The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Not About the Midterms News Highlights

I’m sorry I have been busy. I’ve been working on something for another site — A Brief History of Christian Nationalism: From the Founders to the Cold War. I turned up some historical bits I didn’t know before, so I hope you will enjoy reading it.

I am still trying very hard to not listen to news about elections and polls and whatever might happen in the midterms.

So Elon Musk has taken over Twitter. People are starting to take bets on how quickly Twitter goes the way of MySpace. The geeks are very certain Musk has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. You have probably heard he fired the three top executives of the company last night, and now there are reports that other employees are leaving the building carrying boxes of belongings. However, that last part is unconfirmed and could be a hoax. Last week there were reports Musk planned to fire 75 percent of tech support staff, although today Musk says that’s not true. Even so, I bet a whole lot of people in that company have already updated their résumés and put them into circulation.

And, of course, this happened.

An emboldened cast of anonymous trolls spewed racist slurs and Nazi memes onto Twitter in the hours after billionaire industrialist Elon Musk took over the social network Thursday, raising fears of how his pledge of unrestricted free speech could fuel a new wave of online hate.

It could fuel all the high-end users — journalists, politicians, academics, etc. — to drop off the platform, which would be its downfall.

Greg Sargent:

Musk’s takeover will certainly have international ramifications, if not yet interplanetary ones. But they may not be that sunny. The world’s richest man buying perhaps the world’s most influential political echo chamber is the latest sign of a development that international relations experts have long feared: With tech giants amassing stratospheric levels of influence over global affairs, they are morphing into a species of geopolitical actor, with uncertain long-term consequences.

Those experts have a term for this development: “Technopolarity.” The idea is that big tech companies have become their own sovereigns, on a par with nation-states. The result: an increasingly unchecked level of influence over international affairs that will demand a new kind of political response.

Bad news. We aren’t that good at old political responses.

The attack on Paul Pelosi — here’s what we know about the alleged attacker

David DePape, 42, was identified by police Friday as the suspect in the assault on Paul Pelosi at the speaker’s San Francisco home.

Two of DePape’s relatives told CNN that DePape is estranged from his family, and confirmed that the Facebook account – which was taken down by the social media company on Friday – belonged to him. …

… Last year, David DePape posted links on his Facebook page to multiple videos produced by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell falsely alleging that the 2020 election was stolen. Other posts included transphobic images and linked to websites claiming Covid vaccines were deadly. “The death rates being promoted are what ever ‘THEY’ want to be promoted as the death rate,” one post read.

DePape also posted links to YouTube videos with titles like “Democrat FARCE Commission to Investigate January 6th Capitol Riot COLLAPSES in Congress!!!” and “Global Elites Plan To Take Control Of YOUR Money! (Revealed)”

And so on. The story is that this guy ran into Nancy Pelosi’s house in San Francisco yelling “Where’s Nancy!” Not finding Nancy, he attempted to tie up Pelosi’s 82-year-old husband, then assaulted him with a hammer. Paul Pelosi is expected to be okay, I understand. I have a hard time believing an 82-year-old will ever be okay after being assaulted with a hammer, though.

If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, do it now. That’s an order. I got mine (and the new covid booster) yesterday.  I’ve had so many covid shots they had to start another CDC card for me, as the old one was full. I haven’t turned into a magnet yet, however.

This would have been huge news if it weren’t for everything else going on — yesterday Trump lost another appeal at another appeals court to shield his tax returns from investigators.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to reconsider an August ruling from three judges that gave a House committee the right to Trump’s tax returns for 2015 to 2020. The former president can still challenge the decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, but the appeals court declined a request from Trump to automatically hold the release of records pending that challenge.

So does that mean the House committee will really truly get the tax returns any minute now?

Jerry Lee Lewis died. He was 87.

The Department of Justice has hired a new hot-shot national security prosecutor for the Mar-a-Lago documents team.

Finally, a Washington Post investigation — Inside the secretive effort by Trump allies to access voting machines. No paywall.

10 thoughts on “Not About the Midterms News Highlights

  1. I was getting worried about you. Glad to hear you're only working too hard.

    One other item: Mark Meadows will  have to testify to the Grand Jury in GA.

    The DOJ is asking a judge to compel White House lawyers to testify to the J6 Grand Jury. They may have a good argument and  I'm not sure Pat Cipilone is hiding – he's just determined to follow the rules on privilege. 

    \J6 committee is trying to secure testimony from the US Secret Service. Could happen – the committee has until Jan 5. Big issue (in my mind) is whether Trump knew that some of the crowd he sent to the US Capitol were armed. 

    Re Tax Returns – I do not think USSC will intervene. If expert analysis suggests major criminal tax fraud, will the House have time to ask why charges have not been filed? I haven't seen Trump's returns but there's a reason Trump fought against making the returns public for six years. Remember, there's a major ethical issue – Biden oversees IRS but he can't make even an inquiry about Trump. I think the IRS has a standard policy to not mess with billionaires on taxes. (Opinion.) IRS is getting (finally) the funding to address tax fraud and that money comes from Congress. So an inquiry from Congress should be acted on especially if there's evidence the IRS violated their own rules on mandatory audits of any POTUS while in office. That's been policy since Nixon was busted as a tax cheat.

