Democracy Has Prevailed.

February 28, 2024

February 25, 2024

February 25

Fredrick Douglass

When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful
and terrible thing, needful to man as air,
usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,
when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,
reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more
than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:
this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro
beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world
where none is lonely, none hunted, alien,
this man, superb in love and logic, this man
shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues’ rhetoric,
not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,
but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives
fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.
      Robert Hayden

February 24, 2024

And Now A Message From CPAC - Via Jack Posobiec

First, take a look:

Jack Posobiec: I just wanted to say welcome to the end of democracy. We're here to overthrow it completely. We didn't get all the way there on January 6 but we will endeavor to get rid of it and replace it with this right here [at this point he's holding up a cross necklace]. We'll replace it with this right here.

Steve Bannon: Alright, amen. 

Posobiec: Alright. Because all glory is not to government. All glory to God.

That was received by a warm warm round of applause. 

NBC has a bit of context:

Posobiec — known for internet trolling, conspiracy theories and blustering rhetoric — said in a subsequent speech and in an interview with NBC News that his statements were largely satirical, poking fun at what he sees as a lack of democratic values from President Joe Biden’s administration.

“We are always supportive of a constitutional republic,” Posobiec said on Friday, referring to conservatives at large. 

“What we’re trying to do is return it to the original system. We’re not destroying all of democracy, just their [Democrats'] democracy,” he added. 

But in his speech Friday, Posobiec continued to use rhetoric evocative of a violent revolution.

"After we burn that swamp to the ground, we will establish the new American republic on its ashes, and our first order of business will be righteous retribution for those who betrayed America," he declared. 

You'll notice there's nothing in there about the cross he was holding up as a replacement for what he wants to destroy.  Maybe I'm wrong maybe the "righteous retribution" is the description of Posobiec's Christianity.

February 23, 2024

February 22, 2024

February 21, 2024

Meanwhile, Outside

Climate science from the climate scientists at NOAA:

The Decmeber global surface temperature was 1.43°C (2.57°F) above the 20th-century average of 12.2°C (54.0°F), making it the warmest December on record. This was 0.30°C (0.54°F) above the previous record from December 2015. December 2023 marked the 48th-consecutive December and the 538th-consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th-century average.

And of course, the chart:

Still getting warmer out there.

February 17, 2024

The Decision

Read it here.

The Summary as found in Judge Engoron's decision:

Donald Trump and entities he controls own many valuable properties, including office buildings, hotels, and golf courses. Acquiring and developing such properties required huge amounts of cash. Accordingly, the entities borrowed from banks and other lenders. The lenders required personal guarantees from Donald Trump, which were based on statements of financial condition compiled by accountants that Donald Trump engaged. The accountants created these “compilations” based on data submitted by the Trump entities. In order to borrow more and at lower rates, defendants submitted blatantly false financial data to the accountants, resulting in fraudulent financial statements. When confronted at trial with the statements, defendants’ fact and expert witnesses simply denied reality, and defendants failed to accept responsibility or to impose internal controls to prevent future recurrences. As detailed herein, this Court now finds defendants liable, continues the appointment of an Independent Monitor, orders the installation of an Independent Director of Compliance, and limits defendants’ right to conduct business in New York for a few years.

Some highlights:

Defendants Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg, Jeffrey McConney, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump, Jr. are each liable under the second cause for action for repeatedly and persistently falsifying business records, thus violating Executive Law § 63(12) and New York Penal Law § 175.05. (p. 77)
Note: the first cause for action was dealt with in the Summary Judgement.

From CNBC:

A judge on Tuesday ruled that Donald Trump and his company are liable for fraud by misstating the true values of multiple real estate properties for years and thus grossly overstating the former president’s net worth by billions of dollars.

And so on.

Back to the ruling:

As detailed in the Findings of Fact, there is overwhelming evidence that each of these defendants made or participated in making a false statement in the business records of an enterprise, the Trump Organization, with the intent to defraud.

