Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo:”Texas Is Being Run From Maralago”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo appeared on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (09/24/2021), where she blasted elected Republicans in Texas for giving in to former President Trump’s baseless demands for an audit into the state’s 2020 election results. The decision by the Texas Secretary of State’s office to conduct an audit into the election results of Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant counties, came literally a few hours after Trump’s demand, which led a visibly upset Judge Hidalgo to tell host Maddow that Texas was “being run from Maralago.”

Judge Hidalgo told Maddow:“We have to remember we had incredibly successful elections here in Harris County in 2020. We had innovations that led to record turnouts from both parties, the highest in 30 years, I mean it was beautiful, and since then, no evidence has come out that would in any way cause the need for this kind of audit. All we’ve seen is [former]President Trump exhorting the state, or [Governor]Abbott, to have this audit…The reality of it is Texas is being run from Maralago, and that is dangerous, and it’s not appropriate…it’s extremely concerning.”

Judge Hidalgo added that time had come for politicians in Washington to get off the sidelines, and actively join the fight against voter suppression in the states, telling host Maddow, “We need the federal government to act, I mean, this has gone too far… This should be another call to action. We’ve got the writing on the wall. We’ve got to get off our chairs and get moving on all this.”

Bottom line folks, as Judge Hidalgo correctly pointed out, time has come for some decisive action to be taken against these naked efforts by Republicans at the state level, to restrict the voting rights of minorities. Democrats in Washington cannot just sit on the sidelines, and watch their counterparts in Republican-led states like Texas, go to war against GOP’s efforts to restrict minority voting rights. Simply put, time has come for Democrats in Washington to finally do away with the filibuster, and institute a national voting standard geared towards making it easier for people to vote, as opposed to GOP’s scheme of limiting access to the ballot box. As Judge Hidalgo correctly put it, congressional Democrats need to “get off their chairs and get moving” on a comprehensive federal voting rights law.

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Pompeo Confronted On Giving Taliban Legitimacy And Securing Their Release From Prison

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox News Sunday(08/15/2021) to discuss the ongoing crisis unfolding in Afghanistan, following the decision by the Biden administration to withdraw U.S. troops from the country. Pompeo, who naturally was intent on slamming the Biden administration for the chaos in Afghanistan, was however confronted with his own record as Secretary of State, specifically, his role in legitimizing the Taliban, and forcing the Afghan government to release Taliban fighters from prison.

Pompeo’s full interview on Fox News Sunday is available here, but the relevant clip is below

Host Chris Wallace’s question to Pompeo: “You are the first American Secretary of State to ever meet with the Taliban, and you talked about how they had agreed to join us in the fight against terrorism…Do you regret giving the Taliban that legitimacy? Do you regret pressuring the Afghan government to release five thousand prisoners, which they did, some of whom are now back on the battlefield fighting with the Taliban?”

Pompeo responded that even though he enlisted Taliban forces in our fight against terrorism, specifically Al-Qaeda, he has never trusted them. He specifically said, “We never trusted the Taliban…We made abundantly clear if they did not live up to that peace of paper[deal], to the words that they had put on the ground, we weren’t going to allow them to just walk away from any deal that they had struck. We were going to crush them…We didn’t take the word of the Taliban. We watched their actions on the ground. When they did the right thing and they helped us against terror, that was all good, and when they didn’t, we crushed them.”

Pompeo’s response is shaky on several grounds, chief among them, the fact that it dodges the million dollar question at hand, and that is, whether the Taliban fighters he forced the Afghan government to release, are the same fighters now running over the country. Reasonable people will agree that some of the Taliban prisoners freed as a result of pressure from then Secretary Pompeo, are the same fighters now causing all the chaos in the country.

Bottom line folks, the operating principle has been, and still is, that in all our military engagements, the buck always stops with the sitting Commander-in-Chief, in this case, President Biden. Republicans have every right to lay the blame on the Biden administration for the chaos currently unfolding in Afghanistan. It is totally disingenuous however, for Pompeo and others in former President Trump’s cabinet, to act like they had nothing to do with the current mess in Afghanistan. Reasonable people will agree that some of the five thousand Taliban prisoners Pompeo pressured the Afghan government to release, are the same Taliban fighters now running over the country. Simply put Mike Pompeo, you have a hand in the Afghan mess!!

