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  1. #5191

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Also...


    Kaitlan Collins
    @kaitlancollins

    Trump talked to Woodward 18 times for this book, a decision many are now questioning. One reason Trump was so irritated aides didn't tell him about Woodward's attempts to interview him for his last book was because he thought he could have made himself look better in it.

  2. #5192

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Walter Shaub@waltshaub
    former Director of
    @OfficeGovEthics personal account - views my own Tweets are *not* legal advice.

    Over the past four years many have spoken of government ethics as though they were the province of Miss Manners. Now the lack of ethics has left 200,000 Americans dead and two branches of government working with Russian operatives to sabotage our election. Ethics matters.

    These things flow directly from Trump’s self-dealing. Trump pursues financial enrichment, political support and electoral advantage. It all flows from the same place: his willingness to use entrusted power for private gain. It all traces back to government ethics. All of it.

    His refusal to divest sealed our fate. That’s why ethics matters. That’s why I demanded he divest. I knew his refusal to divest would break the ethics program, and I knew it would lead directly to a threat to the republic itself. I knew that ethical failures cause death too.

    I won’t hold my breath on the Washington Post apologizing for saying I was out of my lane in calling on him to divest. And I take no pleasure in having been right. To the contrary, I am horrified. But I hope one day the media will reflect on its normalization of ethical failure.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  3. #5193

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Prosecutor Quits Trump's Law Enforcement Commission, Saying The Fix Is In
    John Choi is worried the group is intent on "providing cover" for a predetermined law-and-order agenda that "will only widen the divisions in our nation.”
    By Ryan J. Reilly, HuffPost US

    An elected prosecutor who took a role in Donald Trump’s presidential commission on law enforcement has resigned, telling Attorney General William Barr that he is concerned the commission was “intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past” and will issue a final report that “will only widen the divisions in our nation.”

    Trump formed the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice late last October, announcing its formation at the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s annual meeting. Trump’s order mandated that the commission issue a report within one year ― a deadline that falls just days ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

    The commission is stacked with members of law enforcement, and the American Civil Liberties Union has questioned whether it is a “sham commission formed only for the purposes of advancing a ‘Thin Blue Line’ law and order agenda.”

    John Choi, the elected prosecutor in Ramsey County, Minnesota, served as a member of the commission’s criminal justice system personnel intersection working group. But Choi, whose county includes the city of St. Paul, wrote in a letter to Barr that he was quitting his role on one of the commission’s 17 working groups because he worries the final report “will vilify local prosecutors who exercise their well settled prosecutorial discretion consistent with their community’s values and the interests of justice.”

    The Justice Department struck back at Choi, with one official telling HuffPost that Choi didn’t really resign because the working groups had already completed their work. The two chairs of the working group ― former U.S. Attorney Jay Town and Cook County Judge William O’Brien ― also criticized Choi’s work in interviews with HuffPost. Town said Choi offered “very little in substance,” while O’Brien said his opinions “didn’t have a lot of depth.”


    Choi wrote in his letter to Barr that he previously tried to communicate to the commission that it “needed to listen to those who have been negatively impacted by policing and the criminal justice system.” But he said it is now clear that engaging communities to help bridge the divide between communities and law enforcement “was never the intended goal.”

    “Rather than examine how decades of over-policing in communities of color have created that deficit of trust, the Commission was instead encouraged to study ‘underenforcement’ of criminal laws and ‘refusals by State and local prosecutors to enforce laws or prosecute categories of crimes’,” Choi wrote.

    “At the very beginning of this process, President Trump said the Commission would ‘have [the recommendations] soon because most of them know many of the answers before they begin.’ It is now patently obvious that he was correct ― that this process had no intention of engaging in a thoughtful and open analysis, but was intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past, furthering failed tough-on-crime policies that led to our current mass incarceration crisis and fueling divisions between our communities and our police officers,” Choi wrote.

    Choi called the commission “a missed opportunity to seriously deliberate in regard to areas for improvement in law enforcement and develop thoughtful solutions to address longstanding problems in the criminal legal system.”

    In an interview with HuffPost, Choi said he joined the commission working group with the hope that he’d be able to contribute to the dialogue by sharing his experiences with drug treatment courts and issues like ending cash bail (an issue, he said, that wasn’t necessarily “received very well by the commission.”)

    Judge O’Brien, who differed with Choi on the issue of cash bail, said the commission gave Choi an opportunity to present language on cash bail to the rest of the working group, but he never did so.

