“Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation.”
— James Madison
Madison has foretold the fundamental weakness of Donald J. tRump. He has NO VIRTUE.
This argument about politics is so important because politicians make laws and they appoint many judges.
I do not agree that tRump will be the Republican candidate for president in 2024; I just cannot believe that we are so stupid as to make the same mistake twice. Soon enough, time will tell.
I have left much of this lengthy article in tact, unedited, as a reminder that we must unite and VOTE in 2022 to defeat tRump.
Excerpts from the Article:
The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves. The warning signs may be obscured by the distractions of politics, the pandemic, the economy and global crises, and by wishful thinking and denial. But about these things there should be no doubt:
First, Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for president in 2024. The hope and expectation that he would fade in visibility and influence have been delusional. He enjoys mammoth leads in the polls; he is building a massive campaign war chest; and at this moment the Democratic ticket looks vulnerable. Barring health problems, he is running.
Second, Trump and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by whatever means necessary. Trump’s charges of fraud in the 2020 election are now primarily aimed at establishing the predicate to challenge future election results that do not go his way. Some Republican candidates have already begun preparing to declare fraud in 2022, just as Larry Elder tried meekly to do in the California recall contest.
Meanwhile, the amateurish “stop the steal” efforts of 2020 have given way to an organized nationwide campaign to ensure that Trump and his supporters will have the control over state and local election officials that they lacked in 2020. Those recalcitrant Republican state officials who effectively saved the country from calamity by refusing to falsely declare fraud or to “find” more votes for Trump are being systematically removed or hounded from office. Republican legislatures are giving themselves greater control over the election certification process. As of this spring, Republicans have proposed or passed measures in at least 16 states that would shift certain election authorities from the purview of the governor, secretary of state or other executive-branch officers to the legislature. An Arizona bill flatly states that the legislature may “revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certificate of election” by a simple majority vote. Some state legislatures seek to impose criminal penalties on local election officials alleged to have committed “technical infractions,” including obstructing the view of poll watchers.
The stage is thus being set for chaos. Imagine weeks of competing mass protests across multiple states as lawmakers from both parties claim victory and charge the other with unconstitutional efforts to take power. Partisans on both sides are likely to be better armed and more willing to inflict harm than they were in 2020. Would governors call out the National Guard? Would President Biden nationalize the Guard and place it under his control, invoke the Insurrection Act, and send troops into Pennsylvania or Texas or Wisconsin to quell violent protests? Deploying federal power in the states would be decried as tyranny. Biden would find himself where other presidents have been — where Andrew Jackson was during the nullification crisis, or where Abraham Lincoln was after the South seceded — navigating without rules or precedents, making his own judgments about what constitutional powers he does and doesn’t have.
Today’s arguments over the filibuster will seem quaint in three years if the American political system enters a crisis for which the Constitution offers no remedy.
Most Americans — and all but a handful of politicians — have refused to take this possibility seriously enough to try to prevent it. As has so often been the case in other countries where fascist leaders arise, their would-be opponents are paralyzed in confusion and amazement at this charismatic authoritarian. They have followed the standard model of appeasement, which always begins with underestimation. The political and intellectual establishments in both parties have been underestimating Trump since he emerged on the scene in 2015. They underestimated the extent of his popularity and the strength of his hold on his followers; they underestimated his ability to take control of the Republican Party; and then they underestimated how far he was willing to go to retain power. The fact that he failed to overturn the 2020 election has reassured many that the American system remains secure, though it easily could have gone the other way — if Biden had not been safely ahead in all four states where the vote was close; if Trump had been more competent and more in control of the decision-makers in his administration, Congress and the states. As it was, Trump came close to bringing off a coup earlier this year. All that prevented it was a handful of state officials with notable courage and integrity, and the reluctance of two attorneys general and a vice president to obey orders they deemed inappropriate.
These were not the checks and balances the Framers had in mind when they designed the Constitution, of course, but Trump has exposed the inadequacy of those protections. The Founders did not foresee the Trump phenomenon, in part because they did not foresee national parties. They anticipated the threat of a demagogue, but not of a national cult of personality. They assumed that the new republic’s vast expanse and the historic divisions among the 13 fiercely independent states would pose insuperable barriers to national movements based on party or personality. “Petty” demagogues might sway their own states, where they were known and had influence, but not the whole nation with its diverse populations and divergent interests.
Such checks and balances as the Framers put in place, therefore, depended on the separation of the three branches of government, each of which, they believed, would zealously guard its own power and prerogatives. The Framers did not establish safeguards against the possibility that national-party solidarity would transcend state boundaries because they did not imagine such a thing was possible. Nor did they foresee that members of Congress, and perhaps members of the judicial branch, too, would refuse to check the power of a president from their own party.
In recent decades, however, party loyalty has superseded branch loyalty, and never more so than in the Trump era. As the two Trump impeachments showed, if members of Congress are willing to defend or ignore the president’s actions simply because he is their party leader, then conviction and removal become all but impossible. In such circumstances, the Framers left no other check against usurpation by the executive — except (small-r) republican virtue.
Critics and supporters alike have consistently failed to recognize what a unique figure Trump is in American history. Because his followers share fundamentally conservative views, many see Trump as merely the continuation, and perhaps the logical culmination, of the Reagan Revolution. This is a mistake: Although most Trump supporters are or have become Republicans, they hold a set of beliefs that were not necessarily shared by all Republicans. Some Trump supporters are former Democrats and independents. In fact, the passions that animate the Trump movement are as old as the republic and have found a home in both parties at one time or another.
Suspicion of and hostility toward the federal government; racial hatred and fear; a concern that modern, secular society undermines religion and traditional morality; economic anxiety in an age of rapid technological change; class tensions, with subtle condescension on one side and resentment on the other; distrust of the broader world, especially Europe, and its insidious influence in subverting American freedom — such views and attitudes have been part of the fabric of U.S. politics since the anti-Federalists, the Whiskey Rebellion and Thomas Jefferson. The Democratic Party was the home of white supremacists until they jumped to George Wallace in 1968 and later to the Republicans. Liberals and Democrats in particular need to distinguish between their ongoing battle with Republican policies and the challenge posed by Trump and his followers. One can be fought through the processes of the constitutional system; the other is an assault on the Constitution itself.
What makes the Trump movement historically unique is not its passions and paranoias. It is the fact that for millions of Americans, Trump himself is the response to their fears and resentments. This is a stronger bond between leader and followers than anything seen before in U.S. political movements. Although the Founders feared the rise of a king or a Caesar, for two centuries Americans proved relatively immune to unwavering hero-worship of politicians. Their men on horseback — Theodore Roosevelt, Grant, even Washington — were not regarded as infallible. This was true of great populist leaders as well. William Jennings Bryan a century ago was venerated because he advanced certain ideas and policies, but he did not enjoy unquestioning loyalty from his followers. Even Reagan was criticized by conservatives for selling out conservative principles, for deficit spending, for his equivocal stance on abortion, for being “soft” on the Soviet Union.
