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Capitol Police Officer Arrested For Aiding January 6 Rioter

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Friday, U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael A. Riley was arrested and indicted on obstruction of justice charges connected to the January 6 insurrection. The Associated Press reports that the 50-year-old Riley is accused of "tipping off someone who participated in the riot by telling them to remove posts from Facebook that had showed the person inside the Capitol."

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Wisconsin Brewer Funding Lawsuits Against Anti-Mask School Boards And Officials

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC has announced it will be helping lend financial support to a class-action lawsuit filed against the Waukesha School Board and the superintendent for failing to follow the CDC's guidelines for COVID-19 school protocols. The Super PAC's founder and owner of the Minocqua Brewing Company, Kirk Bangstad—also a former Democratic candidate in the Badger state—has promised that the Super PAC will be funding actions "against every school board in Wisconsin that isn't mandating masks for kids too young to get the vaccine and not following CDC guidelines for students while in school to protect against the deadly Delta variant."

Bangstad says he started the Super PAC to help local businesses weather the ongoing pandemic but then, after watching some of the local school board fallout over mask mandates back in May, Bangstad put out a public statement asking whether or not there were parents dealing with kids who got sick after these mitigation rules were done away with. "I got flooded with parents across Wisconsin who are super upset, scared and felt powerless to protect their children. If they had masks in these schools these kids could actually get an education," he said. Since then, the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC has added the Fall Creek School District to its list of supported lawsuits.

On October 10, Bangstad went on Facebook to give a nice, long rundown of answers to questions his Super PAC has received surrounding these lawsuits. It's worth a gander.

Let's start by saying that Bangstad does not leave anything on the table in this Facebook statement. The first question: Why is a brewery funding these lawsuits?

Our Super PAC should NOT be funding these lawsuits. We always thought that our government, the teacher's union, the ACLU, the hospitals, the nurse's unions, or any other number of progressive groups or "academies of smart people who understand stuff" should be stepping up to block the alt-right, anti-science, and anti-history nonsense that has overcome school boards across our state.
Wisconsin communities have exploded with the Delta variant because many school districts have dropped all forms of Covid mitigation that were in place last year due to the shrieking hordes of Tucker Carlson-watching zombies separated from their cerebrums and driven only by their lizard brains.
Oh, that's the stuff. Keep in mind Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has spent months promoting conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine's efficacy and safety, as well as pushing the big election lies that continue to undermine our democracy. Sen. Johnson reportedly told a town hall last week that the COVID-19 vaccines "are not as safe ... and effective as we all hoped and prayed they would be," and that even though Wisconsin's hospitals were bursting with patients and failing under the stress, this isn't the result of a health crisis.

"A bad flu season will put stress, sometimes overwhelm hospitals for certain regions. That happens all the time. Just because it happens with COVID doesn't mean there's some massive crisis in terms of our health care system."That is just one of the mountains Bangstad's brewery is trying to overcome.

Calling Sen. Johnson as well as Rep. Tom Tiffany "traitorous," Bangstad writes that this fight, while aiming to protect kids instead of win elections, does not mean those goals are mutually exclusive. "We raised over $50K two weeks ago specifically by asking people to donate to these lawsuits. Because of that, we believe we've been given a mandate to see this project through," he said. He calls on more progressive groups to join the fight to protect these children, as well as the unions directly affected by bad public health policies.He makes the important point, that Daily Kos' The Brief podcast has been hammering home over the past year, that fundraising just for 2022 is not enough. "It's not just about collecting money for the next election, it's about organizing and protecting our democracy every day, no matter if there is an election happening our not."Bangstad lists a series of things people can do, from phone banking to volunteering for other Democratic organizations. But most importantly he hits hard, once again, at the anti-science dunderheads screeching the loudest, telling Wisconsinites to "make some god-damned NOISE at school board meetings—force the media to SEE YOU TOO, not just the slack-jawed domestic terrorists whose minds have been overtaken by conservative AM radio."As for the lawsuits, attorney Frederick Melms told The Washington Post, "These school districts just have decided to bury their head in the sand without any real sort of rationale behind it. They just are ignoring the guidance from the health department, from the CDC, from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. It's really reckless."

Anti-Vaxxers Yelling At School Kids Get Stunning Response

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Across the country there has been a Koch-funded Republican caravan of anti-mask and anti-vaccine protests. The levels of disruption and threats to school boards and students getting back to school has varied. Republican operatives have used this as an issue with which they can promote what is left of their long-abandoned platforms of "small government" and "family values." Grabbing onto what was once a fringe movement, the GOP has now added more money and resources into the existing anti-vaxxer movement infrastructure and tied it to the general amorphous conspiracy theories the Tea Party and Trump have run on for the last decade. Think Affordable Care Act "death panels." It's the same dangerously asinine logic that the conservative movement has used forever to make Americans vote against their best interests.

For as depressing as this battle has been, for how retrograde and counterintuitive its intentions are, there have been some great moments of levity and defiance. On Monday, one teen stepped forward to give us all a moment of righteous exhilaration and cement their place in the pantheon of social heroes fighting to make our world a better place. In a video posted on Twitter, a group of adult protesters on a corner yelled at children as those children walked to school. The group was holding their anti-vaxxer signs, telling the kids to "find out how dangerous these vaccines are." The young man in question was walking past and piped up to say, "Fuck off!", stunning the anti-vaxxer parrot, who likely thought someone else's children were as easy a mark for manipulation as her own.

Enjoy.

One note to make here is that one of the signs prominently displayed includes the "My child my choice" rallying cry of anti-vaxxers everywhere. None of these children are any of these protesters' "child." Just one of those things that makes you wonder.

The responses to this heroic feat of F-bombadiering are glorious.


A reminder: Not all heroes wear capes.



And finally my favorite response.


