October 7, 2022 / by 

 

House January 6 Committee: Public Hearings – Pending

PSYCH! Got you!

Seriously though, I had this post scheduled for last Wednesday September 28, then rescheduled it to this Wednesday thinking perhaps we’d have a hearing one week later.

Nope. Nada. Nothing.

And then I forgot the automated post scheduled for today. Oops, sorry about that.

That’s not to say we don’t have January 6 related material to discuss. Use this thread to do so.

What’s your guess as to what the House J6 Committee will tackle in the next hearing, which may be next Thursday October 13?

Will it be the final hearing, or will there be more before the end of this congressional term?

Do you think the next hearing will include material Justice Clarence Thomas’ spouse Ginni Thomas shared last week with the committee?

And what the hell is up with her weird response to journalists after her testimony? She acts like she’s still programmed.

Treat this as an open thread.


Trash Talk: Much Trash, Very Sport, So Talk

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Yes, it’s me, the golf widow, once again drafting a Trash Talk post.

And yes, I’m here at home alone enjoying the quiet of my remaining golf widowhood. This weekend is one of the last of regular play on the local course; next weekend there will be some celebratory golf outing shindig in which my kids will also golf while I dogsit.

Meanwhile I’m doing exciting things like cleaning carpets and scrubbing floors, washing draperies, and baking since I won’t be able to much next weekend with dogs and adult children underfoot.

What about you? Are you sportsing, or watching sportsing, or cleaning up after this week’s hurricane? Do tell.

~ ~ ~

Dreadful news came from Indonesia this week when at least 127 people died in a stampede at the Kanjuruhan Stadium after police used tear gas to disperse an angry crowd gathering on the football pitch.

This Reuters’ video shows how the crowd funneled toward an exit:

But this video reveals the animosity police displayed toward the attendees on the field which may also have led to panic:

The resulting death toll already exceeds that of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, making Kanjuruhan Stadium disaster in Malang the sixth deadliest sporting event related disaster in history.

Let’s hope there will be a thorough inquiry into this horror with accountability, and more quickly than followed the deadly Hillsborough crush. There are global repercussions in spite of the soccer match’s local nature; were there any stadium design problems which encouraged this crush? Were there lessons from policing at the stadium which might prevent future stampedes?

~ ~ ~

It’s been a shitty week in the National Football League – not because of any one game but because of players’ health and the league’s handling of the same.

Lots of buzz right now after this tweet by St. Louis Cardinal’s JJ Watt:

ahead of this news:

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a particular kind of irregular heart beat rhythm. There are many underlying causes though it occurs most frequently in persons age 50 and older. Watt is a bit young and assuming his general health has been monitored by the team, conditions like heart disease and diabetes are unlikely.

Football fans are shocked by this development but they shouldn’t be; A-fib can also be caused by viruses, both during active infection and as sequelae. We should expect to see more younger persons developing cardiac sequelae because of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Watt may or may not have had COVID, but it’s not impossible for an exposure to have played a role in his A-fib event.

It should disturb football fans that Watt’s health care privacy was violated in spite of HIPAA privacy rules – especially since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision undermined citizens’ unenumerated right to privacy.

As distressing as it is to know an NFL player was treated for A-fib this week and is playing today, it’s also distressing that another NFL player’s career may be over because the NFL and their team didn’t handle the player’s recent injury with more caution.

The Miami Dolphins’ 24-year-old quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was injured during last weekend’s meetup with the Buffalo Bills:


In spite of what appears to be a head injury in the second quarter, Tagovailoa came back after halftime and finished the game throwing 186 yards after he was given a once-over by the team’s medical personnel which said Tagovailoa had a neck injury. The NFL Players’ Association demanded an investigation into what appeared to be the Dolphins’ skirting of the league’s concussion rules.

Before Thursday’s match against the Cincinnati Bengals, the concussion Legacy Foundation’s founder tweeted about Tagovailoa:

A sadly prescient opinion; Tagovailoa suffered head and neck injuries during the game, so severe that he manifested a fencing response on the field before the Dolphins’ medical team could reach him.

It was so awful and gruesome I won’t even share it, such an obvious sign of a head injury. He was seen at the local hospital but the team managed to get him packed up and on a plane with the rest of the team to head home to Miami. Goodness knows what all that handling including pressure changes did to Taigovaloa’s head and neck.

The NFLPA terminated the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant involved in the assessment of Tagovailoa after his Week 3 injury before Thursday night’s game, but too late for Tagovailoa whose career may be over.