Trump is different, which is one reason the political system has struggled to understand, much less contain, him. The American liberal worldview tends to search for material and economic explanations for everything, and no doubt a good number of Trump supporters have grounds to complain about their lot in life. But their bond with Trump has little to do with economics or other material concerns. They believe the U.S. government and society have been captured by socialists, minority groups and sexual deviants. They see the Republican Party establishment as corrupt and weak — “losers,” to use Trump’s word, unable to challenge the reigning liberal hegemony. They view Trump as strong and defiant, willing to take on the establishment, Democrats, RINOs, liberal media, antifa, the Squad, Big Tech and the “Mitch McConnell Republicans.” His charismatic leadership has given millions of Americans a feeling of purpose and empowerment, a new sense of identity. While Trump’s critics see him as too narcissistic to be any kind of leader, his supporters admire his unapologetic, militant selfishness. Unlike establishment Republicans, Trump speaks without embarrassment on behalf of an aggrieved segment of Americans, not exclusively White, who feel they have been taking it on the chin for too long. And that is all he needs to do.
There was a time when political analysts wondered what would happen when Trump failed to “deliver” for his constituents. But the most important thing Trump delivers is himself. His egomania is part of his appeal. In his professed victimization by the media and the “elites,” his followers see their own victimization. That is why attacks on Trump by the elites only strengthen his bond with his followers. That is why millions of Trump supporters have even been willing to risk death as part of their show of solidarity: When Trump’s enemies cited his mishandling of the pandemic to discredit him, their answer was to reject the pandemic. One Trump supporter didn’t go to the hospital after developing covid-19 symptoms because he didn’t want to contribute to the liberal case against Trump. “I’m not going to add to the numbers,” he told a reporter.
Because the Trump movement is less about policies than about Trump himself, it has undermined the normal role of American political parties, which is to absorb new political and ideological movements into the mainstream. Bryan never became president, but some of his populist policies were adopted by both political parties. Sen. Bernie Sanders’s supporters might not have wanted Biden for president, but having lost the nomination battle they could work on getting Biden to pursue their agenda. Liberal democracy requires acceptance of adverse electoral results, a willingness to countenance the temporary rule of those with whom we disagree. As historian Richard Hofstadter observed, it requires that people “endure error in the interest of social peace.” Part of that willingness stems from the belief that the democratic system makes it possible to work, even in opposition, to correct the ruling party’s errors and overreach. Movements based on ideas and policies can also quickly shift their allegiances. Today, the progressives’ flag-bearer might be Sanders, but tomorrow it could be Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or someone else.
For a movement built around a cult of personality, these adjustments are not possible. For Trump supporters, the “error” is that Trump was cheated out of reelection by what he has told them is an oppressive, communist, Democrat regime. While the defeat of a sitting president normally leads to a struggle to claim the party’s mantle, so far no Republican has been able to challenge Trump’s grip on Republican voters: not Sen. Josh Hawley, not Sen. Tom Cotton, not Tucker Carlson, not Gov. Ron DeSantis. It is still all about Trump. The fact that he is not in office means that the United States is “a territory controlled by enemy tribes,” writes one conservative intellectual. The government, as one Trump supporter put it, “is monopolized by a Regime that believes [Trump voters] are beneath representation, and will observe no limits to keep them [from] getting it.” If so, the intellectual posits, what choice do they have but to view the government as the enemy and to become “united and armed to take care of themselves as they think best”?
(Illustration by Anthony Gerace for The Washington Post; photos by Getty Images)
The Trump movement might not have begun as an insurrection, but it became one after its leader claimed he had been cheated out of reelection. For Trump supporters, the events of Jan. 6 were not an embarrassing debacle but a patriotic effort to save the nation, by violent action if necessary. As one 56-year-old Michigan woman explained: “We weren’t there to steal things. We weren’t there to do damage. We were just there to overthrow the government.”
The banal normalcy of the great majority of Trump’s supporters, including those who went to the Capitol on Jan. 6, has befuddled many observers. Although private militia groups and white supremacists played a part in the attack, 90 percent of those arrested or charged had no ties to such groups. The majority were middle-class and middle-aged; 40 percent were business owners or white-collar workers. They came mostly from purple, not red, counties.
Most Trump supporters are good parents, good neighbors and solid members of their communities. Their bigotry, for the most part, is typical white American bigotry, perhaps with an added measure of resentment and a less filtered mode of expression since Trump arrived on the scene. But these are normal people in the sense that they think and act as people have for centuries. They put their trust in family, tribe, religion and race. Although jealous in defense of their own rights and freedoms, they are less concerned about the rights and freedoms of those who are not like them. That, too, is not unusual. What is unnatural is to value the rights of others who are unlike you as much as you value your own.
As it happens, however, that is what the American experiment in republican democracy requires. It is what the Framers meant by “republican virtue,” a love of freedom not only for oneself but also as an abstract, universal good; a love of self-government as an ideal; a commitment to abide by the laws passed by legitimate democratic processes; and a healthy fear of and vigilance against tyranny of any kind. Even James Madison, who framed the Constitution on the assumption that people would always pursue their selfish interests, nevertheless argued that it was “chimerical” to believe that any form of government could “secure liberty and happiness without any virtue in the people.” Al Gore and his supporters displayed republican virtue when they abided by the Supreme Court’s judgment in 2000 despite the partisan nature of the justices’ decision. (Whether the court itself displayed republican virtue is another question.)
The events of Jan. 6, on the other hand, proved that Trump and his most die-hard supporters are prepared to defy constitutional and democratic norms, just as revolutionary movements have in the past. While it might be shocking to learn that normal, decent Americans can support a violent assault on the Capitol, it shows that Americans as a people are not as exceptional as their founding principles and institutions. Europeans who joined fascist movements in the 1920s and 1930s were also from the middle classes. No doubt many of them were good parents and neighbors, too. People do things as part of a mass movement that they would not do as individuals, especially if they are convinced that others are out to destroy their way of life.
