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Ginni Thomas apologizes to Supreme Court clerks over her support for Trump's election challenges: report

February 2, 2021 in Blogs

By Travis Gettys

Conservative activist Ginni Thomas apologized to her husband’s former Supreme Court clerks for a disagreement among them over her endorsement of a Jan. 6 rally that ended in a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife celebrated fellow supporters of Donald Trump who gathered in Washington, D.C., as Congress certified Joe Biden’s election win, and Ginni Thomas told the justice’s former clerks she was sorry her actions and statements had sparked a dispute among the closely knit group, reported the Washington Post.

“I owe you all an apology,” Ginni Thomas wrote to the private Thomas Clerk World email list. “I have likely imposed on you my lifetime passions. My passions and beliefs are likely shared with the bulk of you, but certainly not all. And sometimes the smallest matters can divide loved ones for too long. Let’s pledge to not let politics divide THIS family, and learn to speak more gently and knowingly across the divide.”

A member of the group who was upset by some of Ginni Thomas’ messages before and after the election shared some posts with the Post, and several former clerks verified the dispute among the “family” of former court clerks.

The justice’s wife has drawn criticism for her conservative activism, especially regarding the Affordable Care Act and Black Lives Matter, and her support for Trump’s claims about election fraud rankled members of the clerks group.

Former Thomas clerk John Eastman — who spoke at the rally and represented the former president in some of his election challenges — defended his work for Trump as a search for truth, but another group member fired back.

“If by ‘truth’ you mean what actually happened, as opposed to a false narrative, then I agree,” wrote Stephen F. Smith, a law professor at Notre Dame. “I hope (and trust) that you — and everyone on this list — agree that the search for truth doesn’t in any way justify insurrection, trying to kidnap and assassinate elected officials, attacking police officers, or making common cause with racists and anti-Semites bent on wanton violence and lawlessness.”

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'Yelling and cursing' broke out in the Oval Office in a last gasp of the Trump presidency: report

February 2, 2021 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

President Donald Trump, weeks after losing the November 2020 election by more than 7 million votes and more than 70 electoral votes, discussed declaring national security emergency powers his White House attorneys told him he did not have.

That’s according to a stunning report that details a December 18 meeting in the Oval Office and the White House Residence from Axios, “Inside the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency.”

The meeting included White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and White House staff secretary Derek Lyons, on the one side, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former CEO Patrick Byrne, former Trump administration official Emily Newman, and attorney Sidney Powell, who is now being sued for $1.3 billion by Dominion voting machines.

Powell “proposed declaring a national security emergency, granting her and her cabal top-secret security clearances and using the U.S. government to seize Dominion’s voting machines.”

At one point Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani joined by phone, and was forced to tell everyone in the “heated” meeting to calm down. Axios reports at one point the “meeting had come entirely off the rails,” and says “people were yelling and cursing” inside the Oval Office.

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, “wearing jeans, a hoodie and a neck gaiter, piped up with his own conspiracy: ‘I know how this works. I bribed Hillary Clinton $18 million on behalf of the FBI for a sting operation,’ he said, according to Axios.”

Herschmann stared at the eccentric millionaire. “What the hell are you talking about? Why would you say something like that?” Byrne brought up the bizarre Clinton bribery claim several more times during the meeting to the astonishment of White House lawyers.

Trump, for his part, also seemed perplexed by Byrne. But he was not entirely convinced the ideas Powell was presenting were insane.

He asked: You guys are offering me nothing. These guys are at least offering me a chance. They’re saying they have the evidence. Why not try this? The president seemed truly to believe the election was stolen, and his overriding sentiment was, let’s give this a shot.

The words “martial law” were never spoken during the meeting, despite Flynn having raised the idea in an appearance the previous day on Newsmax, a right-wing hive for election conspiracies.

But this was a distinction without much of a difference. What Flynn and Powell were proposing …read more


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Republican lawmakers want to use campaign funds to protect themselves — from their own voters

February 2, 2021 in Blogs

By Roger Sollenberger

Both of the national political committees dedicated to electing Republicans to Congress have asked the Federal Election Commission to allow lawmakers to use campaign donations to hire bodyguards, citing heightened fears related to the Jan. 6 insurrection and its aftermath — an attack overwhelmingly carried out by Republican voters.

In a letter sent last week, attorneys for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee requested guidance on whether regulations on campaign spending cover “personal security personnel” to protect members of Congress and their families from “threatened harm.”

