions constitute a disproportionate number of Russia’s war dead in Ukraine.

Almost all of Russia outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg has been historically neglected by Moscow. Indeed, historian Kaleem Galeev argues that the city of Moscow is incapable of functioning as anything but a parasite sucking the life out of the rest of its empire.



Underscoring that point, over one-fifth of Russian households lack indoor plumbing, a war is killing tens of thousands of countrymen and maiming untold more, yet this is what Putin is up to these days:



You may remember Russia’s push to stand up volunteer units in every one of Russia’s 85 federal jurisdictions. Forty such units were supposedly launched, and then … crickets. What happened?

Putin is so paranoid that he created a separate army personally loyal to him, the Rosgvardia (National Guard). Suddenly he was directly arming peasants out in the hinterlands? The effort seems to have died a quiet death, and most assume it was from lack of volunteers. But I’d be willing to bet that Putin got cold feet, that perhaps arming a future potential separatist movement might prove problematic. (Note that some reports say these troops were absorbed into the new 3rd Army Corps that went and already got its ass whooped at Kupyansk.)

There is a very real scenario in which Russia falls apart even more spectacularly than the Soviet Union, with those dozens of regional “republics” and federal areas demanding independence. It is not a scenario the West likely relishes—instability in these impoverished regions could easily spill into broader regional conflicts. And don’t forget nuclear weapons are stored in many of them, and everyone has learned from Ukraine’s mistake. No one is willingly giving up a nuke if they’ve got one.

Russia will lose in Ukraine. The question will soon be how much new misery this will cause on the Asian continent.
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I’m fascinated by the amount of abandoned equipment left behind by Russians in Kharkiv Oblast. After today’s update, the tally now stands at over 400 visually confirmed military vehicles, including 61 tanks, 117 armored infantry vehicles, and over 20 artillery pieces. I pity Ukrainian mechanics working to bring this all back to full working condition. Undoubtedly, much of it will be sent to Poland for repairing, refitting, and updating.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Thursday, Sep 15, 2022 · 10:56:12 AM EDT · kos
This is looking like Putin’s nightmare of a trip.



Remember, Putin and Xi signed a treaty of “friendship without limits,” then about a week later invaded Ukraine without consulting with their supposed new friends. Meanwhile, the United States had asked China to try and talk sense into Putin and China was like “America lies!” Putin made them look like fools.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Secret Service emails, chat logs from Jan. 6 turned over to investigators

Brandi Buchman

The Secret Service turned over a large number of documents to the select committee probing the attack on the U.S. Capitol, including expanded details from radio transmissions, emails, and other correspondence sought after by investigators for months.

On MSNBC on Wednesday, Jan. 6 select committee member Zoe Lofgren said that the trove of materials featured about 1,000 items, though what was produced by the Secret Service was not exhaustive. Investigators are poring through those records now, Lofgren said. She expects the agency to hand over additional documents in the coming days.

But a distinction about the records submitted should be made upfront: Though Lofgren stated that the tranche included “text messages” from the Secret Service specifically—and Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said the same to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday—Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Secret Service, made a distinction when Daily Kos reached the agency for comment on Thursday.

Guglielmi initially released a statement saying that “while no additional text messages were recovered, we have provided a significant level of detail from emails, radio transmissions, Microsoft Teams chat messages, and exhibits that address aspects of planning, operations, and communications surrounding January 6th.”

Lofgren or Thompson may have innocently conflated those Microsoft Teams chats they received from the agency with “text messages” when speaking to the press.

Social media sites like Twitter became engulfed with intense excitement following the remarks about the “text messages” and activists, academics, and pundits alike shared tweets proclaiming messages like “missing Secret Service texts” were received.

A spokesperson for the committee did not immediately return requests for comment Thursday.

And though it may seem a fiddly point to focus on, or perhaps even an unnecessary distinction to make, the select committee and Secret Service’s interactions and mutual statements deserve careful scrutiny.

That scrutiny is warranted after revelations emerged earlier this year that text messages between Secret Service agents from Jan. 5, 2021 and Jan. 6, 2021 were erased even after members of Congress and government watchdogs had requested those texts be retained as the probe of the insurrection was ongoing.