How badly do football fans need sports? At what point will they demand the NFL do better by players?

Or have fans become numb after more than 31 months of death and disability chewing away at the country during the pandemic?

~ ~ ~

Finally, we get to my kind of sports.

The World Series kicked off last night in Kansas City, Missouri. Nope, not Major League Baseball, not any kind of ball sports but the American Royal World Series of BBQ.

I think we need to send our contributor Jim White to this event next year, provided a hurricane doesn’t bear down on his part of the country next September/October.

Better get to practicing, Jim!

~ ~ ~

Once again, this thread will be an overflow catch-all this week if the House January 6 Committee hearing is rescheduled to this week. Bring all your off-topic discussion here to this open thread.


Trash Talk: Not Exactly Favre-nügen

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Yes, I am a widow.

I’ve been a golf widow since the first week of April when the grass was greening but still too short to cut, but long enough to bear the weight of golfers.

I am now widowed twice over because said golfer hangs in the clubhouse after 18 holes to watch every sport on all the big screens lining the clubhouse walls.

At least I have a month to plan the golfer’s resurrection after the last golf outing the first week of November.

Damn it. I forgot about deer season. I guess I have two months of planning woodworking and painting projects to keep him busy until the cycle begins again next April.

~ ~ ~

Last weekend when the widow-maker spouse came home from watching post-golf football he was far too happy. He launched into a paean to the Detroit Lions. I pissed him off by replying, “You mean the perpetual losing Lions?”

“But they won!” he sputtered.

Two games does not a season make. I know better than to get my hopes up this early.

Apparently the sputterer is not alone: 2 analysts are already talking playoffs for Detroit Lions

The Lions may be up 14-0 as I type this but I am still not ready to believe.

~ ~ ~

I doubt I will see the sputtering undead golfer before the end of the Tampa Bay-Green Bay game which begins at 4:25 p.m. ET. Plenty of time to figure out what to serve for dinner to a guy who’s fallen deeply into the 19th hole.

Give me Aaron Rogers over Tom Brady and the non-profit, community-owned team versus the corporate team.

I won’t bother to argue the relative merits of either team; in truth the Green Bay Packers are a family favorite because of a family member who lives in Milwaukee area and is a superfan of the Pack. We’re really rooting for them to have a good Sunday.

~ ~ ~

Last but not least, that POS Brett Favre and his bullshit corruption, insisting on redirecting welfare money to university sports. He doesn’t have the morals to fess up to the public and do right by the state of Mississippi.

Remember the college admissions scandal, particularly that surrounding actor Lori Loughlin and her spouse who paid bribes to get their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as members of the rowing team though neither student ever rowed? Loughlin and her spouse were arrested, prosecuted, and served time; Loughlin also paid tuition for other students as amends.

But Favre pressed state officials to use Mississippi welfare funds to build a volleyball facility for his daughter to use at his alma mater…and nothing.

Or at least nothing has happened to Favre, while former head of Mississippi Department of Human Services, John Davis, pled guilty to federal and state charges related to misuse of funds including those on behalf of Favre.

It’s not as if there weren’t text messages released which show Favre knew the misallocation was wrong.

One might even come away thinking Favre conspired to launder the money

The capper on all of this has been the ridiculous amount of attention the sports media sector paid to another sports ‘scandal’ this week, when Boston Celtics’ head coach Ime Udoka admitted to engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee working for the same team, resulting in a season-long suspension for Udoka.

Favre’s corruption received much less attention in comparison.

Meanwhile people outside the state ask why Mississippi’s capital city, Jackson, has such tremendous problems with its water system.

Can’t imagine why.

~ ~ ~

Just a head’s up that this thread will be an overflow catch-all this week, assuming we don’t have too many other posts between now and the scheduled House January 6 Committee hearing on the 28th.

You might want to bookmark this for all non-hearing chatter.


Faster and Furiouser: Ukraine’s Forces Take Back Kharkiv Oblast and More

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

It’s been quite a while since the last post about the Russo-Ukrainian War here. It’s difficult to write about a war of attrition as not much big happens, just the grinding count of materiel damaged and seized along with the grueling and gruesome casualty count.

But the narrative in Ukraine has changed in huge way over the last six days. What initially looked like a push into southern Ukraine by its own forces turned into a blazing two-front counteroffensive with the eastern front cutting off Russia’s critical supply route from Belgorod north of the Russian-Ukraine border to the cities of Kupiansk along the Oskil River and Izium. The appearance of a push along a single southern front may have been effective information warfare.