Alex Jones Loses To Sandy Hook Parents In Court Again

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Earlier this year, conspiracy purveyor Alex Jones had a setback when the Texas Supreme Court rejected his attempt to have four defamation lawsuits against him tossed. The lawsuits came from parents of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. The families filed suit after years of harassment, including death threats that spurred on, in no small part, by Jones and his Infowars show's continued false claims that the mass murder of children was a "hoax," and parents seen on television were "crisis actors."

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Justice Department Opens Civil Rights Probe Of Florida Mask Ban

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Last Friday Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won a victory for bad public health when a three-judge panel in the First District Court of Appeals ruled that the governor could continue trying to punish school districts that enacted mask mandates for their schools. The decision overruled 2nd Judicial Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper's ruling that the governor's ban on mask mandates was unconstitutional.
Lead attorney for the parents who brought the lawsuit against DeSantis, Charles Gallagher, told reporters "We are disappointed by the ruling and will be seeking pass-through jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Florida. With a stay in place, students, parents and teachers are back in harm's way."

Shortly after the 1st District Court of Appeal's decision, the Biden administration announced that the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights division would open up an investigation into whether or not DeSantis's order violates the federal civil rights statutes that protect students with disabilities.

Suzanne Goldberg, acting assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education, sent a letter to Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran stating the intention of the federal government. "OCR's investigation will focus on whether, in light of this policy, students with disabilities who are at heightened risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are prevented from safely returning to in-person education, in violation of Federal law. The remainder of this letter sets out in more detail the basis for this investigation and how the investigation will proceed."

This investigation mirrors the claims made by Florida parents in their lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran. Law professor Claire Raj, who specializes in special education law and has written about the current investigations and litigations regarding these conservative bans on mask mandates, writes that while there is "no bright-line rule setting the limits of what modifications" on what would be called "reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, one need only look at existing accommodations that have been created in schools across the country in order to protect children's civil rights."

For example, in certain instances schools must offer allergen-free spaces such as nut-free classrooms when tasked with educating students with severe or life-threatening allergies to certain foods. Schools may have to take other precautions to ensure safe classrooms for students with severe allergies, such as wiping down tables frequently, installing or changing air filters, or running air-quality tests to ensure that a child with chemical or other allergen sensitivities can safely attend.

The Florida investigation is an extension of the Department of Education's existing civil rights investigations into Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. The department had previously declined to investigate Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, and Texas because of the existing litigation in those states that were preventing these conservative officials' bans from being enforced. Today's decision leaves those children and those educators unprotected from this truly awful political football of a policy.

Despite Denial, Undercover Video Shows Jordan Saying Trump Will Announce 2024 Run

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

On Thursday night, undercover reporter and activist Lauren Windsor of The UnderCurrent.tv released news that Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, famous for his alleged complicity in the sexual assaults of young men at Ohio State University where he was an assistant wrestling coach, had told folks that Donald Trump's 2024 campaign announcement is imminent. Windsor tweeted: "BREAKING: Jim Jordan told me tonight in Iowa that Trump will announce he's running 'any day now.' A big GOP operative in the state later announced to the crowd that Trump 'will travel here imminently.'"

This was followed by Politico reporter Olivia Beavers reporting that a spokesman for Jordan told her that the above statement was "Not true. Mr. Jordan did not say this." Well … Windsor has been releasing videos of GOP operatives saying all kinds of things the past few weeks, and on Friday she backed up her Jordan report with receipts. Spoiler alert: Jordan's "spokesman" lied.

In the video, which shows two different angles, Jordan is speaking with Windsor and another man, both of whom are pretending to be big Jordan supporters. Jordan says, "President Trump, he's gonna run again." When asked, "You think so?" Jordan goes all in:

REP. JIM JORDAN: I know so. Yeah, I talked to him yesterday. He's about ready to announce after all of this craziness in Afghanistan.
MAN: Thank God! And Biden should fucking resign! Pardon my French, congressman—
REP. JORDAN:—No, he should. He's really bad, really bad.

Windsor has been doing the kind of undercover recording work that right-wing operatives like Project Veritas have to manufacture. She has actually recorded elected Republican officials, like Sen. Ron Johnson, making a compelling case for how badly Donald Trump lost Wisconsin to Biden, and Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy telling an audience that the GOP agenda during Biden's administration is to create "chaos and the inability to get stuff done."

Jordan's name-dropping Donald Trump and then quickly pretending he didn't is news because it shows the cowardice and craven political groveling the Republican Party's leadership is doing these days. It also shows the cynical and existential nothingness of their political positions. Whether Jordan actually spoke with Trump recently and whether Trump said he was thinking of announcing because of all this "craziness" is unimportant. The fact of the matter is even if that exact conversation happened between these two self-absorbed dirtbags, it means nothing as both men are pathological in their lying. You can believe Trump said that just as much as you can believe Jordan made the whole conversation up just because he thought name-dropping Trump would make him seem more important to these two prospective fans.

Did Jordan tell his spokesperson he didn't say this? Did the spokesperson just tell a reporter he knew that Jordan didn't say anything about Trump? Who knows? Who cares? The amount of lying Jordan has been doing every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year of every decade probably makes it virtually impossible to remember a) which lie he told to whom and when, and b) what the truth of anything is anymore.

There are two angles of the exact same interaction with Jordan.

Far-Right Disinformation Outfit 'Project Veritas' Sunk By Hurricane Ida

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The destructive flooding of Hurricane Ida as it hit the mainland U.S. has stretched from the Mississippi all the way up the Northeast of our country. The realities of our country's archaic infrastructure has even led to some GOP officials voicing their support for President Biden's infrastructure bill, which they've generally tried to neuter and delay for political gain. The costs in human misery and economic instability of doing nothing about climate change are far higher than the money we should be spending to upgrade our country's vast infrastructure needs.

