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Tuesday :: February 09, 2021

Donald Trump Goes on Trial in Senate

It's hard to believe it was 22 years ago that I attended the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton. Today it is private citizen Donald Trump who is on trial in the U.S. Senate for his conduct on January 6,2021 when rioters stormed the U.S. capitol. C-Span is covering it live.

They are now arguing over whether the Senate has the power to impeach someone who no longer occupies a desk in the oval office. Four hours has been alloted for these arguments. From the New York Times:

In a fast-paced and cinematic case, the House managers will argue before the Senate that Mr. Trump is guilty of inciting a deadly mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The prosecution plans to show videos captured by the mob, Mr. Trump’s unvarnished words and criminal pleas from rioters who said they acted at the former president’s behest. House managers are aiming for a conviction and to bar Mr. Trump from holding office again.

Democrats plan to both conduct the trial and work on passing federal coronavirus relief. The trial should be over this week.

Here is the Reply Brief filed today by the House Managers who are prosecuting the trial against Trump. Here are the procedural rules for the Clinton impeachment trial.

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Monday :: February 08, 2021

Tampa Superspreader

Watching the photos and news reports of people celebrating in Tampa after the Superbowl is simply sickening on so many levels.

Obviously, sports is not my field. I wouldn't bother to waste my time writing about it except I happened to see news photos of the [mostly young] maskless fools in Tampa packed next to each other like sardines, yelling and hooting in each other's faces as they celebrated in public after the game.

Shorter version: You just can't fix stupid -- or selfish. COVID takes a holiday for no one, not rock stars, athletes or fans.

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Monday Open Thread: If Impeachment Won't Work

My view: Skip the impeachment trial and go right to federal and state charges that are distinct enough to pass the Blockburger test so there is no double jeopardy defense.

If you lost a loved one due to corona virus, sue Trump (like the parents of the young trader who committed suicide are suing RobinHood. But for his intentional malfeasance, we would not have had many deaths from coronavirus.

Get a federal or state seizure warrant to freeze or seize all the money in Jared's pass-through company American Made Media Company through which more than a billion in contributions came and went (See the FEC filing).

Charge him with RICO alleging an "enterprise in fact" with
his family which extends the statute of limitations for predicate acts of racketeering to 10 years.

Re-read Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland: "No, No, said the Queen. First the punishment, then the verdict."

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Tuesday :: February 02, 2021

Tuesday Night TV and Open Thread

I've been meaning to write about Discovery+ which launched its streaming app in January. If you are an HGTV fan, it's got everything you want --almost. And for $5 more a month, it's commericial free.

My favorite show is House Hunters International. I watch every episode that has to do with Asia and South or Central America, i.e., Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Vietnam and Malaysia. I'm not too interested in Australia, Europe or Honduras, but if you are, there are episodes galore.

There are so many episodes, Discovery + gave the show its own channel. But therein lies the problem. So far, there's no index of episodes. It just streams 24/7 and you can't pick the episodes you want to watch. Maybe I'm just not tuning in right, but I've used my Roku, Apple TV and FireTV and none of them have a season/episode guide for you to choose from. Every other HGTV show does, so they need to fix this problem quick. (Or tell us how to find the episode guide). [More...]

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The Prince and the Pauper: Separated at Birth?

For those of you following the most excellent adventures of Gamestop and Robinhood, does anyone else think these two look like they were separated at birth?

On the left: Vlad Tenev, CEO and Co-founder of Robinhood. On the right: Keith Gill, the self-described "normal guy" who reportedly drove the GameStop stock frenzy by posting on a Reddit forum called WallStreetBets.

Take away the tuxedo and the gypsy headband, making one look rich and the other look like a marginalized protester of something or other, I think these two look like they were separated at birth. The eye shape, the bump on the bridge of the nose, the thin upper lip and fuller bottom lip, the mustache and random spots of growth despite looking recently shaven, the chin, and the bob in the Adam's apple. Gill's eyebrows are a little fuller, but the arch is pretty much the same. Hair color, check. Hair length: check. [More...]