The tweet below includes a GIF showing the ground taken back over the last week:

During the counteroffensive there has been some confusion online about the ground taken, in part because Ukraine’s forces had been asked to take photos and videos and share them to show their progress in an effort to demoralize both Russian troops and Russian media. The lag between the photos and videos and the time necessary to validate the locations along with the rapid dispersion may not only have surprised Ukraine’s supporters but shocked-and-awed Russians.

Russian media analyst Julia Davis shared some reactions which are all over the map. The loss of the Battle of Kharkhiv has punctured their bubble; they’re trying to find a way to spin this.

They were surprised on Friday, rationalizing what they’d seen:

Yesterday they sounded bitter, swinging wildly between demands for full mobilization to defeat “Ukrainian Nazis” or getting out:

But something isn’t quite right in Moscow. The lack of obvious discussion and reaction from Moscow to this counteroffensive combined with calls on September 8 by St. Petersburg’s city council to charge Putin with treason limns a black hole.

One might wonder if Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu is avoiding windows, rooftops, and helicopters.

~ ~ ~

There are numerous reports of Russian troops literally running away heading east to the Russian border, abandoning equipment and clothing in their haste to avoid encirclement which surely must have happened at Izium. Still more reports mention Russian-speakers leaving the Donetsk region heading to Russia but being refused entry in spite of carrying newly-issued Russian passports issued as part of the annexation and integration of eastern Ukraine by Russia.

A major concern is for the welfare of prisoners of war. There may be 20 to 30,000 from this counteroffensive — and now even more with the apparent negotiations of Russian troops surrender east of Mikolaiv in the Kherson oblast north of the Dnieper River — they need to be housed, fed, clothed, and secured. Resources to manage this will come at the expense of personnel needed to continue the drive east and south as well as resources necessary for the Ukrainian people.

Anne Applebaum has an essay in The Atlantic encouraging a shift in thinking:

She’s right that we need to think about a Ukrainian win, but we also need to consider what a Russian loss means. Not only do we have to consider the likely succession in leadership in Russia which is not delineated in publicly available records, but we need to think about control of Russian nuclear weapons.

Applebaum wrote Ukraine’s expectations of a win are “extraordinarily ambitious,” based on Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov statement to an audience in Kyiv this weekend that “victory should now include not only a return to the borders of Ukraine as they were in 1991—including Crimea, as well as Donbas in eastern Ukraine—but also reparations to pay for the damage and war-crimes tribunals to give victims some sense of justice.”

It’s not ambitious but prudent to make this demand; one asks for everything and works out a compromise for less. The first demand sets a ceiling and the response will set the floor. Failing to demand enough would play into Putin’s hands. Reparations are most likely negotiable since Russia’s economy has been badly damaged by this ridiculous genocidal war.

Which brings us to more damage which must be discussed and addressed as soon as possible, once Russia does fold its operations in Ukraine: where are the kidnapped Ukrainians including thousands and thousands of children forcibly taken into Russia? What is needed to return them home, to care for the children if separated permanently from family?

Further, what will Ukraine need from the rest of the world to document the war crimes which will be uncovered as the Russians exit occupied territory? There will be more horrors like Bucha left behind.

How does the world prevent potential unresolved anger from spilling over when Russian troops return home, to find they may not be compensated as promised. Russia has agreed with China to sell China fossil fuels for yuan and rubles, but conversion of the yuan may be hampered by sanctions and rubles have no value in countries where Russian interests are tightly sanctioned. Which means currency of real value will be limited inside Russia. There may be a population easily radicalized and motivated for cash.

Winning, though, is a distance away. There are other immediate problems in addition to regaining southern Ukraine and occupied Crimea, like the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which has been powered down into a safe state after experiencing power cuts to the plant. How this plant will be safely cycled back up once fighting ends may need resources.

~ ~ ~

All of which is to say the US, NATO, and the rest of the world need to switch gears to keep up with Ukraine.

Faster and furiouser, people. Slava Ukraini, heroiam slava!


Open Thread: Would You Fly to Dulles Wearing Golf Shoes?

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I’m throwing up a post for an open thread because community members are restless and twitchy tonight and appear to need an outlet.

Oddly enough, there’s a current event about which folks can speculate and yammer to their hearts’ content:

Apparently Trump was driven to the NJ airport from Bedminster and then flew to Dulles in Washington DC. The photo George Conway mentions was allegedly taken at a distance at Dulles.

