May 9, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 5:29 PM


Filing error adds to twists of Flynn case reversal (Katelyn Polantz, 5/09/20, CNN)

Shea's filing on Thursday -- undoing more than two years of work from special counsel Robert Mueller's team and his own office's work on the case -- shocked lawyers across the country, who alleged the undermining of the rule of law for President Donald Trump's political gain. Shea's signature on the document already raised questions about who within the Justice Department prepared it, why other prosecutors didn't sign the filing, and why the lead prosecutor on the case withdrew from it an hour before its submission.

A Justice Department official told CNN on Saturday that the ID number under Shea's name was a clerical oversight. The official said it was the mistake of a staffer who submitted the filing to the court on Shea's behalf -- but who didn't sign it herself. The official said Shea was part of a team who wrote the document, and declined to explain why the career prosecutor, Jocelyn Ballantine, who signed several other recent filings in the Flynn case, didn't sign it.

People close to the DC US attorney's office said the mistake isn't one trial lawyers in that office would likely make. And they pointed to the fact that no other lawyer in that office signed the dismissal request as a possible indicator the document was prepared elsewhere, perhaps at the Justice Department headquarters, where Attorney General William Barr was closely managing the Flynn review.

Shea has been previously criticized for doing Barr and Trump's bidding to go easy on associates of the President, first in the case of convicted Trump friend Roger Stone, where Barr directed Shea to override the sentencing recommendations of career prosecutors in Shea's office. The four prosecutors refused to sign Barr's sentencing revision. Now with Flynn, no career prosecutor stepped up to sign the document dropping the case.

Hire a hack, get hackwork.

Posted by orrinj at 4:39 PM


Court Records: Biden Accuser Tara Reade was Charged with Check Fraud Days Before Leaving His Senate Office (Guy Benson,  May 09, 2020, Townhall)

According to California court records, Tara Reade -- the woman who has accused former Vice President Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her 27 years ago -- was charged with misdemeanor check fraud just days before she left the then-Senator's office in the summer of 1993.  The charge in question was filed on August 2, 1993, according to emails from an official working at the San Louis Obispo County court, obtained by Townhall (see updates).  A document posted publicly by Ms. Reade indicates that she departed Biden's office four days later. [...]

As a Kavanaugh defender, I shared information about the sordid legal history of Julie Swetnick, who falsely accused Kavanaugh of participating in a gang rape ring, prompting Senate Democrats to demand his withdrawal.  

If Swetnick's record was relevant to her credibility in my mind under those circumstances, fairness requires me to weigh Reade's apparent legal record under the present circumstances. 

Posted by orrinj at 11:51 AM


Trump Met With GOP Lawmakers For An Hour. Nobody Wore A Mask Or Stayed Apart. (Jennifer Bendery, 5/09/20, HuffPo)

President Donald Trump hosted nearly 20 House Republicans at the White House on Friday to talk about rebuilding the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic ― and not one of them wore a mask or practiced social distancing.

Photos from the meeting show lawmakers casually mingling and talking in close range in the State Dining Room without masks on before the president arrives, also without a mask. 

Posted by orrinj at 9:08 AM


How the Mountain Goats Accidentally Made the Ultimate Social-Isolation Album: When he wrote lyrics about "bucking the curve," John Darnielle was thinking only of ancient history. (SPENCER KORNHABER, May 2020, The Atlantic)

Many of his songs have depicted reclusiveness as a survival technique, in terms sometimes romanticized and sometimes nightmarish. On 2004's "Dance Music," he tenderly reminisced about using the radio in childhood to drown out his abusive stepfather's eruptions. On 2008's scorching "Lovecraft in Brooklyn," he voiced a mentally unstable person's revulsion at the sight of humans congregating on the streets. Now Pierre Chuvin conjures communities of late antiquity attempting to thrive in hiding. On the rollicking "Until Olympius Returns," pagans forced into servitude reassure themselves, "This is just a momentary ripple in the stream." On "January 31, 438," whose title refers to the date when the Eastern Roman empire outlawed Jews and Samaritans from public office, he delivers this vision of lonesome rebellion:

I dance in the dark, all alone
I dance for the God on the throne
If they come catch me and arrest me, mid step
Let me go down dancing, let me be the last one left

If the listener hears the album's tyrants, seeking and destroying pockets of huddled human warmth, as akin to a deadly virus, that's okay with Darnielle. The pandemic may well have subconsciously shaped his work. "In group therapy, people will say something, and then you notice they were actually saying something else," he said. "Then you say, 'It seemed like this thing you said was actually coming from another place.' You gain insight into your behavior that way, right?  For me, I tell stories, and then I go, Why is that your take on the story?"

But he rejects the notion that these songs were written as allegory. "A good story is so useful and so polydisseminative that you can apply it to your own situation," he said with a chuckle at his own use of academic terminology. "That's the poet's ideal ... When I'm writing about the fall of a civilization, well, especially given our present political moment, there's a 50/50 chance on any given day that it's going to sound like I'm writing about the present. I notice all of those things in the writing, and if I see one that feels cool, then I leave it in. I'm singing songs about doomed people, and that was what I was already doing."

Darnielle is not only describing his songwriting ethos--he's describing a process of connection-making that occurs within his own lyrics and in the reception to them. On 2005's "This Year," his most widely beloved single, Darnielle blended his own troubled teenage memories with imagery of a feast in Jerusalem. That song's chorus, "I am going to make it through this year if it kills me!," has been a mantra for many during the coronavirus pandemic; the Mountain Goats retweeted an image of those words posted outside a closed concert venue. Of having coined such an enduring slogan, he said, "I imagine it's what it must feel like to have come up with a really great recipe. Food is nourishing, so if you write a recipe and people are serving it to their families, then you've done a great thing. You don't get to take that much credit. The people who are doing the cooking are the ones who get the lion's share."

Personal fav:
Posted by orrinj at 7:44 AM


A Vigilante Killing in Georgia: The right to make a 'citizen's arrest' isn't a license to kill. (David French, 5/07/20, The Dispatch)

Georgia law does indeed permit a person to execute a citizen's arrest--in very narrow circumstances. The relevant false arrest statute holds that a "private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a private person may arrest him upon reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion."

Once the citizen's arrest is properly made, Georgia law requires the citizen to take the suspect before a judicial officer or peace officer "without any unnecessary delay." 

It's also true, however, that an unlawful attempt to take and hold a person is itself a crime--false imprisonment. Under Georgia law, a person commits the crime of false imprisonment "when, in violation of the personal liberty of another, he arrests, confines, or detains such person without legal authority."

Moreover, according to Georgia case law, one cannot use the citizen's arrest statute "to question" a suspect. In fact, stating an intention to question a suspect can be evidence that the individual claiming a right to make a citizen's arrest is "uncertain and did not have immediate knowledge" that the victim had been the perpetrator of the alleged crime. 

Now, let's apply the law to the facts. On the day Arbery died, a 911 caller said a man matching Arbery's description was walking inside a vacant construction site. Another caller said, "There's a black male running down the street." Gregory McMichael claimed he recognized Arbery from "surveillance video" after "several break-ins in the neighborhood." 

The only "offense" committed in anyone's presence is the report of a person walking into a construction site. If that merits mounting up an armed three-person, two-vehicle posse to chase a man in broad daylight and menace him with weapons, then many of us are lucky to be alive and free. Just last week I walked into a house under construction in my neighborhood to check out the new floor plans. I didn't even think to check for an armed gang charging down the street.

You aren't black.

Posted by orrinj at 7:41 AM


Document reveals Secret Service has 11 current virus cases, as concerns about Trump's staff grow (Jana Winter and Hunter Walker, 5/08/20, Yahoo News)

Multiple members of the U.S. Secret Service have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to Department of Homeland Security documents reviewed by Yahoo News. 

