Insane Immunity Arguments Show Why Trump Must Never Again Hold Power - The Friday AM Quickie 4/26/24

Congratulations to the staff of The Onion on escaping the clutches of their website-killing owner, G/O Media. I'm out for the weekend, Jacob returns Monday. Peace! - Corey

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Yet Another Threat to Democracy: the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court did Sick F*ck Donald Trump a great favor when it agreed to hear his patently ludicrous and plainly unconstitutional "presidential immunity" defense, effectively ensuring that the most serious criminal case against him – over his attempted coup d'etat on Jan. 6, 2021 – will be delayed until after the election. Yesterday, in two-and-a-half hours of oral arguments, the court's right-wing majority further debased the institution they pretend to uphold, "repeatedly lending legitimacy to the former president's outrageous claims of immunity from criminal prosecution." As Slate sums it up:

"To at least five of the conservatives, the real threat to democracy wasn't Trump's attempt to overturn the election—but the Justice Department's efforts to prosecute him for the act. These justices fear that it is Trump's prosecution for election subversion that will 'destabilize' democracy, requiring them to read a brand-new principle of presidential immunity into a Constitution that guarantees nothing of the sort. They evinced virtually no concern for our ability to continue holding free and fair elections that culminate in a peaceful transfer of power. They instead offered endless solicitude for the former president who fought that transfer of power."

To incredulous liberal justices, Trump's hack lawyers argued that a U.S. president could lawfully overthrow democracy in a military coup -- so long as it was "an official act" -- or order the assassination of a political rival. It's a little silly to imagine that these scenarios are hypothetical, as opposed to what they really are: promises. Lest we forget, Trump already tried a coup at the end of his first term – aided in no small part by Justice Clarence Thomas's wife Ginni – and already egged on what was arguably a political assassination: the 2020 police killing of antifascist murder suspect Michael Reinoehl. Overthrowing democracy and violently purging his enemies are not hyperbolic fantasy scenarios from Trump's opponents, they are the planks of his expressed "Day One" dictatorship campaign platform.

Meanwhile in New York, Trump's criminal hush money trial continued with a third day of testimony from former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker -- who, per Politico, "gave prosecutors just what they were looking for" by detailing the magazine's expensive "catch and kill" deal with Trump to suppress negative stories about him while attacking his enemies. Beyond the sordid, sometimes stunning details – such as president-elect Trump inviting Pecker into a meeting with his future Secretary of State, FBI director and CIA director – the Los Angeles Times reports that Pecker's testimony "was a critical building block for the prosecution's theory that the partnership was a way to illegally influence the election." Trump may yet see justice – but we certainly can't count on the legal system to save the world from the terrors of a second term.

Wider Middle East War Watch: Aid Workers Mourned

  • More Than 500 Arrested So Far at Growing College Antiwar Protests Across U.S. America's pro-Israel establishment is euphemistically demanding that deadly force be used against peaceful student protesters, with California GOP Senate candidate Steve Garvey calling them "terrorists" and Democratic Washington State Rep. Adam Smith calling them "leftwing totalitarian[s]." via the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Associated Press and Politico.
  • USC Cancels Graduation Ceremony; GWU Encampment Forms Blocks from the White House Meanwhile in New York, a group of protesters chased an NYPD assistant chief and his entourage into an NYU building, shouting "free Palestine" and "f*ck you pigs." via the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Daily Beast.
  • IDF Claims Nasser Hospital Mass Grave Was 'Dug By Gazans,' Declines to Answer Questions; Palestinian Official Asks Why They Contain the Bodies of Children "We want to see this thoroughly and transparently investigated," says White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan -- although, unlike the United Nations and human rights groups, he did not call for an independent investigation. via CNN, Al Jazeera, and the New York Times.
  • U.S. Army Begins Construction of Floating Pier to Deliver Aid to Gaza By Early May A mortar attack aimed at Israeli forces yesterday struck an American "marshaling area" near the pier but caused only "minimal damage" and didn't threaten U.S. troops, the Pentagon says. via the Washington Post.