I suspect a fair amount of snark about this episode may be unleashed.

But did Goldfinger fly in his golf shoes, Michael?

ADDER – 11:59 PM:

There’s video here of his motorcade headed to the airport at Morristown NJ. Sandi Bachom who shares this video has filmed a lot of material over the years about Trump.

This is a short video of Trump’s arrival at Dulles. There are suitcases unloaded and shifted to another vehicle. Trump is dressed far more casually than he usually is when traveling.

There have been folks who’ve speculated Trump may have need health care at Walter Reed, but others have observed he wasn’t headed in that direction.

It’s a mystery; Trump rarely does anything without big fanfare because he needs narcissistic supply.

Okay, have at it. Do your worst in this thread. Do NOT pollute other threads with idle chatter about whatever this is.

Do keep in mind in the age of social media-borne influence operations this could be a put-on of some sort.


Regina Mortua Est, Vivat Rex

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

The following message was issued by Britain’s Royal Family:

Even in the U.S. which threw off the British monarchy 246 years ago, the media will be flooded with coverage of the 96-year-old queen’s life and death. Reigning more than 70 years, Elizabeth of the House of Windsor has been the only reigning British monarch nearly all Americans can remember until now.

Condolences to those who mourn her passing.

Her eldest son Charles ascends to the throne with his mother’s death though it’s not clear if he will be known as Charles III or take another name.

Over the last 24 hours the royal family had flown to Balmoral, Scotland where Elizabeth had been staying when her physicians expressed concern about her health.

Elizabeth had appeared frail when she greeted UK’s new prime minister Liz Truss on Tuesday at Balmoral.

Acknowledging the new prime minister may have been Elizabeth’s last significant official act as queen.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

~ ~ ~

I am not a royalist. Britain in particular inflicted enormous challenges on my father’s forebears. Many colonized people, most Black and/or indigenous persons of color, will feel less than sentimental at the passing of the figurehead of a monarchy which seized, occupied, oppressed their people and lands.

While I feel for Elizabeth as a woman caught in history’s grip, a mother whose children and grandchildren have like most humans been mixed parts successful and failing, I can’t celebrate her reign. Even though the head of a constitutional monarchy, she had power she did not use as she could have to alleviate the suffering of former colonies let alone her own people. She did too little to assure her country was prepared to meet the future.

I will mourn instead the opportunities squandered.

May her eldest son have the courage to seize what power he now has to do better by his people and the colonies which once formed the British empire. May he do more and better at cleaning out the House of Windsor.

What is left of the United Kingdom in the wake of hard Brexit and Boris Johnson’s corrupt and feckless leadership will need whatever guidance Charles Rex can muster as his nation heads into one of its grimmest winters ever.


Other Possible Classified Materials in Trump’s Safe

[NB: As always, check the byline. Thanks. /~Rayne]

I’ve been sitting on this since last November. I had pieces I couldn’t quite pull together. But now that the FBI has executed a warrant on Trump at Mar-a-Lago to seize stolen presidential records and classified materials, those disparate pieces may be coming together.

While this is nowhere near as exciting as missing nuclear documents, is it possible there were other crimes in progress at the time Trump left office — ones which might have happened under our noses and may have posed national security threats then and now?

Please also note this post is partially speculative as well.

~ ~ ~

In late 2020, something happened in Morocco which might offer hints at whatever crimes might have been cooked up elsewhere.

There was little mainstream news coverage in the U.S.; we were too preoccupied with election-related coverage to pay much attention.

In exchange for recognizing Morocco’s illegitimate occupancy of Western Sahara – violating West Saharan Sahrawi people’s human rights to self determination – the Trump administration sold nearly a billion dollars in weapons to Morocco.

The deal was characterized as part of a process of restoring Morocco’s relationship with Israel. Morocco’s land grab was first recognized on Thursday, December 10, 2020 in a tweet by Trump. The arms deal was reported on Friday, December 11.

In other words, the arms deal portion of the negotiations was buried in the news dump zone, while much of the U.S. was watching Team Trump’s election theatrics.

The arms deal could have been another quid pro quo. As late as it happened in Trump’s term, as hushed and hurried as it was, with as little support as it had among Republicans, something about the deal still reeks to high heaven.

The United Nations didn’t see eye to eye with the Trump administration about this new disposition of West Sahara; it had been blindsided by what it saw as an abrupt reversal of US policy.