Those text messages could have offered vital information around key moments of the insurrection and perhaps the extent of Trump’s involvement or the awareness of his involvement by those in his security detail. The Secret Service said that the messages were deleted as part of a global reset of personnel devices. And though Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, a Trump appointee, was first to alert Congress to the missing messages, as legislators and the press looked closer and more records surfaced, lawmakers concluded that it was Cuffari who had waited months, and against DHS policy, to tell members of Congress about the deleted texts.

Though his recusal was called for swiftly by members of Congress and leadership on the Jan. 6 probe, Cuffari has refused to step down.

As of August, Cuffari was still under investigation by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. The Washington Post reported that Cuffari’s handling of staff interviews and staff records for more than a year was at the center of that assessment. Cuffari was also accused of misleading investigators in another matter nearly a decade ago.

During its public hearings this year, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the Jan. 6 committee that former President Donald Trump tried to grab at the neck of Secret Service agent Bobby Engel as Engel drove Trump away from his speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6.

Trump was told he would not be taken to the U.S. Capitol. According to Hutchinson, it was Tony Ornato, the head of Trump’s Secret Service detail, who recounted Trump’s explosive reaction in the moments after it happened.

Ornato, who served as the Secret Service deputy director, contested Hutchinson’s account publicly. Though he said he would testify before the select committee, by late August, members of the panel said there was no communication from Ornato. Then, two days before Ornato was to meet with investigators at the DHS to discuss the deleted Secret Service texts, he retired. The Intercept was first to report Ornato’s retirement.

Further questions the Secret Service could potentially help answer are those lingering inquiries around former Vice President Mike Pence.

Efforts by agents to have him whisked away during the riots were met with a stubborn refusal from Pence. Pence trusted his Secret Service detail, but he didn’t trust where they might take him if he got into a car, Pence’s counsel Greg Jacob said at the hearings,

Jacob testified under oath that the vice president stayed at the Capitol on Jan. 6 because he “did not want to take any chance that the world would see the vice president fleeing” it.

But the stakes were multipronged. Beyond optics and even beyond the physical practical danger posed to the vice president by the mob if he left Capitol grounds, Pence was also the linchpin in the plan to overturn the 2020 election during the certification ceremony at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Had Pence been absent when the time finally came to resume the certification, it could have created a new series of opportunities for Trump to manipulate and thereby extend his stay in the White House despite his resounding defeat to now President Joe Biden.

Michael Luttig, a federal judge and adviser to Pence, testified to the committee this summer that if Pence had succumbed to Trump’s campaign to have him overturn the election, a “revolution” would have been inevitable.

For now, even if it is not additional “text messages” specifically that have been recovered, the Jan. 6 committee nonetheless has before it a bevy of Microsoft Teams chat logs and radio transmissions and emails to sort through and help them reconstruct the eve and day of the insurrection.

The Jan. 6 committee has reportedly considered Sept. 28 for its next hearing date, but its members have been cagey about confirming the date. Early Thursday morning, for example, Punchbowl News was first to report that Thompson described the panel as “still in the process of discussing” whether Sept. 28 would be locked in.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump declares that he can't be indicted, and warns of 'big problems' if anyone tries

Mark Sumner

On Wednesday evening, Donald Trump had a chat with right-wing radio person Hugh Hewitt. In that conversation, Trump declared that everything he took to Mar-A-Lago was declassified, and that he has done nothing wrong in connection with alternative slates of electors and cannot be indicted as a result. So there you have it, Trump says that no one can touch Trump. So … case closed. Everyone go on about your business.

But of course, Trump couldn’t let it go with only a declaration that he’s above the law. He also tossed in a not-so-veiled threat saying that, were he indicted, “I think if it happened, I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it. … I think they’d have big problems. Big problems. I just don’t think they’d stand for it. They will not sit still and stand for this ultimate of hoaxes.”

Trump did stop short of sending out invitations for the Proud Boys to join him for a wild time at the FBI office. For now. However, he also indicated that a little thing like a federal indictment would not stop him from running again.

Hewitt quickly seized on Trump’s threats of violence, not a means of questioning Trump’s motivations, but as a means of attacking what the talk radio host (a role that goes back to the 1920s) described as “legacy media.” What if, asked Hewitt, that legacy media said Trump was inciting violence? Just because he was delivering exactly the same kind of threats, using the same kind of language, that he employed before Jan. 6?