    Choi said that the commission never responded to a letter that he sent along with Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark A. Dupree Sr., the first Black district attorney in the state of Kansas. Their May 29 letter stated that there were just four locally elected prosecutors in any of the committee’s 17 different working groups, and among other concerns raised the issue that the final report might “seek to erode local prosecutorial discretion.” Barr has lashed out at progressive prosecutors, even as his own home county of Fairfax, Virginia elected one.

    “We wanted to be able to advocate for including other voices to find a way that would be more unifying as opposed to dividing,” Choi said. “If the report is just going to take the perspective of the traditional law enforcement approach and ignore others, I think that’s going to be a huge missed opportunity. Because the way that the country is moving right now, I think that we’re questioning everything that’s been happening in the traditional law enforcement structure, as well as the way that the just system operates.”

    Choi said he was especially disturbed by the rhetoric of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District for Pennsylvania William McSwain, who previously launched heated attacks at progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. McSwain, in his testimony before the commission, claimed that progressive prosecutors promoted anti-law enforcement culture and disrespect for the rule of law.

    “I’m just really passionate about prosecutorial discretion,” Choi said. “Every prosecutor who’s elected in America should have that discretion and they should have an obligation and responsibility to think about what their communities want and apply those policies. There’s nothing wrong with that.”


    Town, the Trump-nominated former top federal prosecutor in the Northern District of Alabama and co-chair of Choi’s working group, said that he found it “fairly pretentious” for Choi to request to read the final version of the report before it was released.

    “The final version is up to the president of the United States,” Town said. “The fact that some study group guy ― the district attorney for a county of 400,000 ― is gonna get editorial rights on a commission report before it’s released from the president of the United States is just outlandish.”

    Town also said that while he couldn’t say how diverse the commissioners’ views and experiences might be because he didn’t know all of them, he could say they took their work seriously.

    “What I do know from my interaction with the commission is that the individual commissioners, unlike Choi, took their role on the commission very seriously and had genuine purpose in identifying ways in which our justice system might improve for every American,” he said.

    Town, who praised Trump’s handling of law enforcement issues, said he didn’t think Choi was “a bad guy” despite differing from him politically.

    “I just think he is seizing on a moment and doing so after literally offering very little in substance,” Town said.

    Miriam Krinsky, a former federal prosecutor and the founder and executive director of the group Fair and Just Prosecution, said that Trump’s commission seems fixated on building trust in law enforcement without actually addressing the fundamental issues that have driven distrust in police, prosecutors, and court systems for years.

    “In some ways the work of the commission is no surprise against that backdrop of an attorney general who insists there is no systemic racism, and that disparities in our criminal justice system are in no way the product of inherent or explicit bias,” Krinsky said.

    Krinsky’s group helped organize the filing of a brief in a lawsuit by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund challenging the commission’s process and membership.

    “Trust won’t be rebuilt, and the justice system won’t regain legitimacy, if critical policing and prosecution policies are developed through a process that is not transparent, inclusive, and informed by a diverse set of viewpoints,” the briefing stated. (A hearing in the lawsuit is set for next week.)

    “There’s a growing chorus of groups, of reports, and of people taking to the streets around those concerns,” Krinsky said. “But oddly, this commission and its guiding principles seem to be completely tone deaf to those issues.”

    While Trump’s commission has examined issues like homelessness, addiction, mental health, and improving law enforcement training, there’s also been a heavy focus on “the trend of diminished respect for law enforcement and the laws they enforce.” The “Respect for Law Enforcement” working group is specifically evaluating how “under-enforcement of the criminal law in certain jurisdictions” affects “public safety; public perception of law enforcement and the laws they enforce; police resources and morale; the rule of law.”

    One of the chairs of that working group ― Essex County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Jonathan Bloggett ― has said that he believes that the progressive prosecutor movement is “being driven by slogans and cliches.” Bloggett recently got into a dispute with one of the nation’s best-known progressive prosecutors, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, also of Massachusetts, after he and three other prosecutors tried to intervene in her case involving how new research on the brain development of young adults should impact sentencing.

    The Trump commission’s final hearings focused on respect for law enforcement and featured police advocates pushing for even harsher laws against those who assault the police and prosecutors complaining about the progressive prosecutor movement. U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott of the Eastern District of California told the commission that progressive prosecutors placed “a higher value on the perpetrators of crime than on the victims of crime.”

    One police advocate testified that he saw “a rise in the general disrespect for law enforcement among younger generations,” and pointed in part to search engine results.