The UN continued to recognize West Saharan Sahrawi people’s human rights to autonomy though West Sahara remains a non-self governing territory.

What a coincidence, though, that Morocco issued a one billion euro bond in September 2020 before the US election. It had been toying with issuing a two billion euro bond at least as early as the first week of August, thought this may have been an expansion of a two-bond program announced in March 2019 with a one billion euro bond sold out in November 2019.

It’s also a coincidence that Morocco finished building a new base in summer of 2020, with plans to build or expand another for a large number of F-16 fighters and Apache helicopters it agreed to buy from the US in 2019.

Finally, it could be a hat trick that Morocco hosted Ukrainian national guard members for training early this year at that brand new base, before Russia’s attack on Ukraine began in late February. Was this part of the earlier negotiations?

Timeline:

March 25, 2019 — Morocco agreed to purchase 25 F-16s from US

November 2019 — Sale of 24 Apache helicopters to Morocco approved

April 2020 — Sale of 10 Harpoon air-to-sea missiles to Morocco approved

June 1, 2020 — Construction of a military base completed in Morocco

August 9, 2020 — Morocco considered 2 billion euro bond

September XX, 2020 — Morocco issued 1 billion euro bond

November 3, 2020 — US Election Day

November 9, 2020 — Trump fired SecDef Mark Esper over Twitter, replacing him with Acting SecDef Christopher Miller; Moroccan news noted this change.

December 10, 2020 — Trump reversed US policy over Western Sahara when Trump tweeted recognition of Morocco’s claim over Western Sahara

December 11, 2020 — Arms deal announced

~ ~ ~

Back in 2020, journalist Zack Kopplin of the Government Accountability Project had gotten a tip:


It’s a long thread written over several days which includes links to reporting Kopplin did.

At the heart of this story, though, is a war crime.

Remember when Trump said “We’re keeping the oil” from Syria in October 2019? That.

Trump openly expressed a desire to commit a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the 1907 Hague Laws and Customs of War on Land, and 18 U.S. Code 2441 War crimes, for starters. There may be more applicable laws which could have been broken.

Trump also knew the value of the oil in question — $45 million a month.

Kopplin was tipped to the basics about the company which was supposed to begin development in the northeast region of Syria, but the ultimate owner of this entity and development process wasn’t clear.

Following Kopplin’s reporting, some names pop up as connected by role (like then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo), or rumored as connected by other relationships (like Erik Prince who funded a business tangentially related to Delta Crescent).

There’s also the frustrating interrelation between Syria, Russia, Iraq, the Kurdistan region, Turkey, Iran, and the UN’s humanitarian aid for displaced Syrians. The aid became leverage in negotiations which have been fairly opaque in US news.

The status of the oil, too, isn’t particularly clear, with Delta Crescent’s development running into policy changes with Biden’s administration, terminating its sanctions waiver.

Add to the picture the fluid challenge of trying to keep Turkey on board with US during increasing Black Sea tensions, as well as Iran in JCPOA negotiations, thwarting Russia in more than Syria, while trying to assure both humanitarian aid along with global grain shipments.

It’s a damned complex mess through which oil may or may not be smuggled through Iraq by a Kurdish political family, sanctioned or not sanctioned depending on how the Biden administration is trying to leverage the situation for humanitarian aid access, improved relations in the Levant, or decreased oil prices.

What’s really unclear is whether there were any kickbacks offered in 2019-2020 for “keeping the oil” and if any, who received or receives them.

~ ~ ~

Since his testimony before the House Oversight Committee in May 2021, I’ve not been persuaded former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller is on the up and up, along with his former chief of staff Kash Patel — one of two guys Trump is known to have named his representatives to the National Archives.

The timing of Miller’s placement as Acting SecDef in tandem with the election may seem like an obvious effort to pre-plan for January 6, but Trump is a crook. We need to look at the situation through a crook’s eyes.

What if January 6 wasn’t just about an attempt to obstruct the certification of the vote, but an effort to buy time to deal with illicit profiteering like oil obtained through a war crime?

American troops were supposed to guard the area in which Delta Crescent would develop the oil Trump was intent on keeping. Wouldn’t the Secretary of Defense need to go along with this long enough for a supply chain to be established from the oil wells to distribution?

Is this why Miller, a former Director for Special Operations and Irregular Warfare who worked during the Trump administration in counterterrorism involved in operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, ended up Acting SecDef in the last days of the Trump administration?