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Fulton County DA Getting Racist Attacks After Launching Probe Into Trump’s Phone Call

Fulton County DA (Georgia) Fani Willis On The Rachel Maddow Show (2/11/2021)

Fulton County DA Fani Willis told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that after her office launched a criminal probe into former President Trump’s infamous phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State, she has been the subject of racist attacks from Trump’s supporters. You’ll remember Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, was very troubled by the call from the former President, which was essentially urging him to commit an illegal act, that he asked his staff to record it. It is quite clear from the phone call that former President Trump wanted Raffensperger to tinker with Georgia’s election results, so as to overturn his Democratic opponent Joe Biden’s win.

In response to Maddow’s question as to whether she and her staff were concerned about their safety given the unfortunate events of DC insurrection, DA Willis responded, “Oh absolutely. Since we’ve opened this [criminal probe], my security has doubled. We’ve gotten a lot of comments. Interestingly enough, the comments are always racist, and it’s really just a waste of time and foolishness. It is not going to stop me from doing my job, and I don’t think that it is an insult to remind me that I am a Black woman, so it is a waste of their time….” The rest of DA Willis’ interview with Maddow is available here.

It is quite sad that as a result of Trumpism, it has become normal for any public official seeking to hold Trump accountable for his myriad infractions, to receive insults and threats of violence from Trumpers. This is especially so for public officials of color like DA Willis, who Trumpers go out of their way to subject to some of the most vile racist attacks imaginable, because Trump has put it in their mind that as long as they are fighting for him, they have a license to use any means.

It will be interesting to see how DA Willis’ investigation plays out, but from her appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show yesterday, Yours Truly came out with the impression that we are dealing with a serious professional here, and Trump better invest on some good legal defense team , certainly better than the one representing him at his Senate impeachment trial.

Bottom line folks, it was well known before, and Trump’s niece Mary Trump recently confirmed it, that Trump pretty much went through life without ever being held accountable for anything. We saw this throughout his presidency too, where at every turn, Republican members of Congress went out of their way to shield him from facing the consequences of his actions. This Fulton County criminal probe is in many ways the very first time Trump is staring at the potential of facing consequences for his actions, and ending up in jail. If Trump does indeed end up in a Georgia jail, it will be impossible to ignore the powerful poetic justice behind it–that the same Black women who Trump routinely maligned and addressed with great contempt as somehow inferior or unqualified, are the same ones who formed the backbone of the successful resistance to his presidency, picked Trump’s successful Democratic challenger Joe Biden (especially South Carolina women), and now one of them, Fulton County DA Fani Willis, appears poised to succeed in what everybody else has failed–holding Trump accountable for his actions.

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Laura Ingraham Is Upset That Defense Secretary Austin Wants To Rid Military Of Racists & Extremists

The unfortunate events of January 6, 2021, dubbed “DCInsurrection”, where a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building interrupting a joint session of Congress convened to formally confirm the election of President Joe Biden, have raised a lot of questions about violent extremism and racism in the United States, and specifically, the extent to which such extremism and racism have infected the military ranks.

During the insurrection, a lot of Americans witnessed on live TV and social media, images of many of the rioters in military regalia, engaging in formations that left absolutely no doubt that they were either active duty military officers, or veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Media reports have since confirmed that quite a number of the DC insurrectionists were indeed either active duty military officers or veterans, a disturbing development indeed, and proof positive sign that there is radicalization/extremism within our armed forces. Sadly, there were also images at the DC insurrection of people displaying flags and other symbols of groups with long and documented histories of espousing White supremacist views. So the problem at DC insurrection was not just violent extremism, but violent extremism plus racism.

Naturally, as a result of these troubling media reports, there have been calls from the public and members of Congress, for the department of defense to investigate this apparent radicalization in the military, with the goal of ridding the revered American institution of racists and extremists–something all reasonable people will conclude is a very noble and justified goal. It was therefore quite interesting on Thursday’s(2/4/2021) edition of her show, to see Fox News host Laura Ingraham express reservations, even outrage, at the fact that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has put in motion efforts to do just that–rid the U.S. military of racists and extremists.