It would be foolish to imagine that the violence of Jan. 6 was an aberration that will not be repeated. Because Trump supporters see those events as a patriotic defense of the nation, there is every reason to expect more such episodes. Trump has returned to the explosive rhetoric of that day, insisting that he won in a “landslide,” that the “radical left Democrat communist party” stole the presidency in the “most corrupt, dishonest, and unfair election in the history of our country” and that they have to give it back. He has targeted for defeat those Republicans who voted for his impeachment — or criticized him for his role in the riot. Already, there have been threats to bomb polling sites, kidnap officials and attack state capitols. “You and your family will be killed very slowly,” the wife of Georgia’s top election official was texted earlier this year. Nor can one assume that the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers would again play a subordinate role when the next riot unfolds. Veterans who assaulted the Capitol told police officers that they had fought for their country before and were fighting for it again. Looking ahead to 2022 and 2024, Trump insists “there is no way they win elections without cheating. There’s no way.” So, if the results come in showing another Democratic victory, Trump’s supporters will know what to do. Just as “generations of patriots” gave “their sweat, their blood and even their very lives” to build America, Trump tells them, so today “we have no choice. We have to fight” to restore “our American birthright.”
Where does the Republican Party stand in all this? The party gave birth to and nurtured this movement; it bears full responsibility for establishing the conditions in which Trump could capture the loyalty of 90 percent of Republican voters. Republican leaders were more than happy to ride Trump’s coattails if it meant getting paid off with hundreds of conservative court appointments, including three Supreme Court justices; tax cuts; immigration restrictions; and deep reductions in regulations on business. Yet Trump’s triumph also had elements of a hostile takeover. The movement’s passion was for Trump, not the party. GOP primary voters chose Trump over the various flavors of establishment Republicanism (Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio), and after Trump’s election they continued to regard establishment Republicans as enemies. Longtime party heroes like Paul Ryan were cast into oblivion for disparaging Trump. Even staunch supporters such as Jeff Sessions eventually became villains when they would not do as Trump demanded. Those who survived had a difficult balancing act: to use Trump’s appeal to pass the Republican agenda while also controlling Trump’s excesses, which they worried could ultimately threaten the party’s interests.
That plan seemed plausible in 2017. Unlike other insurgent leaders, Trump had not spent time in the political wilderness building a party and surrounding himself with loyalists. He had to choose from an existing pool of Republican officials, who varied in their willingness to do his bidding. The GOP establishment hoped that the presence of “adults” would restrain him, protecting their traditional agenda and, in their view, the country’s interests, from his worst instincts.
This was a miscalculation. Trump’s grip on his supporters left no room for an alternative power center in the party. One by one, the “adults” resigned or were run off. The dissent and contrary opinions that exist in every party — the Northeast moderate Republicans in Reagan’s day; the progressives in today’s Democratic Party — disappeared from Trump’s Republican Party. The only real issue was Trump himself, and on that there could be no dissent. Those who disapproved of Trump could either keep silent or leave.
The takeover extended beyond the level of political leadership. Modern political parties are an ecosystem of interest groups, lobby organizations, job seekers, campaign donors and intellectuals. All have a stake in the party’s viability; all ultimately depend on being roughly aligned with wherever the party is at a given moment; and so all had to make their peace with Trump, too. Conservative publications that once opposed him as unfit for the presidency had to reverse course or lose readership and funding. Pundits had to adjust to the demands of their pro-Trump audiences — and were rewarded handsomely when they did. Donors who had opposed Trump during the primaries fell into line, if only to preserve some influence on the issues that mattered to them. Advocacy organizations that had previously seen their role as holding the Republican Party to certain principles, and thus often dissented from the party leadership, either became advocates for Trump or lost clout.
It was no surprise that elected officials feared taking on the Trump movement and that Republican job seekers either kept silent about their views or made show-trial-like apologies for past criticism. Ambition is a powerful antidote to moral qualms. More revealing was the behavior of Republican elder statesmen, former secretaries of state in their 80s or 90s who had no further ambitions for high office and seemingly nothing to lose by speaking out. Despite their known abhorrence of everything Trump stood for, these old lions refused to criticize him. They were unwilling to come out against a Republican Party to which they had devoted their professional lives, even when the party was led by someone they detested. Whatever they thought about Trump, moreover, Republican elders disliked Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Democrats more. Again, this is not so unusual. German conservatives accommodated Adolf Hitler in large part because they opposed the socialists more than they opposed the Nazis, who, after all, shared many of their basic prejudices. As for conservative intellectuals, even those who had spent years arguing that Woodrow Wilson was a tyrant because he created the Federal Reserve and supported child labor laws seemed to have no concerns about whether Trump was a would-be despot. They not only came to Trump’s defense but fashioned political doctrines to justify his rule, filling in the wide gaps of his nonexistent ideology with an appeal to “conservative nationalism” and conservative populism. Perhaps American conservatism was never comfortable with the American experiment in liberal democracy, but certainly since Trump took over their party, many conservatives have revealed a hostility to core American beliefs.
All this has left few dissenting voices within the Republican ecosystem. The Republican Party today is a zombie party. Its leaders go through the motions of governing in pursuit of traditional Republican goals, wrestling over infrastructure spending and foreign policy, even as real power in the party has leached away to Trump. From the uneasy and sometimes contentious partnership during Trump’s four years in office, the party’s main if not sole purpose today is as the willing enabler of Trump’s efforts to game the electoral system to ensure his return to power.
With the party firmly under his thumb, Trump is now fighting the Biden administration on separate fronts. One is normal, legitimate political competition, where Republicans criticize Biden’s policies, feed and fight the culture wars, and in general behave like a typical hostile opposition.
The other front is outside the bounds of constitutional and democratic competition and into the realm of illegal or extralegal efforts to undermine the electoral process. The two are intimately related, because the Republican Party has used its institutional power in the political sphere to shield Trump and his followers from the consequences of their illegal and extralegal activities in the lead-up to Jan. 6. Thus, Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik, in their roles as party leaders, run interference for the Trump movement in the sphere of legitimate politics, while Republicans in lesser positions cheer on the Jan. 6 perpetrators, turning them into martyrs and heroes, and encouraging illegal acts in the future.
This pincer assault has several advantages. Republican politicians and would-be policymakers can play the role of the legitimate opposition. They can rediscover their hawkish internationalist foreign policy (suspended during the Trump years) and their deficit-minded economics (also suspended during the Trump years). They can go on the mainstream Sunday shows and critique the Biden administration on issues such as Afghanistan. They can pretend that Trump is no longer part of the equation. Biden is the president, after all, and his administration is not exactly without faults.
Yet whatever the legitimacy of Republican critiques of Biden, there is a fundamental disingenuousness to it all. It is a dodge. Republicans focus on China and critical race theory and avoid any mention of Trump, even as the party works to fix the next election in his favor. The left hand professes to know nothing of what the right hand is doing.