What does Christopher Miller know? What of his sidekick Kash Patel — the one who knew the contents of Trump’s classified documents cache?

~ ~ ~

Marcy wrote about some very strong candidates for classified documents Trump might have had at Mar-a-Lago. I think both the circumstances surrounding the rushed Morocco arms deal and the Syrian oil development are two more candidates, especially since both matters may have tentacles reaching into ongoing national security concerns.

But I also have a feeling we’re scratching the surface with the boxes of paper seized this week.

I hadn’t even gotten around to the Kurdish link to Miami, Florida or illegal drug trade.


Expected Response is Expected: Trump and Right-Wing DARVO

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

We could have seen it coming after all this time. They’re reliably predictable, no crystal ball required.

Trump appears to be in trouble: The FBI serves a warrant on Mar-a-Lago, seizing papers.

There’s a moment of hesitation or pause: Trump delivers a ranty statement some time after the FBI leaves.

The coordinated response is generated: Trump’s lawyers make a false claim about evidence being planted by FBI.

The zone is flooded: The right-wing’s proxies and media repeat ad nauseam the same false claim.

The media dutifully picks up and repeats: the zone is further flooded, amplifying the false claim.

This is a cycle we’ve seen repeated over and over again. The only additional step not included here is the final one in which some pundit will opine about this situation being bad for Democrats and Joe Biden though it has nothing to do with them whatsoever.

By now you’d think the media would have cottoned on they are used in this scenario like so much facial tissue — but no. They are as reflexive as the right-wing ecosphere itself, almost as if an adjunct.

Trump and his right-wing soldati ring the Pavlovian bell and the corporate media comes slobbering for an easy bone to chew.

What’s just as reliable and not yet recognized is the pattern within this reflexive call and response.

We shouldn’t be surprised that a man with a long history of sexual abuse behaves in other aspects of his life like an abuser – that is to say, when under pressure, Trump automatically reverts to DARVO.

We’ve discussed this behavior pattern before. DARVO is an acronym for a common strategy frequently employed by abusers when confronted with their abuse:

Deny the Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender

The FBI’s warrant and document seizure at Mar-a-Lago confronted Trump’s abuse of presidential records.

Trump and his soldati Denied the abuse he committed;

Trump Attacked the FBI who were tasked with serving the warrant;

Trump Reversed the roles of Victim and Offender by complaining he was abused by this warrant.

Look at his statement published shortly after the FBI finished executing their warrant on Mar-a-Lago:

Red = reversed offenders

Orange = attacks on reversed victim

Yellow = secondary reversed victims

There are so many efforts in this short memo to frame himself as a primary victim and the right-wing including the GOP as a secondary victim; there are numerous efforts to frame the FBI, DOJ, Democrats and even Hillary Clinton as attackers and offenders.

Trump goes so far to frame himself as a victim that he even avoids denying directly the reason why the FBI was at Mar-a-Lago. It’s as if the warrant had a miraculous virgin birth.

There’s no mention of documents he had taken and refused to return to the National Archives’ possession, only that his safe had been broken into after “working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies.” (Even the word government is capitalized as if a proper noun; is the entire government an attacker/offender along with its subset FBI and Justice System?)

Trump invests heavily in whataboutism to redirect from whatever it was which caused the mysterious attack by federal law enforcement and the Democrats.

If anybody had done something wrong besides attacking poor Trump and his beautiful Mar-a-Lago (which local ordinance says he’s not allowed reside in as a home), Trump points to unelected-nowhere-near-Florida Hillary Clinton, awarding an entire paragraph to establish her as another offender.

~ ~ ~

The right-wing ecosphere duplicated the entire DARVO pattern:

The lawyers, proxies, and right-wing media denied Trump did anything wrong;

The same entities attacked the FBI, some calling for defunding of the DOJ and FBI;

The same folks reverse Victim-Offender by claiming falsely the warrant was a political attack on Trump.

The lawyers and proxies add an additional fillip, though; they claim the FBI’s attack on Trump included planted evidence. This happens over and over again, to the point of ridiculousness. Thankfully @Acyn and @atrupar caught quite a few of them:

Trump’s lawyer on site at Mar-a-Lago Christina Bobb

Trump’s other lawyer Alina Habba

Fox News’ Jesse Watters (and again this evening)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene manages a double by both claiming evidence (with scare quotes) was planted while promoting Trump’s false “planting” frame:

These aren’t all of the times in last +24 hours in which a right-wing personality falsely claimed the FBI planted evidence during its execution of the warrant. This flood of falsity is intended to provide plausible deniability when evidence of Trump’s violations of the Presidential Records Act and unlawful possession of classified information are revealed, likely in a redacted indictment if not the original affidavit prepared before the warrant.