    “If you go online and search ‘disrespect for police’ there are literally over 17 million results,” testified Brian Marvel, the president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California. “I believe this points to larger societal issues in which no one is accountable for their actions.”

    It’s unclear exactly when Trump’s commission will issue its report, but it is certain to come before the election and is likely to boost the president’s “law and order” campaign that feeds on Americans’ inaccurate perceptions about crime rates.

    Trump’s commission took its name from another commission that issued a report on crime way back in 1967. That commission’s report, issued the year before Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, stated that crime “flourishes where the conditions of life are the worst, and that therefore the foundation of a national strategy against crime is an unremitting national effort for social justice.” The 53-year-old report said that the nation needed “forceful action” in the fields of housing, education, unemployment, welfare and health care.

    “Reducing poverty, discrimination, ignorance, disease and urban blight, and the anger, cynicism or despair those conditions can inspire, is one great step toward reducing crime,” that report stated.

    The nation, in large part, went a different way, with “law-and-order” politics dumping resources into systems of incarceration. Former Attorney General Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach, who served as chairman of that first commission, later wrote in his 2008 memoir that the 1967 report “has been ignored by politicians in recent years, when the prevailing mood has insisted on more punishment as an answer ― longer sentences (often mandatory); more power to prosecutors and less to judges; fewer efforts at education, job training and rehabilitation; and huge increases in the number of prisons and the cost of internment.”

    Katzenbach’s memoir included a warning about how “law and order” politics had impacted America.

    “Not only does this approach demonstrably cost more,” the late Katzenbach wrote, “but it breeds more violence and more often than not leads to a brutality I cannot associate with a decent society.”


    https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/...mYAyfLp_PXO7aA
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  4. #5194

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Aaron Rupar
    @atrupar
    Trump on a purported antifa sympathizer who allegedly killed someone in Portland being killed by federal forces: "This guy was a violent criminal, and the US Marshals killed him. And I'll tell you something -- that's the way it has to be. There has to be retribution."

    https://twitter.com/i/status/1304953304619810816
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  5. #5195

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Kyle Griffin
    @kylegriffin1

    Inbox: Sens. Warren, Hassan, and Reed are urging Trump to reverse the relocation of the POW/MIA Flag from atop the White House to an area not visible to the public. This decision by the White House appears inconsistent with the law the lawmakers passed last year.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  6. #5196

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Daniel Dale
    @ddale8
    For those confused by Trump’s claim he got the “highly honored Bay of Pigs Award”:

    He got an endorsement in 2016 from the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association. It’s not an award. He has a long history of turning endorsements and other non-awards into awards.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  7. #5197

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Kyle Griffin
    @kylegriffin1

    Breaking via WSJ: A.G. Barr told federal prosecutors to be aggressive when charging violent demonstrators with crimes, including potentially prosecuting protesters for plotting to overthrow the U.S. government, people familiar with the conversation said.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/barr-te...on-11600276683. Paywall
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  8. #5198

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Rep. Pramila Jayapal
    @RepJayapal
    Yesterday, I was briefed by attorneys representing women who were subjected to forced, invasive procedures by a gynecologist connected with a private, for-profit detention center in GA. It has become clear that the initial reports are likely part of a horrific pattern of conduct.

    There may be at minimum 17 women who were subjected to unnecessary procedures from just one doctor, often without appropriate consent or knowledge, and with the clear intention of sterilization. It's possible there are similar cases for individuals who were already deported.

    One woman, who was nearly deported, consulted the doctor simply about her menstrual cycle. She was put under for what she was told would be a simple procedure, only to wake up and find that the doctor had removed part of her reproductive organs without her knowledge or consent.

    Another woman, already deported, apparently went in to see the doctor for a simple condition related to diabetes and ended up having gynecological surgery. Two additional women apparently were shackled to the bed, reported to have had surgical procedures including a hysterectomy.

    These stories contain many consistencies and raise serious questions about not only this particular doctor but about the entire detention system—largely for-profit—that is complicit in the abuses and has long neglected the health, wellbeing, and human rights of immigrants.

    I will continue investigating. ICE must immediately ensure that any person who may have been subjected to forced medical procedures immediately be assured the ability to remain in the U.S. so that we can follow all the facts and get to the bottom of these horrific allegations.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  9. #5199
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    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    There's nothing new about that. Incarcerated women in the U.S. have faced the potential of forced sterilization for a very long time. (Though I thought we MIGHT be beyond those dark days...)
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  10. #5200

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Just so we understand what Stephen Miller et al mean by "Patriotic Education" and a glimpse into why they're so upset about the 1619 Project.