In March, the Secret Service, which is responsible for the protection of President Trump and other leaders, acknowledged that a single employee tested positive in March. However the problem is currently far more widespread, with 11 active cases at the agency as of Thursday evening, according to a daily report compiled by the DHS. 

This report comes as a pair of cases among White House staffers close to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have put the West Wing's coronavirus security procedures in the spotlight.

Posted by orrinj at 7:30 AM


Woman who accused Fauci of sex assault now says Trump supporters paid her to lie (Travis Gettys, 5/07/20, Raw Story)

A woman who had accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of sexual assault now claims she was paid to lie about the public health expert by a pair of President Donald Trump's supporters.

The woman says right-wing provocateur Jacob Wohl and his frequent accomplice Jack Burkman persuaded her to cast Fauci as the assailant using details from an actual sexual assault she survived just after high school, and they paid her to do it, reported Reason.

"The reality is that I've known Jacob since 2018 and that he charmed me into taking money to do this (see attached picture of us together)," said Diana Andrade in an email to the website. "[They also] had me do something like this...back in January."

Posted by orrinj at 7:26 AM


The one Republican Senate candidate willing to call out Donald Trump  (ALEX ISENSTADT, 05/09/2020, Politico)

During a video conference with black community leaders last week, James was asked whether he disagreed with Trump on anything given the president's support of his candidacy.

"Plenty, plenty of issues," James responded. "Everything from cutting Great Lakes funding to 'shithole countries' to speaking ill of the dead," apparently referring to Trump's disparagement of the late Sen. John McCain. "I mean, where do you want to start?"

"And so yes, there's gonna be places that I disagree with the president and those are just a couple," he added.

James, a 38-year-old Iraq War veteran, also pushed back against what he described as a Democratic talking point that he was bankrolled by the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who hails from one of the state's wealthiest political families.

"I haven't gotten any money from Donald Trump. I haven't gotten any money from Betsy DeVos. I haven't gotten any money -- that's political talking points. Very little of that is true," James said during the appearance, a video of which was obtained by POLITICO.

Posted by orrinj at 7:03 AM


James Monroe review: a timely reminder of the Era of Good Feelings: A life of the fifth president makes interesting reading, not least for his warnings about foreign influence in the White House (John S Gardner, 9 May 2020, The Guardian)

McGrath writes of the "calling of honorable public service that echoes throughout Monroe's life". He ran against his friend Madison for Congress to reaffirm a principle, "a heartfelt belief that a new American government was not American without safeguarding the rights of its citizens. Politicians rarely think this way now or in 1788, but Monroe did." [...]

Monroe's deliberative decision-making led to many wise actions, particularly in foreign policy. In partnership with his secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, he was able to forge a pact with Britain against the slave trade, resolve a boundary issue with Russia, negotiate a treaty with Spain that put the United States on the Pacific coast, and begin recognizing the Latin American republics that had revolted from Spanish rule.

Monroe's famous doctrine, designed to forestall any attempt by European powers to re-establish colonies in South America, declared the era of colonization in the western hemisphere over and declared that an attack on the new republics would be considered "as an attack on ourselves".

Dorothy Day review: biography of a radical rebel is the masterpiece she deserves
 Read more
It was armed neutrality and protection rather than collective defence, but it has endured for two centuries as a bedrock principle of US foreign policy. The doctrine was fiercely opposed by, among others, Metternich, who called it "no less dangerous" than the American Revolution. It was - to monarchies, exactly as Monroe intended.

Like Harry Truman, another quintessentially American president beset by money and farming troubles throughout his life, Monroe was not immune from the temptations of partisanship but sought to rise above it and to serve honorably, doing the right thing for the country by his lights. As with Truman, a surprising amount of his work endures.

Before Monroe left for France to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson and Madison gave him a dinner. After a hearty meal and "some tolerable Singing", Monroe made a toast to "the union of the United States - may political discussion only tend to cement it".