Bad policy and unproductive political theater will not offer you immunity for defying science and forces like weather. Bad policy decisions concerning climate change and infrastructure hurt everyone. The Daily Beast reports that dirtbag conservative operator James O'Keefe and his Project Veritas crew lost their Mamaroneck, New York, home base to Ida's floods. Peas and carrots or thoughts and prayers, whichever one means less.

O'Keefe is probably best known for breaking the law and getting awards from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' terrible wife inside of a swampy Trump Hotel lobby for his work hiring women to create false sexual assault allegations in the hopes of discrediting real sexual assault allegations. Read that last part over to yourself again and then think about the kind of terrible hole in one's soul you have to have to be involved in that.

In a video posted to the right-wing disinformation group's YouTube channel, O'Keefe unironically says that Project Veritas' next "story" might be delayed as he works on rebuilding the organizations' infrastructure. In the video, O'Keefe calls himself and his "organization" the "most resilient organization anywhere," and then blathers on with a trite reference to the phoenix rising from the ashes. He finishes by misquoting a poem by Rudyard Kipling in sort of a perfect encapsulation of the conservative movement in our country: conjuring up an old famous imperialist, racist, and anti-Semite and then lacking the intelligence and thoroughness to even properly repeat his least offensive poetry.

Guess he'll be asking for some more of that socialist taxpayer money he and his buddies rail so hard against but love to have in the bank for a rainy day.

Lawyer For Jan. 6 Defendants Reportedly Hospitalized On Ventilator With Covid

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

John Pierce is the attorney tasked with defending 17 suspected January 6 insurrectionists. Pierce was already working on alleged murderer Kyle Rittenhouse's defense when he added the 17 defendants facing federal charges for storming the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to his client roster. Before that, Pierce was a staunch MAGA supporter who had previously represented Rudolph Giuliani and Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Pierce's Twitter account, which was very active up until August 20, is filled with the kinds of right-wing retweets from Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump Jr., and Mike Cernovich one would expect in this day and age. It also includes a lot of anti-vaxx, anti-mask retweets. After missing a series of court appearances, news has leaked out that the attorney may have tested positive for COVID-19, and may be intubated in an ICU somewhere right now.

Independent journalist Marcy Wheeler reported on her emptywheel blog that the question of Pierce's whereabouts came up during a status hearing for Jan. 6 defendant Shane Jenkins. Jenkins would be insurrectionist defendant No. 18 for Pierce. According to Wheeler, when Judge Amit Mehta asked the attorneys present where Pierce was (in order to clarify issues of representation), Pierce's colleague Ryan Marshall told the judge that "Mr. Pierce is in the hospital, we believe, with COVID-19, on a ventilator, non-responsive."

Whether or not Pierce has received a COVID-19 vaccine is not known, but on August 17, just days before he may have gotten ill with the virus, he replied to someone on Twitter, writing "Not sure actually. All I know is the entire 82nd Airborne couldn't make me get an experimental government vaccine stuck in my arm. #1stCAV."

ScreenShot2021-08-30at9.37.24AM.png

On Monday, the Department of Justice filed this "NOTICE REGARDING DEFENSE COUNSEL JOHN PIERCE, ESQ." In it, the DOJ accuses Pierce's associate Ryan Marshall, the man who said Pierce is on a ventilator with COVID-19, of not being "a licensed attorney." As a result, while Pierce's whereabouts are unclear, "Mr. Marshall cannot ethically or legally represent Mr. Pierce's clients." The filing hopes to inform these various courts that Marshall is not a legitimate stand-in for an absent Pierce. According to the government, the last interaction that the courts or the DOJ had with Pierce was during a hearing Monday, Aug. 23. In the past week, up until telling Judge Mehta that Pierce was on a ventilator, Marshall said all kinds of things:

Since that time, the U.S. Attorney's Office has heard conflicting information about Mr. Pierce's health and whereabouts. The morning of Tuesday, August 24, Mr. Pierce was scheduled to appear before Judge Friedman for a status hearing in United States v. Nathaniel DeGrave, No. 21-cr-90. Mr. Pierce was not present at the hearing. Instead, Ryan Marshall—an associate from Mr. Pierce's law firm who is not a licensed attorney—appeared in Mr. Pierce's place and represented to the court that Mr. Pierce's absence was due to a conflict. A few hours later, Mr. Marshall attended a reverse-proffer session with a different defendant represented by Mr. Pierce, telling the Assistant U.S. Attorney that he had just gotten word that Mr. Pierce had been in an accident and was on his way to the hospital. Mr. Marshall then proceeded with the reverse-proffer session in Mr. Pierce's absence.

According to the government's filing, Marshall then said that he had heard both that Pierce had COVID-19 and was in the hospital, and that he didn't have COVID-19. Pierce's colleague, Brody Womack, would not confirm or deny that Pierce was on a ventilator to Business Insider. But he did write that Pierce had been hospitalized on Monday "due to symptoms that he believed might have been related to COVID-19." In an email, Womack wrote:

"John appears to have been suffering from dehydration and exhaustion in relation to his tireless work on behalf of his clients, including the many defendants he represents in connection with the January 6, 2021 protest at the Capitol. John, a former Army tank platoon leader, is a natural-born fighter – both in and out of the courtroom. While John remains under the care of his doctors, we expect him to make a full recovery. John and his family thank everyone for their concern."

In February, after fights with the Rittenhouse family over what was being done with all the money being collected during Kyle's white supremacist publicity tour by Pierce and Kraken-krank Lin Wood in Rittenhouse's name, the Rittenhouses fired Pierce. The Daily Beast reported just weeks before Pierce's disappearance that the Proud Boy-representing attorney seemed to be out of his depth in trying to defend more than a dozen January 6 insurrectionists. They also pointed out that Pierce had a history of running up very large tax debts, dealing with "substance abuse issues," and allegations of domestic violence threats.