Even Trump opponents play along. Republicans such as Sens. Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse have condemned the events of Jan. 6, criticized Trump and even voted for his impeachment, but in other respects they continue to act as good Republicans and conservatives. On issues such as the filibuster, Romney and others insist on preserving “regular order” and conducting political and legislative business as usual, even though they know that Trump’s lieutenants in their party are working to subvert the next presidential election.
The result is that even these anti-Trump Republicans are enabling the insurrection. Revolutionary movements usually operate outside a society’s power structures. But the Trump movement also enjoys unprecedented influence within those structures. It dominates the coverage on several cable news networks, numerous conservative magazines, hundreds of talk radio stations and all kinds of online platforms. It has access to financing from rich individuals and the Republican National Committee’s donor pool. And, not least, it controls one of the country’s two national parties. All that is reason enough to expect another challenge, for what movement would fail to take advantage of such favorable circumstances to make a play for power?
Today, we are in a time of hope and illusion. The same people who said that Trump wouldn’t try to overturn the last election now say we have nothing to worry about with the next one. Republicans have been playing this game for five years, first pooh-poohing concerns about Trump’s intentions, or about the likelihood of their being realized, and then going silent, or worse, when what they insisted was improbable came to pass. These days, even the anti-Trump media constantly looks for signs that Trump’s influence might be fading and that drastic measures might not be necessary.
The world will look very different in 14 months if, as seems likely, the Republican zombie party wins control of the House. At that point, with the political winds clearly blowing in his favor, Trump is all but certain to announce his candidacy, and social media constraints on his speech are likely to be lifted, since Facebook and Twitter would have a hard time justifying censoring his campaign. With his megaphone back, Trump would once again dominate news coverage, as outlets prove unable to resist covering him around the clock if only for financial reasons.
But this time, Trump would have advantages that he lacked in 2016 and 2020, including more loyal officials in state and local governments; the Republicans in Congress; and the backing of GOP donors, think tanks and journals of opinion. And he will have the Trump movement, including many who are armed and ready to be activated, again. Who is going to stop him then? On its current trajectory, the 2024 Republican Party will make the 2020 Republican Party seem positively defiant.
Those who criticize Biden and the Democrats for not doing enough to prevent this disaster are not being fair. There is not much they can do without Republican cooperation, especially if they lose control of either chamber in 2022. It has become fashionable to write off any possibility that a handful of Republicans might rise up to save the day. This preemptive capitulation has certainly served well those Republicans who might otherwise be held to account for their cowardice. How nice for them that everyone has decided to focus fire on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.
Yet it is largely upon these Republicans that the fate of the republic rests.
Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection and attempting to overturn a free and fair election: Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Romney, Sasse and Patrick J. Toomey. It was a brave vote, a display of republican virtue, especially for the five who are not retiring in 2022. All have faced angry backlashes — Romney was booed and called a traitor at the Utah Republican convention; Burr and Cassidy were unanimously censured by their state parties. Yet as much credit as they deserve for taking this stand, it was almost entirely symbolic. When it comes to concrete action that might prevent a debacle in 2024, they have balked.
Specifically, they have refused to work with Democrats to pass legislation limiting state legislatures’ ability to overturn the results of future elections, to ensure that the federal government continues to have some say when states try to limit voting rights, to provide federal protection to state and local election workers who face threats, and in general to make clear to the nation that a bipartisan majority in the Senate opposes the subversion of the popular will. Why?
It can’t be because they think they have a future in a Trump-dominated party. Even if they manage to get reelected, what kind of government would they be serving in? They can’t be under any illusion about what a second Trump term would mean. Trump’s disdain for the rule of law is clear. His exoneration from the charges leveled in his impeachment trials — the only official, legal response to his actions — practically ensures that he would wield power even more aggressively. His experience with unreliable subordinates in his first term is likely to guide personnel decisions in a second. Only total loyalists would serve at the head of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and the Pentagon. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs will not be someone likely to place his or her own judgment above that of their civilian commander in chief. Nor would a Republican Senate fail to confirm Trump loyalists. In such a world, with Trump and his lieutenants in charge of all the levers of state power, including its growing capacity for surveillance, opposing Trump would become increasingly risky for Republicans and Democrats alike. A Trump victory is likely to mean at least the temporary suspension of American democracy as we have known it.
We are already in a constitutional crisis. The destruction of democracy might not come until November 2024, but critical steps in that direction are happening now. In a little more than a year, it may become impossible to pass legislation to protect the electoral process in 2024. Now it is impossible only because anti-Trump Republicans, and even some Democrats, refuse to tinker with the filibuster. It is impossible because, despite all that has happened, some people still wish to be good Republicans even as they oppose Trump. These decisions will not wear well as the nation tumbles into full-blown crisis.
It is not impossible for politicians to make such a leap. The Republican Party itself was formed in the 1850s by politicians who abandoned their previous party — former Whigs, former Democrats and former members of the Liberty and Free Soil parties. While Whig and Democratic party stalwarts such as Henry Clay and Stephen Douglas juggled and compromised, doing their best to ensure that the issue of slavery did not destroy their great parties, others decided that the parties had become an obstacle to justice and a threat to the nation’s continued viability.
Romney & Co. don’t have to abandon their party. They can fashion themselves as Constitutional Republicans who, in the present emergency, are willing to form a national unity coalition in the Senate for the sole purpose of saving the republic. Their cooperation with Democrats could be strictly limited to matters relating to the Constitution and elections. Or they might strive for a temporary governing consensus on a host of critical issues: government spending, defense, immigration and even the persistent covid-19 pandemic, effectively setting aside the usual battles to focus on the more vital and immediate need to preserve the United States.
It takes two, of course, to form a national unity coalition, and Democrats can make it harder or easier for anti-Trump Republicans to join. Some profess to see no distinction between the threat posed by Trump and the threat posed by the GOP. They prefer to use Trump as a weapon in the ongoing political battle, and not only as a way of discrediting and defeating today’s Republican Party but to paint all GOP policies for the past 30 years as nothing more than precursors to Trumpism. Although today’s Trump-controlled Republican Party does need to be fought and defeated, this kind of opportunistic partisanship and conspiracy-mongering, in addition to being bad history, is no cure for what ails the nation.
Senate Democrats were wise to cut down their once-massive voting rights wish list and get behind the smaller compromise measure unveiled last week by Manchin and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But they have yet to attract any votes from their Republican colleagues for the measure. Heading into the next election, it is vital to protect election workers, same-day registration and early voting. It will also still be necessary to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which directly addresses the state legislatures’ electoral power grab. Other battles — such as making Election Day a federal holiday and banning partisan gerrymandering — might better be postponed. Efforts to prevent a debacle in 2024 cannot. Democrats need to give anti-Trump Republicans a chance to do the right thing.
