Saturday News Bits

The U.S. airdropped thousands of meals into Gaza earlier today and plans to airdrop a lot more. I hope this helps. There are also reports that Israel has agreed to the framework of a six-week cease-fire.

Stuff to Read: At Axios, see “Department of Life”: Trump allies plot abortion crackdown for second term. The Heritage Foundations is calling for the Department of Health and Human Services to be the Department of Life. And the first act of the DoL would be “explicitly rejecting the notion that abortion is health care and by restoring its mission statement under the Strategic Plan and elsewhere to include furthering the health and well-being of all Americans ‘from conception to natural death.'”

See also Lulu Garcia-Navarro at the New York Times, Inside the Heritage Foundation’s Plans for ‘Institutionalizing Trumpism.’ No paywall.

Also at the New York Times, see As Trump’s Criminal Trial Approaches, He May Be His Own Worst Enemy by, um, a bunch of people. It basically documents that Trump has been ordering his lawyers what to do in court because Trump thinks he knows better than anyone. And this is likely to trip him in the upcoming hush money case, which will be heard by Justice Juan M. Merchan. Justice Merchan was born in Bogotá, and we’ll see how much time expires before Trump posts some anti-Latino slur about him on his toy social media site.

Lawyers who have represented Mr. Trump view the prospect of him testifying before Justice Merchan as potentially disastrous. The judge is a no-nonsense jurist who presided over the conviction of Mr. Trump’s family business in a tax fraud trial.

If Mr. Trump insists, he could pose a make-or-break challenge for Mr. Blanche and Ms. Necheles.

They recently appeared before Justice Merchan at a pretrial hearing with their client mostly silent beside them, and seemed to test the tightrope he will walk during the trial. Mr. Trump wanted to delay it, but the judge promptly set a March date.

Mr. Blanche lodged objections, none of which swayed Justice Merchan, who quickly bridled. “Tell me something you haven’t already said today,” the judge said.

Shortly thereafter, Justice Merchan asked Mr. Blanche if he was done talking. He was not, but the judge cut him off, instructing Mr. Blanche to “please have a seat.”

“Yes, your honor,” Mr. Blanche replied, sitting down with Mr. Trump.

Update: Here’s another one, by Chauncy DeVega at Salon: “Better than Jesus”: How far will the cult of Trump go?

21 thoughts on “Saturday News Bits

  1. "Dept of Life" – I'm loving the Republican overreach. I'm loving that the fascists at the recent CPAC conference flat out said they're going to overthrow the government this time, to finish January 6. There's no excuse for anyone to be confused over what these people plan to do. I can't wait for the campaign ads using their own words against them.

    I've been enjoying Susan Lynn – Psychic Medium. She rambles a bit, but I tend to agree with much of what she says. She claims it's all downhill for Trump after E. Jean Carroll. Carroll was the first person, a woman no less, who made him shut up. Her victory, and the others that have followed are eating him alive, to the point where his dementia is accelerating. It's getting harder for him to hide the fact that he's "cuckoo for coco puffs". The glacially slow trials are not going to be that much of a factor in getting rid of TFG.

    My take is that E Jean Carroll is like George Bush's Katrina – it was all downhill from there, although this wasn't obvious at the time. It's not that we should be complacent either – this is the most auspicious time to work for Democratic majorities to get rid of the Trump plants infesting the government, including the Supreme Court (by getting majorities in Congress to pass legislation to enlarge the Court).

    • "…including the Supreme Court (by getting majorities in Congress to pass legislation to enlarge the Court)."

      Amen, brother.

      • If Trump refuses to debate Biden (very likely) a faux-debate could be constructed where Biden is asked questions and responds – and questions are asked of Trump and answered by Trump using some of the most glaring out-takes from Trump speeches and interviews. Make it informative and funny. If the Democrats need a technical advisor, find Randy Rainbow.

    • As we get closer to the election Trump is going to get a lot more visible, and by "visible" he's going to be on television and in news clips a lot more than he has been. And that means his mental decline will be front and center.  Right now Americans who aren't news junkies may not have heard him rave about the illegal immigrants who don't speak languages and so on. 

  2. "It basically documents that Trump has been ordering his lawyers what to do in court because Trump thinks he knows better than anyone. And this is likely to trip him in the upcoming hush money case,…"

    Ya don't have to be Magnum PI to see that Trump is hiring lawyers on the condition that they are his puppets and he (Trump) is the puppeteer. Hopefully, these shysters are not only getting paid in advance, but they are documenting Trump's instructions in real-time. When Trump crashes, he's gonna blame his lawyers for bad advice in his appeal. (This isn't speculative – it's happened that Trump's lawyers have documented comments, questions, and instructions – presumably to defend themselves if Trump blames the lawyers for what Trump directed.)