Whether or not Pierce is on a ventilator remains to be seen. He is clearly unable to appear in court and the people he is defending at this time should be worried, as his judgment is just as suspect as their own.

Trumpist Official In Colorado Suspected Of Voting Machine Malfeasance

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Republican operatives are spending their time in the minority ginning up more confusion and bogus anti-democracy conspiracy. The GOP in Arizona are running an excruciatingly incoherent and at times farcical recount of ballots. While it has been called an audit by the people creating theatrics around it, most experts see it as something more akin to dangerous experimental theater. The danger is what it represents to our democracy.

The Grand Junction Sentinel reports there's finally been a break in the Kraken case investigation into a Colorado election system "breach!" Guess what? "Secretary of State Jena Griswold released an order at 10:15 a.m. today calling on Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters to supply surveillance videos and documents showing how the breach occurred, and how security information ended up on a social media post."

According to The Bulwark's Tim Miller—a former communications director for Jeb Bush 2016 (a campaign not known for its socialism)—Peters is a "fervent supporter of Donald Trump and amateur vaccine science aficionado." Miller reports that The Gateway Pundit posted video and screenshot proof that Dominion has remote access to voting machines. The whistleblower who provided this evidence reportedly appears in this "explosive" evidence that Hugo Chavez (or some kind of socialist spider monkey) could have accessed and overturned millions of votes in favor of Joe Biden.

The grainy, shaky video presented a conversation between an election official and a Dominion employee, in which the election official asks a series of leading questions in order to demonstrate how, with the help of someone on the inside, the machine could hypothetically be tampered with over the internet using the BIOS motherboard settings.

Unfortunately, they also left a trace of what they were doing, which actually is a security breach of our election systems.

When the official shared this "bombshell" video with CodeMonkey Watkins they included in it an image of their election system's BIOS password, which is, of course, a massive breach of voting system security.

Peters is not specifically on the hook for this breach of security, but she is the head of the office where the breach took place. According to Miller, the information posted in those screenshots and video was only accessible by a very select group of people "who have passed background checks."

Griswold told the Sentinel: "We have these security protocols in place for a reason. This is a very serious breach in chain-of-custody and security protocols. That's why I will be issuing this order and investigating. On top of that, "If the Mesa County clerk cannot show proof in the chain of custody or if the voting equipment after inspection, if there is anything that comes to our attention, the voting equipment will be de-certified." Decertification of those election machines would force the county to pay up for refitting of all their machines. Trump and MAGA hit the taxpayers again!

Previously, Peters made headlines as an election official promoting the Stop the Steal conspiracy theories leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Back on January 5, the Sentinel reported on a tweet (since taken down) by Peters attacking Colorado-based Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer: "Shame on you! As one that administers elections in my county, you apparently have no idea how it is possible to 1) tabulate more than once ballots favoring a candidate 2) change algorithm in a voting machine (see Eric Coomer from Dominion's Facebook ranks) UR Dirty or ignorant."

Colorado Pols has some more tweets that Peters has since deleted:

  • On Dec. 13, 2020: "Also, the vaccines are troubling in the mechanics in the RNA. I don't want anyone messing with my RNA, my DNA or anything else – MY BODY, my right!"
  • On Jan. 3, 2021: "Their intent is not to "overturn" the election. This was not an election. This was planned fraud on a grand scale. If you refuse to acknowledge that you WILL NOT be re-elected. We need others in your place that uphold the Constitution and preserve our Republic."

While there is an ever-increasing mountain of evidence showing that Donald Trump—along with his fascistic cult of minions, administration officials, and Republican Party officials—attempted to pull off a coup d'etat, the MAGA-minded amongst us continue to believe whatever it is they tell themselves they believe. If we believe in our Constitution as a foundational document laying out the basic legal principals of our democracy, we must hold accountable those who evidence and reality tell us must be held accountable for these crimes.

Tuesday, Aug 10, 2021 · 2:45:50 PM EDT · Walter Einenkel

Peters emailed a statement to the Denver Post:

Saying that citizens of Mesa County have voiced concerns over the election: "I have told them I will do everything in my power to protect their vote. I will share more information once the investigation has concluded."

Texas Republican Who Promoted Mask Burning Is Killed By Covid-19

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

On August 4, the Galveston County Republican Party of Texas posted a sad tribute to H. Scott Apley, a Texas Republican executive committeeman who passed away after an acute case of COVID-19. "It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share the news of the death of H. Scott Apley, our friend, our Patriot in Arms, our State Republican Executive Committeeman, Precinct Chair, Dickinson City Council Member. A tragedy. Please pray for Melissa and Reid and their family. God remains in control although this is yet another tough one to swallow."

Less than one week before this announcement, Apley himself posted an image of an anti-vaccination sentiment on his Facebook feed, mocking people for worrying about COVID-19. The post read: "In 6 months, we've gone from the vax ending the pandemic, to you can still get Covid even if vaxxed, to you can pass Covid onto others even if vaxxed, to you can still die of Covid even if vaxxed, to the unvaxxed are killing the vaxxed." It was the last post he made. Two days later, H. Scott Apley was admitted to the hospital with "pneumonia-like symptoms," and put on a ventilator.

According to a GoFundMe campaign set up for Apley and his family, H. Scott was admitted to a local hospital on August 1, and was then quickly put on a ventilator. He died in the early hours of August 4. According to KTRK, Apley's wife Melissa and five-month-old son Reid also tested positive for the virus. The surviving Apleys have not been hospitalized.