It’s also intended to taint a future jury pool. Who will escape hearing about this planted evidence given how deeply and widely this bullshit has been repeated?

~ ~ ~

The pattern had additional amplification from sources which should damned well know better, like the Washington Post:


It was difficult to keep track of the numerous academics in journalism studies who were greatly disappointed with the Washington Post:

WaPo later removed the tweet but only after a massive outcry including thousands of tweets about it which caused the subject to trend on Twitter.

They fell right into it, which is absolutely unacceptable for credible news media — especially an outlet which purports to be pro-democracy.

Perhaps WaPo’s masthead should say Democracy Dies for Lack of Self Awareness.

~ ~ ~

We don’t need psychic powers to know what’s ahead.

Assuming one of the many investigations in progress finally catches up with the former president — most especially this one related to possible violations of the Presidential Records Act and mishandling of classified information — an indictment will be issued for Donald J. Trump.

The DARVO pattern will begin all over again, this time with a new fillip or a shout out to new partisans as co-victims.

But DARVO it will be.

Remember who the offender is, and that the United States and its Constitution are the victims.


Mid-Term Election 2022: August 2 Primary Elections and Ballot Initiatives [UPDATE-3]

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Updates will appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Though we’re deep into the primaries already, tonight’s a pretty big night as the following states all held primary elections today including ballot initiatives:

Arizona — August 2 (head to bmaz’s post for this state’s results)

Kansas — August 2

Michigan — August 2

Missouri — August 2

Ohio — August 2

Washington — August 2

Counting may not be complete for races but there’s already a doozy of a political wind indicator out of red state Kansas. An initiative to amend the state’s constitution was on the ballot and it hasn’t gone the direction anti-abortion activists wanted.

Here’s an explainer from Ballotpedia:

The Kansas No State Constitutional Right to Abortion and Legislative Power to Regulate Abortion Amendment is on the ballot in Kansas as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on August 2, 2022.

A “yes” vote supported amending the Kansas Constitution to:

  • state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion and
  • state that the legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion.

A “no” vote opposed amending the Kansas Constitution, thereby maintaining the legal precedent established in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt (2019) that the Kansas Bill of Rights provides a right to abortion.

As of 9:16 p.m. ET the results looked like this:


And by 9:26 p.m. ET, Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman was calling it for reproductive rights:


There had been an attempt to ratfuck the vote for this initiative:


Voters were sent text messages without attribution providing the wrong instructions about the initiative. It’s not clear whether this violates any federal law but Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission responded to complaints about this ratfucking attempt with a Twitter thread explaining that under Kansas’s current state law attribution for political advertisements wasn’t required for ballot initiatives though it is required for candidates’ campaign ads.

Sounds like this should be on the next ballot.

~ ~ ~

In my home state, things went about as expected:

– Trump’s endorsed candidate, Tudor Dixon, won the MIGOP primary. She’s not as wretched as a couple other MIGOP candidates but she’s still absolutely awful.

How nice of you to want to force your personal choice on all Michiganders, Dixon.

– MAGA candidate Kevin Gibbs had the lead early over Rep. Peter Meijer. The race has tightened substantially and is too narrow to call at this point.


You’ll recall the DCCC through money behind Gibbs so they could run against a Trumpy candidate in a newly configured district. Meijer, who was one of only 10 GOP reps to vote for Trump’s impeachment, currently holds the seat once held by Justin Amash.

~ ~ ~

Trump’s attempt to split the baby by endorsing “Eric” in the Missouri GOP Senate primary race didn’t go to plan, exactly. Eric won, but not Eric Greitens.


Trump will claim victory through Eric Schmitt anyhow, you can be sure. His narcissism wouldn’t have it any other way.

~ ~ ~

What do you see in the other primary races and ballot initiatives tonight? Let us know in comments.

Let’s stay on topic here because there’s plenty of primary election material to discuss without dragging in other topics.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 12:35 PM ET — 03-AUG-2022 —

DCCC’S money paid off and defeated incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer:

Grrr…sure hope DCCC pulls out the stops and gets behind Scholten because the western part of this district and the DeVos/Van Andel/Prince crowd may not take this lying down even if a Trumpy MAGAt is the GOP candidate.