    Jill Biden is reportedly being deployed as a very active surrogate in the swing states. I hope this is true and continues – she's articulate and she can connect with the voters Joe needs to turn out in November. Her presence on the campaign trail will stand out all the more because of the absence of Melania. (I predict.) This is EXACTLY the commentary and speculation we want from the gossip-prone MSM. Where is Melania and did the criminal trial in NY (which kicks off this month) destroy Trump's relationship with his wife. If.. (and I am speculating) Melania isn't answering the phon when Donald calls, he will schedule something high-profile with Habba. "Nobody's that stupid". you might say. Regarding women, Trump thinks with a different organ than his brain. If Trump feels rejected, he will try to publicly embarrass Melania – since she won't volunteer to show up for the humiliation, Trump will do it through a surrogate to make Melania jealous. You tell me how this will play with suburban wives.

    It's worth mentioning that the NY criminal case has Trump nailed cold on not one, but two cases of silencing stories of Trump's infidelity. Stormy Daniels got paid through Cohen. They have the receipts – checks signed by Donald Trump. The second instance is a catch-and-kill by the National Enquirer – a different woman was paid for the exclusive rights to the scandal by the Enquirer who never ran the story. They were reimbursed for silencing the story by Donald Trump and the former editor is the key witness. The break-point is that to nail Trump for a felony, the prosecution has to prove that the purpose of paying when Trump did was to win the election.

    Trump has said he never had an affair with either of the women but he paid them to keep from hurting Melania. Here's the predicament. That excuse can ONLY be presented in court if Donald Trump takes the stand. It does not count in court to a jury what lies Trump told Hannity, even if Trump says it on Fox during the time the trial is underway. Trump has to take the stand AND undergo cross-examination to introduce that defense because no one else can testify to Trump's intent. 

    No guarantees but Judge Lose Cannon may yet get herself replaced. Keep an eye on that. We will hear before the March criminal trial if Willis gets removed. My sources are almost as biased as I am, but it does not look like she will be removed. If both of those went for justice. (Cannon gets the boot, and Willis goes on to try Trump) the judges in both cases might coordinate the schedules to get both cases to a jury in at least one before November and in the works though not concluded by November.

  3. The first thing that popped into my head when I saw "Department of Life" was Monty Python's "Ministry of Silly Walks".

  4. Former Israeli prime  minister Ehud Olmert penned an op-ed for Harretz, the title says it all:

    "Opinion | Netanyahu's Messianic Coalition Partners Want an All-out Regional War. Gaza Is Just a First Step

    The ultimate aim of this gang is "purging" the West Bank of its Palestinian inhabitants, cleansing the Temple Mount of its Muslim worshippers and annexing the territories to the state of Israel. This aim will not be achieved without extensive violent conflict. Armageddon"

    Why Biden and Blinken don't seem to see this is beyond me, it's been obvious for months now.

  5. There's an interesting gap between what Trump is reportedly planning to propose as an abortion plank vs the Heritage Foundation. Trump has suggested a beautiful compromise that everyone's gonna love. Without specifics. Trial balloons in speeches and unauthorized leaks suggest Trump will propose a 16-week national ban with exceptions for rape and incest. There's no way the ban can pass the Senate so the specifics are moot. This is political theatre from Trump, not a legislative move.

    But the Heritage Foundation wants federal action from the point of conception – this will drive moderate voters AWAY from Trump in the election but the fetus people are terrified that the GOP is going to flee to a moderate position just when the objective of a christian taliban is so close. A clue that this shift by Trump is real is Kari Lake who has "clarified" her position to contradict all her previous rhetoric on control from the point of conception. Since Kari is a female Trump Mini-me, you can bet she thinks Trump is going to strike a moderate pose on abortion.

    Trump is running from prison – he's not running for president. If Trump does not win in November, he will go to jail. He knows it. The bean counters in Trump's camp realize that there are not enough MAGAs for Trump to win. The 40% or so of Republicans voting against Trump have to come over to Trump in the general, at least in the swing states. 

    My guess is that the leadership of the Christian Nationalists are going to threaten to tank Trump's candidacy if he offers a moderate public position. (I'm not sure they have the power to deliver with voters but Trump is flirting with ideas that effectively throw them under the bus.) So Trump is potentially in a lose-lose position. If major conservative voices come out against Trump, Biden will amplify their criticism with swing voters in swing states. If they deliver the threat, Trump's gonna shift again and become a "life begins at conception." extremist. 