Apley's political worldview seems to have been a typical Christian right-wing conservative one. Apley's Twitter presence was made up of mostly Christian aphorisms and quotes from both Testaments, with some political posts scattered about. The general tenor of his politics had to do with keeping the federal government from what he perceived to be an infringement on citizens' constitutional rights, extending to all of the standard conservative talking points, such as the need to lower taxes on corporations.

The Washington Post points out that Apley's social media pages included not simply the anti-vaxx sentiments of the right, but also the anti-mask interpretation of freedom. In May, Apley posted an advertisement of a "Mask Burning" at a bar, writing "I wish I lived in the area!" He also posted a story about various ways in which Texas was trying to promote vaccinations by using incentives like tickets and giveaways, commenting that the efforts were "disgusting."

Apley was an elected official on the Dickinson City Council and was also serving his first term on the Texas GOP's State Republican Executive Committee.

H. Scott Apley was 45 years old. He leaves behind a wife and an infant son. This is tragic, in no small part because it was preventable.

Will Ivanka Be Indicted Next In Trump Organization Criminal Probe?

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Back in November 2020, after investigations into decades of Donald Trump's tax returns revealed the former president didn't seem to ever pay any taxes, reports came out in The New York Times detailing inquiries being made by the New York district attorney's office concerning "consulting fees" Ivanka Trump pulled in over the years. A reported $747,622 of these fees were paid to Ivanka by way of a company she co-owned, and appeared within the $26 million in "deductions" claimed by Donald Trump over the years. Whether there were more "consulting fees" received by Ivanka or any of the other Trump offspring was not reported, but considering what we know about the Trumps, speculating that the answer is a resounding and very provable yes seems like a safe bet.

Now that prosecutors have charged the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg with contributing to (and benefiting from) a tax fraud scheme, Weisselberg's financial compensation from the company he helped run seems to have been very clearly set up to hide taxable income. Prosecutors reportedly have two sets of books used by the Trump Organization over the years to delineate how they were scamming the government out of taxes. Since that time it has become clear that even more Trump tax information has been seized by investigators, and what those documents might detail remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, to all who are paying attention: Ivanka Trump and other family members tied to the Trump Organization are clearly under investigation as well.

When the Times story came out in November 2020, Ivanka tweeted, "This is harassment pure and simple." Not unlike her father, Ivanka seems to use her Twitter account to whine about being persecuted while lying about things in general. One of the more problematic aspects of Ivanka's $747,622 consulting fee that appeared on a 2017 disclosure form is that"Ivanka was an executive officer of the Trump companies that made the payments." This means she received consultant tax breaks for a company of which she was also a full-time employee. It's an old-timey tax dodge.

On Monday, former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne gave MSNBC her opinions on what investigators were doing now that Weisselberg has been charged, saying, "Prosecutors went to an amazing amount of effort to show Weisselberg 'we have everything we need,' and they're really not only pressuring him to flip, but the amount of detail in this indictment tells me that they're trying to tell other people you have got to flip, because 'we have everything; we have the double books. We know what you told your tax accountants was a lie. We know that we're gonna be able to prove these cases.'" She went on to say that while we don't know exactly who the unnamed individuals inside of the Weisselberg indictments are, they are likely the next people who will receive the New York prosecutors' legal attentions. "We've heard a lot of this reporting about Ivanka Trump getting consulting fees, consulting fees for things she may or may not have done. That looks to be the next place," said Alksne. "We'll just have to see."

Donald Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio told CNN that the Trump Organization's dirty dealings don't take the highest level of investigation to uncover, calling much of the corruption "all so obvious." D'Antonio explained that the most shocking aspect of the multimillion-dollar organization's tax dodging is "how unsophisticated it is. This is just simple greed, the kind of things almost anyone could imagine, and the minute [prosecutors] went looking for it they found it."

"The other person who I think is in peril is Ivanka Trump. One of the things that Allen Weisselberg is in trouble for is taking money as a contractor and then claiming self-employed status so that he can get some of the retirement benefits that the tax code allows for self-employed people. Well, we know that Ivanka Trump got quite significant sums paid to her as non-employee compensation. That freed the Trump Organization from paying part of her taxes, and it put her in a status that I think the IRS would have lots of questions about. So, these folks don't know how to play the game straight. I think everything they do is crooked," D'Antonio said.

On Saturday, former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had this insight into Donald Trump.

You can watch Trump's biographer D'Antonio talking about the Trump family's legal problems on July 4, and below that you can watch former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne talking about what might be happening next for the Trump gang.

Trump biographer Ivanka's tax issues www.youtube.com


Former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne talks about the Trump family's potential tax fraud problems www.youtube.com

‘Traitor’: Gosar’s Family Urges His Expulsion From Congress

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona is not well liked by those who know him well. His entire family has campaigned against him and endorsed his opponents no less than twice. Their argument is that Paul Gosar is not fit for office and something of an appalling person. Gosar's performance in Congress has proven out his family's admonitions. Gosar has found his niche in this Republican Party taking up the white supremacist/nationalist, provocatively and openly racist space left by people like former Rep. Steve King.

Gosar's racism and white nationalism comes with the very easy to understand anti-democracy of fascism and authoritarian fetishism we see from most domestic terrorist groups in our country. He has championed the big lie claims of Donald Trump and many in his political party, that the national elections were fraudulent. His recent attempts to attach Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy of peaceful protest and civil rights to the death of a January 6 insurgent is just one of many examples of Gosar's grand crapulance. His own sister has called for Congress to investigate not simply the insurrection of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021, but her brother Paul's possible involvement in it.

Gosar's brother Dave told NBC News that after the events of January 6, 2021, "I consider him a traitor to this country. I consider him a traitor to his family. He doesn't see it. He's disgraced and dishonored himself." If we've learned anything about GOP operatives, it's that the bottom always has some wiggle room.