    I quit Twitter earlier today. I wasn't a big user so it won't matter but if over the next few months real celebrities pull out, it will. I think Musk overestimated to potential profit when he made a written offer. He tried to back out when he realized he'd be paying too much. Now he's stuck with it and he's gonna make all the wrong decisions early on. I think it will be a financial disaster because the revenue comes from advertisers who can go elsewhere when the client base erodes.

    Regarding the attack on Pelosi (who wasn't there) and her hubby. It would be poetic justice if the attacker is named Maxwell and the hammer is sliver. I think it's gonna get a lot worse before it gets better. I don't care who the victim is. Violence is the wrong way, even if the attack is on MTG. You can't have a democracy until everyone swears off violence as a political weapon. EVERYONE.

    That's why I want Trump prosecuted for everything, taxes, J6, the MAL documents. Likewise go after Bannon for the fraud in raising money for the wall. He was convicted but Trump pardoned him. He's gonna get charged in NY state and I'd like it if a dozen states filed against Bannon. DOJ should try to build a case against Stone for J6 – he bought in the most violent groups and may have been the go-between for the rioters and the WH. I want Rudy charged and I think it's likely in GA. The Trumpists will conduct attacks based on what the rumors from the pillow guy are. We need to put the generals of Trumpism in jail for what we can PROVE they did. 

    Last thought; (did I hear a sigh of relief) Trump is holding a rally for Rubio in Fl a couple of days before the election and DeSantis was not invited. Popcorn, anyone?

    • So, let me get this straight, Florida Man (Tang Flavored) is going to have a rat-king fest days before an election and this is not a sign that he is going to send his army of naked, fez bedazzled flying monkeys to do mischief, and this is a sign of relief because Florida Man (Parrot Head style) will not take part in the dark ritual to send them into TV stardom?

  2. Glad you are back.

    I am really hoping people will delete their twitter accounts. We really don't need it for anything. And Musk is lousy person to keep it polite. I'm sick of billionaires

  3. Re Pelosi's attacker. Makes you wonder where this 42 yr old works, and what kind of job prospects he'll have with this on his  record. I used to see this simmering wingnut working the cash register at the local grocery store, kind of the the bare minimum job any sentient being could get…

    I didn't see or read anything about the Fetterman debate but it's obviously tragic that someone so gifted has been significantly diminished because of his stroke. I wonder if his exotic and telegenic wife has any appetite for politics, having trained so to speak under her husband.

    I've read others say Twitter was an under-performing company, given its position in the social media space. Of course Musk has a huge cushion and could run Twitter right into the ground without it significantly affecting him. What I and others are waiting for, is to see him open his mouth and all of a sudden Tesla is dog meat – anyone with a conscience will shun it. Of course there are loads of people who won't care or even might warm to Tesla because they like what Musk is saying.

  4. Thomas Cahill, a historian who wrote "How the Irish Saved Civilization" died at 82. One of the few books I read in one long sitting, it was that good.

  5. Doug's mention of the Stone pardon triggered this question: Does anyone know if there are any laws criminalizing corrupt pardons?  

    If there aren't any then I don't see how our constitutional republic can survive.

  6. Ruth Ben-Ghiat wrote a good article at MSNBC in the wake of the attack on Mr Pelosi – she makes a clear distinction between polarization and survivalism –

    …Much ink has been spilled in recent years worrying whether increasing polarization in the United States is to blame for the increased likelihood of political violence. But that view misses the mark. Trump and his followers engage in something wholly different from polarization: survivalism.

    It is essential to understand how people can be moved from partisan hostility to outright violence.

    Autocrats and those who wish to join their ranks know that polarization is rarely enough to get people to commit unprecedented acts. To encourage political violence and exceptional measures — harming Pelosi or Capitol rioters chanting that they wanted to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence — you need to get people to feel like they are facing an existential threat.

    Survivalism goes beyond the “us or them in power” of polarization to a state of “it’s us or them, and only one of us will survive the encounter.” Its extreme rhetoric deliberately evokes fear and dread at losing something irreplaceable, at the obliteration of America.

  7. "Other posts included transphobic images and linked to websites claiming Covid vaccines were deadly"

    Sounds like your everyday run of the Mill GOP'er!

  8. Musk offers to resolve the war in Ukraine, blows $44B on a whim, posts a disastrous tweet on an impulse, then deletes it after the shit hits the fan (it not have occurred to him that this might happen. Grandiosity and impulsivity on this scale suggest a bipolar diagnosis. The wingnuts who praised him on Thursday turned on him with a fury when he deleted his Pelosi tweet. Really, when it hits him, could trigger the world’s worst case of buyer’s remorse. Stay tuned. 


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