In the editorial section of her show titled “The Ingraham Angle“, Ingraham lashed out at Defense Secretary Austin saying his efforts to get racists and extremists out of the military was a veiled attempt at purging Conservatives and Trump supporters from the military. Laura played a clip of Defense Secretary Austin’s remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing where Secretary Austin said, “I will fight hard to stump out sexual assault, and to rid our ranks of racists and extremists. The job of the department of defense is to keep America safe from our enemies, but we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.” She then strangely lashed out at these perfectly normal sentiments by Secretary Austin saying, “Of course what he [Secretary Austin] really meant then, and what he would like to do now, is rid the military of all strong Conservatives and of course, Trump supporters.”

Laura Ingraham’s take on Secretary Austin’s remarks at his confirmation hearings are not only troubling because she unreasonably casts negative aspersions at the Secretary’s motives, but also because she appears to be troubled that efforts are underway to rid the military of racists and extremists. Reasonable people would welcome such a move because it is not only good for the military, but also for the country to have a military that does not harbor racists and extremists. By unreasonably suggesting that the aim here is to rid the military of “strong Conservatives” and “Trump supporters”, is Laura Ingraham tacitly admitting that Conservatives and Trumpers are indeed racists and extremists? Are racists and extremists a voting block that is now being actively courted by the modern Republican party? These and others, are interesting questions one hopes the mainstream media will pose to Ingraham and company, regarding her seeming reluctance to have the military remove racists and extremists from it’s ranks.

It also bears pointing out that Ingraham’s reservations about getting rid of racists and extremists from the military is a prevalent view among many prominent Republicans. You’ll remember that after the January 6th incident, many people started expressing concern about a similar insurrection happening two weeks later, at the January 20th presidential inauguration event. Among the steps taken to prevent a repeat of January 6th, was a beefing up of security in and around Washington DC, by bringing in National Guard troops from the various states. The troops brought in to secure the inauguration event were vetted to ensure they had no ties to the same extremists groups that participated in the January 6th insurrection. Strangely, and much like we witnessed with Laura Ingraham, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and Florida’s Ron DeSantis, were also very upset that the troops were vetted for extremism ties, something most reasonable people would consider prudent given the circumstances.

Bottom line folks, Yours Truly has repeatedly stated that among the most underreported stories during the four years of the Trump administration, is the extent to which he politicized and abused the military to achieve his political interests. These unreasonable protestations by Trumpers like Laura Ingraham, Governors Abbott, DeSantis, et al, towards ridding the military of racists and extremists, only add on to my suspicions. Are they afraid that a vetting will uncover something they are already aware of, but would rather hide from the public? Hmm

Obviously the jury is still out on the finer details of the politicization and abuse of the military during the four years of the Trump administration, and hopefully details will soon start coming out under the Biden administration. One hopes that the mainstream media will keep us fully apprised on the findings of DOD Inspector General’s investigations in this regard, especially in states like Texas and Florida with super Trumper Governors.

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Handy List Of Iowa GOP State Senators Mad About Record Voter Participation Due To Mail-In Voting

Iowa witnessed record voter participation in its June 3rd primary elections as a result of a provision that allowed the secretary of state to mail absentee ballots to all registered voters due to the covid-19 pandemic. The noble goal of this provision was to save Iowa voters from going into crowded polling centers which would have increased their chances of contracting the virus. Given the ease and convenience of voting by mail, Iowans voted in record numbers, much to the delight of democracy lovers. Well, it turns out republicans were not happy with the record voter participation. They quickly moved in the Iowa state legislature to prevent universal voting by mail in the November elections–a clear cut effort at voter suppression.

On 6/10/2020 a bill that prohibits Iowa’s secretary of state from mailing absentee ballots to all registered voters for the November general elections passed the Iowa state senate by a vote of 30-19. Needless to say, all the 30 state senators who voted for this voter suppression bill were republicans. Because this is one of the most brazen acts of official voter suppression to date, we have no choice but to name and shame these 30 GOP state senators using our famous “handy list”.