One wonders whether modern American politicians, in either party, have it in them to make such bold moves, whether they have the insight to see where events are going and the courage to do whatever is necessary to save the democratic system. If that means political suicide for this handful of Republicans, wouldn’t it be better to go out fighting for democracy than to slink off quietly into the night?
Curtis Collins – “Boo”! – True tale of Prison Abuse – kra One of thousands, most of which are not reported! – kra
Prison officials spend hours every day preparing TOTALLY FALSE “write ups” and reports to cover up their crimes. Every day. They are very official looking … all typed up and signed by “officers” … but they are LIES! Read CULTURE OF COVER UP! http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/culture-cover-prison-abuse/
When I landed in Isolation, in a cell down the hall was one such inmate about whom they had made up lies, Curtis Collins, aka “Boo”. When he heard me talking to other inmates he sent me his paperwork. Poor Boo was so confused that he thought the Motion he had received meant that he was about to win his case, when, in fact, it meant that he was about to have his lawsuit against the guards dismissed! I explained this to him and solved the problem so that his case would not be summarily dismissed.
Boo had sued a couple of guards at SCI who threw him down and beat him, just for sport. They do that all the time at SCI and the other Delaware prisons, but they usually take the inmates outside, where inmates cannot see. Here, they beat Curtis in the hallway, in sight of other inmates.
If one gets his case far enough (and Curtis did with my help) the Court will appoint you a lawyer b4 trial. The Court did appoint a lawyer for Curtis, and that lawyer went down to SCI to interview the inmates who saw the guards beat the hell out of Boo. They confirmed his story. Curtis sent me all the papers filed in his case and kept me informed about his talks with his lawyer.
All the while, while this discovery and Motions are flying back and forth, I was advising Curtis, and I got to know him pretty well. They had moved him to a cell closer to mine. Nice young black man about 30 years old, in prison on drug charges.
So.. about two weeks later Curtis’ lawyer went back to talk to those inmates again, and their story was totally different, and the lawyer sensed that they were very nervous, so he asked him why they changed their story. Reluctantly, they told him the truth: a couple of guards had entered their cell and said things like “if you testify for Curtis Collins we will plant some cocaine in your cell and you’ll never get out of here”! No idle threat – they could do that in an instant.
So Curtis had a problem. The State offered him $400 to settle his case without going to trial. All the other inmates, who had heard most of our conversations (you cannot avoid that in Isolation, because you have to shout back and forth) were telling Curtis to accept the $400. “Abraham doesn’t kow what he’s talking about” etc. I advised Curtis not to take it and to go to trial, because I knew that with my help he would be an excellent witness. That $400 offer was absurd; although I don’t recall his age, I do remember some details of his case. The medical records showed the guards had broken a couple of his ribs and left him badly bruised – bloody lip, etc. – when they kicked him around in the hallway while he was cuffed and shackled.
I reported the threats by the guards – tampering with witnesses, a crime – to the U S Attorney (who did nothing -as they do with virtually all prison complaints) – and I wrote letters to the witnesses telling them to stick to the truth. We began writing back and forth; I remember I sent them my Ten Tips for Trial information (http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/ten-tps-trial-read-hearing-trial/) (At that time, around 2008 or 2009, guards almost never were prosecuted; thanks to voices like mine, now some are prosecuted.
Curtis went to trial, the witnesses told the truth, including the threats made against them, and the jury awarded him $90,000. But the judge made him pay his lawyers most of that, so Curtis ended up with $40,000. Curtis was delighted.
Moral of the story: sometimes you can beat the system!
Here is all the information about the upcoming election in Virginia: https://ballotpedia.org/Virginia_gubernatorial_election,_2021
Just open that link. Many folks don’t bother to vote in an “off year” (no federal offices on the ballot), but this one is very important. A real tRumpster is challenging Terry McAuliffe, a great guy and what VA needs!
So if you qualify, VOTE BLUE … vote early or show up at the polls!
Let us pray that this becomes law!
Excerpts from the Article:
The House on Friday passed legislation that would create a statutory right for health-care professionals to provide abortions, amid an intensifying legal battle over a Texas law that is the most restrictive in the nation.
H.R. 3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act, was approved by the Democratic-controlled House 218 to 211, but faces tough odds in the evenly divided Senate.
The measure states that health-care providers have a statutory right to provide, and patients have a right to receive, abortion services without any number of limitations that states and opponents of the procedure have sought to impose.
The measure would essentially codify Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision guaranteeing the right to abortion before viability, usually around 22 to 24 weeks.
The new Texas law, which took effect Sept. 1 after the Supreme Court refused to immediately block its enforcement, bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy and makes no exceptions for rape, sexual abuse or incest.
The law allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps a woman in Texas terminate her pregnancy. It was deliberately designed to avoid judicial scrutiny by barring state officials, who would typically be the target of lawsuits, from enforcing the ban.
Abortion rights proponents fear the most serious threats to the landmark law in nearly a half century, with Mississippi asking the conservative Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade to allow the state’s restrictions on abortion access. The Mississippi law would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Democrats see a political issue that has the potential to galvanize female voters ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Tex.) held a doll of a baby in fetal position. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Tex.) waved a wire coat hanger in the air and declared that “we will not go back” to the days of back-alley abortions. Speier spoke about her own second-term abortion, which she first revealed on the House floor a decade ago. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) spoke about being adopted, reuniting with his birth mother and later adopting a daughter himself.
Pelosi defended the House legislation at a Thursday news conference, telling reporters that supporters of Roe have long sought to codify the decision but haven’t been able to in recent years because they lacked unified Democratic control of Congress and the White House. “And now we do,” Pelosi said. “Every woman everywhere has a constitutional right to basic reproductive health. Yet for years, that has been questioned by some.” She pointed to the Texas law in particular, describing it as an “un-American” measure that achieves its goal through the deployment of “vigilantes and bounty hunters.”
Public polling shows a majority of Americans support the right to abortion in most instances. A Monmouth University poll this week showed that 62 percent of Americans say abortion should be either always legal or legal with some limitations. Those figures had changed little from a survey the university conducted two years ago.
After declining for weeks to say whether Biden would support the House measure, the White House said Monday that it “strongly supports” the legislation, declaring, “We will not allow this country to go backwards on women’s equality.”
“The constitutional rights of women are essential to the health, safety, and progress of our nation,” the White House said in a statement of administration policy. “Our daughters and granddaughters deserve the same rights that their mothers and grandmothers fought for and won — and that a clear majority of the American people support.”
Alan Braid, a San Antonio physician, stepped forward last week to say that he had performed an abortion for a woman who was in the early stages of a pregnancy but beyond the state’s new limit. Braid is now being sued by three private citizens, in what may become a key test of the Texas ban’s constitutionaltiy.