“In light of current events involving concrete threats of physical violence against Members and their families, Members have been compelled to consider further security measures for themselves and their families,” the letter says. “As has been well-documented in the media, Members and their families continue to endure threats and security breaches, which are being timely reported to appropriate law enforcement officials.”

While the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol chiefly targeted Democratic leaders, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed fears for their safety. Last week, more than 30 members asked House leadership to grant broader use of taxpayer-funded allowances to hire security in their local district offices.

Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., told CNN on Jan. 13 that he was afraid of threats that would follow his decision to break with the overwhelming majority of his party and vote to impeach former President Trump.

“I am not going to let that sway my decision,” Meijer said. “I think if we give the assassin’s veto, if we give the insurrectionist’s veto, we lose something in this country, and I won’t let that happen again.” He later told MSNBC that he plans to buy body armor: “It’s sad that we have to get to that point, but you know, our expectation is that someone may try to kill us.”

Federal guidelines currently allow lawmakers to put campaign funds towards installing and upgrading home security systems without violating prohibitions on personal use, but the regulatory body has not ruled on personal protection. Only a handful of candidates have reported security details as expenses over the years, campaign filings show. In 2013, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., spent about $30,000 in campaign cash on travel expenses for his security team, but filings show that he appears to have reissued those payments. …read more


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The case for expelling Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress

February 2, 2021 in Blogs

By David Cay Johnston

Let’s put in perspective the atrocious conduct of freshman lawmaker Margorie Taylor Greene. She is the pistol-toting congresswoman from Georgia who wants to put a bullet in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s head.

Any private employer would have fired Greene immediately. Failure to do so would expose a private company, a nonprofit or any other employer to ruinous damages. What if Greene reached into her purse and used her Glock, or if a fellow QAnon fan were to fulfill these homicidal impulses.

Any decent human being would get a court order to keep Greene from being on the loose with a gun in her person.

But Greene works in the people’s House. Under our Constitution, she can’t be fired; she can, however, be expelled.

Our Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote to expel Greene. That will happen only if 59 of the 211 House Republicans have the basic human decency to expel a member with murder, religious bigotry and anti-Semitism in her heart, a lethal weapon in her purse and a stated desire to overthrow the government in which she serves.

Expulsion, however, almost is certainly not going to happen.

It’s not what the Republican Party’s de facto leader, Donald Trump, wants. Trump endorsed Greene, untroubled by her racist and anti-Semitic screeds and her spouting of QAnon craziness.

Examples? Labeling Democratic Party leaders as pedophile cannibals was one. Another was her inane assertion that California’s wildfires were caused by a Jewish space laser financed by the Rothschild banking family.

Unrepentant Trump

But why would this, or anything else Greene has done, dissuade Trump? He is so self-centered and disloyal that he tried, and failed, on Jan. 6 to overthrow our government.

That attack on our Capitol left five people dead, including two police officers, and 140 police injured. In this Trump is like Greene – he is utterly unrepentant.

We now know that the attack on our Capitol and the hunt to kill Pelosi, then Vice President Mike Pence and others was the result of premeditation by rebels. Planning began just days after a large majority of American voters decided by Nov. 3 that Joe Biden would be our next president.

We also know that Trump riled up the crowd that January morning and told them he would go with them to the Capitol. Then he ducked out, hiding out in the White House, gleefully watching on TV the attack.

Trump was so enthralled by the mob violence on his behalf that he …read more


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A politics of sadism: How the national trauma inflicted by the right wing endures

February 2, 2021 in Blogs

By John Stoehr

I don’t mean to be a downer, by any stretch, but I feel strongly about this one thing. Most people most of the time do not think about, or talk about, the role of cruelty and sadism in our politics, and they do not because the Washington press corps does not.

Cruelty and sadism are moral determinations. Reporters and editors avoid coming to moral determinations. For this reason, the Times and others can run 1,500 words on the ins and outs of any given Republican policy without saying what needs saying most. So forgive me while I risk sounding like a downer by talking about things few others will.

Because we do not think about, or talk about, the role of cruelty and sadism in our politics, we typically do not recognize it when they’re happening, even when they’re happening in plain sight. It might be the big things, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, the House Republican, telling a Parkland massacre survivor that he’s a “coward” and that his gun-reform advocacy makes him a “Little Hitler.” But oftener, it’s the little things.

The republic, and one of its representatives, have suffered and continue to suffer. Yet instead of sympathy for it, and seeking remedy for it, some will add to that suffering.