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Sunday :: January 24, 2021

Site-Wide Comments Problem [Fixed Now]

Update [2021-1-26 0:29:44 by hillct]: Service was restored early Tuesday evening. Please feel free to use this thread to confirm proper comment operations, and send an email to the site administration if you continue to encounter difficulty.

[Original Post] Apparently, we have a glitch in our software that has been preventing comments since I posted an article on Joe Biden and his Peloton. I've gotten emails from some of you saying you can't post a comment, and I tried and I can't either. Colin, our webmaster, has been working on this for the past several hours and says it is a very unusual error. Unfortunately, it won't be fixed until tomorrow (Monday). So please stay tuned, and be patient and I apologize for the inconvenience.

I have put up an open thread at Talkleft's Wordpress site available here so you can all have a place to comment. If you haven't already, please register there with the same user name you use here so we all know who you are.

I have deleted the Biden Peloton thread in case the coding in it is what caused the problem.

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Wednesday :: January 20, 2021

Changing of the Guard

America, we survived. Today is a day for celebration.

I thought Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez were both terrific. How nice to see normal people like the Obamas and Clintons on center stage instead of toxic outliers.

There will be plenty of time to disagree with the policies of the new Administration for not going far enough, but for today, I'm happy to have my country back. We made it through the worst four years of history.

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Trump Grants 143 Pardons/Clemency Requests

The White House last night released the list of Donald Trump's final 73 pardons and 70 grants of clemency.

As expected, Steve Bannon got his pardon.

Stephen K. Bannon President Trump granted a full pardon to Stephen Bannon. Prosecutors pursued Mr. Bannon with charges related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project. Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen.
That is simply a joke of an explanation. Trump might as well have said: "There's nothing good to say about him, he doesn't deserve it but I'm doing it anyway. I'd rather have him owe me so he's on my team instead of the other team when the subpoenas start flying". Unfortunately, Bannon is likely a snake who will bite him in the as* at the first opportunity. [More...]

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Monday :: January 18, 2021

100 Pardons Coming

Only two short days remain until all traces of Donald Trump and his family and entourage will be gone from the White House. What is his game plan for the end of the most mocked and despised administration in history?

Most major news outlets are predicting 100 pardons.

We all expect it to include Rudy Giuliani and Trump's children -- unless Jared and Ivanka are arrogant enough to reject the idea because they are convinced they are not in jeopardy and don't need one.

I expect to see Steve Bannon on the list. If it later turns out that the funding for luring ultra right-wingers to D.C. disguised as Donald Trump supporters to attack the capitol was provided by Bannon, Trump will look like an even bigger as* for pardoning him.

I also think there will be a lot of pardoning of uber-rich folks, or relatives of uber-rich folks. Trump will want to hit them up for money when he's ready to make his comeback.

I don't think Trump is selling pardons, but those close to him sure seem suspect, according to the New York Times.

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Wednesday :: January 13, 2021

Donald Trump Impeached for Second Time

Donald Trump has been impeached for the second time by the House of Representatives. The vote was 232 to 197. 10 Republicans voted with the unanimous Democrats.

There will be a Senate trial after Joe Biden takes office. No timeline is set.

So long as he exits the White House and takes his children and son-in-law and top current and former aides with him, I don't care what label America ultimately tags him with.

Questions: Will he spend the next week issuing pardons to himself and his family and Rudy Giuliani? Will the Trump Organization face a slump in revenues? Will every hotel he's licensed his name to change its name and stop paying licensing fees? Will Deutsche Bank call his loans early or refuse to extend them?

Where will Ivanka and Jared go now that it's pretty obvious she won't be taking Marco Rubio's seat from him anytime soon? Will they be sorry they plopped $31 million down on a plot of land on a tiny island in Miami? Will Melania and her parents and Barron go back to New York? Will Donald move to Dubai? [More...]