We must not forget that we now have more than 680,000 dead Americans because of Donald j. tRump!
What Shall I Write About?!
What shall I write about in the middle of the night?
Of course! Our nation’s calamitous plight,
Caused because the fool in our White House,
Has a brain smaller than that of a mouse,
He was told by national security advisers LAST YEAR,
That if action on the virus was not taken, disaster was near,
But, oh no, he knows best,
So he kept all warnings close to his chest,
Afraid it may hurt his re-election,
For months he maintained this deadly deception,
“Pooh pooing” and downplaying the problem, even calling it a hoax,
Yes, that is what Douche Bag in Chief did, and now people are DYING, folks!
Get that motherfucker out of our White House!
A wise idea. And a source of new jobs for released inmates.
Excerpts from the Article:
Sometimes poultry litter is more than just fertilizer, and BP is counting on that following a 15-year agreement with Annapolis-based CleanBay Renewables to turn it into natural gas.
The partnership, announced in late August, involves mixing poultry litter with water in a closed system known as an anaerobic digester. One of the end products is biogas, which includes methane. The biogas can be processed into renewable natural gas and used to fuel vehicles.
“We have a portfolio of projects and a corporate strategy to develop 30 (facilities) across the U.S. with the first being in Georgetown,” said Thomas Spangler, CleanBay Renewables executive chairman. “We went through a number of different structure and tested those with our partners to ensure investors reach their objectives. Through two years of discussions, we ended up with this great deal.”
According to CleanBay Renewables, they can process:
More than 150,000 tons of chicken litter annually per facility.
Generate over 750,000 MMBtus of sustainable renewable natural gas.
Generate 125,000 tons of organic, controlled-release fertilizer.
Generate an estimated 500,000 tons of CO2 equivalent emission abatement that will be available for purchase in carbon markets.
Among the first locations slated to receive such a facility is Westover in Somerset County with a groundbreaking scheduled for early in the first quarter of 2022. That is expected to be fully operational by mid-2024.
The rendering of the facility shows where the poultry litter would be processed and converted to renewable natural gas. Usually, such facilities employ 26 full-time employees over three shifts a day running 24 hours a day, all year. Completing a two-year construction period could also create an additional 250 jobs.
Under the terms of the agreement, “BP’s trading and shipping team will sell the fuel to its customers. RNG-fueled vehicles are estimated to result in up to 95 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than those fueled by gasoline or diesel on a lifecycle basis, according to a US Department of Energy study.”
According to Spangler, the initial process behind green-lighting projects started with reaching out to Somerset Economic Development Commission, and county Planning and Zoning officials. At the state level, the company approached the Maryland Department of Commerce, state workforce agencies and area community colleges and universities. “We sat down with the (Somerset Economic Development Commission) and outlined what we wanted to do and before we even selected the location, they were helpful with that,” Spangler said. “Early on, Planning and Zoning sat down with us to walk us through the process long before permit applications or mock ups. That helped flush out any concerns or requirements.”
James Fisher, communications manager for Delmarva Chicken Association, highlighted the poultry industry is among the most lucrative market sector on Eastern Shore even compared to traditional agriculture.
He noted more than half of the overall income earned on farms in the Delmarva region attributed to poultry farms.
“The poultry industry is enthused and optimistic about this additional way that litter could be used by companies like (CleanBay Renewables),” Fisher said. “If this is added to the portfolio of options that farmers have for exchanging their litter at a fair market price, that’s good news.”
According to Fisher, the Eastern Shore is an ideal location for the poultry industry due to its long history.
Prior to 1920, raising poultry for meat was not largely done. According to the association, in 2020, the Delmarva chicken community earned $280 million in contract income, $741 million in wages excluding benefits and raised 570 million chickens.
Our great AG, Kathy Jennings, does the right thing again. 🙂
Excerpts from the Article:
A former Dewey Beach police officer was convicted of assaulting an injured person on the job and was permanently stripped of his badge and gun Wednesday.
Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings announced in a news release that the Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust indicted and reached a conviction for Gregory Lynch for assaulting an innocent, injured person and then lying to the court to have the victim incarcerated.
“Abuse of authority, brutality and dishonesty are cardinal sins for any law enforcement officer,” Jennings said in a statement.
“The defendant’s violent acts harmed his victim and made it harder for his honorable colleagues to do their important work,” she said. “Today the defendant becomes a felon who will never carry a badge or a gun again. Our thoughts are with his victim, and our thanks are with the EMTs and fellow police who did the right thing by stepping forward to blow the whistle on his actions.”
During the August 2019 incident, police and EMTs were called to Bellevue Street to assist a 26-year-old man who had lost consciousness and injured the back of his head, according to the earlier indictment. The indictment detailed that the man didn’t want to go to the hospital and was sitting on a stretcher with one foot on the ground as first responders and witnesses tried to convince him to lie down. That was when Lynch grabbed his leg and put it on the stretcher, according to previous reporting by Delaware Online.
Lynch then climbed onto a stretcher and repeatedly punched an injured, unaggressive victim in the face, according to the Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust.
Other officers present told investigators that the punches were powerful enough to spray blood from the victim’s face onto their uniforms, according to the DOJ. Lynch then handcuffed the victim to the stretcher and pulled him into an ambulance by his head.
The victim was later diagnosed with a concussion, a broken nose, multiple hematomas and lacerations to his face.
Lynch later falsely stated in a sworn affidavit that the victim had committed strangulation and two counts of offensive touching of a law enforcement officer, but witness statements contradicted those claims, according to the DOJ.
Lynch’s lies were discovered days later when EMTs and fellow police came forward.
Lynch pleaded guilty on Wednesday to perjury second degree (a felony) and assault third degree (a misdemeanor).
Under the victim-supported plea, Lynch will serve one year of Level 3, or intensive supervision, probation and sacrifice his Council on Police Training certification – permanently banning him from serving as a police officer again.
Because of the felony conviction, Lynch will also be prohibited from buying or possessing a firearm.
But this incident was not the first time that Lynch was accused of excessive force. In 2014, a 65-year-old man sued Dewey Beach police saying that Lynch and another officer used excessive force when they arrested him in 2011.
He claimed that a Dewey police vehicle, with its lights activated, swerved in front of him as he was riding his bicycle from The Cove Restaurant and Bar at about 12:30 a.m.
The plaintiff said Lynch and the other officer threw him off of his bicycle and onto the pavement, causing some injuries, including to his shoulder and ribs. The lawsuit also claimed Lynch placed his foot on the side of the plaintiff’s face and ground the man’s head and face into the pavement and gravel.
The department settled the federal lawsuit for $175,00.