Now, Gosar is reportedly planning another (as in this is not the first time) fundraiser along with America First Political Action Committee's (AFPAC) Nick Fuentes. Fuentes is known around these here parts as a white nationalist troll. Calling his commentary sophomoric is offensive to juveniles just beginning to develop their egos. Fuentes is the bottom of the barrel white supremacist, garden variety level of racist fear-monger. But Nick Fuentes does have one thing in common with Paul Gosar. They know how to make their little scraps of money together peddling misery to angry white folks.

The most recent scam fundraising work the two racist men did together was in February, when Rep. Gosar decided to spend his time down in Florida at a Fuentes AFPAC fundraiser. Gosar did this instead of casting a vote on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that passed through the House. He told Congress he couldn't be present in D.C. because of the pandemic. Real scumbaggery.

Below is Nick Fuentes denying the Holocaust and the idea that 6 million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis. It is a point-by-point conspiracy theorist's denial that the Holocaust happened.

Fuentes reportedly confirmed the plans to fundraise with Gosar in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday, calling Gosar "really, honestly, hands down the best congressman in America." Gosar, for his part, has been the kind of cagey coward we have come to expect from these bigoted snowflakes on the right. Without addressing it outright, he tweeted out: "Not sure why anyone is freaking out. I'll say this: there are millions of Gen Z, Y and X conservatives. They believe in America First. They will not agree 100% on every issue. No group does. We will not let the left dictate our strategy, alliances and efforts. Ignore the left."

Gosar's six siblings have been vocal about their concerns for the country's health with Paul in any positions of power, since 2017. That was when Gosar promoted the conspiracy theory that the Charlottesville white supremacist rally that terrorized the city was some kind of "false flag" operation by the government—not just racists being super racist and violent. The former dentist has continued to promote himself as a deep state conspiracist since then, as it really seems to be a lucrative market for easy exploitation by the Republican Party.

Gosar is not a new phenomenon. Just the most recent … 62-year-old version of it. You might remember Rep. Steve Scalise, who tried to sell himself to fellow Republicans as "David Duke without the baggage." Scalise is still in the Republican Party leadership and his opinions are now considered orthodoxy in the Grand Old Party of racism.

Oregon Republican Who Assisted Attack On Capitol Expelled By Legislature

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

On Thursday, Oregon's House of Representatives approved a resolution, voting 59-1, to eject Republican State Rep. Mike Nearman from the chamber. The lone vote for Nearman came from none other than … Mike Nearman. Nearman makes history, becoming the first person ever expelled from the Oregon legislature. His crime? Helping to plan and then attempt to execute a breach of the Oregon state Capitol building during a December 21, 2020, protest. The breach of the Oregon state Capitol ended with "thousands of dollars in damage and six injured Salem and Oregon State police officers."

Video of Rep. Nearman letting protesters into the Capitol that day, captured on a surveillance camera, quickly went public, as did video of Nearman coaching a group of potential insurgents in the days leading up to the breaching of the Oregon state Capitol building. While Republicans had stayed mostly quiet as Democratic representatives called for Nearman's resignation as the weeks went by, it wasn't until The Oregonian reported on video showing Nearman speaking to a group of constituents just days before the breach of the Capitol building, clearly coordinating with them and giving out his phone number in order to allow this crew of insurgents inside the building. At that point, even Nearman's craven colleagues knew it was time to cut bait, signing a letter asking him to resign.

Before the vote, Nearman, who refused the call of every single one of his colleagues to resign, wrapped himself up in the deluded snowflake MAGA blanket of crybaby persecution, telling the chamber sarcastically, "The party in power doesn't have to be fair—might makes right." His argument being that the building being closed to the public at the time was the real problem, not Nearman colluding to break the law. "So, if that's what you want to do, let's do what the people have sent us here to do. Let's decide." They did decide and both might and democracy made right. Democratic state Rep. Julie Fahey spoke during the debate before the vote, saying "This is potentially the most serious and historic vote any of us will ever take in our career as legislators."

Let us all be clear on Nearman's defense here. Nearman is positing that he himself was being some kind of courageous patriot … by pretending to just happen to walk out and let in body-armor wearing protesters while his colleagues were doing their jobs. He was clearly trying to give himself some plausible deniability, by walking out, letting in insurgents and disappearing from the building. The only people who search for plausible deniability in things are people doing shit they know they aren't supposed to do, but are also too chickenshit to actually, full-throatedly admit they did it.

Important to note: Nearman's pantomime defense—that he just happened to be going outside to take a breather when these folks came through the door he was leaving—was accepted by his GOP colleagues enough that they stayed mum on calls for his resignation for weeks. As fellow Republican state Rep. Bill Post crocodile-teared in a post on his blog, "Mike told us that there is NO further evidence and certainly not any that would show premeditation. In fact, about five weeks ago, as his friend and one of the closest colleagues he has in the Capitol, I asked "is there ANY further video or other evidence?" He said "no." That is the crux of the problem: he lied. To me personally and to the House Republican caucus. This pains me to no end to reveal. He is my friend."

The problem was that he lied to fellow Republicans about there being evidence that he planned some kind of criminal action that might put his fellow colleagues in harm's way, to thwart the democratic process of our country. The problem was the lie, not the actual action? Luckily for America and Oregon, there was video showing Nearman actually planned to break the law. You know, like how if someone had died because of Nearman's actions it would have been considered second-degree murder as opposed to first-degree.

But video did appear, showing state Rep. Nearman speaking with a group of constituents, about something he jokingly said he didn't know about called "Operation Hall Pass," then giving out his cell phone number and saying if he was texted at a certain section of the building he might be able to let people in, that Republicans finally realized it was time to pretend they understood the magnitude of Nearman's betrayal to Democracy.