    We'll never know if/when/what threats were delivered but watch for a Trump shift either to pacify the suburban moderate vote OR to consolidate the alliance with Christian Nationalists. I don't think Trump can have both.

    • "Trump is reportedly planning to propose as an abortion plank vs the Heritage Foundation"

      I saw someone on one of the cable shows this morning, the host asked about what Stump is saying about his abortion policies, the guest interrupted the host and said: " it doesn't matter what he says, he can't speak a sentence without lying so why does anyone take anything he says seriously". Finally someone tells it like it is instead of playing the policy game for cable tee-vee content. I can't remember who she was but I started clapping!

      • The aspect I take seriously is the seismic rift forming between Trump and Heritage. Trump wants to portray himself as the master negotiator who can carve out a compromise that will please everyone. Heritage wants to go after IVF, contraception, gay marriage, sex ed, non-binary relationships, and medical science. 

        Trump could give a rodent's fuzzy behind about ANY of those issues – he just wants to stay out of prison. Heritage does not love Donald – they want a theocracy now. What I want is for these lunatic groups to be at each other's throats.

        • "The aspect I take seriously is the seismic rift forming between Trump and Heritage."

          Agreed and I don't mean to discount your analysis it is certainly more considered and rational than mine. But to me in the end Stump is a shape shifter, his positions have very little meaning from day to day, he will say and do whatever he (and Stephen Miller) thinks will help him get elected. If it means bucking the Heritage foundation or the federalist society or any number of the endless wing-nut establishment acronym clubs he will. In the real world him bucking Heritage would be a good thing and could cause friction but in wing-nut world at the end they all just want power. Stump is the vessel so what ever he needs to say to win they seem to mostly go along with in the end? If he goes against Heritage publicly there is nothing that stops him from changing his position after the election. Hypocrisy has no meaning in today’s GOP.  Maybe I have become such a cynic that I just can't take one thing seriously that comes from the GOP anymore. I think it might have been McTurtle pushing through Amy Barret for SCOTUS a week before the presidential election when five years prior he held Garlands nomination for 9 months will the "slogan" let the American people decide. I think that may have broke my mind!

  6. @uncledad – Biden and Blinken certainly know what Netanyahu wants. Anybody who's followed the news knows what he wants, maybe not down to the specifics. The question is how to get what we and those opposed to Netanyahu, want.

    Real positive that Jill Biden will be campaigning. I also hope "Where's Melania?" becomes a meme.

    Per the psychic, Trump could well end up in a rubber room, where he can happily play President for the rest of his life. He knows too much to be left on his own.

    • "Biden and Blinken certainly know what Netanyahu wants"

      So they knew that Bibi and his right-wing goons want to rid Israel of all Palestinians and they still rushed over there with repeated public displays of support? Why?

  7. When Conservative becomes Reactionary words take serious meaning.  What the Heritage Foundation put on paper is not Conservative.  That is a blueprint for failure. Do not drive only looking in a rear-view mirror.  We are looking at a future filled with unknowns.  Our only hope is looking ahead.  Even for us who have short futures.


    • Way to lenient a sentence for that lying bag of shit. I hope he gave up something on Trump to get such a gentle outcome. I also hope they set up his plea deal so that if he is called to testify in the upcoming New York criminal trial he could end up spending the rest of his life behind bars if he doesn't tell the truth, give up the goods, or has a severe lapse of memory. He knows every bit of Trump's criminal activity, and he needs to be squeezed till it really hurts. I want him to cry out in the courtroom like Roberto Duran did in the ring…"No Mas!"

      It seems to me that at his age he'd just want to put all the bulshit behind him, take what money is left and go down to Boca Vista and spend his remaiming days in the company of those who still love him. Nobody needs to be bouncing in and out of prison in their old age. Only a stupid person would continue to hold on to a fealty to a lying, cheating bag of shit like Trump.

       I hope that Waltine Nuata that other clown who are cleaving to Trump in the Mar-a Lago case are watching closely. Stick with Trump and you'll end up being destroyed. The bible says it clearly..Satan (Trump) seeks to devour you.

  8. 38,000 meals for 700,000 people. Thats a photo op.

    I watched a video of a child looking for a food drop. He was lost. When every building is a pile of ruble every road bulldozed adults would be hard pressed to know where they are. This situation is sick. Usa providing bombs and bullets on the one hand and meager food on the other.


    • Yeah, it makes a mockery of the whole situation. It's really sad to watch the cruelty masquerading as genuine concern.

       He who tries to please everybody pleases nobody. Biden needs to understand it's not a political calculation, it's a moral question.

      • "He who tries to please everybody pleases nobody"

        Right and he who lies down with dogs get fleas?


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