The wildfire smoke up here has thinned out a bit at last. Wildfire season wasn't such an event when I was a kid, I swear. - Corey
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THE BIG NEWS
Top Oath Keeper Sentenced; DeSantis Vows Jan. 6 Pardons
Yesterday U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta sentenced Yale law grad and Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in prison for engaging in a seditious conspiracy to overthrow democracy and install Donald Trump as a dictator on Jan. 6, 2021. Per the Associated Press, Rhodes expressed no remorse and did not appeal for leniency. Instead, he cast himself as a patriotic martyr, saying "I'm a political prisoner and like President Trump my only crime is opposing those who are destroying our country." Just days ago, as prosecutors noted, he again called for "regime change" in the U.S. The grandstanding phony plans to appeal his conviction. He got off easy: prosecutors had asked for 25 years.
Mehta said Rhodes "wants democracy in this country to devolve into violence," and warned that the moment Rhodes is released "whenever that may be, [he] will be ready to take up arms against [his] government." Thanks to the insurrection, Americans, Mehta said, "now hold our collective breaths every time an election is approaching."
Indeed, the threat of violence from the right is now an implicit and explicit feature of our politics. Guantanamo Bay torture overseer-turned-Florida Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis yesterday promised to pardon all Jan. 6 defendants, including Trump, on day one of his presidency, if elected. Trump himself refuses to commit to accepting the results of the 2024 election -- in his world, preparations for the next insurrection have already begun.
In related news, the Washington Post reports that two Trump employees moved boxes of papers the day before the FBI visited Mar-a-Lago to retrieve classified documents -- "timing that investigators have come to view as suspicious and an indication of possible obstruction." Confirming reports that a charging decision will be reached soon, Special Counsel Jack "Smith's team has concluded the bulk of its investigative work in the documents case and believes it has uncovered a handful of distinct episodes of obstructionist conduct." And the New York Times reports that Trump adviser Steve Bannon will stand trial next May for his We Build the Wall fundraising scam. Bannon "faces five felony counts including money laundering and conspiracy, and could face a maximum sentence of five to 15 years." The courts won't solve America's underlying political problems, but that doesn't mean these fascist goons shouldn't face justice.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Supreme Court Handcuffs the EPA Again
The Supreme Court yesterday gutted the 1972 Clean Water Act by ruling in favor of an Idaho couple who filled a protected wetland on their property with gravel and sand without obtaining a permit, and saying the Environmental Protection Agency had no right to regulate such development. As the New York Times reports:
The decision was nominally unanimous, with all the justices agreeing that the homeowners who brought the case should not have been subject to the agency's oversight. But there was sharp disagreement about the majority's reasoning.
Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, joined by the three liberal justices in a concurring opinion, said the decision would harm the E.P.A.'s ability to combat pollution.
When Brett Kavanaugh is saying you've gone too far in favor of polluters, there's obviously a problem. In a separate dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagan recalled last year's ruling limiting the Clean Air Act, and criticizing the court for appointing "itself as the national decision-maker on environmental policy." Considering how quickly climate change is happening, these rulings place us all in danger.
Dumpster Fire: Texas AG Ken Paxton Impeached
The Texas state House is set to vote as early as today on the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton, the Associated Press reports; the articles against him include "misapplication of public resources, bribery and obstruction of justice." This week, per the Dallas Morning News, a dumpster fire broke out outside of Paxton's office, just hours after investigators accused him of several crimes. The real dumpster fire, however, is inside Paxton's office. As the Washington Post sums it up, Paxton, who has been under indictment for years, now stands accused by fellow Republicans of abusing his office and retaliating against whistleblowers who had accused him of corruption. Paxton settled a lawsuit by those whistleblowers for $3.3 million, a sum he sought to pay using taxpayer funds. That particularly irked the legislature. Among his alleged wrongdoing, Paxton used state resources to help a donor pal, Nate Paul, in a private legal matter. In exchange, investigators said, Paul helped with a "floor-to-ceiling renovation" of Paxton's home and hired a woman Paxton allegedly had a fling with. The FBI is also reportedly looking into Paxton's relationship with the donor. Witch hunt!
- Agreement Reached on Outlines of Debt Limit Deal "In exchange for lifting the debt limit, the deal would meet Republicans’ demand to cut some federal spending, albeit with the help of accounting maneuvers that would give both sides political cover." via the New York Times.
- Lauren Boebert Interfered with Son's Domestic Violence Report In the Dec. 11 call to 911, the Colorado Republican Rep.'s teen son "was sobbing, gasping for air, and had trouble speaking while saying his dad was 'throwing me around.'" via Insider.
- Mississippi Cops Shoot Black 11-Year-Old Who Called for Help The boy, Aderrien Murry, suffered serious injuries; he had called 911 about a domestic dispute in his home. via the Washington Post.
- GOP Lawmakers Help Employers Find 'Docile Teen Workers' GOP lawmakers have tried to weaken child labor laws in at least 10 states. via the Associated Press and In These Times.
- 2 Democrats Join Republicans in Voting Against Student Debt Relief Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington State played turncoat on Wednesday's vote. via the Washington Post.
- 49 Attorneys General Sue Arizona Robocall Firm Avid Telecom stands accused of making 7.5 billion automated marketing calls to people on the National Do Not Call Registry. via the Post.
That's how much U.S. cities have agreed to pay out in settlements to protesters injured by police during racial justice protests in the summer of 2020, according to the Guardian. "I have never seen a wave of settlements for police brutality like this in American history," says Justin Hansford, director of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
I really hope the woman worker wasn't punished for praising Satan.
Just don't ask for specifics.
"They need to be convicted in trial and immediately shot in the back of the head, and then we can string them up above a bridge so the public can see the consequences of that kind of wickedness. There should be no excuse to not put these people to death."
-- Sure Foundation Baptist Church Pastor Jason Graber of Spokane, Washington, telling his parishoners what he thinks should happen to the parents of transgender children in an April sermon that was posted to YouTube. The church, identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, was condemned by dozens of religious leaders from eastern Washington State who called Graber's words "an incitement to violence and terrorism."
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