    Jeff Sharlet @JeffSharlet

    "Patriotic education" is Stephen Miller's fascism + Mike Pence's fundamentalism. Some years ago, I took a course in "patriotic education" for my book THE FAMILY. I spent a season reading its textbooks & talking to its teachers. Here's what to expect... A thread.

    It'd be cliché to quote Orwell were it not for the fact that fundamentalist intellectuals do so w/ such frequency. At a rally to expose the “myth” of church/state separation Orwell was quoted at me 4 times: "Those who control the past control the future." 2/

    1st time I heard Orwell quoted at a patriotic education rally was from William Federer, author of America's God & Country, which then had sold 1/2 mil copies--cherry picked, distorted, & fabricated quotes for students "proving" U.S. founded as Christian nation... 3/

    "Patriotic educators" teach that Jefferson's wall of separation between church & state is misunderstood. It was meant as a "one-way wall," Federer claimed, to protect church from state, not the other way around. 4/

    The first pillar of American fundamentalism is Jesus; the second is history, and in the fundamentalist mind the two are converging. We heard that at the White House "History" conference, the notion we need more Christ in our schools, that our past is Christian... 5/

    "Patriotic education" is a fundamentalist concept. Just as fundamentalist religion supposes that divine truths are literal & determined by (white male) authority, so fundamentalist history discards the ongoing work of knowing the past. 6/

    "Patriotic education" proposes, as did the White House conference, that the Constitution is divine, "god-breathed," as some say, & thus impervious to expanding ideas of rights. That's the religion behind Clarence Thomas' constitutional "originalism." It's false. 7/

    Textbooks already written for "patriotic education"--those used in Christian nationalist schooling--emphasize Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which declared “religion” necessary to “good government” & thus to be encouraged through schools. This is cherry picking. 8/

    The Christian nationalists aren't wrong that Protestantism was a central part of education for much of U.S. history. It wasn't until the 1930s that public ed veered away from biblical schooling. Because the 1st amendment. Because liberty of conscience. 9/

    When I began reading the Christian nationalist school curriculum over a decade ago, it was already being taught to more than 10% of U.S. kids. That number has grown, a lot. It's big enough now to make a bid for control of least some public schools. 10/

    The modern Christian Right--without which there would be no Trumpism--began not in national politics but on school boards. Those elections matters. The Right knows that. Those dismissing "patriotic education" as 2020 tactic are themselves ignoring history... 11/

    A popular jr. high "patriotic education" textbook begins: "“Who, knowing the facts of our history, can doubt that the U.S has been a thought in the mind of God from all eternity?” Trump, ystrdy: "the fulfillment of a thousand years of Western civilization." 12/

    That's from a textbook called "The American Republic for Christian Schools," published by Bob Jones University Press, a major Christian nationalist education publisher. You may remember Bob Jones as the fundamentalist school that banned interracial dating until 2000. 13/

    Emphasis at White House history confab on private property. Here's a Christian nationalist high school econ textbook: “One must never come to see... free market as an end in itself. [It] merely sets the stage for an unhindered propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” 14/

    "Patriotic education" likely wldn't exist w/out a man named Rousas John Rushdoony--the most radical Christian nationalist & "biblical capitalist" you never heard of. He thought of himself first & foremost as a historian, "correcting" secular, socialist education. 15/

    Rushdoony taught the modern pioneers of Christian nationalist ed to teach "providential history," such as the “Protestant Wind” with which it says God helped British defeat Spanish Armada so that the New World would not be overly settled by agents of the Vatican. 16/

    Rushdoony also established as bedrock Christian nationalist history idea that secular democracy is defiance of God--that real democracy means submitting to God's will as expressed by his "chosen one," the strongmen He puts in power. Sound familiar? 17/

    "History is God's working in man," the director of a popular Christian nationalist education publisher told me. In fact, he preferred to call U.S. history "heritage studies." Trump loves that word, "heritage," too. (Maybe it has something to do w/ the $413 mil he inherited?) 18/

    "Heritage studies," or "patriotic education," is a cult of personality. History matters not for its progression of “fact, fact, fact,” Michael McHugh, a pioneer of modern Christian nationalist ed, told me, but for “key personalities.” It's the strongman view of the past. 19/