Here’s a handy list of the 30 shameful Iowa GOP state senators who are mad that mail-in voting allowed record voter participation in the June primary elections, and are on a mission to prevent that from happening again this November.

Bottom line folks, there’s no longer any doubt that the unpopular policies of the republican party are increasingly turning it into a marginal/regional party. Republican party leaders have long realized that their only chance of clinging to power is to make sure as few people as possible vote, especially minorities who traditionally vote against them. Where, as here, we witness such a brazen attempt at voter suppression by elected officials, we have no otherwise but to loudly call them out.

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GA Governor’s Former Campaign Manager Is A Lobbyist For Voting Machine Company Responsible For GA Voting Debacle

Tuesday night’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show(TRMS) featured a segment about the numerous problems voters experienced when trying to cast their ballots in Georgia’s primary elections. As usual, the voting problems were concentrated in democratic party strongholds–urban areas where minorities live. The Maddow segment however threw in an interesting tidbit into the story and that is, the lobbyist for the voting machine company(Dominion) at the center of Georgia’s primary voting debacle is none other than the former campaign manager for Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Maddow specifically said, “An electronic voting machine company[Dominion Voting Systems] hired [Governor] Brian Kemp’s former campaign manager to be it’s lobbyist, and then the Brian Kemp administration in Georgia, hired that company to replace all of the voting machines in every city, town and county in Georgia, all in record time–literally record time. The state had this board of evaluators that was looking at the various companies who were trying to get that voting machine contract. This board of evaluators looked at the different bids from the different companies and what they were offering. They did not pick the company that Georgia ultimately went with. They picked a different company altogether. But no, the state administration instead decided they would go with the company that Brian Kemp’s campaign manager was the lobbyist for. The company had never had a job this big ever, in fact there has never been a bigger job in U.S. election history. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution pointed out last November, what Georgia was trying to roll out here, was the largest and fastest roll out of elections equipment in U.S. history.”

Maddow’s segment raises the prospect that the Tuesday primary election debacle we witnessed in Georgia may not have been the result of some random or unforeseeable technical difficulties but rather, a well orchestrated plan of voter suppression by Georgia Republicans. Governor Brian Kemp is no stranger to allegations of voter suppression. As a matter of fact Kemp has been a constant target of election integrity/security advocates like Jennifer Cohn for years.

This troubling revelation that Kemp’s former campaign manager is the lobbyist for the voting machine company at the center of Georgia’s voting debacle should be cause for a complete and thorough voter suppression investigation. We simply cannot afford to wait until the November general elections to be “surprised” by the same voting machine problems.

Bottom line folks, there’s no longer any doubt that the unpopular policies of the republican party are increasingly turning it into a marginal/regional party. Republican party leaders have long realized that their only chance of clinging on to power is to make sure as few people as possible vote, especially minorities who traditionally vote against them. What we witnessed in Georgia’s primary elections was just the latest example of GOP voter suppression but it definitely will not be the last. If we are going to have free and fair election this Fall, it is imperative that the mainstream media and members of congress take voter suppression allegations like the ones in Georgia very seriously. Simply put, Governor Kemp must not be allowed to orchestrate yet another voting “debacle” in November for GOP’s benefit.

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Did Trump Fire State Dept IG Over Probe Into Pompeos?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with his wife Susan

CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood, citing a House Democratic source, said President Trump may have fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick because Linick had opened an investigation into Secretary Mike Popmeo and his wife Susan, for improperly using a political appointee to perform personal favors for them. While this kind of allegation would have rocked any other modern U.S. administration, it perfectly fits the corrupt pattern that has been set by the Trump administration.

Westwood specifically said, “House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel who is a Democrat, said that he had learned that the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a Democratic source claimed to CNN that that involved allegations that Pompeo had used improperly, a political appointee to do personal favors for him and his wife.”