I’ve experienced supporting a state legislative candidate who was targeted by DeVos money. It can get fucking ugly.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-2 — 1:00 AM ET — 03-AUG-2022 —

Can you not do better than this hack, KSGOP? This is the best you’ve got, a lawyer who needed remedial law classes?

Anyhow, here’s Democratic opponent Chris Mann’s campaign website.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-3 — 9:15 PM ET — 03-AUG-2022 —

Another too-little-discussed bellwether was Missouri’s 1st Congressional District primary race. Incumbent progressive Rep. Cori Bush beat out four other Democrats taking more than 69% of the vote. Her strongest opponent, Steve Roberts, is and remains a Missouri state senator for District 5; he ran to the right of Bush.

The GOP primary in that district was won by Andrew Jones Jr. with 6,927 out of 16,328 total GOP votes. Even Roberts took more votes than the total GOP primary votes.

Clearly MO-01, home to 714,746 citizens, wants a progressive representative.


Mapping the Scenes of the Crimes

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Ahead of the House January 6 Committee’s public hearing Day 6, former FBI agent AshaRangappa published a simple graphic chart depicting many facets of the January 6 coup attempt:

At a glance it depicts many of the major elements leading up to the attack on the Capitol Building.

But the breadth of the conspiracies as well as the chronology don’t appear in this simple chart. Nor does this chart allow for discovery of links to other new subordinate conspiracies and other previously unidentified co-conspirators.

Long-time emptywheel community member harpie has been doggedly compiling data points for a comprehensive timeline. A key challenge with a chronological list is that context and relationships can be obscured, especially when events happen simultaneously, or when events happen which don’t appear related and may have substantial gaps in time between them.

harpie recently shared links to two maps which provide additional context to relationships between and around co-conspirators. This one is a network map by @ValdisKrebs:

The acknowledged challenge is that not every node on this map is a co-conspirator; some may be related through the investigation as their name or testimony was mentioned. Not a difficult fix but one that demonstrates context important to grasping the conspiracy’s reach and impact.

Note where some persons end up on the network — like Brad Parscale, as one example.

Via @RYP_, harpie also shared a link to Wendy Siegelman’s map of network connections for Steve Bannon:


There are connections on this map which may have nothing to do with January 6, others which may be related but as yet don’t clearly connect, and an element of time but not a linear chronology which aligns with a timeline of January 6 events. The possibly related content and possibly related timing need to be surfaced in a different form of map.

MSNBC’s Ari Melber used a timeline to map the different conspiracies as layers:


A benefit to this depiction: a halted subordinate conspiracy is easy to compare against the overarching conspiracy and the other conspiracies attempted.

But conspirators and their relationships and how the different conspiracies interleaved is missing from this approach.

~ ~ ~

As this site’s Timeline Collection shows, emptywheel has long used timelines to map the course of crimes and investigations. They’ve been successful at depicting the development of conspiracy and their unfolding as investigations dug in.

The January 6 insurrection is far more complex to depict in comparison due to the number of perps and the number of conspiracies. How should a series of interrelated conspiracies with more than 1000 perps involving multiple states and at least two branches of federal government be mapped to make the whole accessible and comprehensible, in a way which encourages hidden relationships and obstructive measures to surface?

Other organizations have published timelines of January 6 as well — @capitolhunters’ collection and JustSecurity’s DOD response timeline offer examples — but while thorough in their own way, they’re both flattened representations limited in the first by format and the second by format and field of focus.

We’ll be working on a map based on a timeline of events, but how best to structure and achieve this is still in the air, especially since the underlying data points will change as the investigations into January 6 continue their course. An optimum solution will allow conspirators’ relationships to be self evident, show links between key persons and other subordinate/parallel conspiracies, the chronological course of events, and encourage deeper analysis with flexibility in presentation.

Ideally, a map which effectively depicts the crimes leading up to and committed on January 6 and beyond, will also answer questions for which we don’t yet have answers.

Will we learn from such a map why some GOP members of Congress asked for pardons even though they don’t (yet) have obvious ties to the insurrectionists’ attack on the Capitol Building back on January 6, 2021?

Could the identity of the person who placed two IEDs outside the DNC and the Capital Hill Club adjacent to the RNC’s offices become more clear with the crimes’ context more fully mapped?

Copyright © 2022 emptywheel. All rights reserved.
Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/author/rayne/