    Trump ystrdy spoke of history as an "unstoppable chain of events"--culminating in him. This isn't a '20 campaign tactic. He's been talking "history" more & more for over a year, chipping away at Rushmore's remaining raw granite to add his name, his "key personality." 20/

    Trump doesn't need to know the particulars of Christian nationalist "history" to make it point to him. He surely doesn't know John Witherspoon, the only pastor to sign the declaration, from whom Christian nationalists derive a kind of "democratic" divine right to rule. 21/

    Another "key man" already established in the Christian nationalist schooling that's the basis for "patriotic education" is Trump's fave general, MacArthur--fired by Truman for almost sparking WW III. That's who "patriotic ed" wants our boys to be. 22/

    If "patriotic education" wants our boys to be "violent men [who] take it by force," as a popular Christian nationalist Bible verse puts it (Matthew 11:12), what does it dream for girls? That they be *subject* to what Christian nationalists--& Stephen Miller--dub "chivalry." 23/

    Another "key man" in "patriotic education" is Sgt. Alvin York, a WW I hero repurposed by Christian nationalism as the greatest Christian sniper in U.S. history. "God uses ordinary people," teaches the lesson. Reminds me of a popular Trump t-shirt I saw reporting ralies... 24/

    "Patriotic education" proposes he greatest "key men"--Washington, Lincoln, &, now, Trump--as divine. Popular Christian nationalist art often depicts them attended by a ghostly Christ or angels; & texts offer "proofs" of their chosen-ness. This is also known as "fascism." 25/

    During Iraq War, Christian nationalists erected 100s of billboards depicting a U.S. soldier backed by a ghostly Washington. Now it's cops, heroes in nationalist imagination of a new war, backed by angels & patriotic ghosts. 26/

    "Patriotic education" has always meant preparing for war as a lens through which to view world, whether the Civil War then or a prospective one now. "Boys, are you ready for warfare?" asks one homeschooling video, "Putting on the Whole Armor of God." 27/

    Such terms come straight outta R.J. Rushdoony. Christian nationalist apologists, "responsible" conservatives, insist Rushdoony was fringe. & yet he was in many ways father of 2 major ideas: Christian homeschooling, & "providential history"--aka modern "patriotic education." 28/

    This gets wonky: Rushdoony in turn studied a turn-of-the-century Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper was complex--but 1st Rushdoony, then Watergate felon Chuck Colson, & now today's Christian nationalists--twist his thought into a proof for nationalist education. 29/

    They take Kuyper's idea of "presuppositionalism"--in essence, subjectivity--as proof that neutral governance is impossible. Then they declare that subjectivity an objective "fact" to conclude that govt can only be for God or against him. Trump on Biden: "against God!" 30/

    Even tho he was an anti-Catholic Christian nationalist, modern "patriotic ed" pioneer Rushdoony loved JFK's rhetoric for its framing of U.S. as a redeemer nation (JFK: "God's work must be our own.") So, too, QAnon now cherry picks JFK for prophetic proof of Trump's glory. 31/

    A big part of my course in "patriotic education," like Christian nationalist education in general, was consumed by Stonewall Jackson--who got more ink in U.S. History For Christian Schools textbook than even Lee, much less Grant (forget all about Douglass). 32/

    A nationalist magazine called Practical Homeschooling used to (& may still) offer instructions for Stonewall Jackson costumes in honor of his birthday. A text called Stonewall Jackson: The Black Man's Friend is--well, hell, do I need to explain how f'd up that is? 33/

    What's up w/ Stonewall Jackson & Christian nationalist education? The modern version partly began w/ him, when Rushdoony discovered a forgotten bio that framed him as fighting NOT for slavery, or the South, but the supposedly Christian ideals of the founders. 34/

    Within "patriotic education," Confederate generals like Stonewall Jackson aren't the traitors they objectively were, they're men who transcended partisanship in the service of Christian ideals. Christian nationalists do denounce slavery, too. Lotta cognitive dissonance. 35/

    "Cognitive dissonance" is maybe a good place to pause this thread on Christian nationalist roots of Trump's "patriotic education" initiative. My 6th grader's remote classes are over; time for homeschooling. We *won't* be studying Stonewall Jackson. 37/
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  11. #5201

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Sickening.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  12. #5202

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    I recently watched a documentary that included a huge segment on Oliver Cromwell and what he and his followers believed. Those are the people who came to what is now the United States in the Mayflower.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  13. #5203

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    I have no words. But if I did, I can tell you sickening is much too tame a word for my reaction after reading all that.

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