This troubling report comes just a few weeks after President Trump removed Inspector General Glenn Fine, who members of congress in a bipartisan fashion chose to oversee the disbursement of $2 trillion in covid-19 stimulus funds. It is difficult at this juncture for anyone not to conclude that the Trump administration is by far the most corrupt in modern U.S. history, especially if one takes into account the fact that despite intense public demand, Trump is yet to release his tax returns, something almost every other modern U.S. president has gladly done.

Bottom line folks as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated, the rampant corruption by the Trump administration has to be called out loudly. We cannot afford to accept this corruption simply because AG Barr’s DOJ will do nothing about it. The fact of the matter is that neither Trump nor Barr will be in office forever, meaning there will come a time, hopefully next year with a Biden administration, when Secretary Pompeo and his fellow corrupt Trump administration officials will be held to account.

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Sec Pompeo Says Iraqis Are Not Protesting Soleimani’s Killing

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation show and made the shocking assertion that Iraqi’s are not protesting the recent U.S. killing of a top Iranian military general Qassim Soleimani in their country (Iraq).

What’s even more startling about Sec Pompeo’s assertion is the fact that just today, the Iraqi parliament voted for a resolution to remove U.S. forces from Iraq as a result of Soleimani’s killing, a point which host Margaret Brennan correctly emphasized. Reasonable people will agree that the very fact that the Iraqi parliament was considering removing U.S. troops from their country is a sign of significant displeasure/protest against the U.S.

Specifically, Sec Pompeo told host Margaret Brennan when asked about the Iraqi parliament vote to kick out U.S. troops. “Make no mistake about it. The Iraqi people too are protesting, but not against America. What you are seeing on TV is happening at the direction of [Iran]..” To host Margaret Brennan’s credit, she did not blindly accept Sec Pompeo’s ridiculous assertion that the Iraqi’s are not protesting against the U.S. or that the vote in the Iraqi parliament was at the direction of Iran.

Bottom line folks, the Trump administration has never taken seriously the public’s demands that it tells them the truth about issues of great public concern. The administration’s blatant disregard for the truth is coming back to bite them as it now confronts the serious Iran crisis. The public has come to a point where they no longer believe anything the administration says–including the justification for Soleimani’s strike. It certainly doesn’t help when Sec Pompeo shows up on a leading Sunday political show and makes a demonstrably false assertion. Hopefully for everybody’s sake, the Trump administration will change course and level with the public about the Iran crisis. This is serious business.

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$1.5 Trillion Worth Of $100 Bills Are Unaccounted For

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with his wife Louise Linton

A bombshell Yahoo News piece says a staggering $1.5 trillion worth of U.S. dollar bills, predominantly the $100 bills(C-notes) are unaccounted for. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was confronted with this question on Fox Business Network (FBN) where he gave the explanation that weak economies around the world are increasingly using the U.S. dollar, meaning the missing $100 bills are probably sitting in bank vaults around the world.

Specifically, Sec Mnuchin told FBN’s Lou Dobbs,“Literally, a lot of these $100 bills are sitting in bank vaults all over the world…..The dollar is the reserve currency of the world, and everybody wants to hold dollars…….And the reason why they want to hold dollars is because the U.S. is a safe place to have your money, to invest and to hold your assets…….There’s a lot of Benjamins all over the world.” ($100 bills are colloquially referred to as “Benjamins” because they bear the picture of founding father Benjamin Franklin)

Reasonable people will agree that Secretary Mnuchin’s explanation, that the $100 bills are probably sitting in bank vaults worldwide, is very plausible. The question he was never asked however, is why we are having this problem now? Weak economies around the world have been using U.S. currency way before the Trump administration. Were the $100 bills also unaccounted for prior to the Trump administration? Yours Truly, always ahead of the curve, raised this question on Twitter.

Bottom line folks, we have witnessed shocking levels of corruption in the 3 short years Trump has been President. Under any other normal U.S. administration, the explanation given by Sec Mnuchin would be sufficient. Given the fact that the Trump administration has exhibited shocking levels of corruption, most notably the disappearance of $40 million of inaugural funds, congressional Democrats and the mainstream media owe it to the public to press Secretary Mnuchin for more answers regarding the missing Benjamins.

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