Trump insisted he wasn’t “inciting,” but only delivering his opinion. That opinion being, “I don’t think the people of this country would stand for it.”

So, not a threat. In the same way any statement that boils down to “if you do this, I think you’ll regret it” is not a threat. Just an opinion.

In his interview with Hewitt, Trump also denied any involvement in the scheme to create a slate of false electors in Georgia and elsewhere—a scheme that’s under investigation at both the federal and state level. While lying about his involvement in the plot, Trump also insisted that such a move was “very common” though he gave no other examples.

Throughout the interview, Trump insisted that he had “done nothing wrong” because everything at Mar-a-Lago had been “declassified.” However, he provided no details of how this could be accomplished for documents whose information contains serious threats to national security. Notably, despite how many times Trump has said this, his attorneys have not made this claim in court.

Of course, all of this coincidently falls perfectly in line with Hewitt’s latest (and I can’t believe this is still happening) Washington Post column in which he declares that all concern over Trump’s theft of classified documents is a “diversion” that has “run out of gas.” Hewitt declares that Democrats “have probably seen their high-water mark on the polls.” And that voters will “swing back to the GOP” just as soon as voters realize that “the Dobbs decision did not end abortion in America.”

It just, you know, gave that authority to Republicans—who are ending abortion in America.

This cornucopia of insight brought to you by the same man who once declared that the invasion of Iraq would be seen as “one of the wisest decisions ever made,” and declared himself one of the “staunchest defenders” of former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt even as the coal lobbyists slunk away while facing an even dozen different ethics violations. Hewitt also called on the RNC to disenfranchise Trump as the GOP candidate a week before he did a 180 and declared himself for Trump.

But these days, Hewitt, like the rest of Republicans, has learned his place—which is to insist that breaking every law in the books is no big deal. So long as it’s Donald Trump doing the breaking.


 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Martha's Vineyard migrant flight may have been illegal as well as inhumane

Darrell Lucus

For some time, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been touted as promoting Trumpism without the baggage of Donald Trump. But his decision to herd 48 migrants onto a plane and dump them in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts proves what should have been clear since his reckless approach to the COVID-19 epidemic won him the nickname “DeathSantis.” This sounds exactly like something Trump himself would do if he had the opportunity. After Wednesday, it is now clear that the only substantive difference between Trump and DeSantis is skin tone.

But if a report from NPR is to be believed, there’s another dimension to this situation. As cruel and inhumane as it was, it may have also been illegal. Several of the migrants claimed they got on the plane after being told employment papers would be waiting for them—in Boston.

NPR’s Joel Rose revealed that when he spoke to some of the migrants, they were told that when they were waiting in San Antonio, a woman told them that if they got on the plane, it would be a lot easier for them to find jobs in their new country.

The migrants said a woman they identified as "Perla" approached them outside the shelter and lured them into boarding the plane, saying they would be flown to Boston where they could get expedited work papers. She provided them with food. The migrants said Perla was still trying to recruit more passengers just hours before their flight.
Andres Duarte, a 30-year-old Venezuelan, said he had recently crossed the border into Texas and eventually went to a shelter in San Antonio.
"She (Perla) offered us help. Help that never arrived," Andres said. "Now we are here. We got on the plane with a vision of the future, of making it." He went on to explain why he boarded the plane with so little information in hand. "Look, when you have no money and someone offers help, well, it means a lot."

Rose told NPR’s “Morning Edition” that “Perla” also put up some of the migrants at a hotel in San Antonio before the flight.

If I’m Perla or anyone who helped her, I’d have a lawyer on speed dial. This is so outrageously criminal that it’s impossible to point out where to start. It’s been speculated that this amounts to human trafficking. But whatever it is, the scenario spelled out by these immigrants would be illegal as all hell if true.

If I were the U.S. Attorneys for the Western District of Texas (home to San Antonio) and the District of Massachusetts, as well as the FBI chiefs in San Antonio and Boston, I’d be on this case right now. There are certain situations that are so outrageously criminal that they must be prosecuted, and this would certainly qualify.


 
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