Donald Trump was aware of many of the key facts underpinning various material fraudulent misstatements in the SFCs: he was aware of having deeded away the right to use Mar-a-Lago as anything other than a social club, and notwithstanding, continued to value it as if it could be used as a single family residence; he was aware that the Triplex apartment in which he, a real estate mogul and self-identified expert, resided for decades was not 30,000 square feet, but actually 10,996 square feet; he was aware that he did not control the Vornado partnership interest even though he represented it as “cash”; he was aware that he had permission to build only 500 private residences in Aberdeen, notwithstanding that he represented that he had permission for 2500; and he was aware that 40 Wall Street was operating at a deficit despite proclaiming that it was running a net operating income of $64 million.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

And the money shot:

ORDERED that defendants Donald Trump, the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, the Trump Organization, Inc., Trump Organization LLC, DJT Holdings LLC, DJT Holdings Managing Member, Trump Endeavor 12 LLC, 401 North Wabash Venture LLC, Trump Old Post Office LLC, 40 Wall Street LLC, are jointly and severally liable to plaintiff in the amount of $168,040,168, with pre-judgment interest from March 4, 2019; and it is further

ORDERED that defendants Donald Trump, the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, the Trump Organization, Inc., and Trump Organization LLC, and the Trump Old Post Office LLC are jointly and severally liable to plaintiff in the amount of $126,828,600, with pre-judgment interest from May 11, 2022; and it is further

ORDERED that defendants Donald Trump, the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, the Trump Organization, Inc., and Trump Organization LLC are jointly and severally liable to plaintiff in the amount of $60,000,000, with pre-judgment interest from June 26, 2023; and it is further

$168,040,168 + $126,828,600 + $60,000,000 = $354,828,600.


February 13, 2024

Questions, I Got Questions...

From the AP:

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday questioned why Nikki Haley’s husband wasn’t on the campaign trail, drawing sharp responses from both the former U.N. ambassador and her husband, who is currently abroad on a National Guard mission.

“What happened to her husband?” Trump told a crowd in Conway, South Carolina, as he and Haley held events across the state ahead of its Feb. 24 Republican primary. “Where is he? He’s gone. He knew. He knew.”

Um, this

Maj. Michael Haley is being deployed as a staff officer with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, which the National Guard says is providing support in the Horn of Africa.

Before we go any further, this is not an endorsement of Ambassador Haley's candidacy. I mean, c'mon at her campaign website there's this:

Nikki was one of the most pro-life governors in America...

So, no. No endorsement. Simple as that.

My question here is for all the pro-military Trumpsters out there: Any comment on Trump's obvious disrespect for Maj Haley's military service?

I'd like to ask the guy who posted this on his Facebook page:

Then there's this from the Orange Vulgarity:

Speaking at a rally in Conway, South Carolina, Trump recalled how as president he told an unidentified NATO member that he would withhold U.S. help and “encourage” Russia to do as it wishes with allies that do not contribute enough to military spending.

“‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’” Trump recounted saying. “‘No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.’”

So, among many other things about the Constitution, Trump doesn't understand anything about the NATO treaty.  It was ratified and signed in 1949. And as such:

The United States Constitution provides that the president "shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur" (Article II, section 2). Treaties are binding agreements between nations and become part of international law. Treaties to which the United States is a party also have the force of federal legislation, forming part of what the Constitution calls ''the supreme Law of the Land.''

He'd have no choice but to enforce the NATO treaty. It's the law of the land.

But let's return to the guy in Pennsylvania who's defending PA's veteran community.  In his official bio, we read this:

Doug Mastriano...served four years with NATO and deployed three times to Afghanistan.  Mastriano was the director of NATO’s Joint Intelligence Center in Afghanistan, leading 80 people from 18 nations. 

So Senator. Any comment on Donald Trump's obvious disrespect for NATO?  Seeing as you served with NATO for a number of years...



February 11, 2024

February 11

 I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed,—

I, too, am America.

        Langston Hughes

February 6, 2024

No Presidential Immunity

A few things to ponder:

For the purpose of this criminal case , former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.


Former President Trump's alleged efforts to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election were, if proven , an unprecedented assault on the structure of our government. 


We cannot accept former President Trump's claim that a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power the recognition and implementation of election results. Nor can we sanction his apparent contention that the Executive has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and to have their votes count.


At bottom, former President Trump's stance would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the President beyond the reach of all three Branches. Presidential immunity against federal indictment would mean that, as to the President, the Congress could not legislate, the Executive could not prosecute and the Judiciary could not review. We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter. Careful evaluation of these concerns leads us to conclude that there is no functional justification for immunizing former Presidents from federal prosecution in general or for immunizing former President Trump from the specific charges in the Indictment. In so holding, we act, "not in derogation of the separation of powers, but to maintain their proper balance."
Read it.


February 6

February 2, 2024

February 2


I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

--Langston Hughes