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House Votes on Impeachment of "World's Most Dangerous Man"

"Donald Trump is a virus. It's time to remove him from his host." Unknown female Rep.

"Donald Trump is the most dangerous man ever to occupy the Oval Office". Rep. Joaquin Castro

Unhinged: Rep. Matt Gaetz

Donald Trump will be impeached by the House today. What will the Senate do? More importantly, what will Mike Pence do if Trump resigns in the next week? I believe he will pardon Donald Trump. Will they make a deal that Trump (who will likely be banned from holding public office in the future by the new Democratic-led Senate)will support a Pence-Ivanka ticket?

I do not care whether Trump finishes his term. I care that Mike Pence not take the helm in the next week because he will eradicate all of the bad karma the Trump family now has hanging over their heads. Pence is the only one who can dissipate it. I hope Congress does not let him.

Colorado's Rep. Diana DeGette is a national treasure. You can tell she used to be a criminal defense lawyer. Gun-toting bar owner/Trump hanger-on Lauren Boebert can't even read her lines without stumbling over them. I don't think her voice wasn't shaking with anger but stage fright. She will never be taken seriously by Democrats.

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Monday :: January 11, 2021

Impeachment the Second Time Around

Does practice make perfect? Here is the Impeachment Resoulution now circulating in the House of Representatives.

The charge (Article I): Incitement of Insurrection. The alleged misconduct: Willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.

"Willfully" is the required state of mind. (Every crime except strict liability crimes like not wearing a seat belt have two components -- an Actus Reus (act) and a required Mens Rea (Mental State).

"Willfully" is a higher standard than "knowingly". It requires proof the person acted voluntarily and purposely, with the specific intent to do something the law forbids (here, to incite violence). It also includes voluntarily and intentionally assisting or advising another to do something the person knows disobeys or disregards the law.

It is not a defense to acting "willfully" that a person may have believed that his conduct was politically or morally required, or that he believed ultimate good would result from his acts.

So, did Trump intentionally violate a known legal duty? In my view: he intentionally violated dozens if not hundreds of them over the past four years. [More...]

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Sunday :: January 10, 2021

PGA Pulls Championship From Trump Golf Course

The consequences to Donald Trump and the Trump Organization from last week's Capitol riot keep pouring in. Sunday night, the PGA announced it is terminating its contract with the Trump Organization to host its 2002 championship at Trump's golf course in Bedminister, New Jersey.

"The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster," said Jim Richerson, PGA of America president, in a statement.

Holding the tournament at Trump Bedminster, Richerson said, would be "detrimental" to the PGA of America's brand and put the organization's ability to function "at risk."

The predictable response by the Trump Organization: "This is a breach of a binding contract and they have no right to terminate the agreement. "

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Saturday :: January 09, 2021

Saturday Open Thread: Fight or Flight?

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" for Donald Trump. (Bob Dylan, Suberteranean Homesick Blues)

If Trump resigns, won't Pence just pardon him the way Ford pardoned Nixon? I'd rather see him stay and try to pardon himself, which will end up costing him millions in legal fees over the next few years as the courts debate whether he has the power to do that.

I think a charge of seditious conspiracy is the way to go. Maybe he will be hit with a federal complaint on January 21 after which they will take it to the grand jury so there is no question they did not indict a sitting President.

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Monday :: January 04, 2021

Britain Refuses to Extradite Julian Assange

Finally, some good news for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Britain has issued its ruling denying the request by the U.S. to extradite him.

“I find that Mr. Assange’s risk of committing suicide, if an extradition order were to be made, to be substantial,” Baraitser said in her ruling at London’s Old Bailey court.

“The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future.”

The United States intends to appeal. Assange has been in custody, both at the Ecuadorian embassy and in jail for a decade. Enough. Free him.

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