Another failure of our abysmal mental health system. Durst should have had help/treatment years ago.
Durst will get exactly what he deserves: life in prison. Though clearly he is “missing a few marbles”, he was not legally insane. Any attempt to conceal the crime, or flight, shows that one “knows right from wrong”, and therefore is not legally insane.
Excerpts from the Article:
A Los Angeles jury convicted Robert Durst on Friday of murdering his best friend 20 years ago, a case that took on new life after the New York real estate heir participated in a documentary that connected him to the slaying that was linked to his wife’s 1982 disappearance.
Durst, 78, was not in court for the verdict from the jury that deliberated about seven hours over three days. He was in isolation at a jail because he was exposed to someone with coronavirus.
Durst, who faces a mandatory term of life in prison without parole when sentenced Oct. 18, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Susan Berman. She was shot at point-blank range in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home in December 2000 as she was prepared to tell police how she helped cover up his wife’s killing.
A Los Angeles jury convicted Robert Durst Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 of murdering his best friend Susan Berman, 20 years ago in a case that took on new life after the New York real estate heir participated in a documentary that connected him to the slaying linked to his wife’s 1982 disappearance.
Berman, the daughter of a Las Vegas mobster, was Durst’s longtime confidante who told friends she provided a phony alibi for him after his wife vanished.
Prosecutors painted a portrait of a rich narcissist who didn’t think the laws applied to him and ruthlessly disposed of people who stood in his way. They interlaced evidence of Berman’s killing with Kathie Durst’s suspected death and the 2001 killing of a tenant in a Texas flophouse where Robert Durst holed up while on the run from New York authorities.
“Bob Durst has been around a lot of years, and he’s been able to commit a lot of horrific crimes. We just feel really gratified that he’s been held accountable,” Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said.
Lewin met with jurors after the verdict and said they thought prosecutors had proven Durst had killed his wife and had murdered both Berman and his Texas neighbor in an effort to escape justice.
He said jurors did not find Durst credible as a witness. “He’s a narcissistic psychopath. He killed his wife and then he had to keep killing to cover it up,“ Lewin said.
Lewin said he hoped Durst understands what it’s like to be held accountable — even if it took 40 years. “Considering what he’s done, he got a lot more of a life than he was entitled to,” the prosecutor said.
Durst was arrested in 2015 while hiding out in a New Orleans hotel on the eve of the airing of the final episode of “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” in which he was confronted with incriminating evidence and made what prosecutors said was a confession. Durst could be heard muttering to himself on a live microphone in a bathroom: “There it is. You’re caught.”
Durst’s decision to testify in his own defense — hoping for a repeat of his acquittal in the Texas killing — backfired as he was forced to admit lying under oath, made damning admissions and had his credibility destroyed when questioned by the prosecutor.
Defense lawyer David Chesnoff said Friday they believed there was “substantial reasonable doubt” and were disappointed in the verdict. He said Durst would pursue all avenues of appeal.
The conviction marks a victory for authorities who have sought to put Durst behind bars for murder in three states. Durst was never charged in the disappearance of his wife, who has never been found, and he was acquitted of murder in Galveston, Texas, where he admitted dismembering the victim’s body and tossing it out to sea.
The story of Durst, the estranged scion of a New York real estate developer, has been fodder for New York tabloids since his wife vanished. He provided plot twists so numerous that Hollywood couldn’t resist making a feature film about his life that eventually led to the documentary and discovery of new evidence in Berman’s slaying.
Durst ran from the law multiple times, disguised as a mute woman in Texas and staying under an alias at a New Orleans hotel with a shoulders-to-head latex mask for a presumed getaway. He jumped bail in Texas and was arrested after shoplifting a chicken sandwich in Pennsylvania, despite having $37,000 in cash — along with two handguns — in his rental car.
He later quipped that he was “the worst fugitive the world has ever met.”
Durst escaped close scrutiny from investigators when his wife disappeared. But his troubles resurfaced in late 2000 when New York authorities reopened the case.
His lawyer told him to be prepared to be charged in the case, and he fled a life of luxury to Galveston, Texas, where he rented a cheap apartment as “Dorothy Ciner,” a woman he pretended couldn’t speak. He eventually dropped the disguise after mishaps that included walking into a men’s restroom and igniting his wig at a bar while lighting a cigarette.
Just before Christmas, he testified that he traveled to LA to visit Berman for a “staycation” with plans to see some of the tourist sites. Durst, who had long denied ever being in LA at the time of Berman’s death, testified at trial that he found her dead on a bedroom floor when he arrived.
Berman, a writer who had been friends with Durst since they were students at the University of California, Los Angeles, had serious financial problems at the time. Durst had given her $50,000, and prosecutors suggested she was trying to leverage more money from him by telling him she was going to speak with the cops.
Nine months after her death, Durst killed his Galveston neighbor Morris Black, in what he said was either an accident or self-defense. Durst said he found Black, who he had become friends with, in his apartment holding Durst’s .22-caliber pistol.
Durst was acquitted after testifying the 71-year-old was killed in a struggle for the gun. Durst then chopped up Black’s body and tossed it out to sea. He was convicted of destroying evidence for discarding the body parts.
After the trial and the ghastly evidence of the dismemberment, Durst found he was a pariah, he said. Despite an estimated $100 million fortune, he was turned away by multiple condominium associations and said the Los Angeles County Museum of Art wouldn’t take his money unless he donated anonymously.
Durst thought a 2010 feature film based on his life, “All Good Things,” starring Ryan Gosling as him and Kirsten Dunst as Kathie, had been largely accurate and painted a sympathetic portrait, despite implicating him in three killings. He only objected that he was depicted killing his dog — something he would never do.
He reached out to the filmmaker and agreed to sit for lengthy interviews for a documentary. He encouraged his friends to do the same and gave the filmmakers access to boxes of his records.
He came to deeply regret his decision after “The Jinx” aired on HBO in 2015, calling it a “very, very, very big mistake.”
The documentary filmmakers discovered a crucial piece of evidence that connected him to an anonymous note sent to police directing them to Berman’s lifeless body.
Durst, who was so confident he couldn’t be connected to the note, told filmmakers “only the killer could have written” the note. Filmmakers confronted him with a letter he sent Berman a year earlier. The handwriting was identical and Beverly Hills was misspelled as “Beverley” on both. He couldn’t tell the two apart.
The gotcha moment provided the climax of the movie as Durst stepped off camera and muttered to himself on a live microphone in the bathroom: “Killed them all, of course.”
During 14 days of testimony that was so punishing Judge Mark Windham called it “devastating,” Durst denied killing his wife and Berman, though he said he would lie if he did.