"We're talking about setting up Operation Hall Pass, which I don't know anything about and if you accuse me of knowing something about, I'll deny it. But there would be some person's cell phone which might be" and he recites a phone number beginning with 971.
"But," he continues, "that was just random numbers that I screened up. That's not anybody's actual cell phone. And if you say 'I am at the west entrance' during a session in text to that number there, that somebody might exit that door while you're standing there.

Nearman remained delusional to the end. On Monday, with the reality that Nearman would likely become the first Oregon legislator to be expelled, he reportedly told right-wing radio host Lars Larson that "Someday you're gonna be watching Jeopardy and somebody's gonna say, 'Who is Mike Nearman?' And that's gonna be the right answer." You mean like a question about, say Ted Kaczynski?

Here's him talking about "Operation Hall Pass":

Rep. Mike Nearman coached constituents how to breach Oregon Capitol with "Operation Hall Pass" www.youtube.com

And here's the yellow-bellied patriot letting in guys wearing American flag boots.

Rep. Mike Nearman helps right-wing demonstrators breach Oregon Capitol www.youtube.com

West Virginia’s Billionaire GOP Governor Just Lost $700M

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Republican Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia is your run-of-the-mill Trumpian billionaire. He is considered the wealthiest person in West Virginia even though he's something of a deadbeat, living off of subsidies, and failing ever upward. He mindlessly parrots whatever the conservative culture war persecution complex-of-the-day may be. Like Trump, Justice owns a golf course. And like Trump, Justice has reportedly made his life's work dodging taxes and not paying his bills.

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gov. Jim Justice was personally on the hook for $700 million in loans taken out for his coal interests from investment fund Greensill Capital, based in the U.K. Greensill Capital has gone bankrupt, with a Swiss bank freezing the fund in March. According to the Journal, Justice's Bluestone Resources Inc., which had expected an abeyance on paying off the loans until 2023, was in talks with the bank. On Tuesday, Justice confirmed that the Journal story was, in fact, true. Please grab your tissues and your tiniest violin.

Justice told reporters that this large loan is now "a burden on our family beyond belief, and we'll have to deal with it. It's tough, it is really tough." The Journal reports that Greensill "packaged the loans and sold them to investment funds managed by Credit Suisse Group AG," and with the freezing of the company's assets, Credit Suisse was "under pressure" to get back some of the money lost—and fast. Justice's Bluestone was named by Credit Suisse as one of Greensill's three top borrowers, and so the clock has begun ticking.

According to Justice, his son (who serves as the CEO of the company while Justice is governor) told him he had spoken to Greensill just two days before the company filed for bankruptcy. Greensill told them everything was going swell, Justice claims. It must be a weird feeling to be told one thing and then realize you are being lied to and a lot of your money is about to disappear down a hole, right?

Sadly, the richest man in West Virginia, estimated up until this past year of being worth $1.2 billion, is now pegged at $450 million, according to Forbes. Of course, based on reporting done on Justice's penchant for being tardy with bills, the chances that Credit Suisse is going to be seeing a check soon are slim to none.

Since 2016 courts have ordered Justice and his companies to pay more than $10 million to more than a dozen suppliers, workers and government entities. Over the same time, his companies also piled up $13 million-plus in tax liens. He claims to have paid off many of these. Still looming: another $60 million in potential damages in a civil case awaiting final judgment, plus up to $3 million in fines in Kentucky. And then there's mine reclamation. By federal law, when a surface mine closes, the operator has to restore the landscape. Virginia's Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy estimates that Justice's coal companies face $200 million in reclamation liabilities. (Justice claims it will cost closer to $10 million.)

Justice owns over 100 companies, according to Forbes, that historically brought in about $450 million annually. However, that profit only provides somewhere in the vicinity of $20 million annually for the Justice family.

Justice, like his buddy Trump, is litigious. He sues people and is sued routinely. Bluestone sued Greensill for fraud in March, after the bankruptcy filing. Justice told reporters that his family plans to "continue to pay our obligations and move forward."

New Bombshell: Campaign Funds Paid For Gaetz Party With Escorts And Cocaine

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Florida man Rep. Matt Gaetz is in deep doo doo, as the scientists say. He is facing allegations that he paid for sexual liaisons with a variety of women, some of whom were potentially underage. He may have also broken the law having young women cross state lines for money and sex. His buddy Joel Greenberg seems to have cut a plea deal after admitting to all kinds of bad and illegal deeds, and claims to have basically acted as a pimp for Mr. Gaetz. The story is lurid, filled with the kind of stuff that MAGA types like Gaetz have been projecting onto the entire Democratic Party establishment for about a decade now.

Now, The Daily Beast has released an explosive report detailing Rep. Gaetz's experience during a 2019 Orlando, Florida, GOP fundraiser. According to the report, Gaetz's old buddy Greenberg will identify a paid escort, named Megan Zalonka, as one of 15 women Gaetz paid for sex during his fun times with Greenberg, and Zalonka's story includes sex and drugs with Mr. Gaetz. Ms. Zalonka also had a scandal-level shady taxpayer-funded gig with Greenberg.

The Daily Beast report alleges that Zalonka made many thousands of dollars partying with Gaetz and Greenberg at the fundraiser, and it is not just Greenberg who can give testimony about the debauched times the two men spent.

On Oct. 26, 2019, Gaetz attended the "Trump Defender Gala" fundraiser as the featured speaker at the Westgate Lake Resort in Orlando. Two witnesses present recalled friends reconvening at Gaetz's hotel room for an after-party, where Zalonka prepared lines of cocaine on the bathroom counter. One of those witnesses distinctly remembers Zalonka pulling the drugs out of her makeup bag, rolling a bill of cash, and joining Gaetz in snorting the cocaine.