Lying, for instance. It isn’t benign. It’s harmful. It’s intended to injure. The reason many of us feel relief now that Donald Trump is out of power, and is marginalized by Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, is because we are no longer being subjected to his nonstop lying. (If you often felt crazy, that’s why.) The reason many of us feel warmth toward Joe Biden and his administration is because they care about at least the appearance of telling the truth. (Not that he and his administration have been and always will be truthful. I’m talking about degrees of truthfulness and mendacity.)

Lying causes pain. Yet it’s everywhere you find a Republican. Lindsey Graham, for instance, tweeted a letter this morning in which the senator from South Carolina said he will not support a one-day hearing to confirm Judge Merrick Garland as the next US attorney General. He could have left it at that, but added: “Justice Barrett wasn’t given a free pass on a routine 4-day hearing during her Supreme Court confirmation, and Judge Garland shouldn’t get one either on his nomination for Attorney General.”

Now, anyone paying any …read more


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Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "The Gates" opens in New York's Central Park

February 2, 2021 in History

By Editors

On February 12, 2005, 7,503 orange curtains unfurl across New York City’s Central Park from thousands of gates. The art installation, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Gates,” will be gone by the end of the month, but it will leave a lasting impression and be remembered as one of the best-known and most beloved works of site-specific public art.

Husband-and-wife artistic duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude first conceived of the project in 1979. The city rejected their proposal in 1981, but, as the artists later stated, the arduous process of getting approval for such a massive installation on city property was itself an artistic performance. “He adds a dimension to the work, no matter what he thinks,” Christo said of the parks commissioner who first rejected “The Gates.” After years of negotiating and resistance from the denizens of the Upper West Side, construction began in 2004 and Mayor Michael Bloomberg unfurled the first curtain on the morning of February 12, 2005.

Like the couple’s previous works, which included wrapping Berlin’s Reichstag in cloth and hanging an enormous orange curtain across a Colorado mountain pass, “The Gates” was as conceptually simple as it was logistically challenging. It took over eight hundred workers to install the thousands of 16-foot-high gates, hung with cloth panels, which straddled 23 miles of Central Park’s pathways and transformed the park into a unique, ephemeral work of art.

Despite initial complaints from prominent locals like late-night host David Letterman, tourists flocked to see “The Gates” and most in the art world considered it an unmitigated success. “In the winter light, the bright fabric seemed to warm the fields, flickering like a flame against the barren trees,” wrote the New York Times. “Even at first blush, it was clear that ‘The Gates’ is a work of pure joy, a vast populist spectacle of good will and simple eloquence, the first great public art event of the 21st century.”

…read more


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Black Women Who Have Run for President

February 2, 2021 in History

By Nadra Kareem Nittle

Since 1968, these 11 Black women have entered the running for the highest office in the nation.

When Kamala Harris entered the 2020 U.S. presidential race, she chose campaign materials with a sleek typeface and red-and-yellow color scheme that mirrored those of the late politician Shirley Chisholm, who made history in 1972 after becoming the first Black woman to compete for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Although neither Chisholm nor Harris won the presidency, they are among the many women presidential candidates who “helped to put 18 million cracks” in “that highest, hardest glass ceiling,” as Hillary Clinton put it after losing the 2016 election.

As African Americans, Chisholm and Harris belong to a select group of Black women who’ve run for president, bucking society’s often narrow expectations for women of their race.

“As a woman of color, you cannot let the outside world define who you are because if you do, you won’t do or be anything,” says Shola Lynch, director of the 2004 documentary, “CHISHOLM ’72: Unbought & Unbossed,” and curator of the Schomburg Center’s film and recording archive.

Harris’s swearing-in ceremony as vice president on January 20, 2021, positioned her just a heartbeat away from the nation’s highest office. Her achievement follows in the footsteps of Black women who ran for president long before she did.

“Black women are coalition builders,” says Glynda Carr, president and CEO of Higher Heights for America, a Black women’s political advocacy group. “Oftentimes, you’ll read in history about women or men or women of color who ran for office, and their candidacy may not have been viable, but they create a coalition of leaders, particularly women.”

These are the Black women who have made a bid for the highest office in the country.

Charlene Mitchell

Charlene Mitchell, presidential candidate of the Communist party, c. 1968.

Although it’s been widely and incorrectly reported that Chisholm was the first Black woman to run for president, Charlene Mitchell actually beat her to it. At just age 38 at the time, Mitchell entered the 1968 presidential race on the Communist Party ticket with running mate Michael Zagarell, the party’s national youth director. Mitchell’s platform included plans to fight racial and economic injustice, but she only appeared on the ballot in two states.

Shirley Chisholm

A political poster for U.S. presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm, c. 1972.

With the …read more