He tried to explain away the note and what prosecutors said was a confession during an unguarded moment. For the first time, Durst admitted on the witness stand that he sent the note and had been in Los Angeles at the time of Berman’s death. Durst said he sent the note because he wanted Berman to be found but didn’t want anyone to know he had been there because it would look suspicious.
He acknowledged that even he had difficulty imagining he could have written the note without killing Berman.
“It’s very difficult to believe, to accept, that I wrote the letter and did not kill Susan Berman,” Durst testified.
A prosecutor said it was one of the truest things Durst said amid a ton of lies.
Gabby Petito investigation: 911 call reveals Brian Laundrie seen hitting, ‘slapping’ her before disappearance
Wow! Police need better training on “spouse abuse”. These two were not married, but what the cop here heard, and what other cops saw, are classic signs of serious spouse abuse, where the victim often is too afraid of the abuser to press charges.
Excerpts from the Article:
The 911 caller who reported a “domestic dispute” between Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito in Moab, Utah, on Aug. 12 was heard telling a dispatcher that “the gentleman was slapping the girl” and hitting her, Fox News has confirmed Monday after exclusively obtaining the audio of the call.
“He was slapping her?” the dispatcher was heard asking.
“Yes, and then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off,” the caller added.
The audio provides a closer glimpse at the circumstances surrounding the couple’s encounter with police weeks before Petito vanished. A body that investigators believed to be Petito’s turned up Sunday in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, while Laundrie’s current whereabouts Monday remain unknown.
The 911 call apparently contradicted a prior report written by police in which a responding officer had written that “no one reported that the male struck the female.”
“The driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female, Gabbie,” a responding officer wrote in a police report, citing conversations he had with Petito, Laundrie, and the witness.
“The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him,” the report said. “He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off.”
Utah police released body camera footage showing their encounter with Gabby Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, before Gabby disappeared. Domestic violence experts looked at that video and said Brain’s lack of acknowledgement of any wrongdoing speaks volumes to them.
A responding officer initially wrote that he believes “it was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female,” but later wrote that “no one reported that the male struck the female.”
An officer eventually pulled the van over and said that when he approached, Petito was “crying uncontrollably” in the passenger seat.
One of the responding officers said the incident can be “more accurately categorized as a mental/emotional health ‘break’ than a domestic assault,” and that “no significant injuries” were reported.
Laundrie stayed in a hotel that night, while Petito stayed with the van, according to the report.
The Bethunes, who live in the Tampa area, say they spotted what is believed to be Gabby Petito’s camper on August 27. On Sunday, they submitted their video to the FBI — which also happens to be the birthday of their son, Ethan, who died in 2011. ‘He would’ve turned 17, and I fully believe that Ethan had a hand in bringing Gabby home for sure.’
911 CALL TRANSCRIPT:
Dispatcher: Grand County Sheriff’s Office.
Caller: Hi, can you hear me, sir?
Dispatcher: Yeah, I can hear you.
Caller: Hi, I’m calling, I’m right on the corner of Main Street by Moonflower and we’re driving by and I’d like to report a domestic dispute, Florida with a white van, Florida license plate, white van.
Dispatcher: Where’s it at?
Caller: They just drove off. They’re going down Main Street. They made a right on Main Street from Moonflower.
Dispatcher: What were they doing?
Caller: What’d you say?
Dispatcher: What were they doing?
Caller: We drove by ’em, a gentleman was slapping the girl.
Dispatcher: He was slapping her?
Caller: Yes, and then we stopped, they ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.
Dispatcher: OK, you say that’s a white van?
Caller: It’s a white van. I can give you the license plate if you give me one [second] I took a picture of it.
Dispatcher: What kind of white van, like a big one?
Caller: Um it was a smaller van, with a license place of, it was white, Florida license plate [redacted]. It was, the make was a Ford, model was Transit, black ladder on the passenger side.
Dispatcher: Black ladder, passenger side.
Caller: White Ford Transit
Dispatcher: White Ford Transit, and what was your name?
Dispatcher: And where did they, so they turned, they headed south on Main Street from Moonflower Market?
Caller: Correct, they made the right turn.
Dispatcher: Oh, so they went north?
Caller: North, yes sir, I’m not from around here.
Dispatcher: So, you’re right there by the post office?
Caller: Right across the street, yep.
Dispatcher: And when they turned onto Main Street they went right or left?
Dispatcher: Right so they went north, north on Main, alright I’ll let somebody know thank you.
This is another tRump action totally without merit, which will go nowhere! To keep his name in the headlights this ego maniac clogs up the already congested courts with this crap!
Excerpts from the Article:
Former president Donald Trump has sued his niece, Mary L. Trump, and the New York Times over the publication of a 2018 article detailing allegations that he “participated in dubious tax schemes … including instances of outright fraud” that allowed him to receive over $413 million from his father, Fred Trump Sr., while significantly reducing taxes.
The suit, filed in a Dutchess County, N.Y., court on Tuesday, alleges that Mary Trump, the New York Times and at least three of its reporters “engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records” about the former president’s finances. According to the lawsuit, Donald Trump suffered at least $100 million in damages as a result of the alleged actions.
Trump, unlike every other major-party presidential nominee in recent history, has declined to make his tax records public.
In a statement about the suit Wednesday, the former president said, “More to come, including on other people, and Fake News media.”
The New York Times and the three reporters named in the suit — David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner — won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for their 18-month investigation that culminated in the article. Their work “debunked [Trump’s] claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges,” according to the Pulitzer Prize board.
Donald Trump’s suit alleges that the New York Times influenced Mary Trump to help them acquire confidential documents despite a settlement agreement that she had signed after a legal challenge to Fred Trump Sr.’s will. In her 2020 book “Too Much and Never Enough,” Mary Trump detailed how she helped the reporters obtain Donald Trump’s financial records.
At 3 a.m. one day in 2017, she took 19 boxes of documents from Farrell Fritz, the law firm that helped her challenge the estate of Fred Trump Sr., and handed them over to the journalists. A lawyer at the firm had told her she was entitled to take the documents, as long as at least one copy was left behind, Mary Trump said. “It wasn’t enough for me to volunteer at an organization helping Syrian refugees,” she wrote. “I had to take Donald down.”
In 2020, Mary Trump also sued Donald Trump and two of the former president’s siblings, saying that they defrauded her out of tens of millions of dollars decades ago by allegedly manipulating the value of properties and lying to her about the worth of her inheritance.
News of Donald Trump’s lawsuit was first reported by the Daily Beast. Mary Trump told the news website that the legal action was motivated by “desperation. … The walls are closing in and he is throwing anything against the wall that will stick. As is always the case with Donald, he’ll try and change the subject.”