The Daily Beast says that hotel stay was written off by Gaetz as a campaign expense. I thought it was Hillary Clinton that was selling pizzas or something? I guess it was the "Trump Defenders" instead. Gaetz's folks are mum on this story and Zalonka has hired an attorney, who told the news outlet that she "is not speaking to any media outlet." The Zalonka connection goes back to why Greenberg resigned in disgrace from his position as Florida tax collector. According to The Daily Beast:

Zalonka, who is an amateur fashion model and the communications director for the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, received $4,000 on Venmo from Greenberg during his first year in office in 2017—mostly in $500 installments. And Greenberg, who is married, listed various explanations for why he paid Zalonka. In the memo fields of his Venmo payments, he paid her $500 for "Stuff," another $500 for "Other stuff" [sic], and $1,000 for "Pool." On a single day in November, he paid her $500 for "Food" and another $500 for "Appetizers."

After that, Zalonka seems to have begun a more lucrative business relationship with Greenberg, where she had a government job and was paid but never seemed to work—and no one knew what "services" she provided. Two sources told The Daily Beast that Gaetz and Zalonka had an ongoing financial arrangement that included sex amongst other things, though the newspaper could not confirm that the two had slept together.

It's starting to become clear why Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy are trying to stay far away from Matt Gaetz right now. Gaetz will say he didn't do it, but considering that Matt Gaetz has made a career of never saying anything that is actually true, it's going to be hard for him to be believed.

Palm Beach Officials Reportedly Planning For Possible Trump Extradition

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

A new story out of Politico reports that officials in Palm Beach, Florida, have been making "contingency plans" just in case the twice impeached former president Donald Trump is indicted on one of the myriad possible charges being investigated by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. One of the issues facing officials is a seldom used Florida statute that gives the state's governor the power to intervene in any extradition of Florida residents to other states in the union. It isn't clear what these "contingency" plans consist of; is it making sure Trump is justifiably extradited if the request is made, or how they might prolong his stay in Florida in defiance of the law?

A clerk at the Circuit Court of Palm Beach County told Politico: "The statute leaves room for interpretation that the governor has the power to order a review and potentially not comply with the extradition notice." And we all know how corrupt GOP officials are when it comes to the "interpretation" of laws.

Vance has been making headlines as his investigations into the Trump organization have ramped up over the past few months. In February it was reported that Vance had brought on former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz to help with his investigation into the family. Pomerantz has a long history of prosecuting white collar crimes as well as organized crime in the New York system.

Vance has also interviewed Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. concerning the murky self-dealing aspects between the Trump organization—the family's private business—and Trump's Inaugural Committee. The New York District Attorney's office has also reportedly expanded their investigation into Trump family real estate holdings, and has been able to secure some of the Trump's long-hidden tax returns. Whether or not Vance's investigation will uncover how Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's personal wealth ballooned while they were technically White House advisers remains to be seen.

An interesting aspect of the Trump extradition story is that while Trump does have a residency in the Sunshine State, he usually moves to New Jersey's Bedminster during the summer months. While New Jersey has a similar extradition statute to Florida, the governor of the state is Democrat Phil Murphy. Frankly, almost any governor not named DeSantis would be one step closer to justice. In March, Vance announced his plans to retire at the end of 2021. Perhaps he will place Donald Trump (and friends?) back in a New York court before he leaves.

‘Students For Trump’ Fraudster Sentenced To 13 Months In Prison

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

A little over two years ago, Tennessee's own John Lambert, 23 at the time, was charged with being a fraud and pretending he was a veteran lawyer. Like most modern day frauds, Lambert was working his darndest for the Republican cause, organizing "Students for Trump." Lambert started the group along with fellow Campbell University student Ryan Fournier, shortly after Trump's nomination in 2016.

On Tuesday Lambert, who "pretended to be Eric Pope, of the Manhattan-based firm Pope & Dunn," among other things, was sentenced to 13 months in prison. According to the Daily News, the judge called him a "cold blooded fraudster" before sentencing the MAGA-inspired liar. It seems that Lambert pulled in tens of thousands of dollars from people seeking legal advice by lying to them about who he was and the level of experience he had. "He falsely claimed to be a graduate of NYU Law School with a finance degree from University of Pennsylvania and 15 years of experience in corporate and patent law." Sounds like he would have fit right in to the last administration.

Lambert was living in North Carolina and had been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud by the U.S. Attorneys Office of the Southern District of New York. He pled guilty to the charges shortly after they were announced, and clearly hoped the plea deal would lead to a much shorter than the potential 20 years maximum in prison the charges he faced.

According to reports Lambert, who is now 25, ran his scam between 2016-2018, and took people's money while pretending he would help them with credit issues they were facing. Before sentencing, Lambert told the court, "I lost focus on who I was. My ignorance was a disrespect to the law and my country. My life will be forever marked by this poor choice at a young age." I wonder what his opinions on younger people of color making mistakes is. My guess is that his opinions are still 100 percent racist.

According to a 2019 profile in Politico, Lambert's bio back during his Students for Trump days included:

"At a young age his parents taught values of morality and deep fiscal responsibility to him," according to the bio that was originally posted on the Students for Trump website. "He comes from a family of multigenerational business owners who helped to build the infrastructure of America."

He also seems to have been a big fan of the lead character in The Wolf of Wall Street, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The character is a monumental fraudster. Remember Lambert's co-founder in his "Students for Trump" thing, Ryan Fournier? He was totally involved but made a deal with the feds before Lambert could. He has his own brand now and it's very Hitler Youth-seeming adjacent.

ScreenShot2021-05-11at12.23.19PM.png

attribution: Screengrab/Twitter

That Bible reference in his Twitter bio? Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Let's just say that The RFAngle Fournier is promoting there isn't filled with lots of stories of "forgiving each other," and Jesus and such. It's a lot of James O'Keefe and Parler news.