FDA: 1 in 5 Grocery Store Milk Samples Has Bird Flu Virus Fragments, But It's 'Safe'

Politico reports that "the Biden administration and dairy industry are racing to convince the public not to worry" about widespread traces of bird flu in the U.S. milk supply, even as federal agencies are unable to answer some key questions about how the virus is spreading through dairy herds and what risks it might pose to humans. The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that 20 percent of the pasteurized milk samples it tested had fragments of bird flu virus; according to NBC News, more of the positive test results came from states with infected herds: Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Ohio and Texas – for now. "Clearly there are more infected animals out there than being reported," one virologist notes. Experts say the pasteurization process renders the virus inactive and that the genetic fragments found in milk cannot cause infection. But if the many unanswered questions about this outbreak and slow federal response remind you of the early coronavirus pandemic, you aren't alone. "This requires multiple agencies to coordinate and communicate internally, but most importantly externally, which doesn’t seem to be happening due to different cultures, priorities, legal responsibilities, scientific expertise, and agility," epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina tells the Washington Post. "Mix that in with the usual challenges of scientific uncertainty, complexity and, quite frankly global pressure, and you got yourself an u[dd]erly, unacceptable mess."


  • For Second Time in a Week, an African Country – First Niger, Now Chad – Tells the U.S. Military to Leave "The departure of U.S. military advisers in both countries comes as Niger, as well as Mali and Burkina Faso, is turning away from years of cooperation with the United States and forming partnerships with Russia — or at least exploring closer security ties with Moscow." via the New York Times and the Washington Post.
  • In 4-3 Decision, New York Court of Appeals Overturns Harvey Weinstein's Rape Conviction California prosecutors who separately convicted the 72-year-old Hollywood producer say "the legal issues identified by the New York Court of Appeal" – such as the trial judge's decision to allow testimony from victims about incidents Weinstein wasn't charged over – "are not present in the Los Angeles County Case." via the Times and the Associated Press.
  • Masked Nazis Attack Meeting on 'Growing Fascism' Held By Swedish Left Party and Green Party; 3 Hospitalized, No Arrests "This was a model example of what the new Nazi violence looks like. Everything is theatrical and carefully staged," writes antifascist publisher Mattias Wåg. "The pensioners in the doorway who tried to eject the Nazis were sprayed with red-coloured mace. A smoke bomb was thrown in and plunged the room into a red cloud. Some of the Nazis picked up chairs and threw them around while two of the attackers ploughed their way deliberately towards the refreshments stall." via Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and The Local Sweden.
  • New Biden EPA Rules Will Force Coal Plants to Cut 90 Percent of Emissions By 2039 or Else Close The Environmental Protection Agency says its new greenhouse gas standards will prevent up to 1,200 premature deaths, 870 hospital visits and 1,900 asthma cases per year when fully implemented. via the Post and the Times.



That's how many of the 31 Abrams M1A1 battle tanks the U.S. supplied to Ukraine last year that have been destroyed in Russian attacks. The Associated Press reports that Ukraine has removed the $10 million-a-pop tanks from the front lines because they are too vulnerable to Russia's drone tactics. The U.S. will announce another $6 billion long-term military aid package for Ukraine today, some of it devoted to counter drone systems.


4/27: It's Casual Friday! Emma speaks with political commentator Owen Jones to round up the week in news. Then she speaks with comedian Kate Willett!


Republican HUMILIATED By 'Pledge Of Allegiance'

I pledge the lesions to the, um. Wait.

Israeli Soldier Admits Army Assumes Everyone Is Hamas

Palestinian children? Hamas. American college students? Hamas. Antiwar Jews? Hamas. Hamas, Hamas, Hamas.


"All these Biden people think that the problem is Peter Baker or whatever reporter they're mad at that day. It's A.G. He's the one who is pissed [that] Biden hasn't done any interviews and quietly encourages all the tough reporting on his age."

-- An understandably anonymous New York Times journalist, speaking to Politico about how the paper's publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, has influenced its news coverage due to his anger that President Joe Biden hasn't granted him an interview.

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