Donald Trump Finally Gets Prosecuted - The Monday AM Quickie 4/22/24

It would have been an even more embarrassing melodrama than it already is, but I wish the Trump trial were being televised. -Jacob

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Prosecutors Finally Get a Crack at Donald Trump

The petty drama of jury selection is done, and now the main event can begin: today, former President Donald Trump's criminal trial begins in New York City. The prosecution, led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, reportedly has a "mountain" of evidence to support felony charges related to Trump allegedly falsifying business records in his payoff of Stormy Daniels, the porn actress with whom he had sex.

Trump allegedly paid three people for their silence, including the Playboy model Karen McDougal. His various payments and "catch and kill" arrangement with National Enquirer publisher David Pecker – in which the tabloid would purchase rights to stories only to bury them – will be vividly described by prosecutors. Pecker, in fact, is likely to be the first witness today, after each side offers opening statements. Prosecutors contend that he and Trump had a broad agreement to suppress stories that could hurt his 2016 campaign – a scheme that might even amount to election interference.

Expect testimony from Pecker, turncoat Trump attorney Michael Cohen, stalwart Trump aide Hope Hicks, Stormy Daniels, and, possibly, Trump himself. The trial will take six weeks, followed by a white-knuckle wait of unknown length as the jury deliberates.

As for Trump, the trial will be a test of his ability to follow court decorum – he's been hit with gag orders for his social-media threats – and for his inability to stay away from the campaign trail and cameras. Most weekdays, he'll be stuck in lower Manhattan as a bunch of strangers consider his fate. For him, it must be torture. Or as he put it on Friday on Truth Social: “This Trial is a Long, Rigged, Endurance Contest, dealing with Nasty, Crooked People." One can hope!

House Passes Big Military Aid Package

After some bitter politicking, the House of Representatives passed a $95 billion aid package providing military assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and Indo-Pacific allies. There's also some money in there for helping civilians in war zones, including the Gazans currently having US-made bombs dropped on their homes. The bill is a mixed bag – another gift to the US war establishment that provides some needed materiel for Ukraine fighting off a brutal Russian invasion for which the US and its allies seem to have ruled out any diplomatic solution. And just as members of Biden's party – and even some Republicans – have expressed support for a ceasefire in Gaza, the bill hands over $26 billion in assistance to Israel without any conditions. Meanwhile, what's a few billion more to needlessly ratchet up tensions another degree with China?

At least, Speaker Mike Johnson's job seems to be secure.

UAW Wins Huge Victory at Tennessee VW Factory

About 73 percent of workers at a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted to join the United Auto Workers. The vote was a long time coming, after previous efforts failed in 2014 and 2019. But the labor landscape has changed, and the UAW, under leader Shawn Fain, plans to spend $40 million organizing auto plants all over the country (Elon Musk is on notice). “Many of the talking heads and the pundits have said to me, repeatedly, when we announced this campaign, ‘You can’t win in the South.’ They said Southern workers aren’t ready for it,” Fain said on Friday. “You all moved a mountain.”


  • Atmospheric CO2 Levels At All-Time High The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to rise practically unabated, as the world burns dangerous amounts of fossil fuels. Scientists in San Diego recently took a reading of 427 parts per million; in 2000, it was pegged at 370 ppm. via NBC San Diego and NASA.
  • House Passes TikTok Ban Bill As part of some rushed weekend deal-making, the House of Representatives passed a bill – by a vote of 360 to 58 – to force TikTok to divest from its Chinese owners within a year or face a ban in the United States. The Senate will likely pass a similar bill this week, and then Joe Biden will sign it into the law. That, dear readers, is how you use bad jingoistic policy to pretend to deal with a systemic problem! via The Guardian.
  • Google Blocks Links for California News Orgs As part of an escalating legislative battle to pass a bill that would force Google and Meta to pay publishers for displaying or linking to their content, Google has started blocking all links for news organizations in California. The fight is part of a larger struggle – which has played out in places as far afield as Australia – over whether big internet giants should pay news organizations and other publishers for the content that they use. via WaPo.
  • Israeli Leaders Angry Over Talk of U.S. Sanctions Top Israeli officials are bellyaching over possible sanctions against an IDF unit accused of human rights abuses in the West Bank (not to mention helping prosecute the Occupation itself). Netanyahu said sanctions would be "the peak of absurdity and a moral low." Hey, don't do the war crimes if you can't handle the purely symbolic sanctions against a minor part of your military (is that how the saying goes?). via New York Times.



That's how many Cybertruck vehicles Tesla recalled because of the potential for a part of the accelerator pedal to come off and become stuck, trapping the pedal against the floor. The stuck accelerator problem is one of many reported by Cybertruck owners. Most remarkably perhaps, the Cybertruck is highly sensitive to water, and the manual contains numerous warnings about how to wash the vehicle – engage car wash mode! don't directly spray it! – without bricking it. Even so, some Cybertruck owners are reporting that their cars no longer function after a little scrub-and-dub.

4/22: Happy Monday! Emma speaks with Ashley Dawson, English professor and founder of the Climate Action Lab at the City University of New York (CUNY), to discuss his recent book Environmentalism From Below: How Global People’s Movements Are Leading The Fight For Our Planet. Then she’s joined by Mike Elk of the Payday Report to discuss the recent vote by workers at the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant in Tennessee to unionize with the United Auto Workers (UAW).


What The Media Gets Wrong About Who Trump Supporters Are And Where They're From

Author David Masciotra talks about his book Exurbia Now: The Battleground of American Democracy and the socioeconomic forces driving Trump supporters.

Right Wingers Go Full Racist About Civil Rights

Once again crazy lefties are forcing good-hearted Republicans to become even more radical and extreme.


"We are student activists at Columbia calling for divestment from genocide. We are frustrated by media distractions focusing on inflammatory individuals who do not represent us. At universities across the nation, our movement is united in valuing every human life."

-- From a statement by student protesters at Columbia University. The school has become consumed by protests supporting Palestinian liberation, which in turn has generated misleading viral videos and accusations, often from the political right, that the school is inculcating antisemitism and support for terrorism. In a dramatic act, Columbia University's president called in the NYPD to clear a protest encampment. In response, other protesters showed up. And more encampments are appearing at colleges across the country.

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